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BB P&Z to review ELRA-city dune agreement

By Mark Young, Islander Reporter

ELRA city dune

The Bradenton Beach Planning and Zoning Board will hold a public hearing at 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 10, at city hall to review the joint development agreement officially executed March 21 between the city and ELRA.

The corporation owns the BeachHouse Restaurant across Gulf Drive from city hall.

Commissioners unanimously agreed March 1 to enter into a development partnership with BeachHouse owner Ed Chiles, who wants to expand parking for his restaurant. In exchange for the partnership, the city also will gain public parking.

ELRA will bear the lion’s share of the expense for a dune project designed to protect city hall from storm surge.

The cost to the city will be $46,000 funded by the Community Redevelopment Agency, while ELRA’s share of the project will exceed $200,000.

The agreement creates two easements, one of which will be city owned and the other will belong to ELRA. The dune project is at the heart of the city’s interest, while additional parking is being viewed as a bonus.

Commissioners initially reviewed the project at their Feb. 29 CRA meeting. There have been some objections to language within the agreement, but city attorney Ricinda Perry advised commissioners they could work on those concerns during the site-review phase, which planning and zoning will begin April 10.

City officials have previously reported the dune system also would benefit sea turtle habitat by offering additional protection from vehicle lighting to any beach nesting sites in the area.

There is some public opposition to the project. Jo Ann Meilner, who serves on the P&Z board, expressed opposition during public comment at the March 1 meeting, saying the proposed development area is beach property and renourished sand.

“We have an ordinance against developing on beach property,” she said at the meeting.

Any changes to the agreement will need to be addressed through P&Z. The board will review and consider the proposal and make its final recommendations to the commission at a later date.

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