CLEARWATER - On the heels of the Community Development Board's final action on the Skiff Point Condominium development, Council Member Bill Jonson took some time during last week's Council meeting to express his confusion with the decision that was made.
Jonson explained that his concern was rooted in Section 4-206 D.4. of the Community Development Code, which reads, "The burden of proof is upon the applicant to show by substantial competent evidence that he is entitled to the approval requested."
He said that he reviewed the application and watched the hearings looking for evidence relating to the requirements of Section 3-913 A.1., which reads "The proposed development of the land will be in harmony with the scale, bulk, coverage, density, and character of adjacent properties in which it is located."
"I heard a lot of references by the applicant to the general area, but none to the adjacent property," Jonson said. He pointed out that the application does ask a specific question about adjacent properties, but that the Skiff Point Condominium application discussed only aging duplex and triplex structures on the street, and failed to address the adjacent Skiff Harbor Townhomes that had been built in the 1980's.
Owners of the adjacent townhomes had criticized the Skiff Point Condominium development as being out of harmony. Neil Spillane, the owner of a unit at Skiff Harbor, testified at the April 19th CDB hearing, ""The proposed height of the new structure will in fact reach a total of 71 feet, which is 41 feet taller than current Skiff Point residences, a 237% increase."
Jonson wants the council to take action to ensure that adequate safeguards are provided for properties and neighborhoods in the vicinity of future infill development projects. He would like a code amendment that would consider applications incomplete if they do not provide information on adjacent properties. That way, the CDB would be presented with the factual evidence necessary for their decision making.
Jonson also wants the Council to give staff & CDB more guidance in what they should consider regarding adjacent properties and the harmony of any proposed development with them.
The Council is scheduled to discuss Jonson's concerns with the Community Development Code during their Worksession on August 1st. If the members agree to consider code changes, a public discussion will be held during the Council meeting on Thursday, August 4th.
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