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Date of Issue: March 30, 2005

Kabris rezone debated by city commission

It was almost standing room only at the last scheduled meeting of the year of the Holmes Beach City Commission.

The issue that had the audience empassioned and that consumed most of the evening was a request from Patrick and Angelina Kabris to have their property 101 75th St. rezoned from Rec-1 to R-2. This particular request is new but it is part of an on-going saga pitting the Holmes Beach planning board and the city commission against the intentions of the property owner.

The parcel, which was purchased from Hugh Holmes Sr., has a controversial history and it seems like everyone has their own version of it.

The property is adjacent to the Kabris' main residence and has a swimming pool and cabana built on it, permitted under the recreation/open space Rec-1 zoning code.

A medium density residential R-2 zoning code would allow for the development of another residence, hence the request.

The comments - which at times drew robust applause from the audience - from the owners of the other homes in the neighborhood were about equally split between those for and against the proposed rezoning. The applause required Chairperson Sandy Haas-Martens to admonish residents to "please hold your applause so that this meeting can continue smoothly and in a timely manner."

However, resident concerns were almost unanimous in that whatever might be built there would be low profile.

Bill Saunders, the assistant superintendent of public works, stated that "anything can be built there as long as it properly conforms to the particular zoning code."

The Kabris' were represented by attorney Caleb Grimes of Grimes, Goebel, Grimes, Hawkins, Gladfelter and Galvano. In his presentation, he distributed an aerial photograph and a sketch of the proposed rezone and tried to address the concerns of the citizens. Grimes stated "the changes would not set a precedent, nor increase density or intensity. We will address all concerns and that whatever is built will be a design to enhance the neighborhood.

"The Kabrises will stay within the guidelines and have no intentions to ask for any height variance," he added.

He offered to add a covenant - the city can accept one but not ask for it - to the proposal that should address those concerns. The wording of the covenant was not revealed but he said that it would be forthcoming.

The commission decided not to take any action and referred it back to the planning board. They did keep the request active and will continue with the public hearing Jan. 6.

A work session that followed the regular meeting was adjourned prematurely due to the lateness of the hour. The only subject discussed before an early adjournment was the ownership and use of the canal boat-slips, especially those in Sunrise Park.

Other business included a reading of an amendment dealing with height restrictions for buildings and structures, an amendment which died when there was not a seconding of the motion. Also, an ordinance was adopted that would allow certain structures, such as a gazebo, to be built.

Commissioner Rich Bohnenberger was presented with a plaque for his two years of service as the chairperson.