crew, resort owners make peace
By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer
Resort owners were relieved
Thursday when beach renourishment contractor Goodloe Marine
agreed to reduce its fenced work zones to 1,000 feet of
beach at a time.
Goodloe has been fencing off larger areas where it pumps
sand onto the beach, forcing tourists to walk several
blocks around the work zone to get to the water, resort
The inconvenience has caused some visitors to check out
early, and thats coming at a particularly bad time,
motel operator Jeff Gerry said.
"Weve had four hurricanes, two red tides and
our taxes have tripled in the last three years,"
he said, adding that in two previous beach renourishment
projects, his property was only impacted for two days,
while this time, its been 16 days.
Ben Goodloe offered to trim down the work zone to 1,000
feet during a meeting at the Manatee public beach on Thursday.
"A thousand feet sounds great," Gerry said.
"We can live with that," agreed Don Schroeder,
president of the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce,
which has received complaints from several resort owners.
The zone is fenced off for the safety of beachgoers, Goodloe
said, three of whom have jumped the fence and cut through
the work area, causing him to hire a person just to guard
"Safety requirements are not going away," said
Ron Rutger, of the Army Corps of Engineers, which is supervising
the project. A death on Floridas east coast during
a beach renourishment operation has made dredging companies
even more cautious, he added.
"Were trying to cooperate and make it safe
and convenient for everyone," said Bettie Goodloe,
adding that moving the posts and fences that designate
the work zone is labor-intensive and requires heavy equipment.
The work zone is moving steadily south as the renourishment
work is completed in each section, she said, but theres
no guarantee how long the dredging equipment will be in
front of any particular place.
"I cant tell if a dredge is going to break
down tomorrow," she said, adding that the company
was delayed shortly after work began by equipment failure
and the arrival of Hurricane Dennis, setbacks that cost
the company $60,000 a day in payroll.
If another breakdown occurs or a storm arises, the work
zone will be reduced to the smallest area possible, she
The work is expected to reach the Manatee public beach
in about a month, and renourishment officials are working
to make sure the fenced work zone is not in the middle
of the public beach during Labor Day weekend.
Wherever it is, the work zone will be shortened as much
as possible over the holiday weekend, Ben Goodloe said.
"Well consolidate as much as we can, but we
cant stop working."
rates, occupancy up in June
By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer
Island room rates are twice
what they are on the mainland, and thats an indication
that new tourism strategies are working, according to
the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
New Tourist Development Council member Sean Murphy noticed
the rate discrepancy at his first TDC meeting on Monday
in a written report listing average daily mainland rates
in June at $68.91 while June rates on the Island average
$150.93. Other months show similar patterns.
"Were seeking and getting people with a higher
income," CVB Director Larry White said, adding that
the CVB has dropped advertising in magazines aimed at
lower-income readers and is focusing on higher-income
In a recent survey, he said, the people complaining that
they could no longer afford to visit the Island were mostly
65 and older, the snowbird population.
"Income was up and age was down. Thats what
were looking for," he said.
Murphy, a restaurateur, suggested that perhaps Island
hoteliers were overpriced, but White disagreed.
"Dont mess with your rate, because youve
worked too hard to get it," he advised Island accommodations
operators, explaining that Orlando hotels slashed rates
after September 11, 2001 and some have never been able
to command their former rates.
Hotel and motel room rates on Anna Maria Island, Longboat
Key and the whole county rose in June, and the occupancy
rate rose on the Island, according to the latest statistics
from the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Daily room rates on Anna Maria Island rose from $142.99
in June 2004 to $150.93 this June, while in the Manatee
County portion of Longboat Key, rates rose from $135.27
Average daily room rates on the mainland rose from $62.95
last June to $68.91 this June, and rates in Manatee County,
including the islands, increased from $108.03 in June
2004 to $119.65 in June 2005.
While occupancy rates for June dropped both countywide
and on Longboat Key from June of last year, they increased
one percent on Anna Maria Island from 56.6 percent to
In the Manatee County portion of Longboat Key, occupancy
dipped from 69.4 percent in June 2004 to 58.7 percent
Countywide hotel and motel occupancy dropped slightly
from 62.5 percent in June 2004 to 62.4 percent in June
going forward with Plan C for parking
By Laurie Krosney
sun staff writer
ANNA MARIA City
commissioners have decided to move on to the next step
with a compromise parking plan.
The scene was the Aug. 4 work session. Deputy Mayor John
Quam and Commissioners Carol Ann Magill and Dale Woodland
were in favor of moving forward with what's being called
Quam said he thinks it's time to make a decision on a
parking plan right or wrong.
"With Plan C, parking will be fairly distributed,"
Quam said. "The majority of our residents are weary
of this subject being discussed, rehashed and put on the
back burner. They want us to make a decision.
"Also, Anna Maria's image to other county cities
continues to be weakened because of our indecisiveness
on this matter."
Plan C, for compromise, was proposed by Commissioner Duke
Miller in April. It would include a limited number of
legal public parking spaces on one side of city streets
in the beach access zone. Parking would be allowed on
one side of the street only. The side of the streets where
parking is allowed would alternate on an annual basis.
Commissioner Linda Cramer has strong objections to Plan
C, and she brought some petitions from residents on streets
in the beach access zone, including one from the residents
of Palmetto Avenue where she lives.
"Parking Plan C is very restrictive to the family,
friends and guests of people who live in the beach access
zone," Cramer said. "The residents feel that
you are not giving them the opportunity to voice their
opinion in the beach access zone. I think the fact that
the residents are not here at this particular meeting
to participate in this particular parking plan at this
particular time of year isn't particularly fair."
Cramer cited a study by the city's consulting engineers
that stated that most city streets in Anna Maria are not
wide enough to accommodate parking. She added that she
doesn't think there's adequate room on the streets for
Plan C, and she said she had spoken to planning consultant
Alan Garrett at length about Plan C, and he agreed with
her. Garrett was not at the meeting and could not be reached
Quam asked his fellow commissioners what they thought
the next step should be. The consensus was to put the
plan onto the agenda of the next voting meeting.
Cramer said she wanted Garrett to be asked to attend the
meeting. Magill, Woodland and Quam declined.
Several people from the audience spoke all against
"I'm against this plan, period, resident Karen
DiCostanzo stated. "Commissioner Miller was well-intentioned
when he offered a compromise, but we're being compromised
DiCostanzo said other plans have been scuttled and asked,
Why not this one? The easiest plan would
be residents only, DiCostanzo said, and she vowed to let
commissioners know how the plan was proceeding on her
"I'm telling you now that if this goes through and
I'm awakened at 2 in the morning, I'm going to call all
After several residents had spoken out against the plan
and a couple had turned petitions in to the minutes clerk,
the commission decided to ask the city attorney to prepare
an ordinance for Plan C. They'll have the first reading
at their Sept. 9 work session and decide at that time
when they want to have the second reading and public hearing
on the ordinance. At that point, Cramer rose from her
chair, came down from the dais, passed her petitions in
to the clerk and left the commission chambers.
Miller was out of town and didn't attend the meeting.
preliminary study sought
By Pay Copeland
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH A
group of citizens met Saturday at the Beach Bistro to
continue its discussion of consolidation issues.
"The idea is not to have people from each city (represented
at the meetings), but to have people who are interested
in consolidation," Holmes Beach Commissioner Don
The Islands three mayors criticized group members
after their first meeting. Following that meeting, Maloney
presented suggested language for a non-binding referendum
asking voters if they want the cities to embark on a study
of consolidation. The mayors said they were charged with
that task and that the group was undermining their efforts.
Maloney said Saturday that the group should have asked
each city to approve a resolution to form a group to study
consolidation. After some discussion, group members agreed
that Maloney would ask Holmes Beach commissioners this
week to do just that.
Group member Don Knode said he had contacted Harry Hayes,
of the University of Georgia Institute of Government,
and Hayes offered several suggestions:
Send him the budgets of the three Island cities
so he can study them for duplication of services and assign
costs to the services.
Once he has those figures, Hayes and a colleague
would come to the Island to make an issues assessment
with a joint consolidation study committee appointed by
the three Island governments.
Hayes would create a preliminary report on how
the consolidation would be facilitated. He said this could
be accomplished prior to the November election.
If a straw vote in November is positive, Hayes
could proceed with an in-depth report. Group members directed
Knode to ask Hayes what he would charge to complete an
issues assessment and preliminary report.
Members also directed Maloney to contact a former city
manager regarding a cost estimate for the in-depth study.
"Its a good step forward," Knode said.
"I hope the three mayors and city commissions look
at this in a positive way."
season forecast highest ever predicted
Batten down the hatches.
We can expect even more hurricane activity than was earlier
predicted. Dr. William Gray has just issued an update
for the 2005 hurricane forecast.
"Information obtained through July 2005 indicates
that the 2005 hurricane season will be an extremely active
one," a release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration states. "We estimate that the 2005
season will have 20 named storms (average is 9.6), 10
hurricanes (average is 5.9)."
Dr. Gray predicts that of those 10 hurricanes, six will
be intense. He also notes that the expected hurricane
activity is 235 percent of what the long-term average
"The probability of U.S. major hurricane landfall
is estimate to be well above the long-period average,"
the report continues. "This year is expected to continue
the past decade trend of above-average hurricane seasons.
The early August forecast is based on newly devised forecasts
for August, September and October. It uses 55 years of
past global statistics.
The revision upward in the number of predicted storms
was due to the seven named storms and two major hurricanes
that have already formed this season.
This is the highest forecast of hurricane activity NOAA
has ever issued.
The report states that there's a 77 percent chance that
a major hurricane that is a category 3,4,or 5
will strike land in the United States. The average is
There is a 58 percent chance that one will strike the
U.S. East Coast, including the Florida peninsula. The
average is 31 percent.
gets briefing on Gladiolus/North Shore drainage project
By Laurie Krosney
sun staff writer
ANNA MARIA There
have been several changes made to a drainage project jointly
funded by the city and the Southwest Water Management
District (Swiftmud) as a result of resident concerns.
That's the word from Tom Wilcox, an engineer with the
city's consulting firm, Baskerville-Donovan, Inc. The
$276,000 project is designed to create a swale in the
alleyway that runs behind North Shore Drive and then south
on Gladiolus and out to the bay where Gladiolus makes
a sharp turn. The swale will be 10 feet wide and will
slope gently down to a depth of no more than a foot at
the center of the swale.
"We think we have a pretty good set of plans, Wilcox
told commissioners. "We've had a couple of public
meetings good ones. I hope we have addressed most
of the concerns."
The plans include several areas where water will go through
a filtering process before being discharged into the finger
canals in the area. Dennis Ulanch had concerns about those
"Is there funding to keep those filters clean?"
"That's part of the agreement," Wilcox answered.
" The city has to agree to maintain the filters and
the ditch. Every 24 months they have to re-certify them."
Wilcox informed commissioners that they were looking at
the third set of plans.
"The first ones went over like a lead balloon,"
he said. "These are friendlier plans that came from
the neighborhood meetings."
He noted that there had been an outcry against taking
down some of the larger trees in the alleyway to accommodate
"In my opinion all the trees that are grand and nice
that can be saved are being saved," he said.
And instead of running straight through from the beginning
to the end, residents who use the alleyway as access to
their property have been accommodated by areas they can
drive over to get to their property. A pipe has been included
with a drive-over for use by a disabled veteran who crosses
the alley to get from his residence to his parents' residence.
Clarence Jones said he had no problems with the south
end of the project, but he questioned whether the swale
could be installed there while leaving out the north end
of the project area where he said there currently isn't
Wilcox explained that the drainage basin is interconnected
and the plan must go forward as designed.
"It will clean up the water in that area before it
goes into the canal," Wilcox explained.
Meanwhile, Ellen Jones had a concern about pollution in
an open drainage swale.
"I don't want to have other people's pesticides coming
onto our property where I ride my bike and walk a lot,"
she said. "Every time I go past (existing) ditches,
they seem to smell a lot."
Wilcox acknowledged Jones' point.
"Pesticides are an issue and probably only education
and enforcement can persuade people not to put so much
fertilizer and pesticides on their properties," he
said. "There is something that is called sheet flow
when you have a heavy rain fall that's a problem with
fertilizer and pesticide runoff that's going to get out
into the bay. This project will catch the first flush
of that runoff."
Wilcox added that the project can't solve all problems,
but it can help overall.
Wilcox told commissioners that they should see some work
begin before the end of the year.
tourney this weekend at Coquina
By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer
At least 300 Pro-Am teams are expected to kick up the
sand at the Hess Express/Zephyrhills Beach Volleyball
Tournament at Coquina Beach on Saturday and Sunday, Aug.
13 and 14, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Players will use 20 to 25 courts and the public is welcome
to watch the action. Tables and chairs will be provided.
Food will be available and vendors will offer T-shirts
and other items.
The schedule is as follows:
Friday, Aug. 12: 3 p.m., pre games and warm up
session; evening, pre-event cocktail party at Hooters.
Saturday, Aug. 13: 7 to 7:30 a.m. open division
athlete check-in; 7:45 to 8:15 a.m., check in for all
divisions and open division captains meeting; 8:30
a.m., captains meetings and division play begins;
9:45 a.m., junior league clinic check-in; 10 a.m., junior
league clinic begins; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., games and watermelon
eating contest; 1 p.m., players begin championship brackets;
2 to 2:30 p.m., the Zephyrhills serve contest; 2:30 to
3:30 p.m., Red Bull hour and Bud Light media hour; 4 to
6 p.m., championship matches on center court; 7 p.m. to
midnight, Bud Light players party on the beach.
Sunday, Aug. 14: 8 a.m., athlete check-in; 9 a.m.,
play begins; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., games and watermelon-eating
contest; 1 p.m., players begins championship brackets;
4 to 6 p.m., championship matches.
The tournament is in its fifth year and is sponsored by
Wedebrock Real Estate. The event is hosted by the Florida
Gulf Coast Sports Commission, Manatee County Parks and
Recreation Department and the Bradenton Area Convention
and Visitors Bureau.
Other sponsors include Days Inn, Subway at 4850 Cortez
Road and 3541 First Street in Bradenton, Hooters, The
Buzz WCQT, the Whammer WAMR and Florida Gold Coast Distributors.