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Date of Issue: March 19, 2008

Holmes Beach works to fast-track floodplain measure

Holmes Beach commissioners agreed last week to fast track the adoption of an ordinance that would allow them to lift a hold on building permits in the floodplain.

“The independent ones are really getting hurt,” Commissioner Pat Morton said, referring in a March 11 meeting to smaller contractors who cannot work because they cannot obtain permits.

On Feb. 12, facing concerns from the Federal Management Agency, the commission agreed to review and revise its floodplain regulations - the floodplain management ordinance that basically governs building at the ground level.

The commission also decided, “No application, petition or request for approval concerning floodplain management shall be granted until staff has completed its research and analysis of the regulations and the proposed legislation has been considered by the city commission.”

The commissioners and Mayor Rich Bohnenberger agreed then that the hold on permits was necessary.

They also agreed last week that the city must move quickly to adopt a revised ordinance and lift the hold.

Bohnenberger said the city must follow procedure and hold two public hearings once a draft ordinance is completed. However, he said, the commission could skip a work session on the new measure and go directly to a hearing and first reading.

“You can’t circumvent the process,” the mayor said. “And it’s something that has to be done.… We couldn’t legally do business under that code.”

“Would it be reasonable to hope that four weeks from today” the hold could be lifted? Commissioner John Monetti asked.

“That’s what I hope,” Bohnenberger said.

City attorney Patricia Petruff said the timeframe from when the commission placed a hold on permits to when the commission might adopt a revised floodplain ordinance would be about 60 days.

“Which, considering we have to deal with FEMA, isn’t a bad schedule,” she observed.

The commission’s next meeting will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 25, at city hall, 5801 Marina Drive.