By John Morton
The 100-room, five-story boutique hotel being proposed by Dave Balot will be reviewed by the Sarasota County Planning Commission on Dec. 2. The meeting will take place at 5 p.m. at the Sarasota County Administration Center, 1660 Ringling Blvd.
Balot plans to appear in person before the commission.
“As I’ve stated previously, I’m not a developer, I’m an operator,” said Balot, who is involved in operations with the Siesta Key Beach Resort & Suites in the Village — a business also looking to become a new hotel, from 55 to 170 rooms, after being torn down. “As such, and so I don’t make any legal or procedural mistakes, my attorney Scott Rudacille will be assisting me. Although Scott is capable of handling the meeting, I plan to share the podium and available time presenting. I also plan to answer any questions the commissioners may have for me.”
Balot and his team seek a hotel and restaurant combination at 5810 Midnight Pass Rd., the location formerly home to Wells Fargo. The parcel is slightly larger than 2 acres.
It would stand about 54 feet above grade, at the roofline, which would require a special exception to go above the 35 feet currently allowed.
A code amendment would also be needed to increase the density now allowed for such a parcel, which is only 56 rooms.
Balot has yet to receive an artist’s rendering, but said “I’ve asked for more of a Key West/modern coastal appearance from the front, in an attempt to keep the Key, the Key.”
He said the interior would likely have a more traditional modern look.
The Planning Commission serves only as an advisory body. The Sarasota County Board of Commissioners will have final say, and no date has been set for its vote.
Another new hotel has recently received final approval by that board.
In total, four hotel proposals have surfaced on Siesta Key in the past year.