CORTEZ Business owners
are looking forward to the completion of the
Cortez Road improvement project, estimated in
four to six weeks.
After a month-long suspension of work in April
to allow for increased tourist season traffic,
work resumed May 1 on what looks like crosswalks,
but are actually "pedestrian oases,"
said Debbie Tower, spokeswoman for the Florida
Department of Transportation.
A pedestrian oasis is intended as a place for
pedestrians to cross, but it is not a designated
crosswalk because it is not installed at a traffic
signal, she said.
The red, brick-like areas also are much wider
than normal crosswalks 80 to 100 feet
wide and are elevated slightly to act
as traffic calming devices that slow drivers,
After the pedestrian oases are completed, a
final layer of asphalt will be applied where
side streets connect to Cortez Road, then stripes
will be painted on the roadway and work on the
ditches will be completed, Tower said.
The end cant come fast enough for some
business owners from the Cortez Bridge east
to 119th Street, who say that roadwork translates
into lost business.
"Theyre hurting everybody in the
daytime," said Al Marnie, of Pelican Petes
at 12012 Cortez Road W. "Theyre closing
traffic down one way every day while theyre
finishing the crosswalks."
Before work stopped in April, the restaurant
was losing about $1,000 a week, he estimated.
"People were afraid to pull in because
they didnt want to get stuck."
While the new turning lanes have made access
easier, Marnie said, "With the price we
paid, I would have gone without the improvement."
It was bad timing for Ann Marie Nicholas, who
opened her business near the end of the Cortez
bridge, A Room With A Hue, just as the roadwork
began last fall.
"I am ecstatic" about the projects
approaching completion, she said. Earlier this
month, a driver hit the new curbing in front
of her store, lost control and ran into a building
next door, destroying her landscaping in the
But Nicholas said the new road is an improvement,
adding, "It has helped out that bottleneck
at the end of the bridge."
Jan Holman, owner of the Sea Hagg at 12304 Cortez
Road W., agrees.
"Traffic flows through much better than
it did before," she said. "And the
turning lanes are pretty nice because you dont
have to wait."
Some businesses didnt notice much of a
problem, including Sallys Salon, 12106
Cortez Road W., where Sally McAllister said
her customers had some trouble getting in and
out of the parking area, but didnt cancel
"Its not as bad as you would think,
said Jeremy Radojcsics at Tylers Ice Cream,
11904 Cortez Road W. "It could have been
a lot worse."
But during construction, a sign on Cortez Road
and 75th Street in Bradenton directed people
away from Cortez businesses, which caused a
drop in business at some establishments, including
the Cortez Café at 12108 Cortez Road
W., according to Ramona Fulk.
Manatee County requested and provided the sign,
Tower said, which did not say "detour"
a word used only when a road is closed
but "alternate route," giving
drivers a choice to take Manatee Avenue to the
The sign was removed in April when construction
was suspended, and has been replaced since work
resumed earlier this month, advising drivers
of lane closures and the alternate route of
State Road 64 (Manatee Avenue).
Email the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
relief meeting May 24
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH Beach accommodations
owners affected by rising property taxes are
invited to a community meeting on Wednesday,
May 24, at 7 p.m. at the Holmes Beach City
Hall, 5801 Marina Drive.
The meeting is intended to help Manatee County
commissioners determine whether lodging owners
on Anna Maria Island and the Manatee County
portion of Longboat Key want an ordinance
that would defer increased property taxes.
Manatee County Commissioner Jane von Hahmann
will lead a discussion about the proposed
ordinance, made possible by new state legislation
that would allow counties to create ordinances
designating certain "working waterfront"
properties as qualifying for a tax deferral.
The legislation is awaiting approval by Gov.
Von Hahmann requested that the Manatee County
attorneys office begin working on the
ordinance last week so it could be ready by
fall property tax time, but Commissioner Joe
McClash suggested holding the meeting first
to gauge interest among Island property owners,
If the ordinance is passed, it would encourage
accommodations owners to stay in business,
not sell to developers, von Hahmann said.
"But do they really want to keep their
businesses as they are?" she asked. "If
theyre looking to sell, it might not
be so favorable."
"Were trying to get these people
to stay in the business," said Don Schroder,
a founder of the Coalition Against Runaway
Taxation (CART) and chairman of the Anna Maria
Island Chamber of Commerce. "If we do
not do something out here, this Island as
we know it will disappear. Once we lose the
small businesses out here, the pressure will
come from big deep pocket developers, and
all of a sudden well look like Longboat
Key or Miami Beach."
Schroder said he is hoping for an ordinance
that would be modeled after the homestead
law, with a tax increase cap of between 3
and 5 percent, using 2004 as the baseline
from which to measure the increases. Another
desirable feature would be portability, extending
the tax deferment to each subsequent owner
until the propertys use is changed,
Members formed CART in 2004 after experiencing
sharply rising property taxes based on the
Manatee County Property Appraisers re-evaluation
of their property using the "highest
and best use of the land" standard, defined
as condominiums, instead of a standard based
on income or present use.
Schroder said that CART is still pursuing
a change in that standard and continues to
study the possibility of creating tax overlay
districts for hotels and motels on Anna Maria
Island and the Manatee County portion of Longboat
set for victims� families
for the families of Zane Zavadil and Ryan
Costello will be held from 3 to 8 p.m. on
Saturday, June 3, at the Anna Maria Island
Community Center, 407 Magnolia, Anna Maria.
Zane and Ryan were riding together the night
of April 8 when Zanes vehicle went off
the Anna Maria Island Bridge and into the
bay. After a frantic rescue attempt by two
Island police officers, Zane died at the scene
and Ryan was hospitalized in a coma. He was
recently transported to a hospital
in Atlanta, where his mother, Monica, will
be staying. His father, Kevin, and brother,
Corey, will live at their home in Bradenton.
The fundraiser will include music, food, baked
goods and a silent auction. Local bands that
will play at the event include the Magic Tree
Conspiracy, of which Corey is a member; FunkSui;
Blues Injectors; and Jimi Gee and Friends.
Donations will be accepted at the door.
Friends have set up a fund for the families
of the two. Donate at Wachovia Bank to the
Ryan Costello and Zane Zavadil Assistance
bust nets 25 rocks of cocaine
sun staff writer
BRADENTON BEACH For the fourth time
this year, a network of informants has led
to a drug bust in the Islands southernmost
city. This time, the seller came from the
According to a police report, officers arrested
Warren Scott Kinder, Jr., of Bradenton, on
Thursday, May 11, after he sold rock cocaine
to an informant. They also found marijuana
and $380 in his possession. Two hundred of
that was marked bills from the cocaine purchase.
He was charged with sale of cocaine and possession
of marijuana under 20 grams.
It all began when the informant notified Det.
Sgt. Lenard Diaz that the suspect would be
coming onto the Island to sell him cocaine.
The informant called Kinder with Diaz present
and arranged for the sale at 1801 Gulf Drive.
Diaz gave the informant $200 in marked $20
An hour and 15 minutes later, Kinder arrived
at the address and the informant got into
his car with Diaz observing from a distance.
After the sale, the informant gave a signal
to Diaz, who notified officers from Bradenton
Beach and Holmes Beach, who were nearby.
Officers in two cars moved in with their lights
activated and one of them tried to block the
exit of the driveway. Kinder tried to go around
the roadblock, but ended up leaving through
the entrance and turned south on Gulf Drive.
Officers gave chase and Kinder finally pulled
off the road. The policemen got out with pistols
drawn and ordered him out of his car. He told
them that all he had in the car was a bag
He was arrested and handcuffed while police
searched the car. They found the marijuana
and $180 in cash plus the marked $200.
Kinder was taken to the county jail where
bond was set at $5,000.
On St. Patricks Day this year, officers
arrested a man who had been selling marijuana
to high school students. His residence was
a block from the police station
traffic tickets coming
sun staff writer
Write more tickets. Thats the
direction city commissioners are asking the
mayor to give the Manatee County sheriffs
deputies who patrol Anna Marias streets.
Commissioners are drafting changes to their
traffic ordinance in preparation for the second
reading at their May 26 meeting.
There was earlier discussion about possible
ways to deal with the intersection of Pine
Avenue and North Shore Drive, which is considered
to be one of the most dangerous areas in the
"I went by there, and you cant
see the stop sign very well when you head
south on North Shore," said Commissioner
Dale Woodland. "That palm tree before
the intersection needs to be taken out or
Public Works Director George McKay said hed
already taken care of that.
Commissioners also considered a report from
their consulting engineer, Tom Wilcox, of
"We do recommend that consideration be
given to increased law enforcement
this requires an officer to ticket those drivers
failing to stop," Wilcox wrote in his
report to commissioners.
He also recommended that the city consider
implementing several options in sequential
First, if stepped-up law enforcement fails
to do the trick, Wilcox recommends installing
one of the new blinking stop signs at both
North Shore Drive stops at Pine Avenue.
If that doesnt work, Wilcox said the
commission might consider adding rumble strips
on the approach lanes.
Wilcox said other suggestions being proposed
didnt appear to be good ideas, including
adding stop signs along Pine Avenue.
"We recommend against installing stop
signs," he wrote.
Wilcox also recommended against installing
"Speed bumps tend to be hazardous to
all vehicles, especially emergency vehicles,
bicyclists, school buses and trolleys,"
the report said.
After McKay presented the report, commissioners
decided to ask the mayor to have enforcement
"Citizens will complain," said Commissioner
Duke Miller. "I had a call from a citizen
who got a ticket. He was mad, but he said
he was watching himself now, so the ticket
did just what its supposed to do."
Sgt. John Kenney was at the Governors
Hurricane Conference during the May 11 commission
work session, but he said his officers have
been writing tickets and parking a sheriffs
cruiser at different locations around town.
"Were trying to have a higher profile,"
he said. "We keep the car in a spot for
four or five days. People get used to it there,
and then we put a deputy in it."
Kenney said his officers have been writing
tickets all along.
"This is a transient area, and so you
have a constantly changing population,"
he noted. "We also ticket residents.
When we write tickets, tourists and residents
alike get cited."
The North Shore Drive/Pine Avenue intersection
is troublesome, he agreed.
"We do have a number of accidents there,"
he said. "There hasnt been one
in several months, but the last one was bad.
An older guy ran the stop sign, and hit a
car coming down Pine. That car crashed into
the school there. Fortunately, no one was
Kenney said he has no problem increasing the
number of tickets written.
"Just as an example, take the intersection
of Pine and Gulf," he said. "We
write quite a few tickets there, but they
are for the flagrant violations. If we went
strictly by the letter of the law, wed
write a hundred tickets a day there. People
just sort of roll through the stop sign."
The parking portion of the ordinance is also
getting some tweaking.
"We are going forward with making Cypress,
Spruce and Tuna two-way again," Commission
Chair John Quam noted. "And both sides
of those streets will be closed to parking.
We are still in agreement on that. Right?"
Also, Cedar will be changed from alternate
side of the street parking to open parking
Alamanda, which was inadvertently left out
of the original traffic ordinance, will be
added to the streets that have alternate parking.
The commission will hold a second reading
of its traffic ordinance amendments at its
May 25 meeting.
wants another look at consolidation
sun staff writer
A new, fresh look at consolidation
is what Commissioner Dale Woodland would like
to see in his city.
"The whole consolidation thing sort of
got off on the wrong foot," Woodland
said. "We never got the chance to take
an honest look at the issue. So many mistakes
were made. For instance, there was Maloney
(former Holmes Beach City Commissioner Don
Maloney) having a secret meeting. Any process
that starts out in secret is never going to
He was referring to an invitation-only meeting
that the former commissioner held to discuss
the issue well before the the November referendum
asking if citizens wanted to approve a study
of Island consolidation.
Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach voters overwhelmingly
favored such a study.
Anna Maria voters were not asked the question
after a large number of residents asked commissioners
not to participate in the referendum. At the
time, there was objection to the wording of
the ballot question.
The consensus among Anna Maria commissioners
then was that if the wording were changed
to authorize a study of consolidation of services
and/or governments, the city would participate.
Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach said the
question had to be consolidation of governments
Woodland said he wants to look at the issue
"Nothing should be taken off the table,"
he said. "We should be open to listening
Woodland said in his personal opinion, consolidation
of the governments of the three cities is
not something that most people want.
"Almost everyone is likes their city
and they dont want to see it lose its
identity," he noted. "I love Anna
Maria, and people I know in Bradenton Beach
and Holmes Beach also love their cities and
are proud of them."
Woodland said there are a lot of things that
can be done without combining the governments
of the three cities.
"I can see tremendous benefit in having
a city manager to oversee the workings of
the three cities," he said. "That
would bring a level of professionalism to
our Island that would be great. I think in
the long run, wed actually realize some
economic benefit from having a city manager
and it would also give us more clout in the
Woodland said hed also like to see an
open discussion of consolidating services.
He said hes not sure that there would
be a huge cost benefit to combining the building,
public works and law enforcement agencies,
but there are other benefits of equal, if
not more importance.
"I think wed see much more continuity
if we combined those services," he said.
"For one thing, all three cities experience
some upheaval when employees come and go.
Having combined services would greatly reduce
Woodland said he also thinks that combining
especially the building and public works departments
would greatly increase the level of professionalism
in those departments in all three cities.
"I think we could attract and retain
professionals, but Im not sure. We need
to put everything on the table, take a look
at it and discuss it."
Woodland said hes opposed to spending
a lot of money up front.
"I dont believe in hiring consultants
and paying them huge sums of money going into
something," he said. "We need to
look at everything first and see where we
For example, Woodland said each city has its
own idea of law enforcement.
"We all like the law enforcement we have.
In Anna Maria, were very happy with
the sheriffs department. In Holmes Beach
and Bradenton Beach, they like their own police
departments. Maybe we will never agree on
combining those services. We need to see how
we all feel."
Woodland said he thinks the idea should be
approached again with a fresh look. He said
he has been thinking since reading a piece
that Commissioner Duke Miller wrote as a guest
editorial for The Sun and offered as a one-way
memo to his fellow commissioners.
"Duke made some really good points, and
I think we should have an open discussion
of some if the things he suggested,"
"We need to see where we can come to
consensus and where we cant just in
our own city."
Woodland also praised Commission Chair John
Quam for a series of polls he took among Anna
Maria residents to see how they felt on the
"I think John took a lot of time and
did a very good, careful job," Woodland
noted. "The papers, especially, didnt
give him credit for what he did."
Woodland brought up his request to revisit
the consolidation issue just as the May 11
commission work session was drawing to a close.
"Ive been waiting for a couple
of months to discuss this," he said as
the meeting was adjourned.
His fellow commissioners agreed that another
look at the issue was a good idea and asked
Quam to place it on an upcoming agenda.
Woodland said hes going to write a memo
asking for discussion at the commissions
June 8 work session.
up in arms about annexation talk
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
Mayor John Chappie is upset over consolidation
talk by Holmes Beach City Commissioners Roger
Lutz and Rich Bohnenberger.
On Thursday, May 4, Chappie played a tape
from a recent Holmes Beach City Commission
meeting regarding the role of both cities
in an attempt to discuss making all three
Island cities into one.
"They discussed consolidation and they
discussed annexation," Chappie said,
as he hit the play button on the cassette
On the tape, Lutz discussed the decision by
Bradenton Beach not to study consolidation
further since Anna Maria did not put a non-binding
initiative question on last Novembers
ballot, as did the other two cities. The referendum
asked residents if they wanted their commission
to study the issue.
Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach voters approved
studying consolidation and possibly paying
for a consultant to make a professional assessment.
Lutz voiced disappointment at the Bradenton
Beach action and asked Mayor Carol Whitmore
to have Holmes Beach department heads draw
up projections for what it would cost if that
city were the sole city on the Island. Lutz
said he did not know if Holmes Beach would
be the surviving city if there were a consolidation,
but he wanted some figures to review in case
Whitmore protested, saying the department
heads in all three cities were against consolidation.
Lutz remarked that he figured they would be,
since some of them would lose their positions.
On the tape, Commissioner Rich Bohnenberger
said that the simplest solution would be for
one city to annex the other two cities, which
angered Chappie. He backed up the tape and
replayed the statement several times.
Whitmore repeated her assertion that the decision
by Bradenton Beach commissioners to drop the
study was a disservice to the voters who approved
Holmes Beach resident Donald Fernald said
that unless Holmes Beach had the power to
annex the other two cities, they are wasting
Lutz responded that 80 percent of Bradenton
Beach voters were for the study (it was closer
to 60 percent) and that five elected officials
were against it. Fernald asked how Holmes
Beach would overcome that and Lutz said at
the ballot box.
"Ive talked with Mayor Whitmore
to let her know I disagree with her actions,"
Chappie said after playing and replaying the
tape. "Its not a war; its
a disagreement. I also told Mayor Whitmore
that I dont appreciate what she said
- that we did a disservice to our voters."
Chappie said the Holmes Beach decision to
have department heads estimate the cost to
run the Island was a disservice to them, since
they are not professionals in consolidation.
"I thought it was very clear why we voted
not to join Holmes Beach," said Commissioner
Janie Robertson. "We didnt want
to spend the money for the consultant if Anna
Maria wasnt included."
"Consolidation means all three cities,"
said Commissioner John Shaughnessy. "Commissioners
in Anna Maria didnt even let their citizens
On May 9, Chappie sent a letter to Whitmore
and the Holmes Beach Commission re-emphasizing
his citys position on annexation. It
read, "Per the resolutions passed by
Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach, there can
be no further action until the city of Anna
Maria chooses to participate. At that time,
per the resolution, all three Island cities
can work in conjunction regarding consolidation."
Sun Staff Writer Tom Vaught may be reached
enforcement officers target
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
BRADENTON BEACH The illegally placed
temporary signs in the city right of way have
been taken down, either by the owners or by
code enforcement personnel who removed signs
within five feet of the property line.
Now its time for phase two.
Code Enforcement Officers Gerry Rathvon and
Gail Garneau are traveling the streets this
week in search of temporary signs within five
feet of the property line. They were not removed
earlier because it would have required the
code enforcement officers to enter private
property, which is not allowed without the
property owners permission. Instead,
they are taking the circuitous code enforcement
Rathvon said they began taking pictures of
the offending signs and sending notices to
the sign owners, giving them 48 hours to bring
the violation into compliance. If the owners
dont comply, they will get notices telling
them that they will be brought before the
code enforcement board.
"If they correct the situation there
will be no action taken, but we will discuss
their violation at the meeting, so that it
goes on record," Rathvon said. "If
the situation comes up again, they will be
treated as second offenders."
The building department began enforcing the
sign ordinance in April, even though the city
commission passed it last year. The new ordinance
requires signs to be at least five feet away
from the front property line, meet size limits,
be able to withstand high winds. Sign owners
must purchase an annual permi,t and they get
a sticker to put on the sign to prove they
are in compliance.
The first week of enforcement, Rathvon and
Garneau seized a large number of real estate
signs that were located in the right of way
and locked them inside a semi trailer next
to the public works building a structure
they referred to as "sign jail."
Since then, 20 signs have been retrieved by
their owners, who paid a $35 dollar penalty
and purchased the $25 annual permits. Garneau
said they dont expect some of the signs
to be bailed out of sign jail since they were
cheap for rent or for sale by owner signs
that are worth less than the $35 penalty.
The department has processed 120 stickers
for the temporary signs, according to Code
Enforcement Technician Judy Pruitt.
The city has been deluged with permit applications
for permanent signs also. Pruitt said 56 applications
have been filled out and seven plaques for
permanent signs were distributed. Building
Official Ed McAdam has to inspect the permanent
signs to make sure they meet size limits and
wind velocity resistance under the new ordinance
before owners get permits. Owners of existing
permanent signs that are out of compliance
for size, location or structure have more
time to bring them into compliance. Under
the ordinance, if replacing the sign would
cost $200 or less, they would have three months
to comply, if it is worth more than $200 and
less than $500, they would have a year and
for signs costing $500 or more, they would
have five years.
Sun Staff Writer Tom Vaught may be reached