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Holmes Beach flip-flops on one-pool rule

By Kathy Prucnell, Islander Reporter

Holmes Beach city commissioners, a majority of whom had been leaning toward imposing a one-pool-per-lot rule in the duplex district, changed their minds Jan. 17 and decided to leave well enough alone.

        They recently took aim at prohibiting two pools on one duplex lot in their list of objectives before lifting a building moratorium, which was imposed XXX. Commissioner Judy Titsworth had led the charge as way to decrease intensity, density and encourage more year-round residents.

        However, she told commissioners she’d switched her position after listening to former Mayor Carol Whitmore’s statement against the rule at the Jan. 8 meeting, as well as city planner Bill Brisson’s advice that such a rule may, in fact, have the opposite effect.

        “I’ve been on the fence for a while,” said Whitmore. “I’ve have been fighting for the residents for rental restrictions since 1991-92. I always voted for rental restrictions. I never had the majority… Now you see what we have today.”

        While she had initially supported the one-pool rule, Whitmore said she was swayed when someone recently told her it would encourage investors.

        “Who’s going to want — and take it from me — I would not want to buy a duplex and then have a pool and have to share it with some idiot who has parties next door, and then swim in the next day. No thank you.”

        Before Titsworth and Commissioners Pat Morton and Marvin Grossman changed their position on the one-pool-rule, David Zaccagnino had been the only commissioner consistently opposing the measure.

        “I’m the only one up here I think who lives in a rental district near the beach,” Zaccagnino said Jan. 8. “On our street, Avenue E, specifically I counted five multi-unit properties that share a pool, exactly what we’re proposing here.”

        At the Jan. 17 meeting, he added to his description of his neighborhood’s pools. There also are four neighborhood homes, each having a pool, and just as much noise comes from one shared pool as comes from individual pools.

        Commissioners also discussed possible changes in other pool-related rules, including Brisson’s recommendation that pool setbacks meet side- and back-yard setbacks, as well as noise, safety and drainage concerns. They eventually reached a consensus to maintain existing setbacks and pool rules.

        The commission voted Oct. 23 to impose a 5-foot pool setback, which previously had been 18 inches.

        Grossman recommended the commission look at how to handle renter noise complaints — that some rental agents were defying the efforts of code enforcement.

        Peelen agreed the issue was important, and said it would be placed on a future agenda.

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