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Commissioners approve boat lift variance

By Staff | May 11, 2011

The Planning Commission took less time to cast their votes approving a variance during their meeting than it did to decide whether to allow comments — in most cases not permitted during closed hearings — to be made during discussion of the pending application.

On Tuesday, commissioners were asked to formally adopt a resolution to allow construction of a boat lift at an existing boat dock, at 963 Kings Crown Drive, despite the site not meeting the required setback of 15 feet from the side property lines as extended into an adjacent canal.

The hearing on the application took place on April 26, when commissioners Chris Heidrick and Chuck Ketteman were absent.

Dr. Phillip Marks asked his fellow panelists if commentary among the commissioners would be allowed. In the absence of City Attorney Ken Cuyler, who was on vacation, Director of Planning Jimmy Jordan stated that if the comments were relevant to the language contained within the resolution, then commentary is permitted.

“The language isn’t the problem… it’s the concept,” said Marks, who later added, “I don’t want to open any wounds.”

Fellow panelist Paul Reynolds stated that he thought that comments from commissioners who were absent during the public hearing on the application should be allowed. Jordan responded that as long as comments were kept only to members of the commission, they should be permitted.

Marks explained that he disagreed with the “hardship” claimed by the applicant, and that the addition of a boat lift would increase the property’s value. During last month’s hearing, he noted that the neighbors objected to the variance being granted.

Among the conditions of the variance, which was approved by a 5-1 vote — with Marks dissenting and Tom Krekel excused — include:

• Any boat placed on the lift cannot project past any property lines as extended waterward and will not pose an impediment to navigation.

• The height of the dock surface and pilings shall be no more than three feet and 10 feet, respectively, above the mean high water level.

• No double berthing of vessels in a shoreward-to-waterward direction is permitted.

• An as-built survey must be submitted to the Planning Department demonstrating compliance with the required setback and waterward extension conditions prior to issuance of a completion certificate.

Later, Jordan announced the cancellation of the May 24 Planning Commission meeting, without any pending items on the agenda. The next gathering of the Capital Improvements Code Review Subcommittee will be held in its place, at 9 a.m. that same day.