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Date of Issue: October 20, 2005

LDC amendment vote due Thursday in Bradenton Beach

The public will have a final say in a series of amendments to land development regulations in Bradenton Beach Thursday, Oct. 20.

A host of amendments to the city's land development code have been proposed. First reading and public hearings were held on the matter Oct. 6; no one from the public spoke.

Land development codes are the implementing laws to enforce the city's comprehensive plan, the guiding document that outlines the future growth of the city. City officials are also working on revisions to the state-mandated comprehensive plan.

Building Official Ed Mc Adam has produced the proposed changes to the city's land development code. The changes have been approved by the city's planning and zoning board.

Some highlights of the LDC changes are as follows:

  • New or redeveloped single-family or duplex structures with a building footprint greater than 3,500 square feet would be classed as a major development and would be subject to a greater review process by the city and higher building permit fees. That review process would entail hearings before both the planning and zoning board and the city commission.
  • Condominium conversions that "may implicate a change of use" would also be major developments, as would residential use in upper floors considered over retail structures.
  • Elevating existing single-family or duplex structures in residentially zoned areas would be allowed as long as the building footprint does not expand and no habitable space is created on the ground floor.
  • Maximum height of a building would be no more than 29 feet above the Federal Emergency Management Agency's standard of "base flood elevation" with the exemption of chimneys, vents and elevator shafts under the proposed changes. Similar language has been included within the proposed city's charter revision.
  • Line-of-sight requirements for building on the Gulf of Mexico and Anna Maria Sound are still to be addressed by the commission. Concerns have been raised in recent years about neighbors building homes closer to the water than the surrounding properties, thereby partially blocking the waterfront vista.
  • Setbacks from Gulf Drive would be 25 feet.
  • Exterior stairways may project up to 4 feet into side-and rear-yard setbacks with some conditions under the proposed changes. Currently, any stair setback encroachments require a variance.
  • Bay windows up to 24 inches in depth and with a minimum of 18 inches above the ground to a width of 8 feet would be permitted as long as no more than one window is in place within 25 lineal feet of exterior wall.
  • No removal of erosion-control structures would be allowed unless done so by federal, state, county or local government.
  • A "City of Bradenton Beach Recommended Design Manual" is proposed to guide construction in the city in order to stress the "Old Florida-charm" elements of design.
  • Nine varieties of trees would be prohibited in new construction, including Australian pines, Brazilian peppers and Melaleuca.
  • All structures would be required to have street numbers in contrasting colors no less than 4 inches in height.
  • Beachfront lighting would be required to meet Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission technical report documents under the proposed changes to the LDC.
  • Fees for almost all building activities would increase.
  • A citation system for code enforcement violations would be enacted.
  • The city would adopt Manatee County's adult entertainment ordinance, which would prohibit such activities in the city.

Thurday's meeting will begin at 1 p.m. at city hall.