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Date of Issue: September 17, 2008

Planning board OKs dock

The Bradenton Beach Planning and Zoning Board without hesitation gave its approval to a special exception request for a 72-foot dock in Anna Maria Sound.

And, if at least one member of the board gets her way, such docks eventually will not be special exceptions to the rule.

Meeting on Sept. 11 at Bradenton Beach City Hall, the board backed a variance request from Kevin McNamara, who wants to build a 72-foot dock and install two boatlifts at his property in the 100 block of Seventh Street South on Anna Maria Sound.

McNamara, a marine contractor who also has plans to rebuild the city-owned dock near his property, requested the exemption because the city’s land-development code limits docks to 65 feet on the bayfront.

The provision states, “The height of any dock or pier shall not exceed 6 feet above mean sea level as determined by the U.S. Geodetic Survey of 1929 on sea-level data. The maximum length of any dock or pier from the shoreline shall not exceed 65 feet. No dock or pier shall be closer than 25 feet to the center of a channel used by the boating public. Any variance from these dimensions shall require approval of the city commission after a public hearing.”

P&Z Vice Chair Jo Ann Meilner, after studying docks on Google Earth, said the majority of docks in the city exceed the 65-foot limit, including the city-owned dock at Seventh Street South.

Meilner said she counted 39 docks longer than 65 feet, 16 docks under 65 feet and 12 docks, based on the Google map, that “could go either way.”

The city should amend the land-development code to allow for longer docks, she said: “We’ve allowed docks to go to the water. Lets make them legal.”

“I hope we can find our way to get this on the agenda,” she continued.

Building official Steve Gilbert suggested a workshop discussion in October.

The board, following a recommendation from city staff, approved the special exception, as well as a request from McNamara to reduce the city fees in the case from $1,000 to $500. The $500 payment, according to Gilbert, would be sufficient to cover the city’s costs.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also approved McNamara’s plan for the dock.

In other business last week, board members agreed that they want to expedite their work on a number of issues facing the city - specifically working on the land-development code and cleaning up other regulations in the city’s code book.

The board’s next meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 2 at city hall to discuss proposed amendments to the comprehensive plan based on the state-approved evaluation and appraisal report.

A city commission hearing on transmitting the amendments to the state is scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. that day.

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