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LDC subcommittee moves forward on height limits, setbacks

By Staff | Jun 9, 2010

During Tuesday’s gathering of the Land Development Code Review subcommittee, the group approved the Planning Department’s staff recommendations height limits and setbacks as discussions of redevelopment within the resort housing district continued.

Prior to starting talks on height limits and setbacks, the panel approving changes to the city’s code related to impervious coverage, which had been debated during their May 25 meeting. They approved mitigation which would include a combination of three examples:

• Removal of existing unneeded/not required impervious coverage, developed or vegetation removal areas at a rate of one square foot removed for every one square foot added.

• Increasing the amount of stormwater runoff that is retained onsite or adding surface water management facilities designed to enhance the quality of the stormwater runoff discharged from the property.

• The planting of native vegetation, within the area being removed, proportionate to the amount of impervious coverage and developed area that is being added in excess of the amount permitted by the underlying Ecological Zone.

According to Planning Director Jimmy Jordan, developments that exceed the city’s current limitations on height are non-conforming.

"The height of buildings will not exceed three stories above the base flood elevation," his staff report indicated. "In the Resort Housing District, the maximum height of a building shall not exceed 33 feet above the base flood elevation of the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map or the Florida Building Code for buildings located seaward of the State of Florida’s 1991 Coastal Construction Control Line, whichever is higher."

Regarding setbacks, Jordan recommended the current code be maintained and that the city should continue to prohibit redevelopment within the Gulf Beach Zone.

"Reconstruction of buildings in existing developments in the Resort Housing District is not subject to the minimum distance between buildings standard of Section 126-939," his report stated.

"For the reconstruction of buildings in the Resort Housing District, buildings may contain more than 10 dwelling units, however, these reconstructed buildings shall contain no more than the number of units in the building that it replaces," it added.

A final summation of the LDC’s discussions related to height limits and setbacks will be presented at their next meeting, scheduled to take place at 8 a.m. on June 22.

During the public comment portion of the session, resident and business owner Jeremy Kane requested further clarification on the definition of the terms "redevelopment" and "rehabilitation" for the subject properties. Jordan noted that a "rehabilitation" project would not include a "substantial improvement" and must be completed within the same three-dimensional outline of a structure.

"This is why we’re discussing these subjects," said subcommittee member Dr. Phillip Marks. "Jimmy (Jordan) always comes back with a summary of these discussions at our next meeting."