could expand business district
sun staff writer
ANNA MARIA After months of floundering, the planning
and zoning board has finished a draft of the future land
use map which includes an expansion of the business district.
"Id like to see the ROR (Residential/Office/Retail)
district expanded down Gulf Drive," said board member
Fran Barford. "It would make a nice lead-in into
business district, and there are already businesses there."
At one point the group seemed to be leaning toward changing
all the existing commercial districts into ROR.
Planner Tony Arrant reminded board members that if they
do that, they would be allowing three usable floors with
a 37-foot height limit in the entire ROR district.
"That third floor makes a visual and physical impact,"
he said. "You do away with the protection of whats
allowed and whats not allowed in the commercial
He added that most communities want to keep their commercial
"Most communities have a commercial area that they
cherish and protect," he said.
Board Vice Chair Doug Copeland said he thinks changing
commercial land uses to ROR encourages a change to all
With that, the board hammered out a plan for the future
land use map that includes expanding the ROR district,
which currently runs along Pine Avenue, to include Gulf
Drive from Pine Avenue to Palmetto Avenue.
The board also will recommend that the medium density
(R-2) district be eliminated.
Copeland chaired the meeting in the absence of Chairman
Chris Collins. He had each board member draw out their
vision of the future land use map and then guided the
board to consensus.
Earlier, they worked out a consensus to recommend that
existing ground level and non-conforming uses could be
allowed to rebuild if they are destroyed in a natural
disaster, such as a fire or hurricane.
There will be another public hearing on the map and other
elements of the plan and then the p&z board will forward
its work to the city commission, where a final decision
will be made.
From there, the citys comprehensive plan will be
sent to Tallahassee for review. It may be adopted as is,
or it may be sent back to the city for further revision.
All three Island cities are currently working on a state-mandated
revision of their comprehensive plans.
A comprehensive plan is one of the most important documents
a city has. In cases of conflict with the zoning and building
ordinances, the comp plan trumps all else.<<
estate signs under scrutiny
By Laurie Krosney
sun staff writer
ANNA MARIA Picture
a street in any Island city without real estate signs.
Thats what Anna Maria city commissioners are considering.
"For sale, for rent, for lease, seasonal rental,
non-seasonal rental, Gulf view, bay view, pool
these are all real estate signs," City Planner Alan
Garrett told commissioners at their Feb. 9 work session.
Commissioners are redrafting the citys sign regulations,
and real estate signs are coming under scrutiny.
"I took a look and on one stretch of North Shore
from Coconut to North Bay thats eight-tenths
of a mile I counted 51 real estate signs,"
said Commissioner Duke Miller. "Twenty of them are
for rent and they are occupied. You could see the cars
from out of state. One of them had a for rent sign, call
Melinda, call Evan it gave the numbers then
it said duplex. Youd have to be deaf,
dumb and blind not to see that it was a duplex. There
were three numbers to call."
Regulating and limiting the size, shape and number of
signs is being considered in addition to eliminating them
One option would be to allow only one four-foot by four-foot
sign on a single post in a single color that would have
to be removed when the property is rented or sold.
"What would happen if we had no signs in R-1 or R-2
(residential) districts?" asked Mayor SueLynn. "If
there were no signs, then people would go straight to
the real estate companies. Id like to see us think
Garrett noted that in Siesta Key, where he has done a
lot of consulting work, its a well-known fact that
when you buy a house, you leave the real estate sign up
in the yard, because you are likely to get an offer.
"On the other hand, on Cape Cod, there are no real
estate signs allowed," he said.
During several meetings with members of the business community,
some business owners have indicated theyd like the
ordinance to allow them to have one sandwich board that
would list the days specials. That sign would come
in each night. Or else, they would be allowed to post
their menus on the side of the building.
Allowing a sign on each side of the business where the
building fronts on two streets is also something the business
community would like.
The citys environmental enhancement and education
committee has also weighed in with some recommendations
that were well received by both Garrett and the commission.
In a memo to Garrett and commissioners, EEEC members asked
that the commission think about the lighting element of
signage. Theyd like to minimize glare, and light
shining on places other than the sign. Theyd like
the light to point downwards illuminating only the sign
and not the night sky and theyd like to see lighting
that minimizes disturbance of wildlife.
The EEEC members provided commissioners with information
from the Sanibel code that deals with lighting and signage.
Commissioners will continue discussing the sign ordinance
in the weeks to come before making any final decisions.
teens facing �critical unmet needs�
sun staff writer
ANNA MARIA Ashley Hollywood is a real heartbreaker,
and its not because of her star-quality name.
The youthful director of the Anna Maria Island Community
Center teen program touched the centers board members
last week with tales of Island young people with no one
to talk to and no one to watch out for them.
Well, almost no one.
"They just want to hear that they matter. They walk
around thinking that nobody cares about them," said
Hollywood, who proves them wrong.
A 17-year-old about to graduate from high school who cant
read is getting tutoring through the teen program.
Island teens and even younger children who are sexually
active and using drugs are looking for something different,
she told the somber board. One pre-teen girl is already
getting bored with activities that most 20-something adults
have not yet tried, she said.
"If theyre doing everything at this age, what
will they be doing when theyre 20?" Hollywood
The teen program offers alternative activities such as
flag football, arts and crafts, fishing trips, game nights,
movie and pizza nights and community service to senior
citizens. Programs in the works include a kayak festival
and a mentoring program with the Rotary Club.
"Teens have critical unmet needs," said Center
Executive Director Pierrette Kelly, who is working to
raise more funds for the Center to expand its programs
for teens, children and adults. "We have a lot more
to do to really meet those needs. If the issues are this
serious, can we bury our heads in the sand?"
A request for funds from Manatee County Administrator
Ernie Padgett left board members with the impression that
the county would be more inclined to contribute generously
if the three Island city governments would show a greater
monetary commitment to the Center.
"I dont think were getting enough from
the cities," board member Stewart Moon said.
"One of our problems is weve been too successful,"
board member Don Schroder added. "They see us and
say, Why do they need more money? "
Holmes Beach Mayor Carol Whitmore suggested that to encourage
more contributions from cities, the Center should provide
a monthly report to city governments of how many people
from each city are being served by the Centers programs,
"Its one of those things that local government
should be funding," board Chairman Andy Price said.
geared to predict red tide
By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer
CITY ISLAND It may
be more imperative to spend time and money on predicting
red tide than on finding its causes and cures, according
to Dr. Richard Pierce, director of the Center for Eco-toxicology
at Mote Marine Laboratory.
Red tide kills fish, manatees, dolphins, sea turtles and
water birds, causes respiratory difficulty in susceptible
people and can cause shellfish poisoning so serious that
some victims require respirators to survive.
2005 was a marathon year for Karenia brevis, the local
species of red tide that affected the Florida Gulf coast
for 10 months. But its not the first or the
worst occurrence, Pierce told an audience last
week at the Monday at Mote lecture series breakouts
in 1951-52 and in 1995 lasted a full 12 months each.
But the 2005 bloom spread so far, so fast, that even if
researchers had a surefire cure, there would have been
no way to affordably transport it to the huge area affected
by red tide, he said.
A Jan. 9, 2005 satellite photo of a 20-mile-long, 40-mile-wide
swath of red tide off Hillsborough County was one of the
first indicators that the microscopic algae was present
last year, he said. Even if a cure existed, it would have
taken 8.4 million gallons of chemical to treat the area,
and 9.8 months to apply it.
"Thats why continuous monitoring is so important,"
he said. "We need to develop a mitigation and control
technology so you can get ready for it like a hurricane."
While Mote is working with red tide detectors on mobile
submarines and fixed moorings to locate, monitor and predict
red tide, its also important to study what causes
it, he said.
Many nutrients feed red tide, including nitrogen, phosphorus
and carbon. Naturally-occurring organic matter decaying
on the Gulf bottom and contained in runoff from swamps
and rivers into the Gulf is one of the sources of nutrients,
along with iron from Saharan dust storms that blow over
Florida and fertilizer runoff from yards and golf courses,
which is often debated as a cause.
Even without definitive evidence that fertilizers are
one of the main causes of red tide, "It would make
sense to reduce coastal pollution now," he said.
Another avenue of exploration is to find a cure. Clay,
ozone, bleach and other substances may kill red tide,
but they also affect surrounding marine life, he said.
For example, clay takes red tide to the bottom, then kills
bottom-dwelling animals, he said. Ozone removes red tide,
but is toxic to people.
Research continues, but funds are relatively scarce, Pierce
said, comparing Motes $3.5 million red tide budget
over five years to Longboat Keys $21 million budget
for beach renourishment and NASAs $800 million budget
for photos of Pluto.
"The answer must be ecologically sound, economically
feasible and logistically attainable," he said.
lives, recycle fishing line
sun staff writer
A new program for recycling
fishing line could prevent marine life injuries and deaths.
The Monofilament Recovery and Recycling Program sponsored
by Keep Manatee Beautiful provides bins at several places
around the Island to dispose of fishing line and keep
it from entangling birds and marine mammals and being
ingested by marine life.
Fishing line injures and kills sea turtles, dolphins,
manatees, birds, fish and whales.
Monofilament fishing line is invisible and virtually indestructible,
lasting for 600 years in a marine environment before disintegrating,
according to Yvette Little, operations manager for Keep
The recycling program collects fishing line in outdoor
bins, which are emptied by volunteers who take the contents
to indoor bins. Those bins are mailed to an Iowa company
that melts the line into raw plastic pellets that can
be made into other plastic products, including tackle
boxes, spools for line and material for fish habitats.
Keep Manatee Beautiful is looking for businesses and service
organizations to provide places for new bins and adopt
For more information, call Keep Manatee Beautiful at 795-8272.
embarks on long journey
sun staff writer
Its a short ride
from the Island to the mainland via the Anna Maria Island
Bridge, but its a long journey when youre
going under the bay.
Thats what Florida Power and Light (FPL) is doing
for a project that will replace the oldest of the Islands
four main electrical lines. In fact, the 3,400-foot-long
drilling project under the bay is the longest every attempted
by the power company.
According to FPL Superintendent of Contract Labor Rich
Corali, they expect to finish the project within a week,
if all goes well. They started drilling Feb. 4 after weeks
of plotting and permit applications. The technology involved
is fairly new and very accurate.
The hole is being drilled from one side of the bay to
the other to a depth of 60 feet using 30-foot long sections
of pipe. There are locator wires on the bridge and across
the bay to keep track of where the head of the drill is
at all times. The head has a sensor and is adjustable
so that when a computer in a nearby trailer determines
it needs to change course, it can do so. It is called
a "True Tracking" system, based on a Microsoft
Windows® Auto CAD system.
"By the time we get to the other side," Corali
said, "we could almost pop it up inside a five-gallon
As the pipe winds its way through the bay bottom, it makes
small adjustments that wont stress the pipe to get
where it is going. There is a pump that sends bentonite,
a clay-like substance in powder form through the hole,
which hardens and makes sure it does not collapse, according
to Corali. After they get to the other side, they will
put a reamer around the pipe and make the hole larger
until it can easily house the black pipe that will form
the permanent home of the electrical cords. At that point,
they will pull the wiring from the mainland to the Island.
Paul Klein is the man who guides the pipe under the sea
bed and he is charged with making sure they avoid natural
hazards such as rock and coral and man-made ones like
anchors, nautical wreckage and other utility lines that
feed the Island. One of them is cable television lines
that were laid 11 years ago.
"We had to get BrightHouse out here to locate their
lines in the bay," Klein said. "They cross our
path several times. They dont run in a straight
line, but our new cables will. Thats the difference
between technology then and now."
struggling with how to spend funds from line of credit
By Laurie Krosney
sun staff writer
ANNA MARIA The city
commissions new $1.5 million line of credit is posing
its first problem how to spend it.
"I just want to make sure that this administration
or any future administration spends any money this city
borrows in a way that will be of benefit," said City
Commissioner Dale Woodland.
The city has been approved for a $1.5 million line of
credit to be used exclusively for capitol improvement
projects. The city attorney is in the process of drafting
an ordinance that will govern the withdrawal and spending
of that money.
Woodland and the commission have been working on guidelines
that he wants included in an ordinance that will control
how the money is spent.
"This is all unnecessary," said Mayor SueLynn.
"I cant spend more than $2,500 for anything
without coming to the commission for approval."
Commission Chair John Quam presented a draft of a resolution
he drew up to attach to the line of credit ordinance.
"I think this covers all of our concerns," he
said. "It states that we (the commission) approve
all the road and storm water projects. It states that
we have to do a budget amendment to spend the money."
The resolution states that the administration initiates
the bid process for projects, but it reserves for the
commission the right to approve contracts. The initiation
of any action to draw from the line of credit must come
from the commission; the money is to be in a separate
account with all activity noted on a separate spreadsheet.
Any future line of credit would be governed by the same
No action has been taken as yet, and the commission continues
to work on the issue.
Approval of some version of the ordinance authorizing
the line of credit is expected at the commissions
Feb. 23 meeting.