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Monday, Nov, 24, 2014
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Rezoning proposal nixed by Holmes Beach planners

The Holmes Beach Planning Commission agreed at its Oct. 22 meeting that Patrick Kabris has a unique piece of beachfront property at 101 75th St. Part of it is zoned R-2 (medium-density residential) while the remaining portion is zoned for recreational purposes only.

What the commission didn't agree on was a request by Kabris that the recreational zoning be changed to residential to allow him to build two duplexes on the entire property.

The commission voted to recommend to the city commission that his request be denied.

Kabris will have another opportunity to present his case when his application and the planning commission's recommendation is presented to the city commission.

Kabris' request was two-pronged.

The city would first have to amend the future land-use map of its comprehensive plan, then pass an ordinance amending the zoning district on the property.

Land-use planner Bill Brisson, who was hired by the city to provide a report on the requested small-scale development activity-plan amendment, took a "middle-of-the-road" position.

The requested SPA from recreation/open space to medium-density residential does meet "the state's criteria for such an amendment," Brisson said, and as an individual action "is consistent with the city's comprehensive plan."

It represents a "use that is compatible in type and scale with surrounding land uses and adjacent environmentally sensitive areas.

"However," added Brisson, just because the request is consistent with the city's comprehensive plan doesn't mean the change should "necessarily be approved."

In his opinion, "approval of the requested land-use change would set a precedent" and likely lead to other requests to change the land-use designation "on other similarly situated parcels."

Brisson did note that the parcel zoned for recreational open space has limited uses under the comprehensive plan, but could be bought by a hotel, motel, homeowner's or condominium association and used for recreational purposes. The comp plan allows a clubhouse to be built on the property, he said.

Brisson gave the planning commission two choices.

If the commission believes the property is "sufficiently unique and different" from similar Gulffront properties in the area that "approval would not set a precedent," then Brisson suggested the applicant's request be recommended for approval.

If, however, the planning commission "is not convinced" that the property is "sufficiently unique and different" and approval would have a negative effect, then approval is not recommended.

Kabris argued that the purpose of the application is to build two suitable units on the entire property.

Without the amendments, he could still build two duplexes, he said, but they would be higher than surrounding properties and might not be what nearby residents want, Kabris contended.

What he is proposing is a "better way to develop the property.

He called on commission members to "look at the facts" alone on the property and said the possibility of approval of the amendments setting a precedent is "slim to none."

Some of the nearby neighbors are in favor of rezoning, he said, because that would ensure that low-profile units are built.

Kabris even said he would add a deed restriction to the property and he's already deeded a portion of the north part of the property to the city.

Commission members, Kabris and City Attorney Patricia Petruff agreed it was unusual to have a single piece of property with two different zoning designations.

Petruff noted that when the city's comprehensive plan was revised in 1989, the owners of the property at that time had the opportunity to challenge the recreational open space designation and could have appealed that designation, but did not.

The planning commission's decision, she said, should be based on what furthers the comprehensive plan and what is in the best interests of the city.

The commission voted 4-1 to recommend that the city commission deny the application to amend the comprehensive plan and rezone the property because it is not consistent with the city's comprehensive plan regarding various objectives and policies, including recreational open space.

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