CLEARWATER - City Council approval of proposed amendments to Beach by Design was again delayed, as Council members agreed to two last-minute modifications during their March 2nd meeting.
The proposed amendments would have created legal non-conforming structures and uses within the district. One of those, the Palm Pavilion, is owned by the family of Council member Hoyt Hamilton.
Hamilton had explained during the Council's Monday work session that a provision of the new rules that limited commercial uses to Mandalay Avenue would make the Palm Pavilion, a beachfront restaurant, non-conforming. As a consequence, the building could not be rebuilt if destroyed by a fire or other disaster. "Is that the intent of staff or this body," Hamilton asked.
Apparently not. The Council on Thursday agreed to modify the rules to not only allow the Palm Pavilion to continue as a conforming use, but to also allow beachfront restaurants throughout the Old Florida District.
The Council also considered another aspect of non-conformity that the Beach By Design amendments were about to create. Several condominium projects had recently been approved at heights that exceeded the proposed limitations; enactment of the new rules would have made these recently or soon-to-be constructed residential structures non-conforming as well.
City Attorney Pam Akin explained that a non-conforming condo building destroyed by a hurricane or other disaster could not be rebuilt with its current height and number of units. The council decided to accommodate them now rather than leave the issue for a future Council, asking staff to rewrite the Beach By Design amendments to allow those structures to be rebuilt to their current height and density.
The Council will conduct another hearing and vote on the proposed code amendments during their March 16th meeting.
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