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Date of Issue: November 15, 2007

More meetings suggested by P&Z in Bradenton Beach

Planning and zoning board members in Bradenton Beach reconfirmed their belief that they should be more involved in the planning of the city.

At the suggestion of P&Z board member Ernest Clay, the group last week said it wanted to have more input in the process of developments in the city. Clay has advocated that the board, state of Florida’s official planning agency of the city, should get more involved in planning, rather than the “zoning” aspects of the city.

Just what that additional involvement will entail in the process is a bit unclear and has been subject of some discussion for several weeks.

The P&Z board does review all major developments in the city, making its recommendations to the city commission for its final decision.

But Clay has proposed the board review the recommendations of other advisory boards to the city commission, an action that could add substantial time to any approval process.

As an example, the P&Z board could become involved in grant proposals that involve infrastructure improvements to the city, the city’s project/program manager Lisa Marie Phillips said. That could add 10 days to a grant cycle that is generally tight.

Also problematic is the heightened meeting needs of such a process.

The P&Z meets “on demand,” with a 10-day notice requirement. If a plethora of items come up, with deadlines for decisions, a burden on members potentially increases.

There is also a question of quorums. Although the P&Z board has been able to meet and act, its membership numbers have been somewhat sparse of late. The board is designated to have seven members; it has six; and generally only four members attend meetings.

Still, Clay advocated the board meet to address the matters of import before the city.

“Anything that impacts the city should come before the planning and zoning board,” he said.

P&Z board member Jo Ann Meilner suggested that the building official and the chair of the board determine jointly what warrants the attention of the board.

There was also a suggestion of retaining the services of a professional land-use planner to serve the city in a consultant capacity to address land-development code issues, comprehensive plan matters and other issues that are out of the day-to-day realm of the city’s planning and development department.

P&Z board members appeared to concur on all the issues, and further discussion will undoubtedly ensue later this year.

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