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Here’s The Scoop…Planning And Zoning- Chapter 30 ULD Codes…


The LBTS P & Z met last night 3/18/09 to discuss amendments Chapter 30 of the  code of ordinances  for Unified Land Use…an extra step required when dealing with these types of codes according to Town Attorney James White from Weiss. Serota…

BC- Great lawyer…was very clear with his statements…and despite his assertions…of not being able to make amendments “on the fly”…he did just that!….

Attorney Profiles
James E. White
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Mr. White is an Associate with the Firm specializing in the areas of land use and zoning. In addition to his law degree, Mr. White has a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of New Orleans. During his law school career, Mr. White served as a law clerk in the Natural Resources Division of the Michigan State Attorney General’s Office. Prior to joining the Firm, Mr. White served as both a private land use consultant and municipal planner.

Michigan State University, Detroit College of Law, East Lansing, Michigan, 2003

University of New Orleans, 1998
M.U.R.P.- Masters of Urban and Regional Planning
Honors: Certificate in Historic Preservation
Honors: Halina Rosenthal Fellowship Recipient
Honors: With Honors

University of New Orleans, 1995
Honors: With Honors

Professional Associations and Memberships:
American Bar Association
Member, Condemnation, Zoning and Land Use Committee

American Bar Association, Environment, Energy and Resources Sections

State and Local Government of the American Bar Association

The Florida Bar, City, County and Local Government Law Section

The Florida Bar, Environmental and Land Use Sections

American Planning Association

American Planning Association, Florida Chapter

National Trust for Historic Preservation
Past Employment Positions:
Michigan State Attorney’s General’s Office, Natural Resources Division, Law Clerk

Present on the podium P & Z Boardmembers…Chair L. Peanuts Wick, Vice-Chair Cristie Furth, Alfred “Buzz” Oldaker , Rev. George Hunsaker and Colleen- Development Office Secretary….

Although it was explained to this writer courtesy of Atty. White prior to the meeting why these code changes were making this “journey” from commission workshop (1/13 & 21/2009…previous posts LBTS agenda/meeting category)….it was still unclear why it would first go to the commission …who made motions at a workshop not just directions for staff …which by the way were never represented by staff at the P & Z meeting…..then go to this advisory board to then go back to the commission according to the dates provided…. for 1st April…2nd reading in May (1 month delay between due to the commission request for a month between on any 1st and 2nd readings)…It seems to this writer it should have gone P&Z- commission workshop-public input-1st & 2nd reading…HMMM…

Pending amendments to chapter 30 of the code of ordinances

a.-Amendment to sec. 30-21 of code-revising reconstruction and continuation of nonconforming uses and structures

BC-Jeff Bowman Development Director came to the podium and was asked by the Chair if he had “any information on A”…Our head of Development …moved up into this position…per the Town Manager…with no ads sent out for this position (previous post) said “No”…UGHHH…..

Peanuts spoke of watching the commission meetings and said that he read this to say it would meet “it’s original footprint”..meaning a s long as it met the 50% threshold and was rebuilt with no changes to the existing footprint it would be allowed…

Cristie Furth appearing to be seeing the backup for the first time asked Jeff to clarify what they were doing…what it meant for something to be crossed out (deleted)…and what underlined meant (addition) and was that what they were to adhere to in the decisions made (yes)…

What was a precursor to many such moments of “disconnect” between the director and the members…even among the members  themselves…Jeff after confirming this said there was a typo (1 of many) and there were 2 “e’s” and the second “e” should be “f”…Cristie asked him if he meant at the bottom of the page and he said it was not on their page, he had just noticed it …HUH?…

Buzz asked how the staff had arrived at getting the 50%  based on assessed value rather than replacement cost…Jeff said the staff determined that if you had 3 contractors you could have 3 different “reviews” so it makes it “easier” for staff to use the structural property appraiser’s cost from the property rolls…Buzz made it known that the property appraiser usually ran behind in their appraisals …up to a year…Cristie again wanted clarification about underlined and crossed out …stating she found many more “additions”…and why?…Jeff explained that was due to the existing code only referring to non- conforming “within” the structure not the building itself…George wanted to know what was used in the recent approval for Ocean Terrace (he misspoke and said Seaward…Jeff did not clear it up)…Jeff said he did not recall it all but it must have been replacement due to the present code …(although he just said present code says nothing about the structure itself)…George said he did not think people should be “penalized” to make it easier for staff (using the appraisal rather than replacement for cost determination)…Cristie opined about replacement costs being higher than appraised and how she was usually pleased with her appraisals of her property….The Atty. said the way this read …if a non-conforming structure was 50% destroyed it could be rebuilt within the footprint…more than 50% it could not!…Replacement costs fluctuate…which is why staff chose appraisal cost for determination…

BC- Herein lies the problem…and the public was not allowed to speak on this…although Peanuts asked for public input 2 times…he did not follow through …due to Cristie having further questions…..

Had I been given the chance I would have pointed out the “glaring” problem…if a non-conforming structure comes down over 50%…. I along with others under the present code and without clarification added into the codes…would not be able to rebuild…the same structure in the same footprint…This would mean a 5 story structure now standing would not be allowed to return …It would have to be a 33 foot structure… I would have also called for replacement costs over appraised…

Luckily the board after more discussion did not accept it…sending it back as written…4-1 Peanuts dissenting…

b.-Amendment to section 30-123 of code regarding duration of site plan-scope of bldg. permits to be secured during site plan approval

This one was discussed at the commission to allow for 18 months on the east side of El Mar…A1A…(east of the CCL coastal construction line)…and 12 months west of it…At public comment…this writer informed then that the Fl. Legislature is to address a way to speed up FDEP permits when the building will add to the Town’s benefit…

Also included was the language being made more specific as to what is required for a plan to be in process…coming from the “vague” language prior to this change and causing a Quasi Judicial hearing with Resident/Editor of BTSFuture/Developer Michael Arker…Cristie Furth brought up the issue as if to shine the “spotlight” on Comm. Dodd that he was wrong to think foundation could be interpreted as allowable for “building permit” at that time…But, if  the Comm./ Arker and Arker’s Atty were wrong…why the change?…HMMM……

This one was approved 4-0

c.- Amendment to section 30-211 of code to amend building setback req. in RS-5 residential zoning dist.

#4 was taken out because it duplicated #3…( the members were going line by line)…It actually included RS. 4/5 &RD 10…it eliminates the 20 ft. setbacks to 15 to accommodate the non-conforming structures that are 15 ft….the shortest distance…Much discussion took place over the roof overhangs…and why the front and rear are 36′” into the the setback…but the sides are referred to as 5 ft from the property line…Buzz felt that all should be described with the same language such as using 30″ (2 1/2 ft) into the setback…He eventually was told it was purely semantics…the Atty. saying it should not matter…it was approved 4-0

d.- Amendment to section 30-271 of code to provide for cooking schools,catering,motorized scooter & moped sales & rentals, shall be permitted within B-1 dist.

For some reason Jeff explained through various codifications this section of code was removed…now it was being put back in…approved 4-0

e.- Amendment to 30-313 of code to provide revision  of development standards for fences, walls, plantings, hedges, prohibit gravel driveways in RS-4/5 & RD-10 dist., non -asphalt paving materials, to provide for grading , landscaping maintenance of swale areas in RS-4/5 & RD-10 districts of regulations of generators or underground containers for natural gas -provide for development standards & req. for mechanical equipment

This was a long one that “bounced” all over the place with what the members were addressing….Buzz asked about the language being used for asphalt driveways…He saw it as saying as written that all asphalt driveways were not allowed…and further asked for what is allowed to keep it before being “hit” with a costly removal…Jeff said they (the Town) has not had any situations where someone “patched” a portion of the driveway…There was discussion at the previous commission meeting with Assist. Town Manager Olinzock saying a “top seal” was allowed but a grade coat was not…Included in this was gravel driveways which in the south end of town were to be removed altogether in 2004….Jeff stated that was only for the south end and not the north until the code was unified in 2007 …Jeff also tried repeatedly to make Cristie understand the previous code only referred to the swale area for the driveway…and this made it the whole driveway…it was not specified…as she said “swale driveways” were not allowed in residential areas…HUH?…George asked that an amendment be added for only pervious materials to be allowed, but was also cognizant that in these hard economic times it might not be the right time to insist on it…Also discussed was the responsibility of the swale areas..both by Buzz with roots under sidewalks…with his opinion that as written the onus would fall to the property owner every time…and George was concerned about tree limb portion and asked that it be removed…This writer lacking paperwork missed the opportunity to address the swale issue…

BC- It seems that it would be unconstitutional for the town to say a private citizen must maintain public property…The town is maintaining that same property for some but not all…EXAMPLE…the swale/Right of Way on Seagrape Drive is watered by sprinklers provided by the town…On Washingtonia there was no such system put in place…This homeowner not having a backyard or grass offered to take care of the town’s property if it could be returned to “zeroscape” but unwilling to be burdened with mowing a lawn not owned by us and having no other reason to purchase a lawn mower…along with paying to water it……The town needs to rectify this one…as swales that are paved are replaced by should be the town paying for the change and the maintenance if a sidewalk is in place…

Interestingly when addressing Buzz on the root situation Devel. Director Bowman said “Right of Way is maintained by the town.”…YEP!

Another amendment came with staff deciding to allow uncovered chain link fences as allowed in the Fl. building code… after they were not allowed in our code…..Cristie said she did not want chain fences allowed anywhere…that was to be a 2nd amendment to her amendment to make chain link fences to be covered…but she backed away from it after it was brought up by Buzz that they were instructed to only deal with what was in front off them…The 30 ft “clear site  triangle was removed…because it was addressed elsewhere with 25 ft….More confusion took place about the driveways when it fail 2-2 …but George introduced a clarification for maintenance with an assist from the Atty. that passed 4-0…Buzz asked about the generators that were written for the setbacks for the machine…but nothing on a permanent fuel storage code…regulations for tanks underground…that was also clarified for a way to present it to the commission…passes 4-0…In the end the motion had 5 amendments added to move it forward to the commission…motion passed 4-0

f.- Amendment to section 30-507 of the code to amend informational, directional or traffic control sign, amend definition of real estate sign & provide temporary holiday decorations.

Sitting down?…I agreed with and was quite pleased that Cristie Furth was against the holiday lights code along with Buzz and George …saying it was not necessary…HOORAY!….George asked Jeff what his definition of a “bonafide Holiday” was seeing it in the code with 15 days to comply afterward…chagrined  was the response by Director Bowman……it was a goner…Buzz did ask for some relaxed enforcement for real estate signs on town property for open houses…but Cristie wasn’t buying it (pun intended)…as she spoke of Minto’s open house a few weeks back with median signs that looked like a “flea market” and the “door being left open” for garage sale signs…saying could she then put out sign for her motel “rooms for rent” and also spoke of the large “building for sale sign” on Commercial Blvd…around 6 feet wide …sitting on town property…Buzz rethought it and pulled his amendment….approve 4-0

No comments were made from the dais and they adjourned…

1st reading of Ord.-4/7/09-2nd reading of Ord.-5/12/09

more to come…….

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