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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Land development changes approved in Bradenton Beach

Some major changes have been made in major development applications in Bradenton Beach.

City commissioners unanimously approved an ordinance Aug. 19 that classes duplexes into the "major development" category for some remodelings. Previously, the definition of "multi-family dwellings" was for three or more units under major development provisions; duplex modifications were listed under "minor developments."

Changes in the new law call for major developments to be:

"New, or redeveloped, or exterior structural modification or exterior reconfiguration of multifamily development.

"Duplexes that increase inhabitable space.

"Any increase in number of units on a parcel.

"New, or redeveloped, or exterior structural modification, or exterior reconfiguration of nonresidential development.

"Planned developments."

The "major" versus "minor" issue with duplexes means a significant change in cost for duplex owners. Previously, the cost was $50 for the first $1,000 of building valuation and $19 for each additional $1,000 building evaluation. The new ordinance has fees that vary from $250 to $2,000, depending on the complexity of the change whether duplex or other major development. Only one citizen spoke to the changes, and that was only to request a time when copies of the final document, after lengthy debate by commissioners and staff, would be available for review.

The proposed law would also have the board of adjustment, currently an independent body, transformed into an advisory board to the city commission.

The new ordinance continues to have the planning and zoning commission as the local planning agency according to the city's comprehensive plan. Previous debate had had that designation go to the city commission, but commissioner balked at the taking on those duties.

In other matters, the commissioners continued approval of an ordinance that would tighten restrictions on fences in the city, specifically property west of Gulf Drive. The changes for the most part call for no fences greater than 3 feet in height on property west of Gulf Drive, as well as prohibiting screen enclosures of pools in that part of the city.

Commissioners got bogged down when the issue of corner lots came into play, and also other waterfront properties.

The fence issue will come back to the commission Sept. 2.