REDINGTON SHORES – A proposed change in the town of Redington Shore’s building regulations would provide an opportunity to add living space to a new or renovated house.
The proposal would change the way building heights are measured, using sea level as a base rather than the crown of the road.
Commissioner Lee Holmes said at a July 30 workshop meeting that the result would raise the limit on home heights, permitting higher ceilings if desired and increasing overall living space. It would also bring consistency in building heights to all areas of the city.
Under current rules, homes on the west side of Gulf Boulevard cannot be built as tall as those on the east side.
Holmes said the change is needed in Redington Shores, because lots are small, forcing homeowners to build taller structures since they cannot increase width.
“This problem will continue to surface as we deal with redevelopment. It is important, and best that we deal with it now,” he said.
The rule change would allow the living space of homes to be up to 30 feet in total height, from the floor of the first story to the midpoint of the roof. It would still be necessary to raise the living space above the flood level by using fill dirt and an uninhabited garage level.
Resident Chris Henderson said the change would benefit homeowners.
“People today are wanting 9- and 10-foot ceilings,” he said. The 30-foot limit would allow ample space for two stories plus needed construction elements between floors and under the roof.
Currently, the way the rules are applied, homeowners in high flood zone areas can lose several feet of eligible height for the living space. Under the new rules, every house would get 30 feet of living height, once they build the garage level to meet Federal flood elevation requirements.
Commissioner Tom Kapper said he too liked the rule change.
“Things change,” Kapper said. “This will make Redington Shores better.”
But former Commissioner Casey Wojcik said the change is not a benefit for people living next door. He said the rule change would, in effect, raise building heights, putting taller buildings on adjacent lots. Wojcik said a referendum on the issue should be held to see what the residents want.
“Input is needed from all the residents,” he said, not just those who are building or remodeling their houses. “Find out what everyone wants for a reasonable house” before changing the law, Wojcik said.
The consensus of the commission was to move the proposed rule change forward.
The next step will be to have the attorney draft an ordinance that would be taken to the Planning and Zoning Board, which would need to approve the new regulations.