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Date of Issue: January 06, 2010

Stoltzfus seeks to halt PAR progress

Anna Maria City Commissioner Harry Stoltzfus is continuing his denunciation of development plans submitted by Pine Avenue Restoration LLC for retail-office-residential complexes on Pine Avenue.

In a Dec. 23 letter to Mayor Fran Barford, other commissioners and the planning and zoning board, Stoltzfus calls for denial of PAR’s site plan for an ROR structure at 216 Pine Ave.

In his most recent opinion notice, Stoltzfus indicated plans for 216 Pine Ave. have at least six “deficiencies” with city codes and the comp plan, if not more.

According to Stoltzfus, those deficiencies include the wrong number of parking spaces, non-compliance with the comp-plan density-per-acre limitation, access for emergency vehicles and design safety.

He said the plan “should be prohibited now, in the site-plan review process at the administrative review level. No passing the buck. You don’t need a committee’s opinion to perceive a hazard.”

Stoltzfus was referring to the commission-appointed ad-hoc committee that will review parking safety in the ROR to determine the extent of any problem, then propose potential solutions and options to the commission. The committee will hold its first meeting later this month.

Stoltzfus had already gone on record in a Nov. 30 letter to the mayor opposing the site plan for 216 Pine Ave. and two other site plans submitted by PAR in November.

 He has called upon the city to deny all three plans, and published his opinion on a blog site,

But the city and PAR are getting hit by more than just opinion letters from Stoltzfus, albeit indirectly.

Attorney Dan Lobeck, representing Robert and Nicki Hunt and Robert and Coleen Muzzy, sent the city a letter Dec. 23 demanding that the commission change the allowable density to match the 2007 comp plan. The letter demanded that the city comply with the comp plan and deny a PAR application for an ROR project on a 5,000 square foot lot.

According to online documents, the Hunts are principals in Pineapple Corner LLC, which owns 303 Pine Ave. The company has submitted an ROR site plan for the property, located on the southeast corner of Pine Avenue and North Shore Drive.

Lobeck’s letter indicated that the consequences of the city not complying with the “demand” would be a request for an administrative hearing by his clients to the Florida Department of Community Affairs to determine the consistency of Anna Maria’s land-development regulations with its comp plan.

The Hunts original site plan was denied in 2006 by the city commission, but a subsequent appeal to the Manatee County Circuit Court by the Hunts was successful.

Ground clearing has taken place at 303 Pine Ave., but construction has not yet begun. According to building official Bob Welch, a building permit has not yet been issued pending receipt of what Welch termed an “energy code” and mechanical contractor.

Stoltzfus has written a number of opinions against PAR projects, but has made no comment about the Pineapple Corner-ROR project.

PAR and Pineapple Corner are the only two companies presently involved in developing ROR complexes on Pine Avenue.

Mike Coleman of PAR had no comment on Stoltzfus’ latest opinion letter. The company is following the city’s process for site plans and approvals, he said.

Lobeck and Hanson sent a request to the city Dec. 29 asking for a copy of each of the three site plans submitted by PAR.