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Date of Issue: July 15, 2009

Opposition grows to Anna Maria duplex expansion

Public opposition in Anna Maria is growing against a proposal to allow existing duplexes to expand.

A number of e-mails and letters to city commissioners have been delivered to city hall, all expressing opposition to any duplex expansion.

Among those opposing expansion are former Commissioner Duke Miller and residents Robin Wall, Ed Havlik and Terry Schaefer, among others.

Miller said he’s had the opportunity to observe one duplex near his house that was turned into a weekend party rental.

Havlik wrote that the city needs “architectural review,” while others said expansion of duplexes will allow for all-night parties, increase non-resident ownership and disturb the “peace, tranquility and stability” of the city.

Schaefer accused “developers” of adding a new term to the city’s vocabulary: “duplex expansion.”

She said this is just another term for a multi-unit condominium or motel. Schaefer also suggested the city stop issuing variances.

Commissioner Dale Woodland also expressed his opposition to the ordinance, claiming expansion of duplexes would destroy the ambiance and character of the city.

The commission at its July 9 meeting asked city planner Alan Garrett for information on allowing duplexes the opportunity for one-time, partial expansion. Garrett will bring his study to the commission’s August work session.

The city has about 65 duplexes, according to Garrett.

 

Architectural review

While some Anna Maria residents have advocated establishment of an architectural review board to pass judgment on new construction, the authority of any such board is limited without an accompanying historical preservation district, according to Tarpon Springs officials.

Tarpon Springs Heritage Center director Kathy Monihan said the city considered an architectural review board in the early 1980s to preserve many of the city’s older homes, but learned from legal experts that the city had limited authority to govern architectural styles of new construction except within an established historical preservation district.

Otherwise, the city or its architectural review board could only “recommend” a particular architectural style to a builder, she said.

Tarpon Springs established its historical district and architectural review board in 1988. The process took about seven years and the review board only governs construction within the historical district, Monihan said.