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Rooftop structures get Redington Shores’ attention
 
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Photo courtesy of TOWN OF REDINGTON SHORES
Town officials in Redington Shores are interested in hearing residents’ comments on whether this type of deck should be allowed on houses in the town. Current codes do not prohibit them.
REDINGTON SHORES – Some residents in Redington Shores are getting creative with rooftop structures, which offer expanded views and entertainment opportunities. But their safety and aesthetics are being questioned.

The town commission took up the issue at its Aug. 30 workshop meeting.

Mayor Bert Adams said, “I asked every commissioner to drive down to 180th and 182nd and look at what’s on the roof.” 

Adams then told of a letter from former Commissioner Lee Holmes in which Holmes suggests the commission “establish a temporary moratorium to prohibit any building permits being issued for the purpose of building a structure on top of the roof of existing residential properties.” Holmes said he decided that action is needed after riding around his district and spotting the structure in question.

Adams said the structure, a rooftop deck, is permitted because “there is nothing in our code to stop it.” It is not illegal, Adams said, “but I’m not sure it meets the aesthetics of our community.” It is unusual because the flat deck is constructed above the peaked roof of the one-story house.

“I don’t care for it at all,” said Commissioner Jeff Neal. “It’s a beautiful piece of construction, if it was my boat dock,” Neal said. “But it’s not where it was supposed to be. It doesn’t belong there.”

Commissioner Pat Drumm said he had talked to residents about the structure, and “a few like it.” But those who live near it “don’t want it because they lose their privacy.”

“From the top of it, you can see in their back yards,” Drumm said.

Drumm said his concerns were mostly about safety. Winds could “send things falling off the deck, crashing into other homes,” he said.

Neal also had safety issues with the structure. “It is made of wood, and wood will start rotting. The screws will rust out,” he said.

“All these parts and pieces will, in a thunderstorm, blow off,” Neal said.

Vice Mayor Tom Kapper said, “Aesthetically, I don’t believe this (deck) should be sitting on the roof.”

Resident Tim DeBoy said he did not like the structure personally either. But he said Redington Shores is not a planned community “and the town cannot dictate what can be built on top of your house.”

“You can’t tell my neighbors what to do,” DeBoy said.

That point was also argued by a couple of other residents.

But Holmes said the Board of Commissioners “does have some authority.”

“You can’t just build anything you want,” said Holmes.

Adams said the decks on rooftop structures “should come down to the people who live (around) there.” There are at least three more similar rooftop structures being built or planned, he said. 

There are other rooftop decks that are on the water side of homes and can’t be seen from the road, said resident C.J. Hoyt.

The commission will seek residents’ opinions on rooftop structures, and look into a moratorium on their construction until a final decision on whether to permit them is made.

Neal said he thinks it’s a good idea to see what the majority of the residents think. “We’ll see how it shakes out,” he said.

A higher, simpler variance fee proposed

The current variance fee structure, which charges $400 for the first variance request and $100 for each additional request on the same application, is overly complex and fails to recoup all of the costs associated with processing, Commissioner MaryBeth Henderson said. She proposed a single $1,000 per case fee, regardless of the number of variances involved.

Under the present system, the town loses money on most variance applications, Henderson said. Processing a variance request includes paying the town’s special magistrate $135 per hour to research the variance, plus staff time to process it, plus the cost of mailing notices to neighbors.

The costs are usually higher than the fees, Henderson said. Charging one higher fee will simplify the process for variance applicants, while allowing the town to charge an amount closer to the actual costs of processing the variance request, she said. That way, those residents wanting a variance pay the costs, rather than the town’s taxpayers.

Residents at the meeting who spoke on the variance issue were supportive of the one-fee concept.

“A fixed fee is the way to go. It adds clarity and simplifies the process,” said Robert Thatcher.

The commission decided to move the $1,000 fixed variance rate forward for consideration at a future regular meeting, where it can be voted on.

Unified refuse carts for waste disposal

The town will look at offering 96-gallon refuse carts to residents. The cost would be added to their monthly waste collection bill, spread over a period of time.

Ian Boyle, of Waste Connections, the town’s trash hauler, said the carts are cleaner and provide a more uniform look.

Boyle said people like the carts because they have lids and are on wheels. They are also easier for the waste collection people, who “just tip them” into the truck, he said.

Boyle brought a cart to the meeting, which he will leave at Town Hall for residents to check out.

Commission members liked the idea of uniform refuse containers for all residents. “It’s cleaner and nicer. It’s great,” said Henderson.

Neal said the carts, with their lids, should help control trash blowing around during windy periods.

Mayor Adams said the carts could be tried in a limited area as a pilot program. He urged residents to stop by Town Hall to examine and comment on the cart on display there.

The carts would cost the town around $60,000, which is $60 per house, for solid waste, and more to add recycle carts. 

“We want to know what the residents think of this,” he said.

The commission will consider uniform refuse carts for residents again at a future workshop meeting.
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