Neighbors contest private gym at Island home

Islanders neighboring a waterfront mansion under construction near Franklin Landing have filed two requests with the city’s planning department to prevent the addition of a private gymnasium as a part of the home.

Calling themselves Neighbors Against Improper Land-Use, the group that lives along Boulevard Place has asked the city to deny a requested impervious surface variance for the gym. They want the Planning Commission to review a code interpretation that allows such facilities on Island single family properties. The Planning Commission will hear the group’s appeal at 7:30 p.m. next Wednesday, Nov. 5, at City Hall.

According to the public hearing notice from the city, the neighborhood group is contesting an interpretation by Development Services Director Steve Lancaster that ruled the Island’s municipal code allows full-size private gymnasiums in residential homes.

“The City Council never intended for such structures to be built in a single-family neighborhood and associated with a single-family home. [That] is apparent from other provisions in the code,” the neighborhood group claims. “That is not a reasonable interpretation.”

The proposed 6,300-square-foot gym would be a part of the seven-bedroom home currently under construction on a 1.67-acre lot located in the 4100 block of Boulevard Place. The original plans for the home included an outdoor basketball court, but the homeowner submitted a revision for the gymnasium in July. That revision has not yet been approved. Plans show that the indoor basketball court includes a retractable batting cage and simulation golf room.

City planners estimate the total square footage of the home, if the gym is included, to be about 25,000, the largest home ever built on the Island to date. Plans also show an auto court of 2,500 square feet, a 6,500-square-foot pool and several patios, walkways and balconies.

The group is asking the seven citizens serving on the planning commission to reverse Lancaster’s decision permitting the gymnasium. They argue that the interpretation “ignores critical language in the code, takes certain words out of context and gives them a meaning that the code does not support and ignores other relevant provisions.”

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