Letter to Concerned Citizens - Jan 28, 2016
I have included these pages presented by William Gay, Committee member, in the week leading up to the Open City Meetings/Hearings
The Holiday Isle Marina Traffic Study Underestimates the Traffic Implications of the Proposed Development
The Holiday Isle Marina developer commissioned a very limited, 3-page traffic study to measure traffic volumes at the existing entrances to the development site..The study involved a 3-part process.
Study Part 1. Collected actual data about traffic flows at the two intersections currently serving the site on the west side of the Tom Stuart Causeway. The data were collected on Tuesday, September 28, 2015 between 4 pm and 6 pm. Twenty-two vehicles entered and 23 vehicles exited the site at the two intersections during the 2-hour data collection period. In addition, 2,108 vehicles (1,120 eastbound and 988 westbound) v transited the divided highway during the data collection period. This constituted all of the sample traffic data collected for the study. The data collected during wish 2-hour period is simply to meagre to draw any valid conclusions about the traffic impact of the proposed project.
Study Deficiency 1 - It should be noted that a significant portion of the docks at the city marina were under construction at the time of the data collection. Thus, the sample, in all probability, underestimates the amount of traffic that will be entering and exiting the marina and transiting the causeway once the marina dock construction project is completed
Study Part 2. Used ITE Trip Generation Rate Tables to estimate the number of trips the condominium, hotel and restaurant facilities would
create on a daily basis and during the peak 4 pm to 6 pm evening rush
hour. This analysis indicated the facilities would generate an additional
3,690 daily trips; 300 of these trips would occur during the 2-hour evening rush period. Thus, the number of evening rush hour trips would increase by 14% from the current 2,108 trips to 2,408 trips. According to the consultant’s report, the additional traffic would reduce the traffic LOS (Leve of Service) one grade from a LOS C to an LOS D and require a permit
application with FDOT.
The number of trips generated by the Holiday Isle Marina development is a
function of the number of residential units and the average daily number of
trips for each type of residence plus traffic generated by the restaurant. The
table below contains information about the trip frequency for each type of
residence and the restaurant and shows the resulting daily, weekly and
annual trip totals that the Holiday Isle Marina project will create. According
to the traffic consultant’s data, during the course of a year the project will
generate nearly 1.35 million additional vehicle trips. The condo hotel and hotel will account for 55% of this additional traffic and the restaurant will contribute 36%. The condo units will have a relatively small 8% impact on the increased traffic congestion.
Vehicle Trips That Will Be Created by the Holiday Isl
Study Deficiency 2 - The consultant’s report did not estimate the manner in which the Holiday Isle Marina slips would contribute to additional traffic. It is quite possible that the owners of the condo hotel units will periodically rent out their units to short- or long-term tenants while continuing to dock and use their boat slips at the marina, thus generating additional complex traffic.
Study Deficiency 3 - Several traffic factors unique to the Tom Stuart Causeway were not considered in the traffic study. These are factors that could have a material impact on traffic congestion on the causeway between Gulf Boulevard and the intersection of Duhme Road as well as at the ingress and egress to the City Marina and the proposed development site.
• A drawbridge that randomly stops traffic in both directions causing back ups as far as Duhme Road to the east of the bridge and as far as Gulf Boulevard to the west. The study did to provide any information on the frequency of drawbridge openings.
• A fundamental school that causes traffic back ups at the intersection of 150th Avenue and Duhme Road on weekdays during the morning rush hour and in mid-afternoon when school lets out. City officials estimate that the school generates approx-imately 1,200 trips twice daily.
• A major highway and emergency evacuation route that serves as the primary commuting and evacuation vehicle route for Madeira Beach as well as Redington Beach and the southern end of North Redington Beach.
• A major route for public safety vehicles (Sheriff, fire/EMS and ambulance) entering and exiting Madeira Beach to provide service.
None of the above important factors were taken into consideration in the developer’s traffic report. Furthermore, neither the city’s professional staff nor its planning consultant augmented the Holiday Isle Marina traffic study to consider the critical points raised above.
Study Deficiency 4 - The consultant’s traffic study did not take intoconsideration the traffic implications of special events that draw largenumbers of visitors to the city. None of the traffic- and parking-related aspects of these events were discussed in the study. Examples are:
Unfortunately, the city does not currently have the capability to dynamically model and analyze multiple large-scale, high-density projects and has not pursued the means to acquire this vital analytical tool. Two examples of this shortcoming are listed below. Both will lead to further degradation of traffic flow and safety on Tom Stuart Causeway.
• Barefoot Beach, a recently approved high-rise, high density hotel on Gulf Boulevard
• The “Barry Loft Property”, a high-density project in the development stage on 150th Avenue and Madeira Way between the City’s 911 memorial park and Gulf Boulevard. This development will have four eight- to ten-story high-rise buildings containing 90 condominiums and 430 hotel rooms.
If the city approves the Holiday Isle Marina project in its current form, it will set the precedent for future high-traffic impact projects leading to substantially higher traffic volumes and LOS E levels of congestion on Tom Stuart Causeway. In all likelihood, the construction of Holiday Isle Marina in its present form will create major traffic jams on the causeway similar to the draw bridge openings and school backups. A further safety problem will be the need for vehicles entering the Holiday Isle Marina from the east and vehicles leaving Holiday Isle Marina to the west to cross two lanes of traffic and the median of a busy causeway.
The citizens of Madeira Beach should not have to pay for the road and pedestrian improvements needed to support the Holiday Isle Marina development
The Holiday Isle Marina development site presents some unique traffic access problems because it is located on an isolated spit of land that closely borders the Tom Stuartcauseway/ drawbridge on its west side. Its location makes access to the property difficult, especially given the high volume of traffic the project will generate. In order to access the site, the developer proposes that the state and city substantially modify the roadway and intersections serving the City Marina. Furthermore, according to the development plan, the city/state would be obligated to pay 100% of the roadway improvement costs that exceed the transportation impact fees. Neither the city nor the state has developed cost estimates for engineering and reconstructing the city marina frontage road, the 150th Avenue entry and exit points to the development site, and anew pedestrian walkway under Tom Stuart Causeway. In the event that the pedestrian walkway is not approved by the state, the resulting traffic generated by the project will create a hazardous situation for pedestrians
The impact fees proffered by the developer are minimal
The agreement between the Holiday Isle Marina developer and the city obligates the city to pay for road improvements needed to make access to the development site viable. The draft contract between the city and the developer indicates that the city will collect approximately $806,000 in impact fees from the developer to pay for the city’s road in front of the City Marina, the state road (Tom Stuart Causeway) and the pedestrian walkway improvements needed to access the development site. This amount represents less than 1% of the projected cost of the Holiday Isle project. It appears that neither the city nor the state DOT conducted a study to determine the actual costs of the roadway changes recommended by the developer and contained in the development proposal between the city and the developer.
The table below lists the impact fees proposed in the revised February 8, 2016 development agreement. These fees are unchanged from the original development agreement.
In other jurisdictions, developers are obligated to pay the full cost for
Impact Fee Schedule Problems
• The state road - 150th Avenue, west of the bridge
• The proposed pedestrian walkway under the Tom Stuart Causeway Aside from the lack of criteria for determining fees in item 1 above and the discrepancies listed in items 2 and 3 above, the most troubling part of the agreement are items 5 and 6. Taken together, they likely mean that the developer may not pay any new fees to the city and that the city/state will be obligated to pay unspecified and potential unlimited money for road and pedestrian improvements requested by the developer to make the Holiday Isle Marina a viable project. The impact fee clauses appear to be a “Trojan Horse” designed to transfer traffic improvement costs from the developer to the city and state.
In other jurisdictions, developers are obligated to pay the full cost for transportation enhancements needed to support their projects. This development appears to blur the line between public and private enterprises in which the city may be obligated to spend substantial public dollars to cover the transportation improvements needed for this for-profit project. Finally, it is customary for developers to proffer fees to public entities when the developer requests zoning changes that will create inconveniences to the public from traffic congestion and/or increase the demand for public services — all to bestow development rights and profits on a private sector endeavor.
• Current taxpayers should not have to pay for any Holiday Isle Marina development road improvements on city or state property.
• 100% of the public improvements to support this private, for-profit development should be borne by the developer and the future owners of buildings on the property, not the current citizens of Madeira Beach.
• 100% of the enumerated transportation impact fees (Approximately $806,000) should be deposited in the city’s account before any transportation