Variance legality debated by commissioner/attorney

Published: Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 10:45 AM.

County Commissioner Joanna Bryan last week continued to question the legality of a variance recently approved by the Board of County Commissioners.

And with county attorney Jeremy Novak present for the meeting the discussion centered, as Novak noted late in the debate, on differing legal opinions.

Novak had not been present during the prior regular meeting when the BOCC, by a 3-1 vote with Bryan dissenting, approved a variance on property owned by Ellis Smith, Jr. which is adjacent to Veterans Memorial Park at Beacon Hill.

As the variance was being awarded, Bryan came under attack from fellow commissioners for her continued doubts over whether the variance was legal.

As part of receiving the variance, Smith, through his father Ellis Smith, pledged to deed to the county just under a quarter acre along the beachfront to provide “public beach access.”

That deed was part of last week’s consent agenda and Bryan requested it be pulled and urged commissioners to decline the deed.

“I believe the deed further compounds the problem,” Bryan said.

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