Does the Town of Longboat Key have a “light and air” ordinance?
<>Similar to other communities, the Town Zoning Code has light and air regulations, known as Daylight Plane (Section 158.098 Zoning Code). The intent of the ordinance, adopted in 1997, is to preserve and protect existing residential structures through the regulation of scale, bulk and relationship to the adjacent environment of future development, and maintaining an appropriate balance within the scale of the buildings. Basically, it calls for greater building setbacks on the upper floors of buildings, which provides more light and air for adjacent buildings.
Can I trim the mangroves located water ward of my property?
The Department of Environmental Protection of the State of Florida (813-744-6100) regulates the trimming of mangroves. Trimming of this vital resource is strictly regulated and it is recommended that you contact the State to determine if any proposed trimming would require a State permit or would be allowed under the exemption criteria. Monetary fines and wetland restoration can result from the trimming of mangroves in excess of State requirements.
How can I determine what my property is zoned?
The Town has an adopted Zoning Map, as well as an adopted Future Land Use Map. The zoning of a parcel can be determined through the utilization of these maps or consultation with a member of the zoning staff. Reliance on the zoning information provided by an entity other than the Town of Longboat Key is not advised, as the information may not be up-to-date or accurate.
The Town has created a new Interactive Online Zoning Map where you can search by address for particular properties and retrieve zoning information, along with a link to the property appraiser's website.
What happens if a non-conforming multifamily or tourism property is damaged or destroyed by a Hurricane or other natural disaster?
In 2019, the Town amended the Town Zoning Code to permit limited reconstruction of existing multifamily or tourism properties that are legally nonconforming due to the current number of dwelling or tourism units exceeding the current allowable density of the Town Zoning Code (Section 158.132). Existing developments that are legally nonconforming due to the current number of dwelling or tourism units, may be reconstructed to the same number of units, and the same type of principal use(s) in existence prior to the reconstruction. In any redevelopment scenario, the overarching intent is to reduce or eliminate nonconformities with a preference that properties develop according to their zone district, especially gulf and pass waterfront yard setbacks, to the greatest extent possible. Three individual, and mutually exclusive, legal nonconforming density redevelopment options are provided.
What if I cannot comply with a Zoning Code requirement? Can I request a variance?
A variance can be requested for a departure from the dimensional or numerical requirements of the Zoning Code. The Zoning Board of Adjustment is the Town Commission appointed board that reviews variance requests. The Board must determine whether: the variance request is not be contrary to the public interest; the variance request is due to conditions peculiar to the property; variance request is not the result of the actions of the applicant; and, a literal enforcement of the chapter would result in unnecessary and undue hardship. A variance is authorized only for height, area, and size of structure or size of yards and open spaces, to the extent that such variance is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.
What is a non-conforming land use or structure?
As a community that was incorporated in 1955, the Zoning Code and property zoning has gone through a series of changes in the past five decades. As a result, many structures and uses of land do not comply with the current land development regulations. Consequently, these structures and land uses are considered to be non-conforming. These legally non-conforming land uses or structures can be maintained and repaired but not expanded. Section 158.131, of the Zoning Code, outlines the regulations that govern such nonconformities.
What is the difference between a Zoning Exception and Building Permit?
In 2004, Ordinance 04-12 was adopted exempting “minor work”, as determined by the Building Official, from requiring a building permit. However, due to zoning compliance issues, at-grade driveways, walkways, decks and patios, as well as fences and some walls, which do not require a building permit, shall be reviewed and approved by the Zoning Department through the Zoning Exception process , for compliance with the Zoning Code. A survey is typically required to verify that code requirements are met. The Zoning Exception review and approval process is typically less lengthy than the traditional building permit process. There is a $50.00 fee associated with a Zoning Exception. Please contact the Planning, Zoning & Building Department at 941-316-1966 to obtain an application.
What is the maximum allowable height of a single-family residential structure?
Article IV, Zoning Districts , of the Zoning Code, restricts the maximum allowable height of a single-family structure to 30-feet, as measured from the minimum habitable floor elevation as established by law to the highest point of any portion of the building (Section 158.144), with a few exceptions found in Section 158.098(C), of the Zoning Code.
What is the maximum allowable residential and tourism density permitted in the Town?
The Town does not differentiate between residential and tourism density. In both cases, the maximum allowable density is six (6)-units per acre. There are numerous legally non-conforming developments in the Town that exceed the current allowable density. These grandfathered developments are permitted to maintain the existing density until the property is redeveloped.
What kind of business can I open in the Town?
The type of business that you can open in the Town depends on the zoning district in which your property is located. Land within the Town is classified into one of 21 different zoning districts (4 of which are commercial oriented zoning districts), each allowing a variety of land uses and having its own character and development standards. To determine allowed uses for your property or other zoning assistance, call (941) 316-1966.
When am I required to obtain a Tree Permit from the Town for the removal of a tree?
A tree permit (Chapter 98 of the Town Code) is required for the removal of trees on all multi-family, commercial, and vacant single-family properties in the Town. Single-family lots with existing homes are exempt from the ordinance, except for the removal of Mangrove trees. Also, the removal of certain nuisance exotic trees are not required to obtain a permit anywhere in the Town, including Brazilian Peppers, Australian Pines and Carrotwood trees. Chapter 98 lists other nuisance exotic trees that are exempt from permitting and includes a recommended list of trees to plant in the Town. Please contact the Planning, Zoning & Building Department at 941-316-1966 to obtain an application.
Who should I contact if I have any other zoning or land development questions?
If you have a question about the zoning and tree codes, or their requirements, please call the Planning, Zoning and Building Department at 941-316-1966. Additionally, the Town Code, including the Subdivision Regulations (Chapter 157), the Zoning Code (Chapter 158), and the Tree Code (Chapter 98) are located on the Town’s Town Charter/Code.