Topaz Beach clears lease potential snag

County commissioners approved a request to amend the lease on a seven-acre Navarre Beach parcel to allow construction of the proposed 66-house Topaz Beach subdivision, but the project hit a snag last night.

The Zoning Board voted against two measures that would have altered setbacks on the property, allowing for more units to fit in the area. In some places the setbacks from the property line would have been reduced to 4 feet.

Residents showed up in opposition of the development to both meetings. They voiced concerns it will result in relatively small lots they fear will lead to overcrowding in the White Sands Boulevard area, but the commissioners unanimously agreed that the lease should be rewritten to permit single family homes.

The land is zoned for medium density residential development, which is compatible with the Topaz Beach plans.

But the lease currently only allows the land to be used for multifamily housing or a recreational vehicle park.

Though the setback variances were denied, developer Jerry McGuire who represents property owners Steve and Ann Hering said they will appeal the decision to the commissioners in December.

The commissioners, who can override zoning board decisions, said they are unanimously in favor of seeing Topaz Beach built.

One caveat: Hering must pay about $490,000 in back taxes on the property before County Administrator Tony Gomillion issues the necessary development order. Hering has said he will pay the taxes when he obtains financing for the project—which is yet to come.

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