St. Pete Beach Board Grants Variance Requests Amid Controversy

In a recent St. Pete Beach Board of Adjustment meeting, members granted several variance requests, including one for new development despite public opposition and concerns over potential self-imposed hardship. The approved variances spanned from adjustments to Green Building standards for a new office building, to the design of a single-family dwelling that required additional height for an elevator shaft, to setback reductions for a proposed four-story structure. The meeting also dealt with the aftermath of a hurricane, with the board considering a new sign for a local business that did not meet the required setbacks.

The most contentious discussion involved a variance request by Grant McClaflin of PJ Callahan Construction for the development of a new office building on behalf of Steven and Michelle Boil of Boiling Point Enterprises LLC. The request was to reduce the number of Green Building standards from two to one for a property located at the northeast corner of Gulf Boulevard and 75th Avenue. The applicant suggested that adopting the Florida water star program would not only fit the area better but also exceed the water efficiency criteria, especially regarding irrigation water usage. The board debated the relevance of the Florida water star certification, as it was not among the original criteria listed in the code. Concerns were voiced about the project’s compatibility with the neighborhood and its impact on property values. The board called for additional testimony from the applicant, who will provide more details on the Florida water star correspondence and compliance in a future meeting.

Another variance request came from an applicant seeking approval for a new single-family dwelling that exceeded the permitted height due to a proposed elevator shaft leading to the Moon deck. The dwelling was designed with ADA access in mind, and the applicant stressed that without the variance, the elevator shaft would have to be eliminated. Despite staff’s recommendation to deny the variance based on the significant detriment to the zoning code and historic preservation board’s advice, the board approved the request. Members acknowledged the need for the elevator for accessibility and the minimal nature of the 11-inch variance.

The board also reviewed a request by Anthony Ferino for the installation of a monument sign for the Sea Palms Motel and Polynesian Putter, a mini-golf course. The proposed sign, smaller than the one destroyed in a hurricane in October 2022, did not meet the required 10-foot front yard setbacks. Despite no public letters for or against the request, Scott Shammy and Tina Douglas voiced opposition during the meeting. Shammy raised concerns about the sign’s height and its impact on the historical integrity of the neighborhood. Following the discussion, the board recommended approval of the sign with a condition that its layout is amended for better visibility of the street address numbers.

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Additionally, the board considered a variance to reduce front yard and rear yard setbacks for a new four-story structure by Casey Sanders on behalf of Albert Paul Nicholas Jr of Smiley Snack Shack St. Pete Beach Incorporated. The property, located at the northwest corner of 37th Avenue and Gulf Boulevard, required variances to accommodate a rooftop deck. The staff found the request reasonable due to the property’s unique orientation. The board recommended approval with the stipulation that design features remain as presented in the submitted plans.

Lastly, the board heard from Katie Cole, representing an applicant facing challenges with a lot’s orientation and dual frontages. The request was for flexibility in architectural design, particularly in height and setback. The board approved the project with an adjusted condition to allow for design variations and agreed to maintain a two-car garage per unit to prevent on-street parking issues.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Mayor:
Adrian Petrila
Zoning Board Officials:
Paul Skipper, Joe Moholland, Michael Bomar, Denise Chase, Dan Small, Kristin Coman (Senior Planner)

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