CLEARWATER - The planned revision to Beach by Design that would establish new development rules for the Old Florida District of Clearwater Beach has been delayed once again. Originally scheduled for a Community Development Board (CDB) hearing on December 20, it was continued to January 17.
According to Clearwater's Assistant Planning Director Gina Clayton, the hearing has been pulled from the CDB's January 17 agenda. Clayton wrote, "It was decided the Council should review the draft to make sure it reflects their expectations before it is presented to the CDB."
The proposed revisions do not meet the expectations of at least one Councilmember, Hoyt Hamilton. Although he cannot vote on the issue because of his family's financial interest in affected property, he is not shy about discussing it.
To establish a transition zone between the tourism and single-family residential areas of the beach, the proposed new rules limit building height on the north side of Somerset Street to 35 feet. But Hamilton is worried that the development potential of affected commercial properties would be unfairly restricted; "Some of the single-family homes are probably equal to the height limitation on commercial property," he said.
Hamilton is also concerned with the proposed setback requirements for buildings that exceed 35 feet in height. He thinks that the area's mix of lot sizes and shapes do not allow uniform development criteria.
"They want setbacks to create view corridors," Hamilton said, "but development of small lots may require a second parking level." A second parking level would displace one floor of residential units, limiting a small property's development potential.
Hamilton also said that the increased setbacks might not produce the desired result. He said that most redevelopment projects would include swimming pools, and that City code requires those pools to be fenced. Hamilton observed that the likely use of six foot vinyl stockade fencing would eliminate the hoped-for view corridors.
The proposed revisions to Beach by Design will be debated during the Council Meeting on January 19th.
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