The Longboat Key Town Commission has heard the complaint before: You’re making decisions when no one is on the island to provide input.
At its Monday regular meeting, commissioners made two decisions that will allow seasonal residents time to get back on the island and provide them with input before the commission makes its final decision.
The first ordinance for debate Monday night was a controversial hedge-height ordinance on second reading that, if approved, would require certain waterfront properties on the Key to keep their hedges trimmed to 6 feet or lower.
The ordinance was brought forward after a dispute emerged between Marina Bay and Harbour Court that concerned a hedge that was more than 20 feet tall and was blocking waterfront views for first-floor Marina Bay unit owners.
But, because that dispute was resolved amicably between both parties, commissioners decided to postpone a decision on the matter, sending the ordinance revisions back to its Planning and Zoning Board for further review. Commissioners want hearings to be held again early next year when more seasonal residents can provide input on the matter.
“It’s not that the conclusion we came to was incorrect, but I’m not sure if we have done enough outreach to other properties before we go further,” said Commissioner Terry Gans.
Commissioner Jack Duncan agreed.
“Delaying this discussion until such time as we have as much of the population on the island as possible is the right thing to do,” Duncan said.
Although Commissioner Lynn Larson suggested the revised ordinance should potentially be killed instead of postponed, others disagreed and want the planning board to review it again.
“I think the issue here is preservation of water views, which I think is a significant element of property values as it relates to Longboat Key,” Duncan said. We need language that protects water views more than it being about the height of a hedge.”
The ordinance will come back for the commission’s review in January or February.
Up next on first reading was an ordinance for revised parking-hour restrictions for Longbeach Village that was requested by Mar Vista Dockside and Moore’s Stone Crab Restaurants.
Parking along Broadway between Lois Avenue and Bayside Drive in the Longbeach Village is currently prohibited between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.
But the owners of the two restaurants, both located on Broadway, want to extend parking by an additional two hours, to 11 p.m.
Commissioners agreed to an amendment that moves the ordinance forward on first reading, which includes sun-setting the two-hour parking change Feb. 28. The move, if approved on second reading, would give restaurant owners more parking for patrons in the evening hours.