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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

City wants to help fix building department error

The Holmes Beach City Commission can't allow construction on a house at 6202 Marina Way to continue, although the building department made several errors that resulted in Armando and Janet Hernandez building their "dream house" between three and eight feet into the setback.

Even Public Works Director Joe Duennes admitted "it's our fault" that the house, currently 25 percent complete, intrudes into the setback. A building permit and subsequent foundation inspection were issued in error. And a variance from the board of adjustment won't help because that would allow only a four-foot intrusion into the setback, he added.

So what relief are they seeking? asked City Attorney Patricia Petruff. The only possible relief is a code amendment, she said, and the city can't do an amendment just for one lot. It's up to the builders to know if they are meeting city codes.

Perhaps there is a way to solve the impasse, suggested Commissioner Rich Bohnenberger. Let the building department determine if there is enough public land the city can vacate that would allow the Hernandezes to meet the variance requirements.

It appears the city played a "significant active role in this problem," he added, and the city needs to do what it can within the law to help.

Commissioners agreed that if there is a legal way to help, they will pursue it and asked the building department to make a report at the Aug. 10 commission meeting.

In other business, commissioners agreed to join a lawsuit by ManaSota-88 against the new Arvida site plan for Perico Island after hearing a presentation from attorney Ralf Brookes representing ManaSota-88.

Commissioners also turned down a suggestion by Bohnenberger that the city collect the fees for garbage collection from residents and businesses and pay Waste Management Inc. directly.

The commission also discussed a proposed new ordinance for docks in the T-end canals between 74th Street and 79th Street and agreed that a land lease between the city and the recognized boat slip owner might be a solution to some problems. Commissioners directed Petruff to prepare several amendments to the current ordinance adopted in 1995, but not an entire new ordinance.

The commission also agreed to discuss a definition of a rooming house within the city, and a proposed ordinance for the Sunrise development canals at the Aug. 10 workshop session.