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Date of Issue: September 02, 2009

City to send waterfront policy to state

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The mooring area in Bradenton Beach. City commissioners on Aug. 27 approved a waterfront proposal as part of a series of amendments to the comprehensive plan. Islander Photo: Lisa Neff

The Bradenton Beach City Commission approved a series of waterfront-related policies to be folded into the future land-use element in the city’s comprehensive plan.

The commission approved the policies during a single-item meeting Aug. 27. The planning and zoning board recommended the policies Aug. 18.

The policies will be sent to the Florida Department of Community Affairs for review as part of the amendments in the city’s evaluation and appraisal report.

The policies affirm that “waterfront lands provide a link between land and water that is critical to sustaining a diverse and thriving coastal economy.”

Noting a decline in working waterfronts in the state, the proposal continues, “Loss of commercial and recreational waterfront to residential development and the relative diminishing access to boat launch facilities may have a long-term adverse impact on the quality of life. In addition, escalating prices for coastal property make it difficult for local governments to purchase new access points to meet this growing demand.”

The proposal also details a series of objectives and policies to protect commercial and recreational waterfronts, including:

• Continuing to participate in the Waterfronts Florida Partnership Program.

• Partnering with Holmes Beach and Anna Maria to protect and preserve existing marine-dependent sites.

• Preserving waterfront property through the purchase of property or the purchase of development rights.

• Encouraging redevelopment that maintains or expands commercial and recreational marine waterfront uses.

• Creating a marine waterfront commercial land-use category or overlay district.

• Creating a commercial waterfront zoning district.

• Promoting a “no net loss” policy to make sure the total amount of land devoted to commercial marine services is not reduced.

• Conditioning waterfront residential developers to preserve a portion of their sites for marinas or public access.

Building official Steve Gilbert said a waterfront element is required in the comp plan because the city is a state-designated waterfront community.

Additionally, Gilbert said the DCA wanted the city to clarify some of its waterfront goals in the EAR.

“A good deal of this document answers questions regarding the mooring field,” Gilbert said. He added, “The other big thing that DCA wants us to do is to protect access to the waterfronts.”

Eventually the city will hold at least two hearings and then transmit the EAR amendments to the comp plan.

Then the planning board will incorporate the waterfront policies and other provisions into the land-development code.

“I’m anticipating there will be some significant discussions,” Gilbert said.

Earlier this year, the city commission agreed to hire a consulting firm, Wilson Miller, to help with rewriting passages in the LDC in partnership with the planning and zoning board.