miffed at meeting on consolidation
By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH Mayor
Carol Whitmore was not pleased when Commissioner Don Maloney
announced last week that he had met with a group of citizens
to make decisions on the proposed consolidation referendum.
If we want this process to move forward, it needs
to be done in an organized fashion, not by individuals
and private groups, Whitmore stressed.
Anna Maria Mayor SueLynn echoed Whitmores displeasure.
It hit me out of the blue, SueLynn said. It
was unfortunate that he chose to do that. Anybody can
meet and talk and I support that, but the issue for me
was the process they used to do it. When the people who
participated were unwilling to give their names, it makes
you question what went on. They are not standing behind
what they did.
At the last meeting of Island elected officials, all agreed
that the three Island mayors would determine the wording
on a referendum to ask voters if they want elected officials
to pursue a study on consolidating the cities.
However, last week, Maloney told Holmes Beach commissioners
that he had met with a group of residents representing
the three cities, a planner, a retired city manager and
an attorney familiar with municipal government.
The group unanimously agreed on how they believed
such a referendum should be worded, and their agreement
has been presented to the county board of elections to
determine the wordings legitimacy, Maloney
He also said that the group agreed that study of
how best to go about such consolidation should be undertaken
by an outside agency or agencies to later present their
recommendations to voters
A number of ways to accomplish
such a study were also agreed upon.
Maloney said he would present the results of the groups
efforts at tonights meeting of Island elected officials
set for 6 p.m. in Holmes Beach City Hall.
Maloneys revelation prompted Whitmore to write Anna
Maria Mayor SueLynn and Bradenton Beach Mayor John Chappie.
On behalf of my city, I feel that I need to apologize
for Mr. Maloneys actions, Whitmore explained.
The plan to present this to the public has been
clear from the beginning. The three mayors were to get
together regarding wording for a referendum and then come
to our respective governments for ALL three cities to
agree on language.
Mr. Maloney has decided that he knows what is best
for all three cities. If incidents like this continue,
I feel that this may halt the process that we have been
working on for months.
Maloney responded with a memo noting, You need not
apologize on behalf of your city for my reactions.
If any apologies were necessary, I am quite capable of
handling them myself. I know the three mayors were planning
to get together to review referendum working. The desire
we have is to make sure that they have opportunities other
than themselves to accomplish coming up with the best
I spoke to both mayors yesterday and they are not
happy with what has appeared to compromise the process
that has been laid out, Whitmore wrote in response.
Whitmore said the three mayors met Friday and drafted
language for a referendum. The draft will be reviewed
by the city attorneys and then taken to each city commission
The referendum working must be in the Manatee County Supervisor
of Elections Office by noon on Sept. 19.
to inspect boats off pier
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
Boat owners who have anchored in Sarasota Bay just south
of the Bridge Street Pier have outstayed their welcome,
according to Police Chief Sam Speciale
The police department has trained four officers to drive
the department's new patrol boat, purchased two years
ago with funds from a grant. The Manatee County Sheriff's
Office recently deputized the police officers to patrol
the Gulf and bay waters, which extend beyond the city's
jurisdiction but are under the county's control. Now,
Speciale wants them to be able to enforce some of the
rules of the water.
"We have gotten together with the Coast Guard, which
is going to train our marine officers on proper boarding
procedures to conduct vessel safety inspections for life
jackets and marine sanitation devices," Speciale
said. "We are especially interest in the marine sanitation
devices because some of the people living in those boats
off the pier are reportedly wrapping up their human waste
in plastic bags and bringing it onshore to dispose of
it in public trash facilities in and around the pier."
Speciale said they would also conduct checks for proper
registration documents for the boats, some of which have
been anchored in the same place for years.
"We are also speaking to the Marine Patrol about
the proper procedures for removing abandoned and derelict
vessels," he said, "and we are negotiating with
Sea Tow on a contract to have them tow boats from the
Speciale said the problems stemming from the boats, which
have been anchored there without having to pay rent, culminated
a week earlier when one of the boats broke loose from
its anchor during high winds and waves and came toward
the pier. City public works employees had their hands
full trying to keep it from severely damaging the pier
and at one time, the mast from the sailboat threatened
the clock tower in the pier parking lot.
The city is working on setting up a mooring field in that
area of the bay with a harbormaster who would oversee
the facility. Owners of boats anchored there would have
to pay rent. He said the loss of marinas in Manatee and
Sarasota counties is another concern.
"We have heard that Marina Jack's in Sarasota is
closing its mooring field," said Speciale. "We
want to be able to get a handle on things before boat
owners there start looking at this area to anchor."
Speciale said they want to be able to manage the boats
within the proposed mooring area until the state gives
the city permission to build it, but he said the boat
owners there who are living without proper sanitation
devices are the ones who prompted their immediate action.
"This is a beautiful area and we have a couple of
bad apples that are going to ruin it for the rest,"
he said. "If we hadn't had the problem with the human
waste, we would have waited until we got the mooring field."
seek moratorium on rental licenses
By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH Planning
commissioners voted to ask city commissioners to place
a moratorium as of June 15 on residential rental licenses
in the R-1 and R-2 districts.
The vote comes on the heels of their recommendation to
change the rental period in the two districts from one
week to 30 days in order to preserve the residential character
of the districts. They also have recommended a grandfathering
period of five to 10 years for those who currently have
Planning consultant Bill Brisson said instead of a moratorium,
city commissioners could institute "zoning in progress,"
which means that people could get rental licenses but
only for the period until the change goes into effect.
Brisson also added new language to the code to address
problems that may arise regarding duplex condos being
built in the city.
"It appears that some people mistake duplexes that
are joined only by the foundation for singlefamily
structures," Brisson said. "In the future, when
these units are redeveloped, we believe that the fact
that these are duplexes not single family structures will
Other new language addressed the issue of lot coverage
to ensure that an owner of one half of a duplex structure
does not add to the structure or add impervious surface
coverage beyond his proportionate share of ownership of
Small lot issue
Planners discussed a request by resident Rebecca Smith
to allow a higher level of lot coverage for small, legally
non-conforming lots by permitting owners to build to the
minimum setbacks. Brisson said Smith noted that people
want larger homes that cannot be built on these undersized
"The city various land development regulations
are not set with the primary purpose of optimizing the
development potential or marketability of a property,
nor to allow land to be developed in the fashion that
happens to be desired or marketable at any given time,"
Brisson pointed out."
He said the purpose of lot coverage and setbacks is to
provide light an air between properties and privacy between
"Theres nothing wrong with changing the regulations,
but not if they eliminate the basic intent of why you
have the regulations in the first place," Brisson
said. "You may wish to ID those areas where you might
be willing to see homes with lesser setbacks."
Planner Gary Hickerson said that only one person has lobbied
for a change and asked, "What about the people next
door to these lots? Anything they build will be more massive
than whats there."
Chairman Sue Normand said she might consider the request
if it involved an entire block or area of the city, but
the lots are scattered throughout the city.
Planners agreed they would not recommend any change.
Resident Ron Simpson, who owns property on 59th Street,
pointed out that 30 percent coverage forces people to
build homes with two living levels in order to get the
space that they need. He said if the lot coverage were
increased to 35 or 40 percent, it would encourage one-story
"What he says is true," Brisson agreed. "Your
code does force people to go two stories. You cant
go to 40 percent; your code doesnt allow it. You
need some for impervious surface coverage. The way you
do it is to increase the coverage allowable for a one-story
building, but keep your two-story buildings at 30 percent."
Brisson said the extra 5 percent coverage would be in
the back yard and it would be about two feet.
Planners said they would like a drawing to show the two
options. Public Works Clerk Susan Lonzo said she would
provide one at the next meeting.
The next meeting is set for 7 p.m. Thursday, July 28.
board recommends approval of AMICC expansion
By Laurie Krosney
sun staff writer
ANNA MARIA With
all the I's dotted, the T's crossed and with several stipulations
in place, the planning and zoning board voted to approve
the Anna Maria Island Community Center's plan for expansion
The board voted 6-1 at meeting July 12 to recommend approval
of the plan to the city commission. P&Z board member
Frank Pytel cast the lone dissenting vote, saying he had
serious safety concerns about parking issues on the site.
At an earlier meeting, board members voted to approve
the vacation of an alley that runs through the Community
Center's property. They also voted then to approve a variance
to the setback of the building on Magnolia Avenue, which
leaves the front of the building exactly where it is now.
Board members and planners for the Center worked out an
on-the-spot compromise, which moved several parking spaces
several feet further from the road. That satisfied the
safety concerns of most of the board members, but Pytel
still remained unconvinced. At one point, he urged that
one of the three tennis courts on the site be turned into
parking. That idea didn't get the support of the Community
Center or the P&Z board.
The renovation and expansion plan will add a second floor
to the Center. That floor will be used for counseling
rooms, offices and as a space to serve teens.
"The state says you can't serve teenagers and younger
children in the same space at the same time," said
Community Center Executive Director Pierrette Kelly. "We
really need this space for the teens," she said.
Community Center board members and supporters were out
in force and spoke in support of the plan.
Several neighboring residents spoke against the plan,
primarily citing safety concerns. No one spoke against
the Community Center itself, simply against the expansion.
In the end, the board voted to recommend approval of the
project with some stipulations suggested by city planner
Alan Garrett. Those stipulations are that any light poles
that interfere with parking safety will be moved and that
any time there is a large event such as a concert, the
Community Center will arrange parking at a remote spot
such as Roser Church and shuttle people over the Center.
The city commission is to begin hearings on the site plan
application Wed., July 20, at 7 p.m.
drowning in dock issues
By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH Due
to the complexity of the issues regarding the citys
docks, canals and waterfront, City Attorney Patricia Petruff
asked commissioners to set a special work session on the
"Every time we look at this issue, its like
touching a tar baby," Petruff said. "Our hands
get stickier and sticker."
One issue is the Sunrise Park dock ordinance, which governs
docks in the canal at 28th Street and Avenue B. Another
issue is the T-end canal ordinance, which governs docks
in the T-end canals between 72nd and 77th streets.
The Sunrise Park dock ordinance was slated for its second
reading on June 28 when Commissioner Rich Bohnenberger
raised a number of questions.
"At the last meeting I asked for a continuance until
tonight, Bohnenberger said at last weeks meeting.
"In the meantime Ive come to learn that the
biggest issue is liability. I firmly believe we would
be liable no matter what, so we should take charge of
"I think its time for the city to rebuild the
docks, not only in the Sunrise Park basin but also in
the T-end canals, and to charge a lease fee thats
reasonable. It would insure that the docks are built and
maintained to our standards and would relieve the citizens
of the responsibility to provide their own insurance for
He said the lease fee could be used to create a fund to
pay for dock construction and maintenance and canal dredging.
Rebuilding the docks also would provide more boat spaces
because the docks would be uniform.
"Weve come full circle," Petruff noted.
"At one point I had recommended that you do exactly
She said another issue involves boats docked at the ends
of canals and the citys setback requirements. A
third issue involves an ordinance that allows boats to
be up to 20 feet into the waterway. However, there are
boats longer than 20 feet in the citys canals.
"There are a lot of issues," Petruff pointed
out. "We need pictures and drawings and graphics
even to explain the problem to you. It would be prudent
for you to evaluate it now before it gets any worse."
Petruff said she has been researching how other cities
legislate such issues.
"I totally agree with Rich and Patricia," Commissioner
Roger Lutz said. "I think we ought to bite the bullet
and look at doing it ourselves and renting them out at
a fair price."
Commissioners Pat Morton and Don Maloney agreed.
Chairman Sandy Haas-Martens said she would set the work
session date when Petruff and staff members have collected
all the documentation.
Beach budget tops $10 million
By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH Commissioners
got their first look at the 2005-06 budget last week but
agreed to hold discussion until a future work session.
However, they did set the millage rate at 2.0 at the recommendation
of their city treasurer.
"The major issue is to set the millage," City
Treasurer Rick Ashley told commissioners. "Im
fully confident that 2.0 mils is more than sufficient
to do anything you need to do in the next year. Your taxable
property base has increased 20 percent, so your 2 mils
will bring you in about $400,000 more this year."
Regarding the rest of the budget, Ashley said there will
be a cash carryover, and he would like commissioners to
put that into the reserve fund in light of last years
"Last year we ran out of our contingency money that
we had budgeted for the storms," Mayor Carol Whitmore
added. "I want to have a good healthy reserve that
nobody can touch. Well have $1.6 (million)."
The total budget is $10,065,592, up from $8,418,157 in
The revenue side of the budget shows $1,007,173 in state
sources, $6,082,493 in local sources and $2,905,926 in
On the expense side is mayor and commission, $205,327;
general government, $620,427; code enforcement, $119,641;
police department, $1,756,172; public works, $5,029,888;
Hagen funds, $33,137; and carryovers and reserves, $2,301,000.
The public works department budget is the largest in the
city and the $2.6 million Key Royale Bridge replacement
project accounts for more than half of that figure. Commissioners
just learned last week that the cost of the bridge has
The public works budget includes personnel services, $756,218;
operating expenses, $802,200; capital improvements, $$3,287,000;
equipment, $104,470; and debt service (bridge financing),
The police department budget is the second largest in
the city and includes personnel services, $1,434,672;
operating expenses, $254,000; and equipment, $67,500 (two
vehicles, two in-car radios, AV equipment and computer
The mayor and commission expenditures include personnel
services, $36,177 and operating expenses, $169,150.
The general government shows personnel services, $288,727;
operating expenses, $324,700; and capital expenses, 7,000
(computer and equipment replacement and upgrades.
The code enforcement budget includes personnel services,
$102,791; operating expenses, $15,300; equipment, $1,550
(two monitors, camera, printer).
Recommended donations to outside agencies are as follows:
Anna Maria Island Community Center operations, $30,000;
Anna Maria Island Community Center capital campaign, $10,000;
Anna Maria Island Community Center endowment trust, $1,000;
Mote Marine, $1,500; Anna Maria Island Historical Society,
$1,500; START, $4,000; Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce,
$3,000; Keep Manatee Beautiful, $1,000; Anna Maria Island
Art League, $750; and Anna Maria Island Orchestra and
Chorus, $1,000. The total of donations is $53,750.
name game: How Anna Maria got its name
By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer
You dont often hear
Anna Mar-ee-a called Anna Mar-eye-a anymore, unless youre
in the company of Gene or Elizabeth Moss, but at one time
it was a hotly debated issue, and the issue was directly
related to stories about how the Island got its name.
According to an account by Elizabeth Moss, "In 1948,
the Anna Maria Island Womens Club declared the name
Anna Maria was of Spanish origin, named for a queen of
Spain or for sisters of the queen. They pronounced the
name Anna Mar-ee-a instead of the long "i" stressed
in the Scottish Mar-eye-a. This caught on with the new
residents moving to the Island, and the pronunciation
gradually became changed to long "e" sound."
In the early 1950s, newspaper editor Harry Varley and
Anna Maria Commissioner Frances Livingstone jumped into
the fray, trading verse to make their points.
How the Gounod would hate it
If in the church choir
The soloist warbled it
To which Livingstone replied:
The sunshine is hot
And life is much freer
For all of the tourists
On ANNA MARIA
But to the Crackers
Let yell the town crier!
Theyll bask in the sunshine
Of ANNA MARIA.
The Spanish theory
Going back a little further in time, we find Captain
John R. Jones, who established a fishing camp on the Island
in the 1890s, and espoused the Spanish theory. In 1927
On the old Spanish maps and charts, we find it marked
Ana-Maria-Cay, and it is recorded that it
was named in honor of the mother of Christ (Mary) and
her mother, Anne. The Latin nations were accustomed to
giving sacred names to many places discovered and settlements
established by them."
Jones pointed out that three Spanish settlements
one at the north point in Anna Maria, one in Holmes Beach
near 52nd Street and one in Bradenton Beach were
established on the Island at a very early date.
He noted, Traces of these early settlements could
be found when the government turned over the Island for
homesteaders; and in the early 1880s, when part of the
Island was taken under pre-emption, the remains of houses
and broken cooking utensils were in evidence."
Jones also told of the Islands second name:
The Spanish residents on the north point in time
planted a small grove of royal palm trees, which grew
to such height as to become a landmark for sailors and
coastal fishermen, and eventually gave the Island its
second name Palm Key."
According to a 1974 newspaper article by Kent Chetlain,
"The name Palm Key was alternately given on maps
along with Anna Maria until 1903, when John R. Jones,
a mid-Island farmer-fisherman, successfully had the federal
government strike it from the records due to confusion
between the two names and conflict with the several other
Palm Islands in Florida."
Anna Maria Cobb Riles, the first white child born on the
Island, also subscribed to the Spanish theory. She said
the name came from an old Spanish map and may have been
named for two Spanish princesses, Ana and Maria.
Marion Coleman, granddaughter of George Emerson Bean,
the Islands first homesteader, said she was told
that the Island was named for Jesus mother, Mary,
and his grandmother, Ann.
The Scottish theory
Enter Al Robson, who came to the Island in 1944 and
maintained that the Islands name was of Scottish
Robson told Chetlain in the same 1974 newspaper article
mentioned above, "I have searched the National Archives
and Smithsonian Institution in Washington and never have
come across any Spanish map of this region that specifically
lists Anna Maria Island by that name.
In fact, my research reveals that the first map listing
the Island as Anna Maria is dated 1948. It is a U.S. government
map which specifically marks it as Anna Maria Key
Robson followed up on stories that the Island was named
for the wife, Maria, and sister, Anna, of Tampa Mayor
Madison Post by government surveyors in 1848. The surveyors
were staying with the Posts, who were of Scottish decent,
and Robson theorized the surveyors were returning the
hospitality that the Posts had showed them with the naming
Unfortunately, Robson learned later that Madison Post
did not arrive in Tampa until 1849, a year after the surveyors
did their work. Post was not elected mayor until 1858.
One last twist
Another chapter in the name game came in 1975, when
Lou Barolo, chairman of the planning and zoning board
n Bradenton Beach, learned that the Island was listed
as Anna Maria Key in the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.
He also found that the body of water between the Island
and the mainland was listed as Sarasota Bay or Sarasota
Barolo set out to have the listings corrected and had
to prove common usage by getting affidavits from residents
and researching maps, publications and papers. Barolo
worked for six months on the project to have the names
changed to Anna Maria Island and Anna Maria Sound.
The change was recorded by the government in 1976 and
added one final twist to the story. The government decision
Anna Maria Island: island, 12.1 km. (7.5 miles) long,
extends SE from Passage Key Inlet to Longboat Pass between
the Gulf of Mexico to the W and Anna Maria Sound and Sarasota
Bay to the E; reported to have been named in 1513 by Ponce
de Leon for the queen of his sponsor, King Charles III."