Parking Lots, Red Coconut Fence
In a Local Planning Agency meeting that went on for over 5 hours Tuesday, the group approved two parking lots, a Red Coconut fence and clarified how waterbody setbacks will be measured. Present were Vice Chair Jane Plummer, Dan Allers, Jim Atterholt, Dan Hughes, Tim Smith and Scott Safford. Chair Megan Heil was absent.
The meeting began with an announcement by LPA Attorney John Herin, Jr., that the Liki Tiki request for Outdoor Amplified Music on the agenda had been withdrawn.
The first Public Hearing of the day was a request by the owners of 200 Pearl Street to rezone the property from Residential Conservation to Residential Planned Development, utilizing the town’s Pre-Disaster Buildback provisions. The current structure, built in 1946, is used as a duplex and totals 1,052 square feet. The request is to be allowed to build a duplex with a total of 2800 sf.
Plummer pointed out that current Pre-Disaster Buildback rules allow for only minimum increased space when rebuilding something using those rules. Representing the Town, Sarah Propst said that there is an allowance in the Comprehensive Plan to increase size in areas allowed commercial use, though this property will not be used commercially, it’s just in a zone where commercial use is possible on request.
Town staff recommended approval with 10 conditions. Eric Hoffman, co-owner of the property objected to those conditions and during LPA discussions, they compromised, agreeing to a maximum of 2100sf, limiting rentals to 30 days or more and keeping the no single unit sale provision. The LPA also reduced the staff requested fine of $500/day to 1st offense – warning; 2nd offense – $100/day and 3rd offense – $500/day. The LPA approved the rezoning 6-0. Jason Green representing the town said the request would be heard by Town Council in March.
The former Sunoco lot at 1510 Estero Blvd was next on the Public Hearing agenda with a Special Exception and Variance request for a permanent Shared Parking Lot.
Fred Drovdlic, planner with Waldrop Engineering, represented owners Amy and George Markovich in their request for a Special Exception and five variances for the .42 acre lot, which previously held a Sunoco gas station. He told the LPA that the property was cleared in 2018 and remediated, with the gas tanks removed.
The planned parking lot would have 43 spaces, 2 of them handicapped. All entrances on Estero would be closed, with entrances on Avenue C. The lot would be open from 7am – 10pm with no overnight parking. They plan on a 10’ buffer along Estero Blvd , 5’ along Avenue C and 5’ and a fence along adjacent residential property.
A resident of Batiki West across the street asked that the lot have an attendant to decrease nighttime usage. Plummer said that a 24-hour attendant would be a financial burden and no other lot is required to have one. Dave of Dave’s Beachside Parking asked that the entrance to the new lot be off Estero as his lot already uses Avenue C and he predicted traffic back-ups onto Estero if both used Avenue C. The LPA unanimously approved the lot with seven conditions including closing off Estero Blvd entrances and hours of 7am -10pm.
Things got a bit tense during the next Public Hearing for the parking lot at 1046 Estero, next to Sunset Beach as owner Terry Persaud of Persaud Properties and LPA Attorney John Herin, Jr. sparred over what was submitted when and what was required. Persaud said that the lot has been used as a parking lot for the adjacent business and as paid parking for decades.
The Town claimed it is a single purpose parking lot serving the restaurant and has filed code violations for operating as a permanent shared parking lot (selling parking spaces.) The Town also had issues with landscaping, drainage, parking stall and aisle width of the lot and what they say is a lack of a permit for the trash compactor, which they also state is unscreened.
Persaud claimed the town issued him a Certificate of Occupancy with the Trash Compactor installed in October 2015. He also insisted that he had an electrical permit for the entire building, including the compactor in 2015. When staff repeated that they don’t see any permit for it, Persaud said, “The first time anyone asked for that permit was yesterday at 2pm.”
Attempting to broker a peace, Safford walked Persaud through the list of staff conditions, concluding with a 5-1 approval (Smith Nay) with conditions including Persaud providing the 2015 electrical permit, removal of the Australian pine tree, installation of drainage near the seawall, restriping the lot for a maximum of 55 spaces, with 3 ADA compliant, hours of 6am – 2am and the addition of the condition that the Town abates code enforcement action against the owner and the lot be allowed to be used as is until it makes its way through council.
Red Coconut Fence
In other LPA business, they approved a 6’ fence along the lot line at Red Coconut Gulfside, though some had concerns about the fence cap protruding from the top of the fence and being so close to bicyclists and walkers. Code requires a 3’ setback from Estero but owner Fran Myers stated that would prohibit use of the bathhouse as it sits only 3’ from lot line. Smith suggested the variance should be granted just for the bathhouse area rather than the entire 400 feet of frontage. The LPA voted 5-1 to approve the zero setback, with Smith voting Nay. A change in waterbody setback calculations in the Land Development Code to provide for consistent measurement was approved 5-1.
Green told the LPA that there would probably be an extra LPA meeting scheduled in February to handle the Evaluation and Appraisal Report, which is past due to the state.