Tom Becnel

Owner at Sandestin Resort

9300 Emerald Coast Pkwy W, Miramar Beach, Florida, United States
Sandestin Resort
HQ Phone:
(850) 267-8000
Wrong Tom Becnel?

Last Updated 3/21/2016

General Information

Employment History

Contributor  - The Walton Sun


Developer  - Destin United Methodist Church

Web References  

March 2017 - Matthews & Jones, LLP

Sandestin Development owner Tom Becnel said he...

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Sandestin: Jolee Island, tennis center not going away - Matthews & Jones, LLP

Sandestin Development owner Tom Becnel said he has no plans to tear down the development's tennis center and Jolee Island nature preserve, despite seeking a change to the Development of Regional Impact (DRI) openspace requirements that would allow him to do so.
In the aftermath of the March 13 public hearing held by Walton County Board of County Commissioners and the initial vote by the board to allow Sandestin Development's Notice of Proposed Change to its DRI, the company has issued several statements to its residents and the public about its intent. Becnel stated to The Sun that he has no plans to build at the resort's tennis center or Jolee Island. "There are no changes to the tennis courts anticipated any time soon, if ever," said Becnel in a statement to The Sun. Becnel said he will have 1,873 residential units in his DRI entitlement that he can still build if the commission approves the updated NOPC, but he said he will not build anywhere near that number, with 60 percent being a good guess. That would give Sandestin roughly 1,123 additional units. However, Walton County Planner Mac Carpenter said he has been informed that 500 of those 1,873 units were apparently sold to the Howard Group prior to Becnel's ownership. The second is a parcel known as 443, which is owned by Becnel and situated across from the Burnt Pine Clubhouse. Asked why there would have been workshop discussion about building a high rise at Jolee Island if Becnel had no intention to construct one, Whiitney could not provide a definitive answer. "You can't do anything without a Development Order and a hearing becomes part of the process. It's not easy," she said. But Becnel said the main reason he filed the NOPC was to clear up inaccurate language in Sandestin's DRI. "The NOPC primarily served to clarify and correct the historical record," said Becnel. "We counted and verified every residential unit, every square foot of commercial, every square foot of ancillary and every square foot of resort services and administrative square footage. We surveyed every parcel within Sandestin to determine what was on it today, golf lakes, buildings, roads, sidewalks, and open space, all pervious and impervious areas. This is the first time that detail has ever been supplied to the county or state." However, during the workshop, Becnel was granted preliminary approval to construct a 12-story mid-rise building on the beach side, and to construct a 16-story high rise at Jolee Island, the resort's nature preserve. He was also granted preliminary approval to remove the tennis courts, which are adjacent to Jolee Island and the marina.

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Sandestin gets OK for high rises to replace nature preserve, tennis center - Matthews & Jones, LLP

Sandestin Investments owner Tom Becnel has not been able to start any construction projects since 2014, when he was found non-compliant with Development of Regional Impact (DRI) open-space requirements.
To change that, Becnel met with the Walton County Planning Department last year to try to find spots, such as buffers, that might count as open space. Monday, Chapman came through for Becnel and his attorney, Dana Matthews, by joining District 2 Commissioner Cecilia Jones and District 5 Commissioner Tony Anderson in voting to approve the proposed changes. Most pleaded with commissioners not to allow Becnel to build more high rises at Sandestin. After the 3-2 vote, the next issue was whether Becnel would get the green light to build high rises. Becnel had proposed a 24-story building where Elephant Walk restaurant is now, but he withdrew the request. One construction site not withdrawn was at Jolee Island Nature Preserve. However, he did lower the stories from 16 to 14. Becnel and Matthews said they were happy and relieved after the votes.

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