By ABBEY KUNKLE
Special to the PRESS
January 8, 2015
The Board of Adjustments and Appeals met Tuesday morning for their first meeting of the New Year. Nine a.m. rolled around and with only three of five members in attendance, there was concern that the meeting would be cancelled due to the lack of a fourth member to make quorum. After some quick phone calls, a fourth member arrived.
The board started the meeting and the year with the election of a Chairman and Vice Chairman. Roy De los Santos, Jr. was nominated and accepted to continue in his position as Chairman. He requested nominations for Vice Chairman, but with no nominations given, asked if anyone had an interest in the position. Member Steven Burch considered the position, was nominated by De los Santos, Jr., and accepted.
Recent meetings for the Board of Adjustments and Appeals have resulted in quick but well-informed decisions by the board, however, Tuesday’s meeting proved to be take a bit longer than usual. The commotion was regarding a zoning request by Clayton Brashear, owner of Clayton’s Beach Bar and Grill, for a variance to build a 200 space caliche parking lot on a 60 by 1200 foot area just south of his business. City Ordinance requires that parking lots be made with either concrete or asphalt, and Dr. Kim, Director of Development Services, and city staff recommended that the variance request be denied with concern that this could become a fairness issue in the future. In May of 2013, the board approved Clayton’s variance to keep the existing caliche parking lot that was already being used for excess parking. This variance request falls under a different category as it is an application to build a new parking lot for a new venture. The Board of Adjustments and Appeals has never approved a variance request of this type.
The new venture that was brought up is the construction of a surf-side pier to be built near Clayton’s Beach Bar and Grill. Brashear has been working on this project for two years and stated that he will soon be receiving the permit in the mail. Obtaining a permit for a pier was a challenge, but Brashear believes that it will bring more business to the island. He added that parking is the next issue to address.
The board received many letters both for and against the approval of the variance but also in reference to the construction of the pier. In reference to concerns over the pier, Chairman De los Santos reminded attendees of the purpose of the Board of Adjustments and Appeals saying, “This board doesn’t have any oversight over those items. All we’re here to talk about today, or all this board has authority to rule on today, is what the application is before us and that is whether or not Mr. Brashear can deviate from the city ordinance requirement of using concrete or asphalt for his parking area.”
Brashear addressed the board and the community about the benefits that a pier could bring. He showed pictures and shared that a wooden pier would bring some nostalgia back to the island and could become a destination for fishing and surfing tournaments, creating a surf break while also having an economic impact on the renourishment of the beach in that area. Many owners and residents of The Tiki Condominiums were opposed to the caliche parking lot primarily based on concerns over limiting the number of visitors to the area, but Brashear noted that other businesses in the immediate surrounding area had no qualms with the material of the lot.
Even though his presentation was very compelling, board member Jerry Pace interrupted clarifying that the pier was not of consequence to the issue at hand. He said, “We’re not voting on your business, sir. We’re voting on a parking lot.”
Chairman De los Santos added, “What we’re talking about here today is a parking lot, and if it’s going to be a parking lot, the code is very specific.” After hearing all the comments about the issue he called for a vote, and the motion was unanimously denied.
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