By Steve Plunkett
A request to paint garage doors black has Gulf Stream trying to discover the best way to keep design elements on its “discouraged” list from showing up in town.
The town’s architectural guidelines allow certain features, prohibit some and discourage others. A project can have as many as three discouraged items and still win approval.
Mayor Scott Morgan said the distinction has bothered him ever since his days on Gulf Stream’s Architectural Review and Planning Board.
“If it’s something that the town doesn’t want, why are we allowing it?” Morgan asked.
Discouraged elements come into play mainly in proposals to enlarge homes, the mayor said, offering as an example larger, taller eaves on second-story additions.
“When you have not just one but two and three discouraged elements, you can get a house that really doesn’t fit in the context of our neighborhoods,” he said. “Some houses have made it through that matched the code, you couldn’t prohibit them, but they had these discouraged elements that did not look right. They’re not right.”
Gary Cantor is building a new, single-story home on Palm Way and presented plans in August at a meeting that Morgan missed. The plans included black shutters and garage doors. Noting that the town discourages any color but white, commissioners asked Cantor’s architect to consider painting the doors gray.
Town Clerk Rita Taylor said the discouraged list was developed when Gulf Stream first adopted design rules in 1992 to add some flexibility. “It didn’t make such a harsh change from when they could do most anything they wanted to,” she said.
Taylor said the ability to approve discouraged elements proved valuable for renovations to a large, older house on the beach. “By using the discouraged feature, they’ve been able to show us a very nice change to the structure,” she said. “I’m not saying they couldn’t have done it without that, but they did use that to their advantage and our advantage.”
Commissioners directed the ARPB to review the design manual and evaluate whether to continue using the discouraged list. The review will not affect applications in progress, Morgan said.
In other business, commissioners asked staff attorney Trey Nazzaro to fine-tune a proposed ordinance regulating how soon plywood must be taken off windows and doors after tropical storms. At the November meeting, Commissioner Donna White said a Place Au Soleil residence still had plywood nailed up two months after Hurricane Irma’s winds.