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Date of Issue: April 06, 2006

Board backtracks on extending ROR district

Changing times
Professional comprehensive plan facilitator Tony Arrant discusses changes in the city's future land use map with the Anna Maria planning and zoning board March 27. A revised and approved FLUM must be part of the comprehensive plan the city will eventually send to the Florida Department of Community Affairs for approval. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin

An extension of Anna Maria's retail-office-residential district from Pine Avenue south on Gulf Drive to Palmetto Avenue in the city's future land-use map now under revision was put on hold March 27 by the planning and zoning board after two members changed their "votes" on expanding the district.

Although not allowed to vote at a worksession, the board consensus at its Feb. 6 meeting was to extend the district - currently only along Pine Avenue - on both the east and west sides of Gulf Drive south from Pine Avenue to Palmetto. The area is presently a mix of commercial and residential uses.

Board members Margaret Jenkins and Jim Conoly said that after careful consideration of the issue - and a public outcry from a number of residents along the affected area - they've changed their minds. Jenkins said she reconsidered and now believes "the present amount of commercial property" in the city is enough.

"I did not realize at the time that it [the ROR district] would extend as far as Palmetto," she said.

Conoly said his position was that people who bought their property as residential in a residential neighborhood should have that neighborhood protected. There's no need for more commercial or ROR area in the city.

That decision put the board back to square one to make a recommendation on the proposed FLUM, which has stirred considerable controversy since presented to the board by the ad hoc comprehensive plan review committee last August.

Board member Randall Stover said he would not oppose changing the land-use designation back to residential, but newly elected board chairperson Fran Barford noted there were some "problems" with other properties in the affected area.

"There are obviously some issues," said Barford, who asked Tony Arrant, the comp plan professional hired by the city to facilitate the proposed FLUM and comp plan, to come back to the board for an April 10 worksession with proposals and suggestions for the "issues" discussed March 27.

 The board was hopeful it could complete its recommendations on the FLUM and elements of the revised comprehensive plan to schedule the public hearing on the proposed plan in April, but with the issues arising from the FLUM and several other comp-plan elements to consider, that's not likely, according to some board members.

The process to revise the city's comprehensive plan and FLUM began more than two years ago.

After holding a public hearing and approving its recommendations on the FLUM and comp plan, the city commission must hold its own public hearings to approve a comp plan and FLUM and forward those items to the Florida Department of Community Affairs for its approval or denial.

Anna Maria's comp plan and FLUM were last revised in 1989.