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Here’s The Scoop…11/19/08 Board Of Adjustment Meeting

I AM NOW PRO DEVELOPMENT…because the CIC idea of development…is NO development at all….no flexibility…no movement forward…to improve this non- conforming town…

It was painful to once more watch the BOA and the Development Department in action…with their inability to understand what the applicant and their representatives were asking for…and to offer up any reasonable explanation to not allow for the variance being asked for…

Granted as member George Crossman pointed out…there was a question for the board …as to the board’s ability to allow the use of the code…30-242…rather than 30-241…under the current codes…and the stalled development quandary LBTS finds itself in …with the removal of the Overlay Districts….but that could have been worked out as a comment for the Commission to deal with…along with an approval by the board…

That being said…

It is allowed at the present time for a single family home to be built within the RM-25 zoned area the applicant wants to build in…which at the present time is the Courtyard Hotel…located next door to the south of Oriana.

The applicant took it upon themselves to present every aspect of the proposed project…including the disclosure that they were given the wrong code…under the direction of the former building department employee Tatiana…(1st we heard she was gone)…and therefore were operating under that incorrect code for some time ….

The new owners went to all of their neighbors…and all were enthusiastically in favor of the single residence project…

They explained the east coast uninhabitable first floor restrictions required by the state for building on the beach…despite P & Z Vice Chair/ CIC Chair/ BTSTimes Owner-Editor Christie Furth’s inaccurate claims that it was not a requirement…previously put forth at last months MPSC meeting….

They gave numerous reasons of how this project would benefit the aesthetics of El Mar Drive…with more views to the beach than now exists…while standing up to the massive development of Oriana to its north…

Chairing the board this day was Joe Couriel who really took a bite out of the American dream…with many uncomfortable remarks about the applicants need for square footage…a 4 car garage and the size of their Master bedroom…WOW!…

He did not stop there…asserting his take on the LBTS founding fathers wanting hotels…in this area…and therefore not allowing for what the applicant desired…rather a long, small hotel that would keep it a hospitality district…. (this was after he was advised the area is currently zoned for single family…)

George Crossman was much more amiable to the beautiful conceptual offering…seeing the merit it would provide…and respectfully disagreed with Mr. Couriel.

Development Director Bowman…again offered little…merely reading criteria…and formula…

Sea Ranch Club Condo owner and board member Carol Dickman…wanted them to keep within the current code…and moved to deny the project…as presented….with a Couriel 2nd … most unfortunate coming from someone who lives in a Hi-rise building on the beach ….that would not be allowed in LBTS under the current code…(been there …done that myself…living in the same SRC complex…faced with the same dilemma…a while back…)

Before the vote could be taken the applicant asked his zoning Atty. to offer a continuance for a month to “sharpen their pencils” and see what they could come up with…

Mrs Dickman withdrew her motion…and offered up the continuance for the applicant to come back on Dec. 17, 2008 at 11 am…Couriel made a 2nd…all voted for the continuance…

The applicants will need to prepare for the next meeting…in this writer’s opinion…with a compromise on the height…no higher than 44 feet…along with documents …showing the uninhabitable 1st floor state mandates…and renderings…with a stacked room full of neighbors for support…

This will be the 1st test to see ….when this goes to the Commission…(which the applicant can insist on despite a possible denied vote from the BOA )…..where each Commissioner stands on the future development of this town…and who will be held accountable for that stance in 2010…

It is the view of this writer…that 44 feet is a must…allowing for the 1st floor non- living area and to provide some flexibility…meaning a variance be allowed to deal with the circumstance of the lot size…the Oriana next door… the neighbors input…and the cost involved for the applicant to build on the property….as the architect stated …it is an estate…on the beach..(due to the cost for beach front property alone..)

Finally it is not required to prove a “hardship” for a variance anymore….and with the less than 10% properties in similar circumstance…it just makes sense.

more to come…

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