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Date of Issue: July 14, 2010

P&Z rejects Segway measure, mulls parking plan

Anna Maria’s planning and zoning board had two new members at its July 5 meeting, along with a request from Commission Chair John Quam to have a number of recommendations finalized for presentation at the commission’s July 8 work session.

The request from Quam meant P&Z Chair Randall Stover had to bring new members Mike Pescitelli and Carol Yetter up to speed on regulations for Segways and other personal motorized vehicles, in addition to the Quam parking plan proposed for Pine Avenue.

While Yetter and Pescitelli were aware of the Quam parking plan, the Segway issue was new to them.

The board had spent the past few months investigating current industry standards for renting a Segway or Goped (personal motorized vehicles) and whether or not Anna Maria needed an ordinance to regulate such off-road recreational vehicles. Members had studied the Sanibel Island ordinance as a potential model.

P&Z member Bob Barlow said he found the Sanibel ordinance too restrictive and he was not in favor of making any recommendation to the city commission.

“We should go with what the Florida law requires,” he said.

Stover was concerned about the potential for a serious accident, but member Tom Turner, who visited the shops that rent such vehicles, said the rental companies make a renter sign an agreement that they will cover any damage.

Turner visited the two businesses in the city that rent these vehicles and said he is satisfied with their requirements and conditions. The problem comes when a parent signs for a vehicle, then allows a youngster to get on the Segway or Goped.

All riders are supposed to wear a helmet and be old enough to drive the vehicle, he said, and the city just needs to be “more affirmative” with the state statute.

Most board members agreed and voted 5-1 to inform the commission it was not interested in developing a local regulation for personal motorized vehicles. Stover cast the lone vote against the motion, and board member Sandy Mattick was absent from the meeting.

Pine Avenue parking

Stover said he had a long meeting with Mayor Fran Barford and Quam about the role of the P&Z board in the city and the board’s duties are much clearer now to everyone.

Board members reviewed the Quam parking plan for Pine Avenue and made a number of recommendations.

The board unanimously agreed to recommend that no vehicle should back across a sidewalk, parallel parking spaces on Pine Avenue should be 9 by 25 feet, and driveways for residences should be a minimum 5 feet from the property line.

Members were stuck on a recommendation that all vehicles should exit from a parking space in a forward motion. The board tied 3-3 on the recommendation and had the same vote on a recommendation lowering the maximum building coverage on Pine Avenue from 40 percent to 35 percent.

Yetter and Pescitelli both voted to retain the current 40 percent requirement.

When the board considered a recommendation that business employees could park off site, member Margaret Jenkins noted that everything being discussed was “against the current ordinance.”

“That’s why we are talking about changes,” responded city planner Alan Garrett, reminding the board members they are considering recommendations on ordinance changes to the commission.

The board unanimously agreed to remove the requirement that employee parking be on-site, and that owners of new projects on Pine Avenue be given the option to have all parking on-site or not.

All members voted to recommend that the maximum impervious surface coverage be 50 percent after Garrett observed that most projects were around 42 percent.

Garrett suggested the board might want to look at the city’s definition of a restaurant because that use is still subject to more stringent parking regulations. Is a coffee shop on Pine Avenue the same as a restaurant, he asked?

“It’s the only use (on Pine Avenue) that you still have to look at in the parking regulations.”

The board agreed to look at the definition of a restaurant and re-examine the recommendation on exiting forward from a parking space at its July 20 meeting.

Remember, Garrett said, “this is a public parking plan” and there are a lot of questions yet to be answered.

Garrett said Quam had postponed commission discussion of the parking plan until July 22, giving the P&Z time beforehand to consider all the recommendations.