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Date of Issue: October 18, 2007

Anna Maria comp plan hearing Thursday

Anna Maria residents and property owners will get their chance to add their comments and opinions about the city’s proposed revisions to its comprehensive plan at a public hearing on Thursday.

The first public hearing on the ordinance amending the plan is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, and considering the large turnout at the public hearing on the future land-use element and map portions of the plan, Anna Maria insiders might say to come early to ensure you get a seat.

That might be because anyone wishing to challenge the plan in court has to have his or her gripe, complaint or comment “on the record” at a public meeting.

Chief among the previous complaints has been the city’s designated retail-office-residential area on the future land-use map, along with the elimination of the zoning district for duplexes.

The hearing is also needed to address the comments, recommendations and required changes from the Florida Department of Community Affairs. The DCA was slated to have a letter on those points at city hall by Oct. 18.

The comprehensive plan has taken nearly four years to prepare and has involved countless volunteer man-hours, public meetings, informal discussions and, on occasion, some very vocal opposition to some elements.

Facilitator Tony Arrant, who was contracted to guide the city through the entire process, has said previously that anyone who might ever want to present a legal challenge to the plan must have that opinion part of the record at a public hearing. Written comments are acceptable if presented at the hearing.