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Date of Issue: September 15, 2005

Bank looks for street vacation

A representative from Kirk Pinkerton law firm brought an informal request for the vacation of the right of way of Fifth Avenue between Manatee Avenue West and 39th Street, adjacent to the Loggerhead Junction business complex. That portion of Fifth Avenue is unimproved.

There are no plans by the city to improve this portion of Fifth Avenue and it is unlikely that it will be improved due to the current status of Manatee Avenue and the proximity of the right of way to the intersection of Manatee Avenue and Gulf Drive.

The widening of Manatee Avenue makes these two blocks smaller than others in the area and this vacation would allow the construction of buildings, which would otherwise encroach into the setbacks.

The property is being considered for construction of a new AmSouth Bank and is restricted by setbacks of 25 feet on all four sides.

The applicant has two choices: Either request a vacation or request a setback variance. The street vacation would allow the applicant to have a larger setback and provide more landscaping.

The applicant has expressed interest in providing through traffic to the adjacent Re/Max office, and providing a landscaped pedestrian walk from the beach to the commercial district.

Building Official Bill Saunders said there are no zoning issues and, of the two options, the street vacation would be a much cleaner approach.

The presentation was not an official request, only an attempt to gain a sense of commission interest.

As Commissioner Roger Lutz put it, "Well, no one is saying 'hell no' but we're not saying 'great' either."