Vol 6 No. 35 - May 24, 2006


No sand for some until 2012?

Stinky algae fouls taps

City targeting bayside boats

Troubles continue to plague developers

City officials urge adoption of adult entertainment laws on Island

Firefighters make Dylan�s wishes come true

GSR permits voided

Manatee protection zones now effective




No sand for some until 2012?

By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer

BRADENTON BEACH – Now that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has pulled the plug on the ill-fated renourishment project, some are questioning whether the areas of beach that were not renourished will have to wait until the next full project slated for 2012.

Manatee County is looking to do a partial renourishment on the Island later this year to be paid for in part by the state. That project would cover beaches in Anna Maria and south Bradenton Beach that were not covered by the original federally funded project in 1992.

Manatee County Conservation Lands Management Director Charlie Hunsicker said this partial project would not address the beaches missed during this last renourishment.

"I don’t think the state would do a project on beaches where a federally sponsored project took place earlier," he said. "The state feels it needs to concentrate on areas that have not been renourished at all."

Hunsicker said that after the new areas of beach are renourished, they would not be added to the federally covered area either.

"There is only so much money to go around," he said. "The federal government is not looking to add any more beach area to what they already have."

When the federal government paid for the first renourishment in 1992, it also contracted to take care of subsequent renourishments to replenish those beaches for decades. It already fulfilled its obligation with a project in 2002. The county added beaches in Anna Maria missed by the first renourishment when residents refused to sign over right of way on the beach.

Hunsicker said, for now, he is concentrating on the new project, which he hopes will start in November. The county will pay for a portion with funds from the resort tax.


Stinky algae fouls taps

By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer

Don’t blame it on red tide.

It’s another type of algae that’s causing the musty taste and odor that Island residents are noticing in the water, according to the Manatee County Utilities Customer Service Department.

The Lake Manatee Reservoir, the source of Island drinking water, has recently had high levels of algal blooms because water levels are low and the water is clear, letting sunlight penetrate easily and foster algae growth, a spokesman says, calling it a "regular seasonal occurrence."

Powdered activated carbon has been added to the water treatment process, but only so much can be safely used, he says, and safe levels are not quite enough to rid the water of the smell and taste.

The water is safe for consumption, but to improve the taste until the algae bloom dies, the department recommends chilling the water before drinking it, letting it sit out for a few hours before using or adding a couple of drops of lemon juice to a glassful.

City targeting bayside boats

By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer

BRADENTON BEACH – Some of the boaters parked in the bay south of the Bridge Street Pier are overstaying their welcome, which is why the city is moving to turn that area into a mooring field. But the city is not waiting for that to happen to stop some of the abuses suspected of those boaters.

Police Chief Sam Speciale spoke about the problem at last Thursday’s city commission meeting. He said public works crews are reporting vandalism and other types of damage at the pier’s restrooms, which are open all night, and he feels the guilty parties might be anchored in one or some of those boats.

"Recently, someone emptied a portable sewage container into the toilet on the pier and it backed up," he said. "Our (public works) guys had to work in the sewage to fix the problem."

Speciale said the police are ready to take action while the city waits for word on whether Governor Jeb Bush signs House Bill 1217, extending the city’s authority into the Gulf and bay waters for the purpose of enforcing the mooring field.

"Our guys (police officers) are certified and ready to enforce the law," he said. "We have talked with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and the Coast Guard, and they will participate with us in boarding every boat out there to may sure it has a working sanitary system on board that complies with requirements."

Speciale sounded a warning for boaters in that area who might be using the pier as a sanitary dump.

"Once the governor signs that bill, everything is going to change out there," he said.

As for the pier, which stays open all night to anglers and those who want to walk to the pavilion at the end, Mayor John Chappie suggested taking away that privilege.

"I have to problem with putting up a gate and closing it at midnight," Chappie said. "We put up a perfectly good facility out there and this happens. I don’t want our public works people having to clean up sewage in the bathrooms."

Speciale said that might not be necessary.

"This is probably one or two people," he said. "I don’t want to give the idea that everyone is doing it."

"If (other boaters) out there know who’s doing this, they need to let us know because one or two people are ruining it for everybody else," Commissioner John Shaughnessy said.

Chappie asked public works director Tom Woodard if they could shut down the restrooms at night and he said they both have deadbolts, but commissioners objected, saying that would not stop some of the offenders from dumping sewage somewhere else on the pier.

When Chappie asked the commissioners for input, they all recommended leaving the pier open all night for now, but monitoring the situation. They said that they would discuss it at the next commission meeting.

Troubles continue to plague developers

By Laurie Krosney
sun staff writer

More lawsuits have been filed against developers Robert Byrne and Steve Noriega.

Synovius Bank lodged the latest in a string of suits against the developers late last week.

The civil action is a mortgage foreclosure and lists Byrne, Urethane Systems, Inc. and Roland and Diane Vildostequi as defendants.

Also last week, Chief Management, Inc., a Bradenton firm, lodged two contract and indebtedness complaints — one against Byrne and AKR Development L.L.C. and the other against Byrne, Noriega and GSR Development.

Byrne and Noriega have now counter-sued Longboat Partner, L.L.C. and a series of individuals are beginning to seek restitution in courts.

In a related development, a series of lawsuits against Noriega in Tampa have come to light.

The developer faced several suits there in 2002 in relation to a condo development he was heading. The Internal Revenue Service also filed a lien against his property.

Those suits have since been resolved.

Byrne and Noriega had projects under way on Longboat Key, Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach and Anna Maria under a number of different companies.

They recently moved their office from the Villa Rosa property in Anna Maria to a Manatee Avenue address in Bradenton.

Trailer trouble

The sales office on the Villa Rosa property on South Bay Boulevard is also drawing attention.

A citizen has lodged a code complaint against the trailer, which was located on the property after a variance was granted.

Under Anna Maria code, a construction trailer can be placed on a property when a construction project is under way. It must be removed immediately upon completion of the project.

The city commission granted GSR a variance to install and use a trailer as a construction and sales trailer until the first home was built, at which time the trailer was to be removed.

The first home has been built, and the trailer remains.

Building Official Kevin Donohue said Friday that he hasn’t had time to look into the complaint.

In response to an earlier code violation complaint, Byrne and Noriega were ordered to cease using a house adjacent to the Villa Rosa property as an office. Business uses are not permitted in a residential zone.

Neither Byrne nor Noriega could be reached for comment.


City officials urge adoption of adult entertainment laws on Island

By Laurie Krosney
sun staff writer

BRADENTON BEACH - Adult entertainment parties, such as the ones that took place in Holmes Beach earlier this month, can legally be blocked using the proper ordinance, city officials said.

In fact, just such an ordinance banning these activities was enacted into law in October 2005 and remains an effective deterrent, City Building Official Ed McAdam said.

"This community doesn’t want any adult-style entertainment anywhere in Bradenton Beach," McAdam added. "I helped write an ordinance that we based on Manatee County’s ordinance, and that’s the way it stands."

McAdam said discretion prevented him from explicitly defining what “adult entertainment” is. But he did refer residents to the county’s website, where a check of the definitions in the land development code provided the following definition of an adult entertainment establishment:

"Adult entertainment establishment shall mean any adult bookstore, adult photography studio, adult theater, physical cultural establishment or special cabaret."

The definition also includes a description of the activities that may not take place in these establishments — a graphic description, so there is no danger of misunderstanding exactly what constitutes adult entertainment.

Legal opinion
Bradenton Beach City Attorney Ralph Brooks went even further, suggesting that the other Island cities might want to think about establishing an adult entertainment ordinance.

"You can ban adult uses from certain areas," Brooks said. "They are allowed in other areas of the county, but you can regulate their presence in a city like Bradenton Beach. You have to stay ahead of the game, because the people who provide that sort of entertainment are always coming up with ways to get around the law, but you can stay ahead."

Both Brooks and McAdam said they felt sure they would have been able to take action against an activity such as the Mandingo Mania party that took place on Flotilla Drive in Holmes Beach earlier this month.

"We could have shut it down because of the ordinance," Brooks said.

But Holmes Beach officials said they are being advised differently.

"What goes on between consenting adults behind closed doors is their business," said Holmes Beach Mayor Carol Whitmore. "We checked with our attorney, and legally, there was nothing we could do."

Neither Holmes Beach City Attorney Patricia Petruff nor Anna Maria Attorney Jim Dye could be reached for comment.

Holmes Beach Police Lt. Dale Stephenson agreed with Whitmore.

"We had no complaints, so there was nothing we could act on," he said.

Neighbors react
Will Bouziane, who lives next door to the Flotilla house, said the only problem he noticed was the first Saturday night when he and his roommates came home.

"They were really loud until about 2 a.m.," Bouziane said. "I went next door to talk to them the next day to tell them to tone it down. This is a residential neighborhood."

Bouziane, who is single and in his mid-20s, said a woman who was staying at the house, approached him and asked him if he would object to people at the house sunbathing nude on the patio overlooking the canal.

"What could I say?" he asked. "I didn’t object. They’re all adults. Of course it might be different if there were little kids around."

Bouziane said he has no problem with any activity that takes place between consenting adults.

But did all the activity take place behind closed doors?

Bouziane told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that there was some activity taking place outside the house.

According to published reports, Bouziane said he and his roommates spotted people filming sex scenes on a boat, on a dock and in a pool grotto.

The home on Flotilla is owned by Scott and Deanne Hopp and can be rented over the Internet for $4,800 a week. When the Hopps learned what was taking place, they evicted the Mandingo party people on the grounds that they were violating the terms of their lease.

The party was then moved elsewhere. Word of a Mandingo party house in Sarasota this coming weekend could not be verified, but there are Mandingo parties nationwide on a regular basis, according to Web sites used to promote the events.

Bradenton Beach officials remain confident that adult entertainment parties can’t take place in their city.

Holmes Beach officials remain confident that there is nothing that can be done to stop them.

Anna Maria Commissioner Dale Woodland said he isn’t aware of a problem in Anna Maria, but if the Sheriff’s Office requests an adult entertainment ordinance, he’d consider it.

"But frankly, I think we have more important things to worry about," he said.


Firefighters make Dylan�s wishes come true

By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer

HOLMES BEACH — Every day, firefighters come to someone’s rescue because it’s their job, but this time they came to a little boy’s rescue because of their love.

Four-year-old Dylan Mayes was born with a rare chromosome abnormality called partial trisomy 20-P of the non-mosaic type. His mother, Laurie Russett, said most children that have the abnormality die in the womb and don’t get a chance at life. Last fall, Russett, a single mother, contacted the Make-A-Wish Foundation to get a wish for Dylan.

"Julie (Julie Alford) brought the paperwork to our house to fill out, and she brought Dylan a fire truck to play with," Russett explained. "He loved the fire truck and his reaction triggered this whole thing."

When Alford’s husband, Terry, learned of Dylan’s joy at receiving the fire truck, he contacted the West Manatee Fire & Rescue District.

"He wanted to go on the truck and tour the station," Battalion Chief Rich Losek recalled, "but Kurt (Deputy Fire Marshall Kurt Lathrop) took off with it."

Firefighters contacted the company that makes their bunker gear and soon a pint-sized set of authentic bunker gear arrived. Crowder Brothers Hardware donated a child’s riding fire truck, and Ten-8 Fire Equipment procured a small helmet with Dylan’s name on it.

"He wanted to be a firefighter, so we made him an honorary firefighter," Chief Andy Price said. "It was Christmas, so the firefighters bought him presents and threw a Christmas party.”

Three weeks later, tragedy struck. A burglar broke into Russett’s house and stole $3,000 she had saved for Dylan’s tuition at the special school he attends.

"After the break-in, the firefighters came and repaired the damage to the house and put locks on all the doors," Russett said. "Since then, we stop by the fire station frequently and the firefighters let Dylan sit in the truck and turn on the siren, spray the hose and ‘be a firefighter.’ They also come by the house to see him. They are incredible. They treat us just like we are their family."

Losek sent out a plea to his fellow firefighters to donate what they could to help match the money Russett had lost. Dan Bouwer, of Ten-8, also pledged to help. At last week’s fire commission meeting, Bouwer presented Russett with a check for $500 and firefighters presented her with one for $853.

"This all started so simply," Russett said through her tears. "It’s just amazing what the fire department and the whole community has done to help us out over and over and over again. With the Christmas and the checks and the stopping by and the rides on the fire truck, it’s been unbelievable. You guys have been a tremendous help and made my son’s life so much easier."

The fire district is accepting donations for Dylan’s tuition and therapy at the fire district’s administrative office, 6001 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, Fl 34217. Checks can be made out to West Manatee Fire & Rescue District. Indicate on the memo line that it is for Dylan Mayes.


GSR permits voided

By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer

BRADENTON BEACH – City building officials have voided the permits for three GSR Development projects.

The action was taken after the contractor for the projects asked to be released as the permit holder.

Three letters dated May 12 were sent to GSR Development LLC, informing them that the contractor, Paul Gallizzi, president and owner of Spectrum Construction Management, had requested his release as the permit holder. The developments are duplexes at 109 Fifth St. S., 110 Seventh St. S., and 112 Seventh St. S.

The letter on the first project cited the developers’ failure to accomplish permit obligations in a timely matter, noting that the last inspection for any substantial work was on or before Sept. 12, 2005. It also noted that the developers failed to provide a satisfactory stormwater management plan and thus, failure to provide adequate on-site stormwater retention.

The letter regarding the duplex at 110 Seventh St. S. also cites a failure to get the permitted work done in a timely matter, noting the last inspection for any work performed was on or before Dec. 5, 2005. It says that the builder did not provide an adequate stormwater retention plan during construction.

On the duplex at 112 Seventh St. S., the letter noted that no inspection of the project has occurred since Dec. 12, 2005 and also cites developers for no on-site stormwater retention plan and says that the parking plan is unworkable.

In each case, the letter says that GSR would have to get a new building permit to complete the project.

GSR also has a beachfront condominium project at 2510 Gulf Drive N. that has been stalled for a while. The city recently notified the developers that they would have to pay more than $155,000 for a new building permit after the first one expired due to a lack of progress on the permitted work.


Manatee protection zones now effective

By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer

Local waterways are now being posted with manatee protection zone signs and the regulations behind them – along with the $65 fine for violations – take effect as soon as the signs go up.

The new rules aim at balancing the rights of boaters with the need to protect manatees, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officer Terry Noll.

The main purpose of the rules is to protect manatees from two things — harmful collisions with motorboats and harassment — with a secondary purpose of protecting manatee habitats.

The rules create unregulated areas and also lanes that allow higher speeds within regulated areas.
Three types of year-around speed zones have been created in the following bodies of water in areas designated as places where manatee sightings are frequent and where they live on a regular or periodic basis.

Several 25-mile-per-hour speed zones were created in Anna Maria Sound, Palma Sola Bay, Sarasota Bay, western Terra Ceia Bay/Flounder Pass, the Manatee River and the Braden River.

Slow speed zones were created in Anna Maria Sound, Palma Sola Bay, Sarasota Bay, Bishop Harbor, Miguel Bay, western Terra Ceia Bay, Terra Ceia Bay, Terra Ceia Bayou, the Manatee River and the Braden River.

An idle speed zone – the slowest of all – was created at Snead Cut.

A separate group of rules governs commercial fishing in the zones.

The rules have the authority of both the state and Manatee County governments, said Dawn Griffin of the FWC’s Boating and Waterways division.

So far, signs have been installed in Terra Ceia Bay, Bishop Harbor, the Manatee River and parts of the Braden River, she said, adding, "These areas were prioritized over other waterways in the county because people had permits for their docks on hold."

The full text of the rules for all manatee zones in Manatee County is available at: http://myfwc.com/manatee/documents/Rules%202005/Tampa%20Bay%20rules%20(2004).pdf.


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