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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Former P&Z chair concerned about Pine development

Former Anna Maria planning and zoning board chairman Doug Copeland has expressed concern about the board's recent approval of an application by Nikki and Robert Hunt of 303 Pine Ave. for a development in the retail-office-residential district.

Copeland said he was "surprised and shocked" to learn that the plans call for three levels of occupancy. His interpretation of the city's comprehensive plan and land development regulations is that only two levels of occupancy would be allowed in the ROR.

He said he checked with Building Official Kevin Donohue, who said his interpretation was that three levels of occupancy were allowed.

"If, indeed, his conclusions are correct," Copeland said in a letter to Mayor SueLynn and city commissioners, "I believe development along Pine Avenue would eventually result in a corridor of three-level buildings that would give a canyon-like appearance to this street."

He asked the commission to determine if development of three-level structures in the ROR is allowable and, if not, then halt the project.

However, if such structures are allowed, then "review and change our codes to prevent future development of this kind," Copeland concluded.

The board voted unanimously at a public meeting May 24 to approve the development. There was no public opposition to the project.

Board members found general favor with the site plan and architecture, and board chairman Bob Barlow said the site plan followed the city's visioning statement.

The Hunts were unable to proceed with their project from December 2003 to April 2004 because of a building moratorium in the city.

But Commissioner Linda Cramer said she had some concerns about the project, along with the building official's interpretation of the code. She said she's not sure if the structure conforms to the adjacent properties.

"It's a big concern and I intend to raise some questions when comes before the commission," she said.

Commission Chairperson John Quam said the P&Z recommendation on the Hunts property should be on the June 24 meeting agenda.