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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Holmes Beach denies Kabris - again

For the second time this year, the Holmes Beach City Commission denied a request by Patrick and Angela Kabris to amend the city's comprehensive plan and future land-use map and change the zoning on their beachfront property at 101 75th St.

"There is no dispute," said Holmes Beach City Commissioner Roger Lutz at the Aug. 10 public hearing. "We went through the process once and said 'no.' I don't want to change the zoning."

The commission had previously agreed that the Kabrises own a unique piece of property (The Islander, Feb. 18). A portion is zoned Rec-1 (recreational) while the remainder is R-2 (medium-density residential). The Kabrises want to build two units on the property, but do not have enough square footage to build the type of structure they want without more residentially zoned land.

That "uniqueness" however, didn't stop the commission from denying the Kabris' request in February.

Rather than file a lawsuit, however, the Kabrises and attorney Caleb Grimes invoked a little-used Florida statute allowing them to request the services of a "special master" to come up with a compromise solution that the Kabrises believe addressed all the city's concerns. Commissioner Rich Bohnenberger attended the mediation as the city's representative.

The mediation proposal presented was to amend the comp plan to change the description of a portion of the property from recreational to residential, then exchange some of the Rec-1 property for R-2, and some R-2 land was to become Rec-1. This would give the Kabrises enough square footage to build the type of structure that would be compatible with the neighborhood, said Grimes.

Grimes discussed the history of the property and said the mediation proposal would ensure there could be no increase in the number of residential units on the property, even if it were sold in the future. The maximum number of buildable units would remain at two, he said.

He also noted that land-use planner Bill Brisson of Sarasota has responded favorably to the mitigation proposal.

"This corrects the situation" and "avoids litigation," Grimes added, and urged commissioners to approve the request.

But Lutz, also an attorney, pointed out that the mediation statute is for disputes between governments and private parties. "There is no dispute," he contended. The Kabrises can still build on the property, but the structure will be higher than what they would like, Lutz observed.

Commissioner Don Maloney agreed. "I don't understand what's wrong with what he's got now."

"He's trying to build a better, nicer house," replied Grimes. The current R-2 zoned portion of the Kabris property is odd-shaped and "encourages" building upward rather than outward.

Build it up, commissioners seemed to say in their 3-2 vote denying the request. Bohnenberger and Commission Chairperson Sandy Haas-Martens voted for the request, while Maloney, Lutz and Commissioner Pat Morton dissented.

Marina Drive seawall
In other commission business, Mayor Carol Whitmore said she needed commission consensus to authorize a contract change of anywhere from $1,000 to $75,000 for the current seawall repairs along Marina Drive.

Engineers have discovered there could be a problem with the underlying road support for the seawall that might require an entire new section of seawall immediately, she said. She did not expect a final answer until Aug. 11, but needed a decision because three commissioners will be at the Florida League of Cities convention this week and would be unable to attend a special meeting on the issue.

Banks Engineering, the firm hired by the city to supervise the project, will report to Whitmore as soon as possible, she said. "Our engineer does not believe the entire seawall needs replacement, but we may. I need the leeway because three commissioners will be absent."

Commissioners, reluctantly, approved the contract change by a 4-1 vote.

Waste Management Contract
Commissioners were expected to give the thumbs down to a proposed new contract with trash hauler Waste Management Inc. that would have required automated service, but in a surprise move, Maloney asked that the ordinance be tabled until after the first three months of 2005. In the interim, he will gather information from cities currently using WMI automated service and also discuss the issue of smaller containers with WMI officials.

The commission agreed to table the ordinance until that time.

In other business, the commission

  • Approved the first reading of a new ordinance modifying the definition of a motel and hotel in the city.
  • Agreed to a draft resolution correcting the legal description of the property known as Tidemark.
  • Appointed Kathleen King to the parks and beautification committee.
  • Moved discussion of the draft ordinances to govern ownership, liability and use of the dock slips in the Sunrise subdivision and the T-end canals to the Aug. 24 workshop session, and directed Whitmore to draft guidelines on how the city will determine who has the first right to lease a dock slip when there are conflicting claims.
  • Directed City Attorney Patricia Petruff to attempt to merge the two dock ordinances.