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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Albert variance: yes, no, no

Anna Maria resident Larry Albert had a setback variance approved by the planning and zoning board to build on his vacant lot at 796 Jacaranda Road.

Had until board member Chris Collins changed his mind. The board then voted in October to rescind its earlier approval and Albert had to go through the entire process again.

This time around, P&Z members at their Nov. 22 meeting gave Albert a resounding "no" to his request.

Albert argued that similar lots in the city have gotten variances, but P&Z board chairman Charles Canniff quashed that suggestion. "Just because someone else got it doesn't mean we have to give it. Each case is on an individual basis."

Albert also claimed that before the codes changed in 1994 and 1996, he could build the type of house he wanted.

"But you can still build a home?" asked board member Chuck Webb, and Albert had to agree.

"But in 1993, we could build stairs on the outside of the house. Now we can't," he countered. Many current homes face the same problem if they were to be rebuilt.

Too bad, replied Canniff. Just because codes have changed, it's still not a hardship to build. Everyone in Anna Maria who wants to rebuild will face the same problem.

The board voted 6-1 to deny the variance with Margaret Jenkins siding with Albert.

The P&Z recommendation goes to the city commission meeting in December for final approval or denial.