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Here’s The Scoop…Updates…Board Of Adjustment …8/20/08

LBTS Board Of Adjustment meeting…11am 8/20/08..

The BOA met with three members…(all CIC members)…1 new BOA appointee did not show to be sworn in…

BOA members….Chair Tom Carr/Joe Couriel/George Crossman…

Atty. Dan Abbott…and from Development…Acting Director Jeff Bowman…Cam and the secretary….

The variance applicants were taken out of turn due to the first applicant not being in attendance ….

Comm. Jim Silverstone and Peggy Mohler came in front of the BOA for a variance …to install a fence around an existing spa or pool…(both terms were used)…that is a non- conforming structure…due to a change in the code….the fence needs to be within the required set-backs and in their front yard…which is not allowed….

The applicants were further asking the BOA to agree to improve the aesthetics..by allowing the fence to be 2 ft further into the setback…and to allow it to be 4 ft  high rather than the LBTS code that requires 5 ft in height……..

Sadly there was so much miscommunication on all sides…it was hard to watch…

The members on the dais…are in need of a workshop to explain their duties…. the procedures to be followed….

The Atty. needed to inform them of what they were up there for…. surprising since two have served before….

The Atty. really disappointed this writer in his response to Joe Couriel…

Joe asked about the meaning of “unauthorized access”…required in the code for the fence….

Atty. Abbott…sitting on the dais…at $190 an hour…. responded….” I’m really in no better position than you are to interpret the words that are used in these codes.”….”I really have no expertise in terms of interpreting that provision anymore than you do.”….YIKES!….

He did go on to explain the obvious…that a fence is usually required for the safety of others…getting into the pool….but with the other comments….what gives…with our legal counsel?….

Joe further inquired about the Town’s potential liability if the 4 ft high fence was granted….

Atty. Abbott responded that he was confident there would be no liability…due to the sovereign immunity the Town enjoys….that the landowner may be sued…but any legal action towards the town would not succeed.

There was a lot of back and forth discussion over the placement of the fence…with the applicants wanting it between their existing shrubbery…and 1 foot shorter in height to be more pleasing for their backyard view…. to stay with “the flavor of the neighborhood”…

Comm. Silverstone stated he wanted to follow the 4 ft. height as is the code for Broward County rather than the 5 ft.height code for LBTS….

Comm. Silverstone did make it clear quite a few times….the additional aesthetic requests were just that and they were “flexible” as he stated in a letter previously entered into the record to the board….and they would go with whatever the board decided…..

There were questions concerning  their shrubbery…the material to be used…the style….and the applicants dog…and the dog’s size…

The Town was being represented by Acting Director Jeff Bowman…who was asked for the staff recommendations….incredibly…there were none!…This writer has never seen this before….even with the exit of Mr. Rabinowitz….some comments…and recommendations should have been included in their packets……Jeff also said this property was under an actionable code enforcement violation process…..and needed to be addressed….or the spa/pool would need to be removed…..

More confusion ensued with the meeting being closed for a vote….before the public was offered a chance to speak…

No one came forward and the deliberating began….if you could call it that….

Ms Mohler came forward once more to inquire about the recent variance in Bel Air…comparing it to this situation…she was rather incensed that it appeared the board was going to require the fence be 2 ft. closer and in front of the existing shrubbery….leaving her to view the fence from her yard rather than shrubbery….as she preferred…

The board responded “two wrongs don’t make a right”….stating the other property was done after the fact…and she was required to come before it was installed….

After several motions……first by Chair Tom Carr….and then by Joe Couriel…..each dying for a lack of a second….George Crossman…motioned for a 2 ft. increase in the set-backs and a 5 ft. high fence…with a material other than wood…it was seconded by Joe Couriel…

BCbythesea….wood fences are allowed in the code…and the recommendation of not allowing wood may not be correct….

Passes 2-1…Tom Carr dissenting….

BCbythesea….it will now go to the commission on Sept. 12th…..and this should be interesting….to see what the vote will be……will the commission follow the BOA…and treat this as it would any resident coming before them?….Jim will need to recuse himself…so what will the 4 commissioners decide?….

The other applicant….El Mar LLC…did arrive and was represented by their architect…explaining it was the Eastwood Inn….across from Oriana…also a non- conforming structure…due to the same change in code…and a pool…

The applicant was asking to erect a 5 ft. high aluminum fence around the entire pool…

ASAP…it passes 3-0…

The third applicant…had previously canceled their request …and Cam explained they were obligated to address the cancellation due to it being advertised….

BCbythesea….The New McIntee Public Safety Complex….must also comply with this new code requirement….as it “mirrors” the Eastwood Inn property…with an exposed …non- fenced- in front pool!…HMMM……….

more to come…….

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