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Date of Issue: May 06, 2009

Neighbor claims development should be denied

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An Oregon businessman has applied to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to build three beachfront houses at the Park Street beach access in Anna Maria. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin

Richard and Patricia Friday of the 100 block of Park Avenue, Anna Maria, said they will oppose any application by Steve Walker of Oregon and the Walker Trust to build three houses at the beach end of Park Street.

The Fridays claim Walker is only building the houses so he can sell them and invest the profits elsewhere.

 Richard Friday said he spoke with Walker, who owns a vineyard in Oregon. Friday said Walker told him he does not intend to build for himself or his family, but that his intention is to “extract as much money as possible from the proposed subdivision to invest in his commercial operation in Oregon.”

As adjacent landowners, the Fridays were asked by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for comment on Walker’s application. Walker needs a DEP permit to build seaward of the coastal construction control line.

The Fridays opposed Walker’s application to the DEP and indicated they also would oppose the project at the city level.

The Fridays claim Walker is trying to build on land that is zoned environmental and listed as conservation in the city’s comprehensive plan.

“We made our decision to purchase the property to a large extent based on that information. Mr. Walker’s proposed subdivision on those lots will be an aesthetic, environmental and financial disaster for us and a loss for the citizens of Anna Maria,” the Fridays said in a letter to Mayor Fran Barford.

Efforts to reach Walker for comment were unsuccessful.

If the Fridays want to fight any construction effort, they might want to move fast.

According to city planner Alan Garrett, Walker’s two lots on the south side of the beach access at Park Street already have been designated a subdivision called Banyan Tree Estates. The lot on the north side of the access, which is adjacent to the Fridays property, is not part of the subdivision.

Garrett said the city will review any building permit applications if and when Walker receives a DEP permit and applies to the city.

The two lots that comprise the subdivision will then be reviewed for a construction permit by the building department, Garrett and the city commission. An application to build on the single lot on the north side of the beach access will be reviewed by building official Bob Welch and Garrett, not by the commission.

Garret said that creating the subdivision was done according to code.

He said the city has no ordinance prohibiting construction on the seaward side of the coastal construction control line.