ANNA MARIA Just as
the consolidation movement appeared to be gasping
its last, the Islands northernmost city
has signed on to take a look.
At their May 25 meeting, under the agenda item
of old business/new business, City Commissioner
Dale Woodland brought up the fact that he wants
the elected officials to take a look at what
would happen if the Islands three cities
combined some of their services such as public
works and building departments and hired an
Island-wide administrator to oversee day-to-day
"I think we really do need to have an open
mind about this," Woodland said. "John
(Deputy Mayor John Quam) did a great job with
his survey, and I appreciated Dukes (Commissioner
Duke Millers) editorial in The Sun."
Quam noted that the survey he conducted earlier
this year showed that an overwhelming majority
of Anna Maria residents favor taking a look
at combining some services. An equally overwhelming
majority does not favor consolidation of governments.
Commissioner Duke Miller, after some research,
pointed out that if the three governments were
to be combined, each city would lose its individual
character. If you combine governments, you have
to have one set of rules, codes and ordinances
for everyone and one underlying comprehensive
"Each city likes its own identity and likes
the way its going," Miller said then, "We
chose where we like because we like it. Thats
true of people who live in Bradenton Beach,
Holmes Beach and Anna Maria."
Anna Maria commissioners nixed the idea of putting
the question of a consolidation study to their
voters in last Novembers election.
The position of the majority of commissioners
was that the question that was to be put to
the voters was too vague and they werent
allowed to change it. They were just to ask
whether or not the voters were in favor of funding
a study of consolidation of the governments
of all three Island cities.
Quam objected on the grounds that there was
no dollar amount set; Miller objected on the
grounds that the referendum looked only at consolidation
Other commissioners also objected, saying there
wasnt enough time to adequately study
whether or not to put it on the ballot.
Much of the concern was that the city would
lose its identity. And even though a referendum
isnt binding, commissioners were worried
that there was no room in the wording that was
being proposed to fund a study looking at consolidation
So Anna Maria commissioners opted out of the
consolidation referendum, and they took a lot
of criticism from their constituents and from
The other two cities did put the question to
their voters, and an overwhelming majority favored
However, no study was ever commissioned, though
the Holmes Beach commission did ask Mayor Carol
Whitmore to have her department heads work up
some figures on consolidating services.
Several times in the past, both Bradenton Beach
and Anna Maria have looked at combining their
building department services with those of Holmes
Beach, but in the end bowed out. The cities
do maintain reciprocity agreements to fill in
for each other when the need arises.
Exactly where the consolidation issue will go
at this point is anybodys guess. Anna
Maria commissioners havent said what their
next step will be, and they didnt ask
their mayor to take any action.
Miller said he has some proposals hes
putting in the form of a memo.
In an interesting side note,
Woodland read some snippets from a 1959 edition
of "Key Lookout," a publication that
covered Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key and
Siesta Key. One of the things he read related
to a discussion of consolidation.
"Some things never change," he said.
relief may be in sight
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH About 20 Island accommodations
owners told Manatee County Commissioner Jane
von Hahmann last week that they favor a county
ordinance that would defer property taxes.
Von Hahmann, a Cortez business owner and commercial
landlord, told the Coalition Against Rising
Taxation (CART) that shes eager to take
advantage of a new state law allowing counties
to pass commercial property tax relief laws
for hotel and motel owners eligible for "working
The laws primary purpose would not be
to save money for taxpayers, she said.
"My goal is preservation of the existing
use," to keep hotels and motels running
so that tourists continue to visit and patronize
other businesses, she said. "Im
seeing this as hopefully doable in this upcoming
The ordinance would be a stop-gap measure
to keep accommodations owners in business
until the state Legislature revises the tax
laws, which theyre scheduled to do next
session, she said, adding that business owners
should contact their state representatives
about the statewide solution to the problem
of rising taxes.
Meanwhile, she plans to announce her tax relief
proposal next month to county commissioners,
which would defer taxes for eligible accommodations
owners until the property is sold, or for
a certain number of years.
She suggests the ordinance be modeled after
the homestead exemption, with a tax increase
cap of 3 percent. She also proposes a tax
forgiveness plan for accommodations that continue
to operate for at least five years, eliminating
the sixth years taxes.
Eligibility of the hotels and motels would
be defined in the new county ordinance, according
to the new state legislation.
"This is mom and pop legislation,"
said Don Schroder, CART president and chairman
of the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce,
adding that small hotels and motels reflecting
the owners personalities are what attract
visitors to the Island and bring customers
to its businesses.
He estimates that 50 hotels and motels on
Anna Maria Island and the Manatee County portion
of Longboat Key could benefit from the law,
as well as all the restaurants, gift shops,
grocery stores and other businesses.
"For every $100 in room nights, another
$3 is spent in the community," he said.
calls for insurance changes
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH An effort to extend windstorm
coverage eligibility failed by one vote this
year in the state legislature, but one lawmaker
feels the battle is not over.
State Representative Bill Galvano, whose territory
includes Anna Maria Island, spoke before more
than 50 people at a special meeting of Save
Anna Maria (SAM) last Thursday and he said
he would not give up the fight to extend the
area of eligibility.
Currently, only homes within 1,000 feet of
the Gulf of Mexico are eligible, compared
with five miles in Sarasota. Homes not in
that territory would not be able to get coverage,
although some lenders require it. The crisis
created by this lapse of coverage has hurt
the real estate industry.
The mandated area of coverage means property
owners can get policies from a state funded
company. Although expensive, it is the only
way to satisfy the requirements of lenders.
When asked why the area of eligibility was
so much smaller in Manatee County than Sarasota
County, Christian Huth, of Oswald Trippe and
Co., in Holmes Beach, explained.
"In 1984, there was a petition by agents
to get the coverage guaranteed, but the Florida
Windstorm Underwriters Association came and
said you dont need it, you have companies
that will write it," he said. "The
agents asked that the whole Island be included,
but they said no, only within 1,000 feet of
Huth said that since then, all the companies
that wrote windstorm coverage have left the
area leaving the state-mandated coverage as
their only recourse.
Galvano expressed disappointment at the vote
in the state legislature to change the areas
of eligibility, but he asked that everyone
help by signing petitions or contacting other
"You input is going to make a difference,"
he said at the end of the meeting. "Thank
you for your participation, and youve
got my heart on this one."
entertainment tough to control
sun staff writer
An adult entertainment event at a rental house
in Holmes Beach has opened a Pandoras
box of questions and worries about the possibility
of similar events in residential neighborhoods
on the Island.
The weeklong party at a rental home on Flotilla
Drive across from the Island Branch Library
was billed as "Mandingo Mania" and
featured adult activities that went out over
Now, local officials say they are learning
that adult-style entertainment in residential
neighborhoods is a very difficult thing to
"The adult entertainment ordinances that
are commonly enacted can regulate things like
movie houses, topless bars and places that
sell adult books and toys, but its very
difficult to regulate what happens in a private
home even if its a rental,"
said Holmes Beach City Attorney Pat Petruff.
"Adult filming and the party youre
describing is not the sort of activity that
an adult entertainment ordinance would capture."
You can try to regulate those things in a
way that upholds community values, according
"But you have to be very careful that
those regulations do not interfere with constitutional
rights," she said.
The city attorney said adult entertainment
laws are not something shes completely
familiar with, as shes never been asked
to look into them.
"But I do know that you have to craft
them in a way that has a rational basis for
what you are regulating," she said.
An example, she noted, would be liquor stores.
Those establishments can be confined to certain
districts and restricted to stay so many feet
away from churches, day cares and schools.
"You have to craft this type of ordinance
in a way that a rational basis exists in the
impact for health, safety and welfare in a
community," she said.
Petruff noted one topless bar owner has consistently
challenged Hillsborough Countys adult
entertainment regulations in court. She said
in Manatee County there have also been some
successful challenges to the adult entertainment
"The ordinances have been regularly overturned
in court," Petruff said. "Its
very difficult to regulate what takes place
behind closed doors between consenting adults."
And thats for commercial establishments.
Regulation is even more difficult in private
homes in residential areas.
"These ordinances, even when they work,
are not geared toward what happened in Holmes
Beach," Petruff noted.
"Unless there is an increase in traffic
or loud noise, theres very little you
can do," agreed Anna Maria City Attorney
Jim Dye. "If its a private party
in a private house, and there is no excessive
noise or traffic, theres very little
that government can do. Once the door is closed,
government interest stops."
Dye said that the fact that the Mandingo Mania
party in Holmes Beach was a business endeavor
in a residential neighborhood was not really
something that could be regulated, either.
"What about the guy sitting in his house
and selling on e-bay all day?" he asked.
"What about having a fund raiser for
a charity or a political candidate and soliciting
Dye said as soon as a legal way is found to
regulate such entertainment, the purveyors
find a way to get around it.
For example, Dye said in Hillsborough County,
they passed a law prohibiting the consumption
of alcohol at some adult businesses.
"Entrepreneurs are now offering their
activities without serving alcohol,"
he said. "So you go to the party and
have iced tea."
Finding out what the government interest is
in the activities that occur in a private
house is pretty much a matter of looking at
crowds and noise.
"Look at fishing guides that have parties
for their clients at their homes after a fishing
party," the attorney said. "Those
can get noisy, and theres an increase
in traffic, so there is a government interest
there, but its a very tough case to
"The person that has a home office at
their kitchen or the guy who makes his living
off e-bay is not causing any impact on his
Dye said laws cannot withstand a challenge
if they focus on the activity. They have to
focus on the impact on the neighborhood.
"Thats why most adult entertainment
laws are in the land development sections
of codes instead of the criminal sections,"
About the only way to control the type of
activity that happened in Holmes Beach last
week is through contractual agreements between
property owners and the people they rent to.
In fact, it was the rental contract that allowed
the owners of the Flotilla house to terminate
the rental of the party people last week.
Holmes Beach Code Enforcement officials said
their hands were tied when they got a complaint.
Police said their hands were tied. In fact,
it was the "morals clause" in the
rental agreement that allowed the owners to
evict the tenants as soon as they learned
what was taking place in their house.
Bradenton Beach has the only adult entertainment
ordinance on the Island. Last week, Bradenton
Beach City Attorney Ralph Brooks and Building
Inspector Ed McAdam both said they are confident
that their ordinance would prohibit a Mandingo
Mania-style party within city limits there.
for accident victims this weekend
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
Mark your calendars
for "Tranquility Jam," a benefit
for the families of Zane Zavadil & Ryan
Costello on Saturday, June 3, from 3 - 8 p.m.
at the Anna Marie Island Community Center,
407 Magnolia, Anna Maria.
There will be music, food, refreshments, baked
goods and a silent auction. The featured bands
include Magic Tree Conspiracy, FunkSui, Blues
Injectors and Jimi Gee & Friends.
Donations will be taken at the door or make
checks payable to "Ryan Costello &
Zane Zavadil Assistance Fund." This is
a fund through Wachovia Bank, and donations
can be brought to any Wachovia Bank branch.
This will help the families of Zane Zavadil
and Ryan Costello in their time of grief.
Your financial support will help provide for
med�ical costs, time away from work and adjustment
to their changed lives. For more information
call Joy at 812-2735.
sends 42 to middle school
sun staff writer
It was a day of celebration last Wednesday
as the fifth graders at Anna Maria Elementary
school, all of them, got their certificates
The program started with a video presentation
that showed each student as a baby or young
child and as they looked during the past year.
Julie Dearlove compiled the photos with musical
Principal Kathy Hayes spoke of the first class
to graduate from the newly built school and
reminded them that souvenirs of the old and
new schools were available for purchase. They
included engraved bricks for a walkway they
will be constructing, prints of the old school
from Rob Reiber and T-shirts. She also talked
about what they will be taking with them.
"Hang on to the core values instilled
by your parents and teachers," she said.
"Always say you did your best."
She asked them to be a friend to all of their
classmates and to "always be a person
of great character."
Hayes expressed appreciation for the high
FCAT scores that the fifth graders had this
year. She said that 93 percent of the class
scored level three, four or five with nine
students scoring at level five in math and
two scoring at that level in both math and
Students winning Presidential Certificates
for straight As and Bs were Olivia Alstrom,
Lindsey Bell, Candace Hanson and Elijah Pellegren
from Mrs. Davis class. In Miss Kinnans
class, they were Isaiah Beaton, Dayle Hoffman,
Mallory Kosfeld and Emily Rappe.
Students in Mrs. Davis class with straight
As were Dylan Allen, Kayla Aritt, Phillip
Biddulph, Julian Botero, Emma Carper, Dalton
Hicks, Stephanie Purnell, Courtney Schmidt
and Chase Stripling. In Miss Kinnans
class, the straight A students were Billy
Annis, Cady Chennault, Hailey Dearlove, Christopher
Pate, Savannah Schield and Taylor Wilson.
Students in Mrs. Davis class with straight
As in math were Dylan Allen, Olivia Alstrom,
Kayla Aritt, Phillip Biddulph, Julian Botero,
Emma Carper, Dalton Hicks, Stephanie Purnell,
Courtney Schmidt and Chase Stripling. Students
in Miss Kinnans class with straight
As in math were Billy Annis, Isaiah Beaton,
Cady Chennault, Hailey Dearlove, Mallory Kosfeld,
Christopher Pate, Emily Rappe, Savannah Schield,
Molly Stoltzfus and Taylor Wilson.
Several students were honored for perfect
attendance during the school year. Hayes said
it was not easy to show up for all 180 days
of school, especially with the illnesses that
are common in school children. Perfect attendees
were Dalton Hicks, Courtney Schmidt, Chase
Stripling and Nicole Pierce. Schmidt was also
honored for having perfect attendance during
all six of her elementary school years.
The Sons of the American Revolution award
for outstanding citizenship went to Kayla
Aritt, Emma Carper, Dalton Hicks, Stephanie
Purnell, Hailey Dearlove, Christopher Pate,
Savannah Schield and Taylor Wilson.
Then came time for the Rotary Club of Anna
Maria Island to give its "Service Above
Self" award. Former Rotary President
Jim Dunne and current Rotary President Birgit
Sesterhenn gave two awards, one to Julian
Botero and the other to Danny Krokroskia.
Counselor Cindi Harrison spoke of the two
"Julian came to us just before the September
11 attacks from New York and it affected his
school," she said. "He and his sister
were instrumental in getting a Peace Pole
from the Rotary Club here and for his school
in New York.
Harrison said that Krokroskia had become their
electronic handyman during the move to the
new school. She said he would come in early
to help them wire the new studio where they
put on their morning show.
"He had great ability technologically,"
Following the presentation of the certificates
of completion, the fifth graders and their
parents celebrated with a reception on the
Island will have summer fireworks
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
Now that Memorial Day has come and
gone, the next holiday will be the Fourth
Once again, people will put up their flags
and enjoy a day off work to come to the beach
and enjoy fireworks after the sun sets.
Thanks to some quick work by the Chiles Group,
the fireworks will go on despite the tragic
death of long-time fireworks showman Jim Taylor.
The Chiles Group operates the BeachHouse restaurant,
which holds the largest fireworks show on
July 3, and the Sandbar, which hosts a smaller
show on the Fourth of July.
Chiles Group Chief Operations Officer Stephen
Ananicz said they have contracted with Bells
Fireworks in St. Petersburg, to put on the
fireworks shows over the July 4 holiday, as
well as the New Years show at the BeachHouse.
"The two men Im dealing with at
Bells, Rob and Joe, knew Jim Taylor,"
he said. "They met him while attending
an annual fireworks convention in Orlando
and they took courses with him."
Ananicz said the new group would perform the
shows the same way Taylor did off a
barge in the Gulf on July 3, off the beach
at the Sandbar on July 4 and off the beach
at the BeachHouse on Dec. 31. He said he began
to think about getting a new contractor after
the shock of Taylors death Jan.16.
"A couple of weeks went by and I realized
I would now have to deal with somebody else,"
he said. "I got some names from our food
supplier, Sysco, and talked with them. For
the first time since we began working with
Jim, I had to get prices."
Ananicz said the contacts from Bells
knew Jim and they knew that he had a special
relationship with the Chiles Group and they
hope to develop a similar relationship.
"Our show kind of grew with Jim,"
he said. "In the 1980s, a local fireman
was putting on the shows and when he gave
it up, Jim took over. We never had to worry
about it after that."
He said he feels the fireworks shows they
have planned will be good ones, even though
the familiar face behind it all is gone.
"Well miss Jim," he said.
"We know the show must go on, but well
Owners don�t have deeded rights to docks
By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH City Attorney Patricia
Petruff told commissioners that property owners
in the Sunrise Park boat basin do not have
deeded rights to a dock.
Last fall, commissioners agreed to remove
all the docks in the Sunrise Park boat basin
and replace them with eight finger docks with
16 boat spaces. Docks would be 20 feet long.
The city also provided water and a fish cleaning
Last month, commissioners a set an annual
fee of $425 for each dock, and said that Sunrise
Park residents would receive priority to rent
them. However, at the meeting two owners said
their deeds showed that they owned their docks.
Petruff said the language in the current deed
that was provided to her office says, "
with boat docking slip 15 in the Sunrise Canal."
However, the original deed dated 1959 says,
"The owners of this property have a designated
spot to dock this boat in the Sunrise Park
"Somehow that morphed into dock 16,"
she said. "I dont know when that
happened. I spoke to Mr. Deitrich (attorney
David Deitrich) about the language in the
1959 deed and he advised that the 1959 deed
does not describe any specific property.
"In the view of property lawyers, it
does not qualify as a deed because there is
no way to locate the property on the ground.
It does not give this gentleman any specific
She said in her firms opinion, the property
owners do not own the boat docks but have
a priority to rent them. She also said the
owners thought they were paying taxes on the
boat slip, but according to the description
on the countys Web site, he is not being
taxed separately for it.