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Date of Issue: December 21, 2006

Anna Maria to revisit rejected ordinance

Anna Maria city commissioners at their Dec. 14 meeting agreed to revisit a controversial flood damage prevention ordinance that was rejected 3-2 at the commission's November meeting.

Commissioner Dale Woodland, who had voted against the measure, said he had reconsidered because there were some elements of the ordinance that should be discussed.

"It's not that I've changed my mind," he said, "but some portions of this ordinance are valid."

City building  official Kevin Donohue said that the two controversial sections of the ordinance have been deleted, prompting the commission to put the ordinance on the agenda for its Jan. 11 meeting, where it will undergo a first reading.

The deleted sections pertain to improvements to a structure of at least 38 percent of the value of the  building and that city and FEMA officials could enter a structure to determine if the 38 percent rule was being followed.

The ordinance to be reconsidered would revert to the previous 50 percent improvement rule.

Mayor Fran Barford was supportive of the revised ordinance. Many remodeling projects are on hold until this ordinance is in place, she noted.


Lot-split ordinance

The commission continued the public hearing on this ordinance to its Jan. 24 meeting to allow the public more time to consider its implications.

The ordinance would require any lot split to undergo the formal subdivision plat process.

Commissioner Jo Ann Mattick said she was opposed to the ordinance. In her opinion, it is "de facto taking of private property rights," and she requested a postponement in order for the public to become better acquainted with the proposal.

The commission agreed to discuss the ordinance at its Jan. 11 worksession.


Site plan procedures

Barford and the commission agreed that the city's site plan procedures need revision, and the commission gave the mayor approval to form a five-person ad hoc committee to come up with some recommendations on changes.

"We need to update the process," said the mayor, and the commission quickly agreed.

The mayor along with one city commissioner, Donohue, and one or two members of the public will comprise the committee. Barford said she will appoint the members as soon as possible and report back at the commission's Jan. 11 worksession.


City hall mold

Barford also updated the commission on the progress of resolving the mold issue at city hall.

The city has a $15,000 mold insurance policy through the Florida League of Cities. The FLC is pursuing remuneration by the insurance carrier for the roofing contractor that caused the initial damage, but the city needs to spend some money to fix the problem before that takes place.

The city has already spent $2,250 on inspection services and needs to spend another $2,850 for inspections and mold remediation. In addition, the city needs to get bids to repair the mold problem, with $9,000 the maximum bid, Barford said. "That will keep us under the $15,000 cap."

Commissioners agreed and Barford will begin the bid process as soon as possible.

In old business, Woodland said he would like to see the commission revisit the issue of anonymous complaints on code enforcement violations.

The current commission policy is that anonymous complaints are allowed and the code enforcement officer is not pro-active on code issues, but only responds to complaints.


City engineer

Barford said that she will begin looking at other engineering firms as possible competition for Baskerville-Donovan Inc., the city's contracted  engineering firm.

Although the commission approved a new BDI rate structure, several commissioners and members of the public have said they are not happy with some of BDI's drainage efforts on North Shore Drive.

"We will look at other firms," said Barford. "We're not bound to BDI."