Planning & Zoning Board votes against hedge law
At the Tuesday, June 19 Longboat Key Planning & Zoning Board meeting, the board voted against a proposed ordinance that would have allowed for the selective enforcement of maximum hedge heights in side yards where waterfront views would be blocked.
Board members did not resolve all planting and maintenance rights of property owners as the issue was complicated.
The issue originated from a town requirement that 75 percent of landscape areas for condominiums and 50 percent of single-family homes be planted with trees and shrubs.
The town eliminated its 6-foot height restriction on side-yard hedges in 2008, but continued to enforce 3-foot height limits for waterfront yards.
The problem of hedge heights grew when a resident complained that his neighbors bamboo had grown too tall and was blocking his view. Sleepy Lagoon resident Morris Kertzer said his neighbor’s bamboo was 12 feet high, and the town does not recognize bamboo as a tree, but as a hedge, and therefore is not regulated by the town. Then three residents at Marina Bay complained that there is a 35-foot shrub between their condominium and Harbour Oaks which blocks their water view. Town staff proposed limiting hedge heights to 6 feet in portions of side yards involving two properties with different waterfront views.
The ordinance did not, however, address the issue of bamboo as a side-yard plant.