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Date of Issue: June 16, 2005

Hootman overturns ruling on the field - his own

Just like the National Football League, rulings on the political playing field of Holmes Beach can be overturned by reviewing the plan.

That"s what attorney Greg Hootman did June 9 when he overturned his own ruling of June 7 that a building permit issued to Frank Davis of 5622 Gulf Drive was in error (The Islander, June 8).

In his June 9 opinion, Hootman said that upon "reviewing the documentation which led to the issuance" of the permit on Nov. 4, 2004, "it is my opinion [now] that the permit was properly issued."

Hootman"s June 7 opinion was based upon a question regarding whether or not the permit should have been issued because of a legal challenge against the city and Davis brought by an adjacent landowner over issuance of a variance. Hootman is representing the city in that case.

Building Official Bill Saunders, who issued the permit in November, had said the permit was based upon a "savings clause" enacted by the city commission last year. After Hootman"s June 7 opinion, Saunders "red-tagged" the property to halt further construction.

In his June 9 memo to the city, Hootman said that a question existed "regarding whether or not [Davis] had timely taken those actions required in order to maintain the validity of the permit.

"It is my opinion that such actions were taken in a timely manner and it is my opinion that the ‘red tag" issued by you on June 8 should be rescinded immediately," Hootman said.

The court case brought by adjacent property owners Barbara Coloney and Ruth Anne McLean was heard in court in early February. While Judge Marc Gilner at that time promised a decision within 30 days, no judgment on the case has yet been pronounced.

Shubin appeals savings clause amendment

Attorney John Shubin, representing Barbara Coloney and Ruth Anne McLean, has appealed the Holmes Beach City Commission"s June 8, 2004, approval of the "savings clause" that essentially led to the issuance of a building permit to Frank Davis at 5622 Gulf Drive.

Shubin filed his appeal on June 7, 2005, just one day before the Florida Department of Community Affairs deadline for appealing land development code amendments.

In the petition, Shubin stated that his clients are "substantially affected persons," as they are adjacent landowners to the Davis property. He alleged that the amendment is "inconsistent" with the city"s comprehensive plan and requested that the city respond to the petition as required by Florida statute.

Holmes Beach Mayor Carol Whitmore said that if the petition is valid, City Attorney Patricia Petruff will prepare the city"s response. Whitmore added that she "understood" that the DCA will also review the petition and city response.