INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - Although Larry Sandefer was an unsuccessful candidate for mayor in last month's election, when all was over Sandefer did not faded from the scene.
His campaigning gave him lots of information and insight into the city he previously served as a member of the City Commission.
Because he was unable to gain office, he cannot implement some of the things he picked up from residents, but he has asked the commission to do so.
One of these concerns is the number of variances granted by the commission. Sandefer wrote, in a letter to the commission, that this was a concern voiced by many citizens.
"If there are certain matters for which variances are routinely granted, I would ask the commission to change the codes and ordinances so that these would not be variances," Sandefer pointed out.
"Variances that are granted that are not warranted" are violations of the code, he wrote.
Another concern held by Sandefer is the status of the "triangle" south of Walsingham Road.
Sandefer said that many people asked if plans for the area are ever going to be resurrected.
Dealing with the triangle has been done in fits and starts dating back to the days of Eric Meserve, a city manager of many years ago.
The ideal situation, which would carry the area far beyond the nibbling at development that has taken place, would be to have a Rouse-like project take place, where the south part of the city would be a people magnet with shops, restaurants, promenades, etc.
Sandefer pointed out in his letter that the "area was to become pedestrian friendly with trees" and that changes were going to be made in the law to accommodate appropriate businesses.
"Much of this was done, then abandoned," Sandefer said. "The city has dock space there and area would be ideal for what the visioning sessions intended."
Sandefer said that a major concern of citizens was trying to keep the small "mom and pop" businesses that have given Indian Rocks Beach its particular character.
He also pointed out that many residents said the east side of Gulf Boulevard already has too many large buildings and favored restricting zoning to allow only two living levels over the garage level.
Many dock variances come about, Sandefer pointed out, because of silt building up in the fingers off the Intracoastal Waterway. As a result, docks have to be extended so sufficient water dept is available to residents' boats.
A potpourri of long docks eventually wind up with water paths being at least partially blocked. Dredging is the answer, Sandefer said, but this must be done by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He urged that the city start working on this and solve the water problems.
"The majority of citizens want to keep this a small and very unique beach town," Sandefer wrote and urged the commission to set a plan for the future.
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