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Date of Issue: July 05, 2007

Comp plan OK'd by P&Z in Bradenton Beach

The long, winding road toward creation of a future path of development for Bradenton Beach passed another mile marker last week.

City planning and zoning board members approved a document that has been under review for more than three years, based on various recommendations from advisory committees and the planners’ own study.

Comprehensive plans were originally ordered by state officials in 1975, and later refined in 1985. The plans were designated to “be living documents capable of adjusting appropriately to address changing growth management issues confronting local communities over time,” according to University of Florida documents.

The comprehensive plan for Bradenton Beach was adopted in 1989. Its latest review began in February 2004 with the formation of a seven-member committee that spent about two years going through the voluminous document.

The committee’s recommended document then was sent to the planning and zoning board, which also spent countless hours devouring the text. The board’s report was approved last week, with slight changes and, after final ratification by the board, will soon go to the city commission for approval and, finally, the Florida Department of Community Affairs, which will either approve or reject the document.

A comprehensive plan is one of the overall components of city or county government. Comp plans consist of the document itself, which sets forth density. As described by city consultant Tony Arrant, density is the total number of units that can be built on an acre of property.

Also within the comp plan is the future land-use map of the city.

The enabling elements of the comp plan and the FLUM are the land-development codes, which will be dealt with in Bradenton Beach in the months ahead.

There are several elements of the city’s comp plan that probably will be of interest to city residents.

The proposed comp plan calls for a reduction of density of allowed units within low-density residential zones of zero to nine, rather than the current zero to 10 per acre.

For medium density areas, the proposal is zero to nine, rather than the current zero to 22, with the addition of “a minimum of 1,000 square feet of living space per unit, on 18 duplex units per gross acre, with a minimum of 700 square feet per unit on 5,000 square-foot lots.”

High density is described under the proposed plan as zero to nine units, down from the current zero to 22 units per acre. The exact language of this section of the comp plan reads:

“Residential density of zero to nine units per gross acre for single-family detached with a minimum of 1,000 square feet per unit or 18 duplex units per gross acre, with a minimum of 700 square feet per unit. Attached units, multi-family, residential/seasonal are a minimum of three units or more with a minimum of 700 square feet per unit, with a density of zero to 18 units per gross acre, and residential/tourist, hotel/motel transient lodging units is a minimum of six units or more with a minimum of 300 square feet per unit with a density of zero to 18 residential units per gross acre.”

For the “residential/office/retail/transient lodging” section of the density issue, the proposed plan calls for an increase from the current zero-to-16 units per acre to a zero-to-18 units.

Another perhaps controversial matter is the section of the comprehensive plan that creates a new “Bridge Street mixed-use commercial land-use category.”

This district would extend “east of Gulf Drive to west of Church Avenue and west of Bay Drive South and inclusive of all lots from the north side of First Street North to the south side of Third Street South. This land-use category allows for up to three levels of usable floors. Commercial may be permitted on any or all of three levels of a structure at a maximum intensity of 90 percent lot coverage. Residential uses are only allowed on the second and third levels. All residential units must be a minimum of 700 square feet.”

Then there is a matter that may be interest to some: parking structures.

The proposed comp plan states that “the following uses are not allowed” in commercial areas: “Stand-alone or multi-level parking structures/facilities.”

The city has been wrestling with parking issues for the past six months and, although parking garages are not evident with the final draft parking plan for Bradenton Beach, such structures have been a topic of some debate by the group.

As to the future land-use map of the city, a wide swath of the Gulffront properties of the city would be designated “conservation” areas, with a smattering of commercial, parks/recreation open space and high-density residential zones. The conservation area also extends from the Historic Bridge Street Pier along Anna Maria Sound southward to the bayfront section of Coquina Beach.

Other elements of the comp plan involve a host of issues: transportation; housing; infrastructure in the form of sewer, water and solid waste; recreation and open space; coastal and conservation; intergovernmental coordination;  and capital improvements aspects of the city. 

Copies of the comp plan and future land-use map are available at city hall, 107 Gulf Drive S. Dates for city commission discussions and public hearings on the plan and map have not yet been set.