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Vol 5 No. 37- June 1, 2005


Perico purchase approved

TideMark proves basin ownership

Ecotourism poised to take off

Sand pile an eyesore for North Bay Blvd. neighborhood

Four turtle nests to date

Planners call for 30-day rentals

Friends bid Jules goodbye






Perico purchase approved

By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer

It took Manatee County Commissioners about 10 minutes to approve the purchase of a 119-acre parcel of Perico Island at their land use meeting Tuesday.

The property is on the south side of the Palma Sola Causeway between the Anna Maria Bridge and the Perico Bay Club. The site, which includes tidal wetlands, uplands and some Indian mounds, will become a public park.

"I’d like to thank you for your support," Charlie Hunsicker, the county’s ecosystems manager told the board, "and I’d like to thank the Neal family for their support and working with Manatee County and the city of Bradenton for this donation and making this possible."

The county is purchasing the parcel from developer Pat Neal and his wife, Charlene, for $9 million. The Neals offered the land to the county for less than two appraisals they received —$13 and $10 million. The difference is a donation to the county. The park will be named after the Neals.

Hunsicker said the county would work with the city of Bradenton on a grant application to the Florida Communities Trust to purchase the property because it is in the city of Bradenton. He said the city’s comprehensive plan would be used in the grant application, but the plan would need some revisions.

"I don’t stand before you today and promise you that we will get a Florida Communities Trust grant for this property," Hunsicker said. "I just want you to know that we will work very hard to do so."

Commissioner Pat Glass said the county is much more likely to get the grant if it makes a joint application with the city. Commissioner Amy Stein said the county should draft the comprehensive plan changes needed to obtain the grant and forward them to the city.
Commissioners asked staff to draft the changes and bring them back to the board before sending them to the city.

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Four turtle nests to date

By Laurie Krosney
sun staff writer

There are now four turtle nests on the Island. The latest was laid in front of LaPlaya condominiums in Holmes Beach. All four nests had to be relocated to safe ground because of the beach renourishment project scheduled for sometime this summer.

"The nests were all in the area where there will be new sand, so we had to move them to areas where there won't be any sand pumped on top of them," said Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch Chief Suzi Fox.

"We're starting to get busy, and everyone's waiting for nests in their sections," she said.
There were also two dead turtles found this week. One was found at the end of Pine Avenue in Anna Maria. It was badly decomposed, according to Fox.

"We'll never know what happened to that one," Fox said. "The skull was taken. It'll be cleaned up and used for educational displays."

The other turtle was spotted in the water somewhere off the tip of the Island.
"We got a call from Mote saying that someone called them and said there was a turtle in the water that was in trouble," Fox said. "We never could locate the turtle because the people that called Mote weren't able to say where exactly they were."

Fox said that the turtle was described as "lethargic."

"We're hoping that we aren't seeing that blood disease that we saw in Sherlock and some of the other strandings last year," she said.

Sherlock was found on the shores of Holmes Beach last year. He and several other turtles were later discovered to be suffering from what scientists subsequently determined was a kind of anemia. Sherlock and most of the other turtles recovered and were eventually returned to the Gulf.

Adopt a nest/Adopt a hatchling
There's still plenty of time for people or businesses to adopt a nest or a hatchling.
Nest adoption costs $100, and a special stake naming the person or individual will be placed by the adopted nest. The cost to adopt a hatchling is $15.

"It's a chance to help save an endangered species," Fox said. "It would be a great Father's Day gift with an Island and beach theme."

If you're interested, call AMI Turtle Watch at 778-1435 and leave your name and number. Someone will call you back to give you the details of what you need to do.

Proceeds from the adoptions will be used for beach nesting activities.

"We use the money for volunteer training, supplies and travel to and from workshops," Fox said. "Also we go through at least one digital camera a year, so that money helps purchase cameras."

Fox said the daily exposure to wind, sand, salt spray and sometimes rain causes the cameras to wear out relatively quickly. Cameras are used to document the location of nests, record the state of turtles stranded or dead on the beach and for keeping a log of volunteer activities.

Longboat Key turtle activity
There have been 55 nests and 55 false crawls so far this year on Longboat Key, according to Paula Clark of Mote Marine Laboratory.

With renourishment on Longboat expected to begin this week, nests are being relocated on that Island as well, according to Clark.

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Ecotourism poised to take off

By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer

Local tourism officials have scrub jays in their sights, and have earmarked $30,000 to encourage tourists to do the same.

The Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau has requested and received an extra $5,000 from this fiscal year’s tourist funds and has allocated $25,000 of its $2.1 million budget next year to promote ecotourism.
The environmental heritage tourism market is a growing trend, CVB Director Larry White said.

"It’s time for us not to just piddle with it but to bring somebody in on an advisory basis that would be able to give us a total focus with it," he said, adding that the funds will ultimately result in a birding festival specifically targeting endangered scrub jays, a kayak festival at Coquina Beach and other activities.

White’s choice for advisor is Karen Fraley, of Around the Bend Nature Tours, who will inventory local natural and cultural sites and develop partnerships with other companies to promote environmental tourism. Fraley gives tours of Leffis Key in Bradenton Beach and the Cortez fishing village in addition to other venues.

"We have an excellent environment to show off and it’s time we had an organized plan," TDC member Joe McClash said, adding that diving, snorkeling, turtle watching, horseback riding and other activities also should be included in an ecotourism marketing plan.

The $5,000 expenditure was part of nearly $50,000 in additional expenses approved last week by the Tourist Development Council, including about $41,000 to upgrade the CVB’s website, and $3,300 for a vacation giveaway in a British magazine and expenses for a travel show in France.

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Sand pile an eyesore for North Bay Blvd. neighborhood

By Laurie Krosney
sun staff writer

ANNA MARIA — It's been months since Richard Bergquist has been able to sit in his favorite chair and enjoy watching people coming and going on the city pier.

"I used to like to sit in my chair and look out the window at all the people walking on the pier," Bergquist said. "When I get out my binoculars, I can almost tell what kind of fish the fishermen are catching."

But lately, instead of the pier, Bergquist sees a large pile of sand. He and others in his neighborhood, including his son, Stephen, who lives upstairs in the 203 North Bay Boulevard home that has been in his family since 1946, live, just north of the hump back bridge.

They also live just across the street from a large pile of sand that the city has stockpiled at Bayfront Park just north of the Lake LaVista Inlet.

This isn't the first time the Bergquists and their neighbors have had a pile of sand in the middle of their view of the bay.

"The sand pile at Bayfront Park seems to be a permanent fixture," Stephen said in a letter he wrote to the mayor and city commissioners. "Every time the canal is dredged and the spoil is stockpiled at the park, there is never any urgency to remove it."

Bergquist said that more than three months ago he asked Public Works Director George McKay to remove the pile. He said McKay told him he needed a loader and a truck.
"He had a loader and a truck remove the smaller pile," Bergquist wrote. "Why not the larger pile?"

There was no response from the mayor or any of the commissioners, according to Bergquist. However, McKay did respond.

"A few days later," Bergquist said, "George stopped by. He didn't call or anything. He just stopped by. I had him sit in my chair and see what I have to look at."

McKay confirmed Bergquist’s account.

"I sat in the gentleman's chair," he said. "And I can sympathize, but there's nothing I can do. We have to have that sand for sandbags. We're almost in hurricane season, and I can't store it on Pine Avenue because they complain over there, too. There isn't any place else to put it."

McKay said he tried to move a corner of the pile around to try to give Bergquist a little relief.

"It is a little better, but it's still not good," he said.

"There's also a liability issue," Stephen Bergquist said. "Kids get on that pile and play. What if someone gets hurt?"

Bayfront Park is owned by the city of Anna Maria. It's leased to Manatee County, and the county maintains the park. The younger Bergquist said he plans to contact the county and take the issue up with it.

"I'm sure they don't want the liability," he said.

"And it's an area where people using the park used to put up a net and play volley ball or the kids played baseball," his dad noted. "Now they can't."

No one at the county's parks and recreation department could be reached for comment because of the long Memorial Day weekend.

Mayor SueLynn did not respond to a message asking her to call to discuss the sand pile issue.

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TideMark makes boat basin offer

By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer

HOLMES BEACH — Robert Greene, attorney for Reliance TideMark, has made an offer to the city for leasing the city’s portion of the boat basin along Marina Drive.

The city owns five feet into the boat basin, including the seawall, which holds up Marina Drive. In June 2004, the city declared the lease in default due to TideMark’s bankruptcy action. In April the city terminated the lease and asked the developer to make a new offer.
"As requested by the city, Reliance would propose an increase in the annual rental from the existing $100 to $5,600," Greene said in a letter to the city.

Greene said there are 11 boat slips, which will be rented for $14 per foot. The average boat length is 30 feet.

"Under the above assumptions, boat slip rent per month would be $420," Greene said. "Reliance has then allocated 20 percent of slip rent to the city based on approximate percentage of dock within the leased area and discounted rent by 50 percent due to the fact that Reliance will bear all construction, maintenance and insurance costs for the docks."
Based on the above calculations, the total rent would be $5,544, which Greene rounded up to $5,600.

City commissioners were scheduled to take up the TideMark issue at their meeting Tuesday, May 24. At press time, they had not made a decision on the offer.

Commissioners had also asked Greene to provide proof that Reliance TideMark owns the boat basin after receiving an offer to lease the basin from another attorney. Greene was expected to respond to that request at Tuesday’s meeting

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Planners call for 30-day rentals

By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer

HOLMES BEACH — Planning commissioners are tackling some weighty issues, such as whether to increase the minimum length of residential rentals and whether to allow non-conforming duplex and multi-family units and businesses to be rebuilt if they are destroyed.

Unfortunately, they are playing to an empty house while debating revisions to the city’s land development code.

"The entire town, except R1AA, can be rented for a week," planner Bill Brisson told planning commissioners during their discussion on residential rentals.

R1AA is Key Royale and there is a 30-day minimum on rentals there. All other residential districts have a seven-day minimum.

Brisson said when people are on vacation, they behave differently than when they are in their normal residential life. They come and go more frequently, have more parties and persons visiting and stay up later, eroding the tranquility of the neighborhood.

Board member Gary Hickerson pointed out that "speculators are buying homes to rent and they don’t care who they rent to."

"The bulk of the community is in R-1 and R-2," board member John Monetti noted. "The 30-day minimum maintains the character of our community, but be ready for the backlash because there’s going to be a lot of it."

The board agreed to recommend 30 days in R-1AA, R-1 and R-2.

Brisson said the R-4 overlay district has "all sorts of regulations that the other districts don’t have to meet." He suggested that all the residential districts have the same regulations.

Normand told him to check with the city attorney regarding the R-4 overlay district, which was established as part of a lawsuit settlement.

Brisson said other issues the board should address are time sharing single family homes and businesses that purchase homes for employee vacations.

Rebuilding non conformities
"If something is non-conforming as to density, do you want then to be allowed to build it back if it is more than 50 percent destroyed?" Brisson asked the board.

Brisson was referring to duplex and multi-family units that are built on lots that are too small according to the current code. Building Department Clerk Susan Lonzo said presently, the city allows owners of such units to rebuild if they comply with current setbacks and other regulations.

"If we say you can’t rebuild duplex there, that empty lot is worth $600,000," Monetti said. "If you’re only going to allow a single family home, the person that can afford that lot will put one heck of a home. I like the idea of a duplex owner being able to rebuild a duplex."
The consensus was to allow owners to rebuild.

The panel also agreed on preserving some restaurants and commercial establishments that are in residential zones. The consensus was to designate certain buildings as historic, and establish criteria so that particular use could be rebuilt.

Brisson said criteria would be established if the city commisison approves the proposal.

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Friends bid Jules goodbye

By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer

ANNA MARIA – No gold watch for Jules Dengler. What he got when he retired was only a fraction of what he gave, and it could not be measured in gold.

After 15 years of service with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, Deputy Dengler, or Jules, as he's known to everyone, retired and around 200 the city's residents honored him at the Sandbar restaurant last Friday evening. There was food from the Sandbar and jumbo shrimp and cheesecake from the Anna Maria City Pier and Rod and Reel restaurants.

The floral sports shirt and slacks that replaced his neatly pressed uniform Friday night were a portend of what lies ahead for Dengler, but at the party under the tent next to the beach, residents and co-workers reflected on his past contributions to their well-being.

Sheriff's office dispatcher Kim Zink talked about some of Dengler's unusual lingo on the radio and fellow deputy Mike Zambelle talked about how Dengler handled some of the problems on the street. The longest and funniest speaker at the impromptu "roast" was Gary Trudelle, who provoked lots of belly laughs when he went into a monologue entitled, "You Know You're a Cop When…"

There were gifts and plaques for Dengler, whose New York accent was known to all. In the late 1990s, he quit his job and he and his wife packed up and moved to New England. They returned after one winter up there and he got back on the force. It took him a while to re-qualify for duty, but he was reassigned to Anna Maria patrol immediately when he did. He returned to duties that included traffic control. investigating petty crimes, calming upset neighbors and getting help for injured wildlife.

The party was organized by residents Karen Di Costanzo, Leni Hagen, Beverly Calhoun and David McGough.<< Top

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