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Town Commission considers aesthetics of new codes

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  • | 4:00 a.m. September 28, 2011
  • Longboat Key
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The Longboat Key Planning Zoning & Building Department frequently fields complaints from residents about aesthetic issues: torn screens, peeling paint and swimming pools that are not maintained, for example. But the department’s two code-enforcement officers are limited in their capacity to handle such issues.

“Current code doesn’t allow us to enforce anything beyond things such as weeds and grass and life-and-safety issues,” P&Z Director Monica Simpson told the Longboat Key Town Commission at its Sept. 22 regular workshop.

Simpson wrote in a Sept. 14 memorandum that the aesthetic conditions of many structures on the island have decreased in recent years as the result of factors such as increased foreclosures and absentee owners. To address these issues, Simpson suggested that the commission consider adopting the International Code Council’s International Property Maintenance Code, either in its entirety or in parts.

According to the memo, the code has been adopted in many Florida communities and addresses issues such as swimming-pool maintenance; peeling, flaking and chipping paint; maintenance of doors, windows, porches, decks and fences; torn screening; and maintenance of parking lots and landscaping.

Commissioners agreed that many of the issues were worth considering.

“There are some things in here, swimming pools, for example, that can become health issues,” Commissioner Pat Zunz said.

But Mayor Jim Brown worried that certain parts of the code address issues that are generally private matters.

“I’ll bet you I’ve got some chipping, peeling paint,” Brown said.

The commission reached a consensus to continue discussion at a workshop, schedule for 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6. But Simpson cautioned that even if the IPMC were adopted, because of current staffing levels of one full-time and one part-time code-enforcement officer, the code wouldn’t be a quick fix.

“With the current staff load, we will be more reactive than proactive,” Simpson said. “The transition would be slow.”


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