Maintaining a paradise-esque character on Longboat Key will soon come with greater means of enforcement as town officials move through adoption of new property maintenance rules.
Town Commissioners are expected as early as Feb. 6 to vote for the first time on a package of changes that align town rules with widely accepted international standards.
The last time the town’s property maintenance codes were updated was in 2012.
The town has been relying on chapter 104 of the town’s code to set minimum property standards including exterior property, pools, pests and mosquitos, rubbish, brush and garbage and lot maintenance.
The adoption of the IPMC would address new areas that were never in previous versions of the town code and include:
Plumbing facilities and fixtures
Mechanical and electrical
In addition to the adoption of the IPMC, town staff recommended additional provisions that “reflect our unique experience in the town,” a staff memo said.
Commissioners expressed concern with some of the phrasing of new town suggestions, including rules regarding garbage cans. Under town staff's recommendation, residents would be asked to not put their trash can out earlier than 5 p.m. the day before trash pickup and to bring the can back inside the day it was collected.
“This is something that I think is intended to be more of a goal to be achieved,” Planning, Zoning and Building Director Allen Parsons said.”We have got feedback over time that these trash containers, wherever they are, end up being attractive nuisances for raccoons.”
Following the talk of trash, commissioners expressed consensus to return the window for garbage to be set out and taken back into homes to 48 hours before and after pickup.
The nature of the rules in the IMPC code, which would be considered as violations that could receive citations from code enforcement, was another problem commissioners had with the potential adoption.
“Can we dial this back somehow?” Commissioner Debra Williams said of a rule that would require screens on windows. “Just have a general disclaimer that some of these things really are the discretion of the property owner.”
Parsons assured commissioners that minor infractions, such as the screens, would not be a focus of code enforcement.
“I would be in favor of not including something in an ordinance that we don’t intend to enforce regularly,” Commissioner Sherry Dominick said.
Amendments would not affect the present code enforcement process including the notice, hearing and appeals process.
Bradenton, Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach are among neighboring jurisdictions that have already adopted the updated IPMC code.
“Staff is of the opinion that these higher standards will allow for better enforcement of both our current requirements and a reasonable aesthetic set of expectations for structures for properties,” the memo said.