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Council looks ahead to a busier night

By Staff | Dec 5, 2013

If you blinked, you might have missed last week’s city council meeting. With no consent items and just a few smaller items, the meeting lasted barely more than an hour.

This Monday, the council will have a few more things to decide on when it convenes at 4:30 p.m. at city hall in council chambers.

One issue seeks to define kitchens and dwelling units to provide that kitchens are only indoors and do not require storage cabinets to be deemed a kitchen.

The city has identified a trend where single-family homes are being remodeled to allow a second indoor kitchen. This is an issue because it can lead to the illegal kitchen and to the illegal conversion of single- family homes into boarding houses and other multi-family residential uses.

“In order to not have residents put in separate kitchens in their garage and there were apartment complexes that were recreating their efficiencies by putting kitchens into them,” Councilmember and sponsor Lenny Nesta. “We put in an ordinance out to deal with that.”

Another trend is to permit a second kitchen in an outdoor patio area in more affluent homes, or to provide mini-refrigerators in game rooms or “man caves.”

These additional kitchen-like elements provides a connection between food preparation/ storage and leisure activities, not to provide a loophole around regulations designed to prevent overcrowding, staff has said.

“These are ‘kosher kitchens’ and they’re acceptable. They’re trying to separate the fact that people are taking their homes and garages now have people living there with kitchens,” Nesta said.

City staff has recommended that the kitchen definition be revised so as to remove storage cabinets from the list of minimum kitchen elements to be provided.

A kitchen will be defined as “an indoor portion of a structure specifically designed and equipped for the preparation, service and storage of food. The kitchen shall be provided with a functioning sink, range, oven, and refrigerator.”

It is hoped the changes will prevent illegal conversions of single-family residences while permitting residents the flexibility to provide some kitchen-like elements in close proximity to leisure activities.

Another ordinance will amend the city’s investment policy, while another will decide on whether to allow a deviation for the required glazing on a new sanctuary building for an expanding Seventh Day Adventist Church.

There are also two resolutions approving interlocal agreements between the city and Lee County for the county’s use of space within fire stations to house emergency vehicles and personnel, and for fire services within the Burnt Store Area Fire Municipal Services Taxing Unit, which also serves part of Charlotte County.

The council will also consider two appointments. One will be to consider the CRA Commission’s recommendation to appoint Councilmember Rana Erbrick as chairperson and Jim Burch as vice-chair of the CRA Board of Commissioners, the other to appoint Harvey Wolfson to the audit committee to replace John Cincotta, who did not seek reappointment.

Also, councilmember Rana Erbrick will make a presentation to the widow and daughter of the first chairperson of the Civilian Police Review Board, Gary Vandenberg. Vandenburg also served on the Budget Review and Redistricting committees.