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Date of Issue: August 25, 2005

Charter changes on way to November ballot

The final two proposed changes to the Bradenton Beach charter have been approved by city commissioners, and language will be drafted to place the revision on the Nov. 8 ballot for voters approval or rejection.

Commissioners last week agreed to cap building height to no more than 29 feet above the minimum flood elevation established by federal, state or local laws. Similar language currently exists in the charter but the revisions are more concise, commissioners agreed.

The city commission also included lot-size language in the charter. The new section and addition reads:

"Within the City of Bradenton Beach, the predominant platted lot size is 50 feet by 100 feet. For the purpose of development and redevelopment, under the city comprehensive plan and city land development code, an existing platted lot of record shall be deemed conforming when the lot size measures a minimum of either 50 feet by 100 feet or 5,000 square feet."

Within the other elements of the charter slated for voter decision, probably the most controversial is elected officials' term limits. Currently, city commissioners and the mayor may serve three two-year terms. The change offered would expand the number of times an elected official may serve consecutively in the same office to four terms.

As part of a "glitch" solution to the present charter, there is language that requires the mayor to live in the city - City Attorney Ricinda Perry said that current language does not require the mayor to be a city resident.

There is also a training requirement for elected officials, although the exact nature of the training is not specified.

Two public hearings on the charter changes are scheduled for September before the revisions go to the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office for inclusion on the ballot Nov. 8.

Perry will present commissioners with ballot language, which will be somewhat brief, and commissioners agreed to a mailing to all city voters explaining the ramifications of the proposed changes prior to the election.