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Zephyrhills council grants exceptions for oversized garages

ZEPHYRHILLS — City Council members approved two requests Monday for oversized garages, but council member Jodi Wilkeson wasn't too happy about it.

"If we have ordinances, we need to stick with them unless there is a real hardship," said Wilkeson, who stood alone in voting against both conditional use permit requests. "I'm concerned we're going to be setting a precedent."

The ordinance governing stand-alone accessory buildings, such as garages, sets a size limit of 625 square feet. James Simpson wants to build a 720-square-foot garage next to his home at 39756 Meadowood Loop. Juanita Eiland has plans for a 750-square-foot garage on her property at 5203 Eighth St., which sits within the city's historic district. The materials designated for the garage — aluminum siding, for example — do not match the concrete block house, Wilkeson said, which is preferred in the historic district.

"Why have historic guidelines if we're not going to follow them?" Wilkeson asked.

City Planner Todd Vande Berg noted the city's historic preservation committee approved the permit request.

City Council member Charles Proctor said that while he agrees that ordinances need to be followed, he also believes property owners should have some leeway in using their land as they wish.

Members agreed with council member Lance Smith's suggestion that they take another look at the building ordinances to determine if they need to be adjusted.

In other business, the Zephyrhills

City Council:

• Gave final approval for ordinances annexing the property of City Manager Jim Drumm and five other homes on 16th Street, Fountain Road and Daughtery Road. Members also passed the first readings of annexation requests for seven homes on Calumet Avenue and 12th Street, near Zephyrhills High School.

• Approved a $2 surcharge for residents who choose to pay their utility bill with a credit card online. Officials plan to have the service available by July 1.

• Gave final consent for a plan to significantly increase the size of the Community Redevelopment Area and an accompanying plan to revitalize the area with improvements, to include additional downtown parking, more recreational facilities and tourism draws, and making roads more user-friendly with improved design and street signs.

Zephyrhills council grants exceptions for oversized garages 05/15/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 10:57pm]

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