Cottage elevated in Bradenton Beach

BB Cottage Elevation
Chris Miller’s 1952 cottage now stands taller than his neighbors’ homes to the north and south. The cottage was lifted up and placed on timbers as part of a process called timber cribbing. - Joe Hendricks | Sun

BRADENTON BEACH – Chris Miller recently had his 1952 ground-level cottage elevated.

Miller’s 452-square-foot cottage is located on a half lot at 1201 B Gulf Drive S. He bought the cottage in 2010 and in 2012 applied for the variances needed at that time to elevate an existing structure.

“It’s an old cottage. Mr. Miller really wanted to keep the cottage, and he recognized there’s space limitations. He had to apply for variances in order to fit it on the lot because it wouldn’t fit within a 10-foot setback,” Bradenton Beach Building Official Steve Gilbert said.

In 2016, Bradenton Beach’s land development code was amended in a manner that now allows existing structures to be elevated without a variance, as long as the elevation occurs in the existing footprint. Miller started his permitting process before these changes took place.

When asked about the advantages of elevating an existing cottage, Gilbert said, “If you want to keep the cottages and save a lot of money on flood insurance just elevate them, because flood insurance is going up 23 to 25 percent a year.”

In recent years, many cottage homes have been demolished and replaced with larger, elevated homes.

When asked if elevating cottages is common in Bradenton Beach, Gilbert said, “It’s the first that I know of. They put it on I-beams and used hydraulic jacks to jack it up on timbers. They lifted it up and shifted it to where it was supposed to go pursuant to the variance orders the special master approved in 2012. And the neighbors to the back are not happy. They bought their place about a year ago and Mr. Miller’s place had not been elevated yet, so they didn’t know it was going to get elevated.”

As of last week, no one was yet residing in the recently elevated cottage, and it appeared there was still more work to do.