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Board hears the case for code changes

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  • | 5:00 a.m. February 15, 2012
  • Longboat Key
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If the town adopts new property codes to address aesthetic and maintenance issues beyond the scope of town codes, the Longboat Key Code Enforcement Board could see its caseload increase.

That’s why Town Planner Steve Schield sought feedback from the board at its Feb. 13 meeting about the possibility of changing the town’s code.

“You’re the board that’s going to inherit these kinds of decisions,” he said.

Board members were generally on the same page as the approximately 40 members of the public who attended a Jan. 24 community workshop in which code issues were discussed. One solution that town staff has researched is the adoption of the International Property Maintenance Code, which addresses issues such as maintenance of swimming pools, doors, windows and garage doors, along with aesthetic issues such as parking, dead vegetation and items stored outside.

There wasn’t much enthusiasm at either meeting for regulating carports or parking, although some board members and workshop attendees thought that the town should try to limit the number of boats that can be parked in driveways.

Board member Joel Mangel, who said he has worked with similar codes, worried about the adoption of the IPMC as a whole.

“The people who write these codes are usually enthusiasts,” Mengal said. “I prefer going through the code and determining what should be adopted that’s specific to the community.”

Other board members, along with members of the community at the Jan. 24 workshop, worried that changes could result in “Big Brother” enforcement.

Schield told the board that he doesn’t expect the IPMC to be adopted in full, but, rather, possibly adopted in portions to address the town’s needs. He also said that the way that the town enforces its codes is unlikely to change significantly.

“We’re still not going to be proactive, meaning that we’re not going to have staff running around enforcing these things,” Schield said. “We’ll be complaint-driven, meaning that when a complaint comes in, we’ll respond to it.”

Town staff will present its recommendations to the Longboat Key Town Commission at its March 15 workshop. The commission will need to approve any changes to town codes.


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