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Date of Issue: August 06, 2008

Plan amendments on agenda

Holmes Beach city commissioners will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Aug. 12 on proposed amendments to the city’s comprehensive plan.

The meeting will take place at city hall, 5801 Marina Drive.

The city’s planning and zoning board recommended the amendments following a review that took most of the spring and involved sessions with city planning consultant Bill Brisson.

“The planning board did a really great job,” Brisson said. “It was a lot of work.… And I think that I agree on everything the planning board has in here.”

The changes would bring the comp plan up to date with the city’s already revised and approved evaluation and appraisal report.

Perhaps the most significant proposed amendment involves establishing a mixed-use district in the area generally referred to as downtown Holmes Beach along Marina Drive.

The mixed-use provision would allow for a blend of commercial and residential uses, with commercial operations on the first floor of a building and residential on the second and third floors.

During its review, the planning board agreed to reduce the mixed-use overlay district, which originally covered all property designated as commercial on the future land-use map.

Brisson said, “In order to ensure that the impacts of the new land-use category could be accurately assessed and to promote mixed-use in the commercial corridor to city hall, the mixed-use overlay will be initially applied only to the commercial core north of 52nd Street.”

The comp plan includes a number of other elements that address the city’s population, transportation, housing, infrastructure, schools, conservation, recreation, coastal management and capital improvements.

In the transportation element, a proposed amended map establishes Key Royale Drive as a two-lane “major local roadway for inclusion in possible future improvements to be funded with the local-option 5-cent gas tax revenues,” Brisson said.

In the housing element, the planning board attempted to address the state’s requirement that comp plans deal with affordable housing.

Under the proposed affordable housing policies, the city would:

  • Work with the county to identify and pursue new revenue sources to be earmarked for eligible families to obtain low-interest mortgages and down-payment assistance.
  • Consider the appropriateness of allowing an accessory dwelling unit - commonly known as a mother-in-law apartment - on oversize lots in the low-density, residential land-use category.
  • Evaluate establishing an affordable housing fee to be charged to new residential and commercial development, with the fees dedicated to a trust fund administered by the county or state.

The recreation and open-space element includes a proposed map showing shorelines and waterways, a new requirement from the state.

Also new is the entire public school facilities element, which was already approved by the commission earlier this summer.

With the approval of the commission, the comp plan amendments would be forwarded to the Florida Department of Community Affairs for review before final approval by the city commission.

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