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Somber P&Z recommends pre-school plan

By Rick Catlin, Islander Reporter

On Oct. 19 at city hall, a vase of flowers was at the seat of Anna Maria planning and zoning board chair Randall Stover, who died Oct. 18. Stover battled cancer for several years. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin

Sandy Mattick, acting as vice chair of Anna Maria’s planning and zoning board, had a difficult time opening the board’s Oct. 19 meeting. She announced with emotion that board chair Randall Stover died the previous day.

Mattick said Stover had met with county administrator Ed Hunzeker for about an hour Oct. 18 and seemed fine, although he had been battling cancer of the saliva gland the past few years.

“When he returned home, he told his wife he was tired and wanted to sleep,” Mattick said. He apparently died some time during the night.

Mattick said, “We are all better for having known him.”

She said Stover’s devotion to Anna Maria was endless and he volunteered to serve the city right up to the end.

Board members and the public observed a minute of silence in Stover’s honor before beginning the business meeting.

Pre-school site plan
Board members unanimously recommended approval a site-plan for a private pre-school at 305 Pine Ave. after receiving additional information from applicants Terry and Becky Rozhon of Massachusetts.

Under the retail-office-residential plan the Rozhons submitted in October 2009, they would live above the school, while the downstairs would be converted into classrooms. A play area outside the structure would be fenced and distanced from neighbors at the rear of the house.

Dan Gagne of Gagne Construction Inc., acting on behalf of the applicants, submitted a larger site-plan that made it easier for members to read, and reiterated that there would be no on-site meal preparation. Prepared meals would be purchased locally.

Gagne said he met with Kurt Lathrop of West Manatee Fire Rescue, who told him he could either add a sprinkler system to the downstairs or build a fire-separation wall to meet the fire code.

Board member Tom Turner said if Gagne has that in writing when he applies for a building permit, “We are in a position to move this forward.”

Gagne also clarified to the board that access to the residence will be through existing stairways inside and outside the building.

Member Mike Piscetelli was concerned about parking at the school, but city planner Alan Garrett said the plan meets the code requirement that allows for two private vehicle spaces to meet parking requirements.

“That’s what makes this work,” Garrett said. Ideally, it’s how ROR structures on Pine Avenue should be built and occupied, he said, although city code allows the residential portion of an ROR project to be a rental unit.

There were no comments from the public. The board voted unanimously to recommend approval with the stipulations that no food preparation take place at the school, a WMFR certificate be obtained prior to applying for a building permit, and the fence around the play area meet height requirements.

Work session
Board members were in a quandary about when to schedule a work session to discuss establishing two new land-use districts proposed by the commission under a comprehensive plan amendment that has been transmitted to the Florida Department of Community Affairs.

The new districts are for a historical pier-use that includes the city pier and Rod & Reel Pier and for a marina use that would encompass Galati Marine and a nearby spoil island in Bimini Bay.

The proposed Nov. 2 date for the work session is the date of the general election and Mattick is a candidate for mayor. City clerk Alice Baird suggested the board meet Nov. 9. That allows the city to swear in the new mayor and commission Nov. 4, Baird said.

Mattick noted that, if elected mayor, she would be required to resign from the board and could not attend the Nov. 9 work session as a board member.

Baird said Commission Chair John Quam has scheduled a joint commission-P&Z work session for 6 p.m. Nov. 4, to determine which sections of the land-development regulations need “immediate” clarification and rewriting.

The new mayor and commissioners will be sworn in at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 4, followed immediately by the commission’s organizational meeting to elect a chair and establish its rules of order. The joint work session would follow the organizational meeting, Baird said.

Tax increment financing
Following a suggestion by some board members at a prior P&Z meeting, Garrett provided information about tax-increment financing for the business district.

Essentially, these tax plans allow business owners in the ROR to voluntarily increase their annual property taxes, with the additional revenue targeted for improvements in the ROR, such as street lights, crosswalks and landscaping, Garrett said.

Other financing programs for a business district are creation of a community development district or a community redevelopment area, such as in Bradenton Beach.

“Generally, those programs are for ‘blighted’ areas,” Garrett said.

Baird said when she was Bradenton Beach city clerk, the city had to designate a blighted area, but it received a $500,000 federal grant for use in the CRA.

She said there was a lot of “grumbling” at the time about the designation.

Turner said Pine Avenue isn’t blighted and suggested the city doesn’t need such programs.

“We are a small community and the business district is working just fine. I don’t see the need,” Turner said.

Piscetelli said he’d like to know if the commission has any interest in pursuing such districts. Board member Bob Barlow suggested inviting several business owners to the board’s Nov. 19 meeting to hear their views on the issue. In the interim, Garrett said he would further research the programs, and ask the commission if there is any interest on its part for such a plan.

Stover services
A memorial service for Anna Maria resident Randall Stover, who died suddenly on Oct. 18, will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, at the Church of the Nazarene, 1616 59th St. West, Bradenton.

Stover was chairman of the planning and zoning board at the time of his death.

For more information on the service, call 941-794-1685.

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