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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Site plan procedures unclear, Waterfront restaurant on hold

An interpretation of Anna Maria's codes for rebuilding nonconforming structures prompted the planning and zoning board Monday to continue its meeting on the Waterfront Restaurant preliminary site plan to 4 p.m. Wednesday, June 23 at the Holmes Beach City Hall.

Board members did not agree with Building Official Kevin Donohue's interpretation that restaurant owners Jason and Leah Suzor could use all the space allocated to nonconforming structures on the property to rebuild a new restaurant into one building. Instead, board members argued that the Suzors could only rebuild the structure that was damaged in a March 18 fire, unless their site plan conformed to current setback requirements and codes.

In board member Chuck Webb's opinion, the Suzors will lose their nonconforming use if they tear down the structures not damaged in the fire.

The impasse prompted Donohue to note that this made the new site plan procedures adopted in April difficult to implement because he is required to guide applicants through the process with his interpretation of the code. He said he met five times with architect Gene Aubry to iron out the submitted preliminary site plan.

In his opinion, the Suzors were entitled to all the square footage of structures currently on the property for the proposed restaurant, Donohue said.

The board will discuss interpretation of the code for non-conforming uses with Donohue and City Attorney Jim Dye, who was not present at the Monday meeting.

The board is attempting to reach a decision to deliver to the city commission meeting June 24.

Fire investigators have declared the March 18 fire at The Waterfront an arson, and are offering a reward for any information leading to an arrest and conviction.

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