City deems ‘approved’ plaza site plan ‘null and void’

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A previously approved site plan for the addition of vacation rentals on a third floor at AMI Plaza at Gulf Drive and Holmes Boulevard was deemed null and void by the Holmes Beach Commission after building permits expired. Islander Photo: ChrisAnn Silver Esformes

Ninety days is long enough, according to the majority of the Holmes Beach Commission.

At an Oct. 23 meeting, commissioners approved a motion 3-1 stating that owner Mike Hynds missed the 90-day deadline to file for a building permit following recorded approval of a site plan for an addition at AMI Plaza, 5306 Holmes Blvd.

The plan is null and void.

Commissioner Carol Soustek voted “nay,” and Commissioner Rick Hurst recused himself.

The site plan — required for commercial development — calls for an addition of four one-bedroom vacation rental units on a new third level.

According to the submission requirements in the land development code, a building permit must be applied for within 90 days of site plan approval, with the possibility of a 90-day extension, although, for an extension, a form stating cause is required.

The LDC also states, “site plans shall expire three years after the date of approval” unless all building permits for the principal structure have been issued.

The resolution for the AMI Plaza site plan was approved by the commission October 2017 and recorded Jan. 22 with Manatee County.

In an Oct. 10 letter to the Holmes Beach building department, Hynds wrote, “We would ask that you reinstate the site plan approval for another 90+ days to allow us to apply for our building permit.”

Building official Jim McGuinness responded that he would recommend approval of the extension at the next commission meeting.

However, in an Oct. 22 email to McGuinness, Hynds wrote, “I was led to believe by city hall that my site plan approval had expired, it is now evident from reading the LDC that it is actually still current. As such, I do not wish to apply for an extension.”

During the Oct. 23 commission meeting, McGuinness told the mayor and commissioners that the resolution passed by the commission approving Hynds’ site plan did not include an expiration date for permitting.

Commission Chair Judy Titsworth said resolutions never include such information.

McGuinness also said Hynds was confused by the conflicting information in the LDC regarding the 90-day submission requirements versus the expiration for a site plan of three years.

McGuinness added that he was no longer asking the commission for an extension for AMI Plaza since Hynds declined to apply.

Titsworth said Hynds should have filed for an extension before the site plan expired.

“If you want an extension, you ask for it before it expires,” Titsworth said.

City attorney Patricia Petruff warned the commission that Hynds could litigate, and asked, “How important is it to be right?” for a project that likely would again be approved by the commission.

Commissioner Jim Kihm said allowing an extension “encourages the wrong behavior,” and there is nothing stopping Hynds from reapplying.

Mayor Bob Johnson said future resolutions for such matters should include permitting deadlines.

“For me, it’s just a matter of moving forward instead of staying in the trenches,” Johnson said.

Titsworth disagreed. She said the commission was advised by staff not to put such information in a resolution and it is the applicant’s responsibility to “do their due diligence” regarding the LDC.

The commission will meet in a regular session with a work session to follow at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, at city hall, 5801 Marina Drive.

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