Voters will decide ZBA's future

 

Voters will decide ZBA's future

 

Date: December 4, 2013
by: Robin Hartill | News Editor

 
 

The Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) is heading to the referendum zone.

The Longboat Key Town Commission voted 7-0 at its Monday regular meeting to approve an ordinance on first reading and public hearing that will allow voters to decide during the March 25 general municipal election whether to delete from its charter the requirement that the town maintain a permanent ZBA.

The commission began considering the possibility of asking voters to eliminate the requirement for the ZBA because of the board’s longstanding difficulty in obtaining a quorum.

In May, the town’s Planning Zoning and Building Department received two applications for variances, but the ZBA couldn’t reach a quorum until October. Even then, it was a minimum quorum of four members that would have required all members to vote in favor of the variance to approve it.

One applicant withdrew the application. The second applicant opted to wait for a majority quorum so that it wouldn’t be necessary to receive affirmative votes from each member present.

There are two seats that need to be filled on the board, and, despite several attempts to fill the seats with advertisements from the Town Clerk’s office, the seats remain vacant.

Town Manager Dave Bullock explained that removing the requirement that the ZBA exist from the charter would give the town more flexibility. The commission has discussed possibilities such as giving the ZBA one opportunity to reach a quorum before assigning its responsibilities to another board or making the board’s responsibilities a permanent function of the Planning & Zoning Board.

“You talked about a whole lot of possibilities,” Bullock said. “Those all become possible when the charter is no longer the governing document and you can place it in your ordinance.”

The commission will discuss how it seeks to reassign the ZBA’s duties at a future workshop.

The town’s charter currently states that the town’s permanent boards must include a Planning and Zoning Board, Zoning Board of Adjustment and Code Enforcement Board.

Town staff has recommended assigning the board’s duties to the Planning and Zoning Board.

Also at its Dec. 2 regular meeting, the commission ...

Approved on first reading:

• An ordinance amending the town’s flood-control ordinances to comply with state and federal regulations;

• An ordinance that withdraws the town from receiving state tax revenues, known as Chapter 185 monies, because of the town’s intention of freezing its police pension plan Jan. 1.

• An ordinance establishing March 25 as the date for the town’s General Municipal Election.
Adopted on second reading and public hearing:

• An ordinance extending no-parking zones around Longboat Key Town Hall during early voting and Election Day.

ZBA responsibilities
Appeal of decisions made by administrative officials related to the zoning code

Applications for special exceptions for home occupations and windwalls

Wavers from daylight plane regulations

Variances from certain provisions within the zoning code

Current ZBA members
Seat 1 — Ben Feole
Seat 2 — Vacant
Seat 3 — Jean White
Seat 4 — Vacant
Seat 5 — Thomas Bijou
Seat 6 — Chuck Fuller
Seat 7 — Gaele Barthold

Contact Robin Hartill at rhartill@yourobserver.com

 

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