Story Tools

Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

No city giveaway

Holmes Beach city commissioners indicated at their Nov. 23 worksession they aren't likely to give away any city property just because it's unused or can't be used.

Commissioners made that clear to attorney Mark Barnebey, who represents property owner Mary Menendez.

Barnebey wants the commission to consider vacating a portion of right of way on Fourth Avenue between 41st Street and 42nd Street. The area on Fourth Avenue was originally platted in 1905, he said, but has never been used by the city and can't be connected to another street because of Manatee Avenue.

"There's no reason to keep it," pleaded Barnebey. The land is not being used by the city, it's a potential liability and vacating it to Menendez would add about $4,000 a year in tax revenues.

Menendez, he said, wants to build a house that would encompass two current lots and the vacated property.

Commissioner Roger Lutz, however, noted that Menendez had made the same request several years ago to the commission only to be turned down.

Barnebey agreed that a city vacation would create two very large lots, both about 225 feet by 200 feet.

"So you could have two houses, one on each side," said Lutz.

Commissioner Pat Morton argued that this could lead to a condominium development.

Commission Chairperson Sandy Haas-Martens said she has a problem with vacating property without payment.

That also bothers Lutz, but at the same time, he'd like to see a new tax base added to the city. "It's troubling to just give land away," he said.

Mayor Carol Whitmore suggested Barnebey come back to a worksession with a developer's agreement on reimbursement to the city and potential density of the area for the commission to review.

Commissioners also discussed the continuing problem of beach access at 81st Street and suggested City Attorney Michelle Hall look into a "prescriptive easement" as a method to settle the current problem.