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Date of Issue: July 19, 2007

HB commission OKs dock rules

If Holmes Beach city commissioners were to christen their new docking ordinance they might call it “As good as it gets.”

That’s generally how city commissioners characterized the ordinance they approved 5-0 on July 10.

“It seems to be a suitable compromise,” said Commissioner John Monetti.

“I think it’s as good as it gets,” said Commissioner David Zaccagnino.

The docking and mooring measure, which will have a final reading and likely get another 5-0 vote during the commission meeting Tuesday, July 24, was long in the making.

The commission devoted much of its spring to drafting the ordinance in an attempt to solve what property owners and city officials agreed was a complex issue, specifically dealing with docks in dead-end canals.

In June, the commission made its final changes to the ordinance, which requires that mooring areas be not less than 10 feet wide and the dock not less than 2 feet wide. The dock cannot extend into the waterway more than 20 feet from the outer edge of the seawall.

The measure exempts mooring areas and docks in waterways that qualify as basins - 85th Street canal, the T-end canal between Baronet and Concord lanes on Key Royale, the Marina Court canal basin, the 83rd Street and 77th Street canal basins, and the basin between 68th and 69th streets.

The ordinance will require that accessory mooring and boat docks be associated with a principal use on an abutting lot, but allows for “grandfathering” mooring areas and docks not associated with principal uses at certain locations. Those locations include the dead-end canals between 71st and 72nd streets and between 67th and 68th streets.

The ordinance will allow property owners to negotiate their own agreements for mooring areas and docks, which can be registered with the city.

The ordinance will require that in situations where agreements now exist, they must be re-affirmed after the ordinance is adopted.

One of the newest provisions “allows boats and davits to extend beyond the 20-foot limitation imposed on docks at the terminus of a dead-end canal” provided the boats don’t interfere with navigation or impinge on others’ mooring rights.

Another new change specifies that if a dock falls into disrepair or becomes a hazard, the city would take code enforcement action.

Last week, after repeated meetings in which citizens spoke on the measure, no one stepped forward from the audience to address the ordinance.

“I think it’s got something for everyone,” Commissioner Pat Geyer said before the unanimous vote.

In other business last week, city commissioners voted 5-0 on the first reading of an ordinance granting Florida Power & Light Company a 30-year franchise in the city.

Commissioners also authorized the mayor to execute a contract with Woodruff and Sons of Sarasota to complete stormwater drainage improvements at two locations in the city - one at 27th and 31st streets and one at 68th Street and Holmes Boulevard. The work, planned for in the city’s 2006-07 budget, will cost $206,036.89, which was the lowest bid on the project.

During the regular meeting, Mayor Rich Bohnenberger announced that the city will host a public meeting with Manatee County Sheriff W. Brad Steube. The event will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 2, at city hall.

During a work session following the regular meeting, commissioners endorsed a proposal to build an open-air arts pavilion and nature center in Bradenton Beach, discussed a proposed ordinance regulating signs, and heard from an attorney raising concerns about the Tidemark condominium and marina development in the central business district.

Attorney Maryann Olson Boehm of Bradenton addressed the commission on behalf of Lance Spotts, who lives in the 5000 block of Sunrise Lane adjacent to the Tidemark Lodge and Marina development.

Boehm said that the work on the Tidemark grounds seems inconsistent with the city-approved site plan. She made four complaints - that the rebar for the building foundation should be set back 50 feet from the eastern property line but appears to be set back only 30 feet; that the setback along Sunrise Lane should be 30 feet but the footings currently in place seem much closer; that a small boat basin in disrepair should be removed for the construction of concrete wall that will buffer the Tidemark and Spotts properties; and that there’s a lack of evidence on site that a 4-foot-high wall at the Tidemark pool would be built to buffer sound.

Commissioners told Boehm they needed additional time to review the concerns, but also stressed that the Tidemark project is still in preliminary development and a construction permit has not yet been requested.

Bohnenberger said the city’s building officials did determine that Tidemark was meeting the 50-foot setback provision.

The commission’s next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m., Tuesday, July 24.