Vol 6 No. 25 - March 15, 2006


Center OKs building new gym

Shack proposal in works

Botched paperwork stalls homeowners

Now, you need a permit for a sign

How big can you make a sign?

Fun and fellowship at the other community center

Cleanup proceeds at Pure station in Holmes Beach

Gulf Drive beautification plans finalized




Center OKs building new gym

ByPat Copeland
sun staff writer

ANNA MARIA – In a consensus, the Community Center’s Board of directors last week approved replacing the aging gymnasium with a new structure as part of the Center’s reconstruction/renovation project.

Board member Stewart Moon, a member of the facilities planning committee, brought the recommendation to the board.

"We met twice to finalize the drawings to get a price on this," he explained. "We talked about the gym, the gym floor, the gym roof, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and the challenges of waterproofing the building.
"The conclusion was that to build a new gym on the same site as the old gym would be $200,000 more. It makes life so much easier for everyone. I think it’s a logical thing to do. "
"Insurance would go way down," Executive Director Pierrette Kelly added.

Center officials are also seeking satellite locations so they can continue to offer programs during the reconstruction. Holmes Beach Mayor Carol Whitmore, also a board member, has offered the use of two rooms in the city’s public works building. Kelly said they would be used for the teen and counseling programs.

"It’s right next door to the skate park and the fields, so I think that will work out really well," Kelly said.

Kelly is working with Anna Maria Elementary School Principal Kathy Hayes to use the school’s auditorium for the summer camp and after-school programs. She is also working with officials at St. Bernard Catholic Church on possible use of the fellowship hall.
She said the former restaurant building at the corner of Pine Avenue and Gulf Drive in Anna Maria that is currently being renovated by Rhea Chiles for an arts and culture center would not be ready for the Center’s use because its renovations could take six to eight months.
The Center continues to raise money for the construction project and has raised $2 million of the $3 million anticipated for the work. << Top


Shack proposal in works

By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer

CORTEZ – Plans are on the drawing board to pursue grant funding from several sources in another attempt by Manatee County to purchase the Seafood Shack restaurant, according to Clerk of Court R.B. "Chips" Shore.

A "white paper" detailing development plans for the restaurant and adjoining property, including Annie’s Bait and Tackle shop and a marina, is being prepared as a basis for several grant proposals, he said, adding that state and federal legislators will be among the first to see the plan.

"We have a lot of options," Shore said, including grants for boatbuilding, maritime history and shoreline and historic preservation purposes. "Our commissioners have said, ‘You find the grants and come back to us.’ "

The Manatee County Commission decided last month not to purchase the 6.1-acre property on the Intracoastal Waterway at the Cortez bridge, citing lack of grant funding, failure to agree on a purchase price and traffic and safety issues posed by a proposed boat ramp.
The county’s former plans for the property included converting the Seafood Shack restaurant into the Florida Gulf Coast Maritime Museum at Cortez, instead of locating the museum at the historic schoolhouse being renovated on 119th Street, and building a public boat ramp.

The Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage (FISH) and the Cortez Village Historical Society supported the plan, while the Concerned Citizens of Cortez opposed it, citing safety concerns over traffic congestion and doubts about the county’s ability to pay for future operating costs.<< Top

Botched paperwork stalls homeowners

ByLaurie Krosney
sun staff writer

ANNA MARIA – When is it impossible to build a house on property that has been re-zoned from commercial to residential? Apparently when the rezoning was never registered with the state.

Amador and Marne Salinas bought property at 4909 Gulf Drive in 2001, but they haven’t been able to get a permit to build their dream retirement home.

The property is located on the southeast corner of Gulf Drive and Spring Avenue.
Larry Albert and Linda Kapisak, the people who sold the property to the Salinas’, did everything they were supposed to do to get the zoning changed from commercial to residential. They also split the one commercial lot into two residential lots.

Minutes of the planning and zoning board meeting from a June 24, 1997, city commission meeting show clearly city commissioners voted 4-1 to accept the change from commercial zoning to residential.

That, however, should not have been the end of the matter. In order to make changes to zoning as shown on a municipality’s future land use map section of the city’s comprehensive plan, those changes have to be registered in Tallahassee. No one from the city ever initiated that action, so as far as the state is concerned, that land is still zoned commercial.

Meanwhile, the city issued a building permit for the east lot that resulted from the split, and a home was constructed there and has been occupied for several years.

In a letter to city commissioners, Salinas pleaded for help in getting his home permitted.
"After getting settled and researching builders and house plans, we were astounded to find out that we could not build our house as the city had our lot still zoned C1 on the comp plan," Salinas wrote in his letter.

City commissioners addressed the Salinas letter briefly at their March 9 work session, but they said they wanted copies of the minutes from the planning and zoning board meeting and from the commission meeting where the zoning change request was approved. They also want to hear from their attorney.

Meanwhile, the cost for registering the zoning change is about $15,000, and Salinas has told commissioners that the delays in getting his house permitted have added about $50,000 to the cost of construction.


Now, you need a permit for a sign

ByTom Vaught
sun staff writer

BRADENTON BEACH – Real estate agents and property managers beware. You have until April 1 to purchase permits for the signs you use in the city of Bradenton Beach.

The planning and development department has sent letters to all of the agents’ property managers telling them of the new rules under the land development code sign ordinance that were approved by city commission on Oct. 20. They include rules for temporary signs, such as For Sale and For Rent signs that are so plentiful in this beachside city.

Also new are the permits, which include temporary stickers that will be placed on the signs. The permit for each new sign costs $50 per year, but the cost for existing signs is $25 because it is pro-rated to Nov. 30, then end of the current fiscal year. Sign permits have to be renewed by Oct. 2 and the renewal cost is $25.

The permit goes with the sign, so when a real estate agent sells a home, he or she may transfer the sign to another property without incurring an additional fee.

Under the revised sign ordinance, one sign is allowed to be placed along the road frontage of a home or condominium unit for sale or rent. There are setback limitations and the maximum size allowed is 4 square feet for residential property and 8 square feet for commercial property.

Signs shall be free-standing and securely attached to a maximum of two 4-inch support posts with a supporting arm a maximum of 4 feet from the ground. Sign structures shall be painted white. Multiple listing strips are prohibited.

Signs must be removed within two business days of the sale or rental of a property.
Copies of the sign ordinance may be purchased at the planning and development department at city hall, 107 Gulf Drive N. For more information, call the department at 778-1005, ext. 213.<< Top

How big can you make a sign?

ByLaurie Krosney
sun staff writer

ANNA MARIA — What size, what color and how many lines of print are all aspects of signs that will be regulated when Anna Maria commissioners finalize their new sign ordinance.

There will be several categories of signs — those that are for businesses like shops and offices, those that are used in the residential areas and those that direct people to facilities like the Island Community Center, the museum and the city pier.

Real estate signs have generated a great deal of attention from commissioners and from the public. These would be for sale, for rent and seasonal rental signs that abound on the Island. But they all are to be called real estate signs.

"You can’t regulate one business and not another, but you can regulate zones," said City Planner Allen Garrett. "So we really are talking about residential signage. They are for sale and for rent signs in residential neighborhoods."

If the ordinance passes in final form, as was discussed at the city commission’s March 9 work session, there can only be one real estate sign per residential property. It must be on a specific type of holde, and it can have no more than three colors, including the background color. It can have no more than three lines of print, and it can’t have any of those hanging additional signs with phone numbers or other descriptive terms, such as poll or canal front, attached.

The signs must come down when the house is sold or rented. They can’t be left in place year ’round. To date, there has been no public comment from Realtors at meetings discussing the new rules.

Regulations for business signage will also be changed under the new ordinance.
"We had several meetings with the business community and one of the things they especially want is one free-standing menu board sign to put out in the day and take in at night advertising daily specials," Garrett said. "Or instead, they can post their menu for people to look at. That ramp at the new Waterfront would be a perfect place to post a menu, for example."

Signs on the building itself can be no more than four square feet. If the building has more than one frontage, a sign can be placed on each side of the building.

Any commercial building sign not in compliance with the new ordinance will have to come into compliance with the code if it is replaced. All non-conforming signs must be replaced within five years.

Lighting of signs will be regulated in accordance with suggestions put forward by the city’s environmental committee. They recommended that any lighting be shined down onto the sign itself, thus avoiding problems with nesting turtles or light pollution in the neighborhood.

After tweaking the ordinance, commissioners set the second reading and probable approval for March 23.<< Top


Fun and fellowship at the
other community center

ByTom Vaught
sun staff writer

BRADENTON BEACH – It’s Thursday night and about 40 people are inside the Annie Silver Community Center, sitting at the long rows of tables with their bingo cards, red metallic chips, markers and magnets.

Bingo caller Dale Redeker reads the number on the pingpong-sized ball that surfaces from the spout of the machine that mixes the balls with air. He tells everyone that one of the members is in the hospital up north and there is a Get well card at the table up front for anyone to sign.

Somebody’s marker has gone dry and they stop play while Len Blackwood finds her a new one.

"If it doesn’t work, just lick on it," Redeker says, drawing laughs from the crowd.
"Where’s that girl with the dry dauber," Blackwood asks as he walks toward the raised hand at the middle of the room. "You know, I don’t get paid mileage for this."
More laughs.

Many of the players come to their Island homes every winter to escape the cold weather up north. Most of them have formed long-time friendships with the others during the winter months, and they stay in touch after they head back to their permanent addresses.
"Bingo!" one of the women shouts and Len Blackwood, who is president of the Community Center, goes to check out her card. He calls out the numbers under the red chips and Redeker confirms she is a winner. Blackwood hands her two dollars as the other players use their magnets to collect the chips from their cards so they can start another game.
A haven for snowbirds

The Annie B. Silver Community Center, which sits at the corner of 23rd Street and Avenue C., was once owned by Annie B. Silver, who married into the family that founded Wagner Real Estate. She donated it to a non-profit corporation that was formed by the Center’s members. The Center is a haven for and a product of a way of life that has sustained itself for more than half a century on Anna Maria Island.

Seasonal residents, or snowbirds, as they are sometimes called, have been making the Island their winter home since before World War II. Most of them come from the Eastern seaboard or the Midwest, and they tend to share the values of hard work and honesty that prevail in the middle class.

The value of their Island homes would make most of them millionaires, but many still fix up those homes and keep them for winter getaways. While the cost of living has brought in a new breed of residents and landlords, time has stood still at the Annie B. Silver Community Center.

A self-sustaining entity
Blackwood is the president of the Center’s board of directors, Redeker is the vice president and his wife, Kit, is the person who gets the donations from the businesses that serve as prizes at the weekly bingo games.

"There are so many nice people out there who contribute," said Kit. "People ask me why I collect the prizes and I say, ‘It’s for the community. I wouldn’t do this if it were for anything else.’"

Kit said she is amazed at the number of donors who say, "I’ve been waiting for you," or, "Where have you been?" when she shows up to collect.
The Redekers said bingo attendance has been strong this year, thanks in part to notices in The Sun’s "Town Crier" section, but Dale said it’s still not as full as when they first started.
The city of Bradenton Beach has started budgeting donations every year to the Center. Dale said it all began with former city commissioner Bill Arnold, who wanted the city to gravel the front parking lot. The commission agreed and after that, they started donating money. The Center got $500 last year. In return, the large hall is available to the community.

"Commissioner Lisa Marie Phillips has held a number of meetings here with residents of her ward," he said. "Several condo associations also schedule meetings here."
The board also offered the building to the city in case there is an emergency and residents need a place to gather.

But the hall serves as a gathering place for members and for anyone who wants to play bingo on Thursday nights or participate in potluck suppers or listen to live music from residents, including Dale, who plays the guitar.

"They all applaud when I’m done," he laughs. "Of course they might be applauding because I’m done."

Blackwood said the success of the bingo games is due to the regulars who run it.
"Muriel Thayer, the treasurer, has been keeping track of the money for at least 30 years," he said. "Gloria Mayfield and Judy Pruitt prepare the food we sell. They all make it happen."

The future depends on new members
"The spiritual part of this operation is good," said Blackwood. "There are no petty politics, no cliques. We have a small core of people who do what needs to be done. They all know what that is and they do it without being asked."

The building got a new roof last year and it is guaranteed for 30 years. The question is, will the roof outlive the center.

"We’re getting some new people in," said Blackwood. "We need more people who can be productive and help out.

"We don’t have a lot of people," he added, "but the ones who are here have a high level of spirit."

Proceeds from bingo and their annual yard sale, which will be held on Saturday, March 18, at 8 a.m., help pay the insurance on the property.

The fun is open to everyone, not just Bradenton Beach residents, and the cost is low. Members pay $3 per year and couples pay $5. If anyone is interested in returning to a time before television replaced fellowship, come on out to bingo on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. during season. The games continue through March. Then, the regulars pack up, return to their permanent homes and look forward to more bingo next winter.
For more information, call the Redekers at 778-1915.

<< Top


Cleanup proceeds at Pure station
in Holmes Beach

ByPat Copeland
sun staff writer

HOLMES BEACH — The Holmes Beach Pure Station is back in business following installation of equipment to clean up pollution caused by leaking petroleum products over the years.
"At this point, I’m back to normal," Brett Vande Vrede, who purchased the business in 2001, said Thursday.

Public Works Supervisor Joe Duennes said the contamination was discovered about 10 years ago when "the Coast Guard was advised of an oil sheen in the TideMark basin. The only visible outfall was probably from the gas station. The DEP (Florida Department of Environmental Protection) put dye in and found out where it was coming from."
However, Duennes stressed that the contamination was above acceptable levels and not a threat to people or wildlife.

Fast forward to a couple of years ago, when the city learned that its storm drain was on the Pure property and hired an engineer to relocate it.

"The engineer and contractor asked what to do with the contaminated water," Duennes said, "and the DEP said to hold off on the relocation until they cleaned up the site.’
DEP officials hired CBM Environmental Services, Inc., a firm that specializes in environmental assessment and cleanup, to decontaminate the site.

"The decontamination procedure involves installation of 12 networked well points that penetrate the water table beneath the pumps, tanks and basins at the station," Duennes explained. "Air is then pumped into the system, creating a continuous bubbling/vaporizing condition which generates a ‘dirty’ air mass that is isolated and filtered before being vented back into the atmosphere."

Duennes said the process could take up to two years to complete.. << Top


Gulf Drive beautification plans finalized

ByTom Vaught
sun staff writer

BRADENTON BEACH – After several years of discussion, surveying and planning, the Scenic Highway committee has approved the final plans for the beautification of Gulf Drive from Cortez Road to Fifth Street S. Next comes the permitting.

The project erases years of benign neglect, which allowed structures to be placed and even built into the city’s rights of way along Gulf Drive. Over the course of the project, engineering firm Wilson Miller was hired to survey Gulf Drive and its rights of way, and the results were sent to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), which incorporated them into its final description of the state-owned road.

Wilson Miller engineer Mitch McKnight presented the final plans to the committee. They include sidewalks, crosswalks, city-owned landscaping and modifications to the roundabout.
The curbing along the roundabout will be raised to persuade drivers to go around the inner circle instead of going over it. McKnight said he wants to investigate using textured pavement identical to the new crosswalk material recently installed in Holmes Beach to replace the brick crosswalks at the roundabout, which FDOT won’t allow.

The city is also putting in crosswalks at Third and Second streets north.

"I met last week with the supplier and he mentioned Holmes Beach," McKnight said. "He said the only problem they had was when they painted the white stripes on each side of the crosswalks, some of the paint bled into the red area.

"The only concern I have it is life-span," he added. "It’s estimated to be between seven and 10 years."

McKnight said he would like to get an estimate of using the textured pavement for all the crosswalks planned, even at the side streets where FDOT has no jurisdiction, and he noted they have one advantage over real brick.

"If we do the real brick, it would take much longer," he said. "We would have to divert traffic along those streets for days."

McKnight said the next step was for the city commission to approve the plans so they could be sent to FDOT and other state agencies for permitting.
"We need to get this on to those agencies soon so we can get started on construction this summer," he said.

Mayor John Chappie mentioned they still have some easement problems along some of the properties in the project, but McKnight said they should still send the plans to the agencies and try to work out those problems in the meantime.
The committee voted to approve the plans, and they will be put onto an upcoming city commission agenda.

<< Top

"Write a letter to the editor about a story."


<< Go back to Index March 15

<< Go back to Index archives



About us | News | The Island | Subscription | SUN Store | Classified



AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper