Decision On Eldorado Property Postponed - Again
By Anne McKay Garris
In August of 2007, owners of the property at 755 Eldorado Avenue on Clearwater Beach were cited by the City for installing paving in the 5-foot setback utility easement at the rear of their property. Staff pointed out to the owners that the paving should not have been done without a permit. To obtain a permit, they must first get the easement vacated. This, according to the code, could not be allowed if there were actives utilities in the easement. The owners were also told they must provide evidence that the property was eligible for "infill" development, the only zoning designation which allows zero rear setback in single family zoning. In spite of the code violation, the owners were allowed to make application, after the fact.
The applicants submitted aerial photographs showing that several properties in the neighborhood had buildings in the rear setback utility easement. Neighbors protested that none of these were permitted buildings. Staff research affirmed this, finding that the utility easement extended for two blocks along the rear property lines.
The applicants applied for "infill" status so that they could build to the rear property line. Staff pointed out that the property did not fit several of the requirements for "infill" status, including the requirement that the paving would be compatible with adjacent uses.
In December, staff denied the application, pointing out the code does not allow vacation of active utility easements. Additionally, staff found the evidence for claiming "infill" status was insufficient. The property owners appealed staff's decision to the Community Development Board.
On February 19, 2008, the Community Development Board agreed to allow the applicants to continue the issue until a March 18 meeting. Citizens who had attended the public hearing before the Board, in order to urge that the staff's denial be upheld, were told that the Board could not legally refuse the continuances and they would have to come back in March if they wanted to speak.
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