TREASURE ISLAND – Building a new home or business in Treasure Island may become an easier process.
City commissioners are considering a proposal by Community Development Director Paula Cohen that would provide an administrative waiver on the current requirement to file a site plan again in the event of a small change or an error in the original site plan.
If passed, the waiver would allow builders who make errors to avoid paying another $250 filing fee and save the additional time it would take the city’s Planning and Zoning Board to review the change. Property owners currently wait four to five weeks before the Planning and Zoning Board can hear site plan modifications.
The waiver would come into play on errors involving distance between structures, parcel dimensions, setbacks and building height to a maximum of 10 percent over city limitations or a 1-foot maximum, whichever is less.
The proposal would be in effect for such things as laying a block foundation on the wrong side of a survey stake, addition of a handicapped parking space or access sidewalk to older buildings, or the need to add an additional dumpster or dumpster enclosure.
The proposal has been approved by the city’s Local Planning Agency.
“We have situations that come up from time to time,” said Cohen. “Sometimes it’s not a large change to a site plan. It’s usually very, very small. It would not pertain to density. It’s mostly those small mistake things that happen in the field.”
Commissioner Alan Bildz said he was concerned about builders using the waiver to their advantage.
“I really have a problem when you say there could be an error or miscalculation during construction on a foundation laid on the wrong side of a survey stake,” Bildz said. “I see passing this and everybody’s house getting increased by that 8 inches. I mean you have roof trusses that have to line up with that block. There are so many things that could go wrong. For a masonry contractor to miss that by eight inches is major.”
City Manager Reid Silverboard said the waiver would, in the long run, save builders and city residents money.
“They would (now) have to apply for a variance,” said Silverboard. “Then their choice, if denied, is tear the roof off or tear the building down. You read about these things happening from time to time. I don’t think we want to entertain a lawsuit because surely they’ll sue.
“The real issue is we’re talking here about our own residents,” he continued. “Occasionally there’s a mistake made, a minimum mistake, and what we’re trying to do is create a procedure, which is common in zoning codes, to provide for an administrative waiver for a continuance type of infraction.”
Commissioner Phil Collins agreed.
“This is not something to circumvent the system,” Collins said. “It’s to prevent getting bogged down. I think it’s fine.”
On another front, commissioners moved forward on a resolution to renew the city’s dental insurance coverage with The Standard at no additional charge over the current rate.
In other action:
• Silverboard said the city has received three of four damaged bridge cylinders sent off for repairs to the Eaton Corp. They were scheduled to be installed on the bascule bridge early on June 22. The fourth cylinder is expected in about a month. “Then we’ll remove the other four cylinders and send them up to Eaton to get them repaired,” Silverboard said. “We hope to have them all back and reinstalled by October. Then we’ll sit down and hash out the money issue.”
• Silverboard said new wooden steps to a beach area off the boardwalk next to the Mansions by the Sea are under construction. The boardwalk would be next, he said.
• The city plans its annual beach fireworks display on the Fourth of July. However, there will be no parking on the beach this year. The former Buccaneer Hotel property and Treasure Island Park are alternatives.