Owners of another one of St. Pete Beach’s major tourist attractions, the Don CeSar Resort, the city’s first and only hotel on the National Register of Historic Places, have been in discussion with city staff to develop a 2-story, 10,000-square-foot conference center, over underground parking, in an adjacent parcel at 3400 Gulf Blvd. north of the resort.

ST. PETE BEACH — The weekend before an application for the addition of a conference center at the Don CeSar Hotel was to be considered by the St. Pete Beach Board of Adjustment, Betty Rzewnicki gathered a small group of residents in a meeting room nearby.

Together, they reviewed the variance application — a request for special permission to build the 10,000-square-foot amenity on the north side of the property — and formed their arguments against the hotel’s expansion.

“Don’t be subjective,” advised Rzewnicki, who is the president of the Don CeSar Property Owners Corp., which represents residents living in the Don CeSar neighborhood. “Stick to the hard facts.”

But when the residents eagerly packed into City Hall on Dec. 15 to make their arguments before the board, city officials told them they would have to wait until next year to be heard.

Because an incorrect version of the hotel’s application had been uploaded to the city website, city attorney Andrew Dickman advised the board to push the vote to a future meeting.

“Let staff make sure that, out of an abundance of caution, we have everything that you should be analyzing,” Dickman said during the meeting. “My concern is that you’re analyzing something that’s not current.”

Now, residents will have to wait until Jan. 26, when the item is back on the agenda for consideration during the board’s first meeting of the new year. The board voted unanimously to continue the item.

If approved by the board, the proposed conference center would take the place of a utilities shed on the hotel property. In the variance request, the hotel argues conditions of the land preventing the construction are unique, and differ from those of similarly zoned parcels. Therefore, they argue a “hardship” is created, and the construction should be allowed.

Residents who oppose the project argue that the absence of a conference center does not constitute a hardship, and fear that if the expansion is permitted, an influx of traffic will put residents at risk and make it difficult for first responders to navigate the area in the event of an emergency.