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 Annies
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
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 countys 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 countys ability to pay for future operating
paperwork stalls homeowners
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 havent 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 municipalitys
future land use map section of the citys 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
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
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.
you need a permit for a sign
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
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,
big can you make a sign?
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
"You cant 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
If the ordinance passes in final form, as was discussed
at the city commissions 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
cant 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 cant 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 citys 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.<<
fellowship at the
other community center
sun staff writer
Its 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.
Somebodys marker has gone dry and they stop play
while Len Blackwood finds her a new one.
"If it doesnt work, just lick on it,"
Redeker says, drawing laughs from the crowd.
"Wheres that girl with the dry dauber,"
Blackwood asks as he walks toward the raised hand at the
middle of the room. "You know, I dont get paid
mileage for this."
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
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 Centers 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
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
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 Centers 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, Its for the community. I wouldnt
do this if it were for anything else."
Kit said she is amazed at the number of donors who say,
"Ive 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 Suns "Town
Crier" section, but Dale said its 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
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 Im done," he laughs.
"Of course they might be applauding because Im
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
"Were getting some new people in," said
Blackwood. "We need more people who can be productive
and help out.
"We dont 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.
proceeds at Pure station
in Holmes Beach
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, Im back to normal," Brett
Vande Vrede, who purchased the business in 2001, said
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
Drive beautification plans finalized
sun staff writer
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 citys
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 wont allow.
The city is also putting in crosswalks at Third and Second
"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. "Its estimated to be between seven and
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,"
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
The committee voted to approve the plans, and they will
be put onto an upcoming city commission agenda.