Anna Maria commission tackles various projects

Anna Maria commissioners were busy at their March 22 meeting, passing a new stormwater ordinance, continuing an ordinance on residential docking and parking, and holding the first hearing of an ordinance establishing environmental zones.

Commissioners agreed to postpone and continue the second hearing of an ordinance establishing a special magistrate for code enforcement cases to April 26.

The stormwater ordinance was one identified by the land-development regulations committee that needed improvements to match other ordinances and the city’s master stormwater plan.

The new ordinance requires rain gutters discharge directly into either a detention-retention pond or cistern, and all water must be evaporated by 72 hours after the rainfall event.

Additionally, the ordinance gives the city the right to inspect a structure to determine if the property owner has failed to maintain the stormwater drainage system according to the master plan.

According to the master plan, any rainfall event is one in which at least 5 inches of rain falls in the city.

The ordinance clarifying residential docking and the maximum width of a driveway was continued to April 26.

City planner Alan Garrett proposed a maximum driveway width of 24 feet, or 12 feet going in and 12 feet going out. This limitation would prevent homeowners from maintaining front yard of crushed shell and claiming it as a driveway, also eliminating parking, he said.

The driveway will have to be identified on future building plans.

Commissioner Dale Woodland said he thought much of the parking provisions in the ordinance had been previously clarified. He said he would sit down with Garrett this week and review his concerns.

Woodland said the city was not minimizing access points as required by the comprehensive plan.

Commissioners also discussed the definition of a sleeping unit as defined in the city code for motel-hotel parking.

Garrett said each “sleeping unit” needs one parking space and Commission Chair Chuck Webb wondered if that could apply to vacation rentals as well.

Commissioner Jo Ann Mattick noted that if a bedroom is one sleeping unit, then a four-bedroom house needs a lot more than a 24-foot-wide driveway.

Garrett said he and Webb would come up with a better definition for discussion when the hearing resumes.

Commissioners also discussed requiring a verified survey for a boat dock in a navigable canal, suggested owners be allowed to have more than one boat at a dock, and looked at provisions limiting the size of a boat house at the dock.

Also continued to the April 26 meeting was the second reading of an ordinance establishing the conservation districts, E-1 and E-2.

The districts are required to pair the comprehensive plan amendment the city adopted to replace the preservation zone in the 2007 comprehensive plan, when no construction was allowed in the preservation zone. But that was before the city learned it did not own all the property in the preservation zone.

After city attorney Jim Dye discovered a number of platted properties with buildable rights, the city had to change the comp plan or face accusations of taking away an owner’s legal rights to build.

But it won’t be easy to build in the E-1, even if a property owner has a platted lot.

Because most of the platted lots are seaward of the coastal construction control line, an owner planning to build would first have to obtain a Florida Department of Environmental Protection permit.

Following that, the city would require the property owner pay for several studies of the proposed construction by experts, including one hired by the city to determine the size of the structure.

“You may find you can only build a 1,000 square-foot house,” Dye said.

The proposed ordinance also eliminates a property owner from owning two lots and replatting them into three lots to get more room to build a house.

Commissioners also continued the public hearing on establishing a special magistrate for code enforcement violations.

Under a bad news heading, Mayor Mike Selby said the Florida Legislature has taken away some of the communications tax money the city receives annually for telephone, television and cell phone service.

Unfortunately, the mayor said, the communications tax revenue is used as collateral on the loan the city obtained to purchase six lots at the east end of Pine Avenue.

The mayor said he did not know “how this will play out” with the lenders, but he would advise the commission after making contact.

Commissioners also agreed to further discuss the special event permit fee at a future work session. Although the commission recently increased the fee to $1,000 for an event with alcohol service at the end of Pine, the permit fee to use Pine Avenue is $200.

The first event to decline the $1,000 fee and use of the vacant lots at Pine Avenue and Bay Boulevard is the May 5 Food and Wine on Pine event. Organizers told the mayor they would hold the event without the vacant lots.

Webb said he would not be surprised if Bayfest — an Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce event — also decides $1,000 is too high a price.

Public works supervisor George McKay said a new Waste Management Inc. contract goes into effect in April and requires all non-homesteaded properties to have rear or side-door trash pickup. Recycling and yard waste will continue to be curb-side pick ups.

There also will be a new collection schedule, with Monday and Thursday assigned as garbage pickup days.

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