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Developing LBK’s future

STEVE REID
Editor & Publisher
sreid@lbknews.com

There are numerous multi-family and tourism properties on Longboat Key that are non-conforming in that they have more dwelling units on them than are technically allowed by the current zoning code. The town is working to do something to help owners be able to redevelop these properties with the existing number of units they now enjoy in a way that will allow them to be more sizable and arguably more marketable.

Currently the town’s land-use regulations and Comprehensive Plan place strict limitations on the redevelopment of such properties. In short, you can only build to the size and scale of what you own.

Longboaters voted in 2008 and passed a referendum that allows these non-conforming properties to redevelop at their current unit levels, but they must not increase the size of the units. That has meant that if property owners wish to redevelop larger more marketable units, they have to decrease the number of units to accommodate the additional square footage.

The proposed language and regulations that were sent to the commission by the Planning and Zoning Board and staff proposes to allow more flexibility in increasing the size of units while allowing the same number of units to be rebuilt.

Town Manager Dave Bullock said 2008 referendum showed that the public is comfortable with the number of units that exist on the key, but the question is does the town want to allow units that may be more marketable with less limitations.

According to Town Planning Director Alaina Ray, the current rules render redevelopment to existing densities or unit counts, “virtually impossible while also responding to current market demands for higher ceilings, larger units, more outdoor space, etc.”

The town commission will consider the proposed land use changes, ordinance, and amendments at its regular workshop on Tuesday, Jan. 20 at 1 p.m.

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