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Date of Issue: May 13, 2009

New beachfront house rises, blocks view

5-13-09/am-house-view.jpg
This new house at 100 Sycamore Ave. in Anna Maria has been the subject of several complaints by neighbors that the structure blocks their view of the Gulf of Mexico. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin

What’s a home without a view?

Several Anna Maria residents in the 12000 block of Gulf Drive have complained that a new home at 100 Sycamore Ave. is blocking their view of the Gulf of Mexico.

Resident Vicky Dunn, who lives opposite the house on the landward side of Gulf Drive, said the new house has taken away a view of the Gulf of Mexico that she and her husband enjoyed for several years.

She suggested the city consider an ordinance that would control how much view can be taken by new construction and said she knows of other cities that have this restriction.

City planner Alan Garrett said the house was built according to city codes and Federal Emergency Management Agency regulations that require new construction in a flood zone to be two stories over parking. The height of the construction is 37 feet, the maximum allowed by city code.

“Everything was done according to the codes,” Garrett said. “I can sympathize with people, but it’s not illegal to block someone’s view.”

Dunn agreed that everything was done according to city code, she just doesn’t like losing the view.

The issue of controlling new construction to limit how much view an existing adjacent or nearby neighbor might lose was discussed at length during the many ad hoc comprehensive plan committee meetings between 2004 and 2006. The comp plan was adopted in 2007.

A number of suggestions, including the “wedding- cake” style were discussed, but ultimately rejected as impractical. No restrictions on construction style were adopted in the comp plan and the maximum height of new structures remained at 37 feet.

But the owner of the new, elevated house, Richard Theidel of Hinsdale, Ill., apparently does have concerns for and listen to his neighbors.

Dunn said another neighbor called Theidel recently about a fence that was being installed around the property and said Theidel agreed to lower the fence height.

“We salute him, as that was not legally required,” said Dunn.

Efforts to reach Theidel for comment were unsuccessful.

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