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Date of Issue: December 28, 2006

Commissioner rebuffs Galati meeting request

galati pic
Upward mobility
Galati Marine in Anna Maria had planned to expand its business by adding a third floor, but the new city comprehensive plan limits the height of new construction in a commercial district to just 27 feet. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin

Anna Maria City Commissioner Duke Miller has politely declined a request by Galati Marine to discuss the 27-foot height limitation for new construction in a commercial district in the revised comprehensive plan recently forwarded to the Florida Department of Community Affairs for approval.

Miller told Mike Eiffert of Galati Marine that he had to decline an individual meeting with "Team Galati" because "I think it is important for ‘John' and ‘Jane' AnnaMarian to hear why you and your colleagues think we should allow 37-foot-high commercial buildings. It's no less important that they have the opportunity to express their views about your points."

Miller also noted that the entire three years-plus comprehensive-plan revision process has been "completely in the sunshine and I think it should remain so."

He suggested that the proper venue for a presentation by Galati would be at the next public hearing on the comprehensive plan, which will take place after the plan is returned to the city by the DCA with any revisions and suggested changes.

Eiffert, however, said Galati Marine's concern is that limiting new commercial construction to just 27 feet takes away an entire floor of potential business space.

"It's expensive to do business on the Island with the taxes and insurance we pay. Our new building would be two stories over parking. Building one story over parking is a real hardship," he said. No plans for any new structure at Galati Marine have yet been submitted to the city.

Team Galati and other interested business owners simply wanted to make a presentation to the city commission about their concerns, Eiffert said, noting that a new home can still be built to the 37-foot height limit, but not a new business.

Eiffert said he will meet with the Galati brothers during the holidays to discuss a possible course of action.

Commissioner Christine Tollette said she also received a letter from Galati and responded that, while she wasn't clear on what they wanted, she would meet with them to discuss the issue.

Commissioner Dale Woodland, however, said he has not yet received a request from Galati for a meeting, but has seen Miller's response to them.