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Date of Issue: October 27, 2005

Land use changes approved without comment

As expected, and without any real public comment, land use changes were approved unanimously in Bradenton Beach last Thursday.

In fact, the only comment was from Commissioner-elect Janie Robertson, who wondered why a proposed change suggested by the scenic highway committee to allow political signs to remain standing for five days after the election, rather than the proposed three-day expiration, wasn't made. Commissioners agreed to her amendment.

Land development codes are the implementing laws to enforce the city's comprehensive plan.

Some highlights of the LDC changes include:

  • Signs of a value of less than $200 that do not meet the requirements of the code must be removed or replaced within three months. If the sign is valued at less than $499, the owner has a year to bring it up to code; sign cost greater than $500 allows the owner five years to bring it into conformance.
  • Non-conforming signs are now those that are higher than eight feet above the crown of the road for R-3 zones, or three feet in height in R-1 and R-2 areas of the city. Commercial zones shall not have signs higher than 12 feet above the road. No signs shall be more than 10 feet in width.
  • Commercial areas of the city shall not have signs larger than 96 square feet. Any window signs are included in the calculation "including the area of any window signs and no single-face sign shall exceed 32 square feet, including all pendant and directory signs."
  • Temporary signs shall not be larger than 24 square feet in size.
  • Signs shall be at least five feet back from the right of way, and no free-standing signs on waterfront property shall face the water, although wall-mounted signs are permitted.
  • New or redeveloped single-family or duplex structures with a building footprint greater than 3,500 square feet are major developments and are subject to a greater review process by the city and increased building permit fees. The review process entails hearings before both the planning and zoning board and the city commission.
  • Condominium conversions that "may implicate a change of use" are major developments, as are residential uses in upper floors over retail structures.
  • Elevating existing single-family or duplex structures in residentially zoned areas is 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 shall 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.
  • Setbacks from Gulf Drive will be at least 25 feet.
  • Exterior stairways may project up to four feet into side-and rear-yard setbacks with some conditions.
  • Bay windows up to 24 inches in depth and with a minimum of 18 inches above the ground to a width of 8 feet may be permitted as long as no more than one window is in place within 25 lineal feet on the exterior wall.
  • No removal of erosion-control structures shall be allowed unless accomplished by federal, state, county or local government.
  • Nine varieties of trees are prohibited in new construction, including Australian pines, Brazilian peppers and Melaleuca.
  • All structures must be required to have street numbers in contrasting colors no less than 4 inches in height.
  • Beachfront lighting must meet Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission technical report documents.
  • The city has also adopted Manatee County's adult entertainment ordinance, which prohibits such activities in the city.

Line-of-sight requirements for building on the Gulf of Mexico and Anna Maria Sound will be addressed by the city commission at a later date.

A "City of Bradenton Beach Recommended Design Manual" will also be created.