Reddington Shores looks to outlaw some rooftop decks

Under a proposed ordinance in Redington Shores, decks on flat roofs, such as the one on the left, will continue to be allowed. However, a deck over a peaked roof, such as the one on the right, will be allowed only if the area below the deck is enclosed so the roof cannot be seen. The code would affect only new construction. Existing structures would be “grandfathered in.”

REDINGTON SHORES – After hearing complaints about rooftop structures that some consider unsightly and unsafe, the Town Commission at its Jan. 31 workshop looked at changing its roof deck ordinance.

The law, as revised, states that “no decks or other accessory structures are permitted to be built on the top of the roof of a single family or a duplex structure that leaves the undercarriage of the structure exposed.”

What that means, Commissioner Jeff Neal said, is that, under the revised ordinance being considered, rooftop decks are allowed on flat roofs, but not on peaked roofs where the roof can be seen below the deck. The only way a deck could be built atop a peaked roof is for all the area under the deck to be enclosed so that the roof is hidden.

The revised roof deck ordinance is a response to concerns expressed by commission members, a former commissioner and residents at a commission meeting last August over the aesthetics and safety of a couple of rooftop decks on peaked roofs.

At that meeting, Mayor Bert Adams said the controversial decks are permitted because “there is nothing in our code to stop it.” While the decks are not illegal, Adams said “I’m not sure (flat decks over peaked roofs) meet the aesthetics of our community.”

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

Commissioner Pat Drumm said at the August meeting his concerns were mostly about safety. Winds could “send things falling off the deck, crashing into other homes.” Commissioner Jeff Neal said the decks are made of wood, and wood can rot. In a thunderstorm, he said, “all these parts and pieces will blow off.”

Existing rooftop decks that do not meet the new standards will be “grandfathered in,” meaning they will be allowed to remain. But all roof decks in the future must meet the new requirements if the revised ordinance is passed.

That will likely happen at the February commission meeting, when the issue will be voted on. No commissioners expressed any objection at the January workshop. Commissioner Drumm was absent. A second reading and vote on the ordinance will be required in March.

Beach accesses for pedestrians only

The beach accesses provide residents and visitors with a means to walk to and enjoy the town’s mile-long beachfront. But some are ignoring the signs prohibiting vehicles, Commissioner Mary Beth Henderson said.

“The beach accesses are for pedestrians only. They were never intended for vehicles or personal use,” Henderson said. The town has had problems, she said, with one builder in particular who used an access for their own personal use by parking vehicles on it.

Henderson introduced an ordinance restricting the use of the beach access to strictly pedestrian use, which she said would “put into writing (in the code) what our signs already say.”

Asked by Adams if a homeowner doing some construction work could have vehicles on a beach access temporarily, Henderson said she did not think that would be a problem. “But when you start setting up shop,” that becomes an issue, she said. The builder she referred to “asked for and was granted a variance, but he shouldn’t have expected that he could use the beach access for several months.”

The commission is expected to vote on the beach access ordinance in February and March.