Holmes Beach residents push back on rezoning request

acastillo@bradenton.comApril 3, 2014 

HOLMES BEACH -- Residents voiced their displeasure Wednesday night at a rezoning request during the Holmes Beach Planning Commission meeting.

Applicant Lizzie Lus Island Retreat LLC is requesting the property at 214 54th St., now zoned medium-density residential, be rezoned commercial with a mixed-use overlay, which allows residential uses above commercial or other non-residential uses.

This request upset some Holmes Beach residents who said it would be the first step toward commercializing their neighborhood.

City planner Bill Brisson recommended disapproval for the plan.

"That property could potentially have a commercial business on the bottom and anywhere from four to five resort housing or two residential units that would be allowed by the overlay," he said.

Properties to the west and north would be "potentially subjected to the impact zone of four or five potentially re

sort housing units."

"Now that is not something that anyone in that residential area had anticipated," he said.

Monica Simpson, the agent filing on behalf of property owners Benjamin and Keren ten Haaf, said she agreed with many of Brisson's points but defended the application as a redevelopment plan that lacks intensity.

"What the applicant is ultimately requesting is to have two residential units on the second floor and a small office space, two units on the ground floor," Simpson said.

Simpson asked for a continuance and said she plans on amending the application for a future planning commission meeting.

The meeting didn't begin immediately because the planning commission did not have Brisson's staff report, nor Simpson's materials, but decided to still hear from the public.

Retired firefighter Richard Motzer, who lives on 56th Street, said he never thought he would have to come before the commission to try to protect island residents from being taken over by business.

Nancy Deal, a retired teacher who lives a block away from the property, asked the planning commission if her neighborhood would become the next Pine Avenue.

The planning commission will continue to hear the issue at 7 p.m. May 21.

In other action, at the Parks and Beautification Committee meeting:

• A potential boardwalk leading to Grassy Point Preserve was discussed. Mayor Carmel Monti said the committee needs a full plan before making grant applications.

• The committee's planned lecture series was also discussed.

Amaris Castillo, Law Enforcement/Island reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. You can follow her on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.

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