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Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2013 Page 25 County Commission. "It is my understanding that the County Commission ruled that the channel is no longer there," wrote Deputy City Attorney Mike Connolly. "Consequently there is no channel to maintain with the dredge." REPLACING A BURNED-DOWN HOUSE A map shows the location of the house at 4449 Bay Shore Road in Sarasota. Image from Google Maps of environmental studies at New College — that you can walk straight across the "channel" at low tide and not get your ankles wet. Whatever was there is now totally filled in and covered with flourishing seagrass. Even if no channel exists today, does that mean new owners cannot reopen an old channel? At what point does "maintenance" end and "restoration" begin? Tim Litchet, director of neighborhood and development services for the city, said the existing zoning code for the City of Sarasota does not define "maintenance." A dictionary says it is an activity to keep something in working order. If it is not in working order, then it must be "restored." Litchet used the example of a house that burned down to its slab. "Under existing zoning interpretation we would view the reconstruction as new construction, and not maintenance," he wrote in a memo. Armour would like to cut a trench 400 feet down to a level 4 feet below mean lower low water (the sounding used on charts). The re- "When the channel is gone, there is nothing quest was delivered last May. A stir erupted there to maintain," he told the city commisin City Hall over the definition of the word sioners on July 1. "maintenance" — and a second stir resulted when city and county staff disagreed over In my 25 years with the city, I who actually has the power to issue or deny cannot recall any citizen ever requesting a permit. The city's zoning code, while brief, is explicit: "There shall be no dredging operations seaward beyond established mean highwater [sic] lines, except for those dredging operations necessary to maintain boat channels and basins." Armour first tried to get permission from the county, but he was turned down 5-0 by the a 400 foot 'maintenance dredge' to get to the inter-coastal waterway [sic], in a channel that has nearly completely silted in and now has sea grass growing in the area where the channel was located. Tim Litchet Director of Neighborhood and Development Services City of Sarasota

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