Committee may be created to form new building codes for Cedar Key

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By Kellie Parkin

City Attorney David Coffey presented commissioners with a way to potentially strengthen building code laws. By forming of committee of knowledgeable and industry-specialized residents to create a Form Based Code (FBC) system, Coffey said, it could ensure future development stays consistent with current property usage and desire.

The Form Based Code would incorporate some and replace all of the current Land Development Regulations and building codes.

On the proposed rigorous schedule, the FBC Committee would be appointed at the Feb. 17 commission meeting and immediately proceed to collecting existing data in digital format such as maps, building plans, and photographs. Committee members would then perform site visits, documenting various aspects of the community through photography and written reports.

Data collection would run from Mar. 1 to June 1, at which point the appointees would begin drafting the code, and work through Oct. Public review, comments and suggestions would take place from Nov. – Jan. The tight schedule would allow for the process to be complete one year from now, with final approval Feb. 2010.

“I see no problems with the committee,” Said Commissioner Pat O’Neal. “But I think the timeline will stretch much further if we’re going to do it right.”

Commissioner Gene Hodges agreed and added that he doesn’t want to wait until November for review. “I want to be kept abreast of what’s going on.” Others agreed.

Commissioner Scott Dennison said that it may be a good idea, but expressed some reservations. “I don’t think the current Land Development Regulations protect Cedar Key from Staying Cedar Key,” he said. “But it’s a delicate path. Where do you stop and allow for property owner rights?” He gave as an example of how he once painted his house pink. “A lot of people were very upset that I did that – but I like pink, and it was my right.”

Commissioners agreed to that each would bring a potential appointee with them to the next meeting to establish the committee. Coffey also encouraged the involvement of local students. “They really know the area,” he said. He said the added benefit of working with area adolescents is that they know what development they like or dislike, without the politics that resonate in the history.

More discussion will follow and commissioners concurred that updates will be needed often to ensure that the committee is on the right path and will not be a wasted effort.