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Date of Issue: December 14, 2006

'No objection' OK'd for seawall removal request

A request made more than two years ago has finally been granted by officials in Bradenton Beach.

Pete Milazzo, 306 Gulf Drive S., requested a letter of no objection from the city prior to requesting a Florida Department of Environmental Protection permit to remove a landlocked seawall on his Gulffront property.

At the time, interim building official Bill Saunders granted the city approval but, when Ed Mc Adam took over the position, he issued a letter of denial, citing a city code that states in part that "no person shall remove any ... erosion-control material from the erosion-control area forming a berm line along the beach. These activities are solely the responsibility of the state ..."

Karyn Erickson, the city's coastal engineering consultant, told board of adjustment members in 2005 that the seawall, although clearly within Milazzo's property and landward of the erosion-control line, serves as a buffer to wind and waves during storms. Mc Adam's decision to deny the "no objection" letter was sound, she said.

Milazzo's attorney, Mark Barnebey, said the seawall was not included within the boundaries of the city code Mc Adam quoted in his denial. "The section you cite does not apply here," he said.

The matter went before the city's board of adjustment in March 2005. The board supported the no-objection matter and sent the matter to the city commission, which never took up the question.

Milazzo took his request to court, and Circuit Court Judge Peter Dubensky ruled earlier this month that Mc Adam's basis for denial was based on an "impermissible criterion" and ordered the city to write the letter of "no objection" to the DEP.

Last week, city commissioners discussed the matter and grudgingly agreed to send the letter, along with Erickson's findings on the matter. The vote was unanimous, with Commissioner Bill Shearon - a next-door neighbor of Milazzo - abstaining.