Beacon Hill variance roils commission

Published: Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 10:08 AM.

During the Board of County Commissioners meeting on Tuesday a prickly debate broke out over a variance requested by a property owner in the Beacon Hill area across U.S. 98 from Veterans Memorial Park and abutting park land on the beach side.

The variance had been tabled for more information last meeting by Commissioner Warren Yeager, who along with the county attorney and county administrator was not present for the meeting.

The parcel in question has been the subject of some controversy in the past as previous owners have sought concessions from the BOCC due to constraints on developing the parcel.

In turn, county veterans and supporters of the park have consistently protested plans to develop the parcel as an infringement on the park and its land.

Ellis Smith, a Georgia attorney and current landowner, was joined by his local attorney and engineer and protested several statements made during the previous meeting about the legality of the variance.

“I’ve been singled out and treated differently than anybody in the county,” Smith said.

He said he was deeding over a quarter acre of the parcel for beach access from the park in order for his son to secure the variance, a variance which he said was legal.

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