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Date of Issue: March 08, 2007

Nallys continue to hammer city

Not content with suing Anna Maria over its approval of the Sandbar Restaurant site plan, William and Barbara Nally of Spring Avenue have asked the city commission to change the land-use designation of their property from commercial to retail-office-residential.

Both the planning and zoning board and city commission had declined to change the designation of the Nallys’ property - and adjacent properties - from commercial to ROR during the two-year debate to revise the city’s future land-use map.

The Nallys, however, aren’t giving up.

In a letter from the law firm of Lobeck and Hanson to the city commission, attorney Brendan Rowe, representing the Nallys, said that the current proposal to designate the Nallys and "other existing residential properties with the commercial land-use category is not consistent with the intent of the Anna Maria Comprehensive Plan."

Rowe based his conclusions on several goals and policies in the future land-use element of the comprehensive plan that "support protection of the residential character of Anna Maria and ensure compatibility of adjacent land uses."

Chief among those are the city’s goal to "ensure that the single-family residential character of the city is maintained and protected," and the policy to "ensure the compatibility of adjacent land uses and provide for adequate and appropriate buffering."

Rowe also said that "existing residential areas shall be protected from the encroachment of incompatible activities."

The attorney claimed that the intent of the comprehensive plan is to "implement" those goals and policies by "ensuring conformity" of land uses.

Rowe concluded that the ROR land-use category "would be an appropriate designation and transition from the commercial uses along Gulf Drive, thereby protecting existing residential land uses as well as adjacent, existing designated and zoned single-family properties."
What Rowe failed to mention, however, is that according to prior statements by city attorney Jim Dye and city planner Alan Garrett, the Sandbar is in a commercial zone and the Nallys were allowed to build in the commercial zone after the city commission granted them an exception some years ago.

At that time, the Nallys were advised that they were building in a commercial zone and might suffer consequences.

But Rowe may have a valid point. He said that an ROR land-use category "permits the same range of commercial uses as the C-1 district, but also permits residential uses." He said that "sound planning" by the city would "create conformity of uses as opposed to nonconformity of uses, thereby removing an onerous, nonconforming classification of existing residential uses."

The planning and zoning board was to hold a public hearing March 6 on the proposed goals, objectives and policies of the revised comp plan along with the proposed future land-use map.

Following that public hearing, the documents will be transmitted to the city commission for a public hearing.

Work on revising the city’s comprehensive plan and future land-use map began in January 2004.