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Date of Issue: September 02, 2009

Planning commission OKs code changes

The Holmes Beach Planning Commission Aug. 25 accepted a series of proposed changes to city code, sending the amendments back to the city commission for consideration.

The changes deal with a range of issues — off-street parking, commercial vehicle parking, temporary storage unit placement and the appeals procedure for floodplain management decisions.

The planning commission reviewed the changes to guarantee consistency with the city comprehensive plan.

Parking changes

For businesses lacking enough parking under the city’s code and in commercial zones, the planning commission approved a proposal to allow businesses to buy or lease offsite parking within 500 feet of the business.

The planners also approved a change to close a loophole and clarify the city’s intent to prohibit overnight parking of commercial box trucks in residential areas.

Under the proposed change, minivans, full-size pickup trucks and multi-purpose vehicles and trucks that do not exceed 20 feet in length, from bumper to bumper, would not be considered commercial vehicles.

Trucks exceeding 20 feet in length with racks in use for business are considered commercial vehicles, as are Class 2-8 vehicles, such as step vans, box trucks and walk-in vans, buses, refuse trucks and heavy equipment.

To assist with identifying commercial vehicles, the proposed ordinance would contain graphics of the types of vehicles prohibited from parking overnight in residential neighborhoods.

Other proposed changes would allow an RV, boat or trailer in a front yard or front portion of a side yard and would eliminate a requirement for a 3-foot setback to park a trailer, boat or RV in a side yard.

Floodplain appeals

The planning commission approved a proposed change requested by the city commission that sends appeals of a building official ruling on floodplain matters to the circuit court rather than the city commission.

City planning consultant Bill Brisson said the city commissioners felt they lacked the expertise to decide such issues.

Temporary storage

Another house-cleaning change involves the placement of temporary portable storage units or PODS.

The proposed change would allow for the issuance of a temporary-use permit for builders to place a POD in front yards in residential districts.

PODS can be used for a sales office, storage, temporary housing, model homes and temporary radio transmitting.

The planning commission approved the proposal, which contained an addition recommended at the group’s last meeting. Brisson added the requirement that the use of the POD must end with the completion of the project or the expiration of the building permit.