Longboat lightning rod issue returns for a vote

Editor & Publisher

The issue of how tall a lightning rod protection system should be allowed to rise above a home’s height on Longboat Key will be up for a final vote at an Oct. 5 commission meeting.

The commission will vote on new rules that were promulgated by a company that installs lightning protection systems. The issue arose on Longboat Key after the applicant, John Barber of Windemuller Technical Services installed a system at 640 Halyard Lane in Country Club Shores in Longboat Key, that exceeded the town’s height regulations.

The applicant requested that lightning protection systems be named an allowable exception to height and daylight plane regulations.

Barber installed at the Halyard Lane residence a lightning system that exceeded the 30-foot zoning code limit by six feet and the property has not been granted a certificate of occupancy since.

Since applying, town staff has agreed with the applicant that lightning protection systems should find some relief in the code and worked with the applicant to try to find a balance between height and aesthetic impacts.

Over the past few months, while the issue has simmered in town hall, dozens of residents have fought against allowing rooftop protrusions.

In an effort to guide the commission, town staff show that some neighboring communities allow lightning rods to exceed height limitations.

The town commission was advised last June by the University of Florida that tall lightning protection masts do not offer any advantages over standard 12-inch lightning masts.

But the commission last month, decided to move forward with an ordinance that will allow six-foot rods in residential districts.

At the meeting on Oct. 5, if the commission goes along with the allowance of up to a six-foot height, the new rules will become adopted following a vote.

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