Building Industry Association CEO wins County Commission appointment to Board of Zoning Appeals

Jon Mast to serve term through January 2020

Jon Mast. File photo

Just a day before one of its most recent decisions was the focus of public comments, the Sarasota County Board of Zoning Appeals gained a new member.

On July 11, Jon Mast of Sarasota, CEO of the Manatee-Sarasota Building Industry Association, won unanimous County Commission appointment to the advisory board. He was the only applicant for the vacancy created by the resignation of Thomas Stovall, according to a July 11 staff memo to the County Commission. Attendance records for the Board of Zoning Appeals show that Stovall attended meetings in January and May of 2016 — the only two held by the board before he submitted his resignation.

Mast’s term will be in effect through the end of January 2020, the memo notes.

His appointment was part of the County Commission’s Consent Agenda of routine business items on July 11. No commissioner commented on Mast’s application.

Coincidentally, on July 12, Mast’s wife, Teresa, won County Commission appointment to an unexpired term on the county’s Planning Commission.

Several Siesta Key residents appeared before the County Commission on July 12 to seek an amendment to the county’s Siesta Key Overlay District (SKOD) zoning regulations to make it possible for commercial buildings taller than 35 feet to have a street setback less than the 25-foot minimum the county’s zoning administrator deems necessary. On June 12, the Board of Zoning Appeals split 3-2 on a request to overturn Zoning Administrator Donna Thompson’s ruling pertaining to SKOD setbacks. One member of the board recused himself from the discussion. Otherwise, the potential existed for a 3-3 vote, given Stovall’s earlier resignation.

As a result of the advisory board’s vote, attorney Charles D. Bailey III of the Williams Parker law firm in Sarasota said a Petition for Writ of Certiorari would be filed on behalf of his client, Siesta Acquisitions LLC, to try to overturn the decision. On July 13, Robert K. Lincoln of Sarasota filed the Writ, according to 12th Judicial Circuit Court records. Lincoln argues that Thompson “legally erred by ignoring the plain language of the Zoning Code and rewriting the ordinance to impose an incorrect street yard setback requirement for properties zoned [Commercial General/SKOD].”

Bailey is a land use attorney and — unlike Lincoln — does not handle litigation.

Dr. Gary Kompothecras. News Leader photo

Dr. Gary Kompothecras, a chiropractor best known for his “1-800-Ask-Gary” advertising, is the principal of Siesta Acquisitions. Bailey told the County Commission on July 12 that Kompothecras is interested in building a hotel on Old Stickney Point Road.

The commissioners agreed to ask staff to look into amending the SKOD ordinance to clear up the setback issue; they indicated that if they ultimately take that action, Siesta Acquisitions’ pursuit of a court remedy will be unnecessary.

As for Mast: Prior to his work for the Building Industry Association, he was general manager of Business Center operations for the county’s Planning and Development Services Department. He also served at various times as interim manager of the county’s Code Enforcement Division and as manager of the Land Development Services Division, Mast noted in his application. Moreover, he is a Florida certified general contractor, he added.

In response to the application question about what he feels would be his most important contribution as a member of the Board of Zoning Appeals, Mast wrote that he can “provide well thought out decisions based upon the knowledge of the zoning code.” He pointed out that he had dealt with the Zoning Code as a private citizen, as a general contractor and as a county employee.