Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Condo's Rooftop Maidens Raise Code Debate; Just Sculptures or Are They Spires?

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Condo's Rooftop Maidens Raise Code Debate; Just Sculptures or Are They Spires?

Article excerpt

Byline: Caren Burmeister, Shorelines staff writer

JACKSONVILLE BEACH -- Three 8-foot-tall maidens planned for the rooftop of the art deco-style Lorelei condo in Jacksonville Beach have stirred up a debate over the interpretation of the city's land development codes.

Plans for the seven-story Lorelei at 138 Ninth Ave. S. include three sculptures of Lorelei maidens, each on their own tilted rooftop platform with a spire pointing skyward. Each diamond-shaped platform sits at a 45-degree angle where a vertical copper column joins the roof.

Developer Alan Dickinson has commissioned Thomas Glover White, the director of the St. Augustine Sculpture Garden, to cast the copper sculptures for the condominium.

Dickinson got the condo building permit from the city on Oct. 12, but the permit doesn't allow the sculptures.

Planning Director Steve Lindorff said the sculptures don't comply with exemptions for rooftop structures, which allow spires, in the city's land development code. The developer calls the maiden structures spires, but Lindorff doesn't.

Dickinson is appealing the decision to the city's Board of Adjustment. The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 7, at City Hall.

Lorelei is a mythical maiden whose beauty and siren song lured sailors to destruction. The myth is based on a huge rock in the Rhine River near St. Goar, Germany, that makes it very difficult and dangerous for ships to navigate.

The maiden legend was made famous by Die Lorelei, a poem by Heinrich Heine that became a favorite German folk song. The poem, translated into English, starts with the line, "I don't know what to make of it . . . "

Lindorff doesn't know what to make of it either. Spires aren't a defined term, so Lindorff relied on a common-sense definition, using the dictionary and how spires are commonly used. …

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