By Laurie Krosney | sun staff writer
The land formerly held 11 buildable lots, which will be turned into 9 larger lots, all conforming to code, David Teitelbaum told the neighboring property owners.
Teitelbaum is coordinating everything between the Walkers – who own the land – and the contractors, architects and real estate people.
“Ultimately, there will be three direct Gulf front lots, two lots facing Park, two facing Beach, as well as two in the interior,” according to Al Galletto, of Island Real Estate. Galletto and Island Real Estate’s Frank Davis are the real estate consultants for the property.
“The lots will probably range in price from $2.9 million for the lots facing the Gulf to about $550,000 to $700,000 for the interior lots,” Galletto said.
Many of the lots are covered with old growth banyan trees and some neighbors initially were concerned about the fate of the trees.
Betty Yanger is one of those neighbors.
“I love those trees, and they’ve been here as long as I have,” she said. “I was worried that they’d be taken down for the houses they’re putting there.”
Yanger contacted Teitelbaum, who is consulting on the initial phases of the project. He reassured her that the old growth trees absolutely would be saved.
Brent Whitehead, of Whitehead Construction, also is consulting on the project.
“The trees will be protected by deed restriction,” Whitehead said. “The owners of the properties will also have to conform to design standards as part of their deed restrictions. People buying some lots will have to get creative and build around the banyan trees.”
It’s believed that this will be the only deed-restricted area on the Island.
Ricinda Perry, a land use attorney, is handling the legal and permitting work.
There is one challenge to the DEP ruling that the lots are buildable. That comes from a property owner whose house sits on the north side of Park. As proposed, one Gulf front lot will be located seaward of his house.
“That will be handled in an administrative hearing later this year,” Perry said.
After the meeting, Yanger said she felt better knowing that the banyons would stay.
Yanger said she also was glad to learn that there would be certain rules for the people who buy the lots.
Neighbor Melanie Parrish said the meeting was informative.
“We knew that something would be built there,” she said. “It was inevitable, and this is a relatively good situation for this property.”
Banyan trees are members of the ficus family. Older banyan trees are characterized by their aerial prop roots, which grow into thick woody trunks, which are indistinguishable from the main trunk. The trees often spread out over a wide area.
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