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Treasure Island war brews over parking lot rules

TREASURE ISLAND — The Tuesday City Commission meeting is shaping up as a showdown with the planning board over proposed new rules governing permanent and temporary parking lots in the city.

The entire planning and zoning board is upset about the commission's rejection of some of its recommended changes to parking rules.

Particularly at issue is the commission's flat refusal to allow temporary short-term parking in residential areas for special events.

"This is poor governance. It was disappointing at the least," planning board chairman Heidi Horak told her members Wednesday. "There it goes, 10 months of your work, folks. It has been annihilated."

She asked all members of the planning board to attend Tuesday night's commission workshop to "defend our work."

Planning board members reacted strongly Wednesday after listening to extended clips of the commission's workshop discussion this month of the board's proposed parking rules.

"I saw no indication of any understanding of why we were making our recommendations," planning board member Frank McConnell said. "I found it offensive."

McConnell said the commission had taken a "cavalier attitude" toward the board's work.

"I am not sure I can keep my temper. The level of ignorance in terms of the purpose of zoning and that it affects all private property was incredible. It was effing unbelievable," McConnell said.

Board vice chairman Chris Sierra said he was "stunned and dumbfounded" over the commission's refusal not only to accept the recommendations but to agree to meet with the planning board to "clarify what is clearly their error."

Member Kevin Johnson suggested that each city commissioner should receive a DVD recording of the planning board's comments.

"I am not going to spend another thousand hours on another section of the zoning code and have it decimated like this one," Horak said, stressing that her board's role is to recommend rules that work for the entire city, not just one area.

Parking lot regulation in Sunset Beach became a hot topic during the past year, particularly as it related to off-site lots owned and operated by Caddy's bar and restaurant.

Some Sunset Beach residents sued the city in an attempt to reduce crowds of often rowdy beachgoers they say are attracted by Caddy's. They contended that the city had failed to enforce its zoning codes prohibiting Caddy's off-site parking lots. They lost.

Caddy's has seven off-site properties with about 200 parking spaces.

Treasure Island does not allow any off-site parking lots, but the city has taken no formal action against the lots while new parking regulations are decided.

The proposed new zoning code, unanimously approved by the planning board, defines different types of parking lots (special event, temporary, standalone, off-site, shared, remote and accessory) and determines the zones where they would be banned or allowed either as a permitted use or by special exception.

Treasure Island war brews over parking lot rules 02/12/11 [Last modified: Saturday, February 12, 2011 3:30am]
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