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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Anna Maria P&Z rescinds variance

In a 5-1 vote, with board member Margaret Jenkins dissenting, the Anna Maria Planning and Zoning Board approved a motion to rescind a variance it passed at a meeting in September to Larry Albert for his property at 796 Jacaranda Road.

The P&Z previously approved a recommendation to grant Albert a 3-foot side-yard setback variance in a 3-1 vote, with board chairman Charles Canniff dissenting. The recommendation was scheduled to go before the city commission, until board member Chris Collins indicated that he wished to change his vote.

Collins stated that he voted to approve the variance based on information supplied by Quality Builders Inc. during the hearing.

Dan Gagne of Quality Builders stated that the variance was needed to meet more stringent building codes, which mandated larger door widths, wider hallways and thicker walls, making rooms in the house smaller and less functional.

Collins told the board that he spoke to a civil engineer on the faculty at Manatee Community College following the board's approval of the variance and explained what had transpired. According to Collins, the engineer felt that no changes in building codes would have created the problem presented by the builder.

Collins said he then contacted a county engineer, also on staff at MCC, for a second opinion. Collins said he was advised to contact the builder and request documentation backing his argument.

Collins told the board that until the builder provides documentation that can be verified, he wished to change his vote to deny the requested variance.

Canniff explained that a board member could call for a motion to be rescinded at any meeting as long as the applicant has not already taken action on the previously granted motion.

With the motion rescinded, the entire hearing will be reopened and the board will have an opportunity to ask for more testimony from the applicant.

The variance request will be placed on the agenda for the board's Nov. 22 meeting and neighboring property owners will be notified that the applicant's request is being considered again.