The U.S. House of Representatives
passed the Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act last week
by a vote of 232-187, which, with the Senates
approval, would end a federal ban on oil and gas drilling
off the countrys coastlines.
The bill bans drilling within 50 miles of the coast
unless states allow it, and permits states to vote
every five years to extend the protected area to 100
miles, less than the 125-mile limit some Florida representatives
House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo of
California called the bill a "compromise"
among 24 different energy bills that gives states
the ability to decide whether to drill within 100
miles of their coastlines and a share in the revenue
if they do.
"Its time to stop saying no," he said
to fellow representatives concerned about whether
the amount of offshore oil available and the potential
damage to the environment is worth the risks of drilling.
Rep. Ric Keller, of Orlando, agreed, saying that oil
rigs in the western Gulf endured Hurricane Katrina
with no spills and reminded colleagues that the worst
spill in U.S. history, the Exxon Valdez, was from
a tanker, not an oil rig.
Rep. Katherine Harris, of Longboat Key, voted against
the bill, opposing the requirement that state legislatures
vote against drilling every five years if they want
to opt out of the bills provisions.
"I trust the people of Florida and the Florida
Legislature more than Congress," said Harris,
who proposed her own bill, the Coastal Economic and
Environmental Protection Act of 2006, authorizing
legislatures to decide whether to drill offshore without
time constraints. "Let the people who Floridians
Harris bill also would have pushed the buffer
zone to 125 miles off the coast, which several members
of Congress from Florida supported.
The Florida tourism lobby fought hard against the
bill, but the average tourist is not going to change
plans because the bill passed, said Bradenton Area
Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Larry White.
"Were the Senate to follow suit and drilling
was to start, at that point, the net effect on tourism
is zero. It wouldnt impact tourism until they
drill and something goes wrong and it shows up on
the beach," he said. "Its a concern,
but there are sharks and hurricanes and red tide lurking
White said he is not concerned about provisions that
would allow states to drill as close as three miles
"That would never happen in Florida," he
Rep. Bill Young, of St. Petersburg, said that Floridas
west coast is protected from drilling more than most
because of the military mission line that extends
up to 234 miles out into the Gulf of Mexico, where
the armed forced conduct training exercises. The bill
prohibits the Department of the Interior from granting
leases in the zone, he said.
The Bush administration weighed in before the vote,
saying that the revenue sharing provisions of the
bill could add to the federal deficit and drain money
from the war in Iraq. Gov. Jeb Bush agreed to the
Floridas two senators, Bill Nelson and Mel Martinez,
have promised to fight the bill in the Senate. They
introduced the Permanent Protection for Florida Act
of 2006 in February to keep oil and gas rigs 260 miles
off the west coast, 150 miles off Pensacola and 150
miles off the east coast.
The bill is not yet scheduled to be heard in the Senate.
site plan approved
By Laurie Krosney
sun staff writer
ANNA MARIA The new and improved Sandbar restaurant
has cleared a final planning hurdle.
City commissioners put the approval stamp on the
restaurants final site plan despite lengthy
argument from attorneys and planners hired by neighboring
residents who object to the increased activity they
say the improvements will bring.
"I urge you not to approve a fundamentally
flawed plan," Jan Norsoph, a certified planner
said to commissioners.
Attorney Dan Lobeck said one of those flaws was
that many of the parking lots required for the number
of seats in the restaurant were only leased with
no options to renew.
"This is a major expansion that will affect
nearby residents," Lobeck said. "There
are no written agreements for extending the leases
of two parking areas."
Lobeck and Norsoph were hired by Barbara and William
Nally who own a home they built in the commercial
zone where the Sandbar is located.
Lobeck argued that since the use of the Nallys
lot is commercial, that was the same as if the home
was located in a residential zone.
Alan Garrett, Anna Marias planner, agreed
under questioning that the use was residential.
"But the zoning is commercial, and the house
required a variance," he said.
Lobeck countered that the improvements at the Sandbar
would cause problems for his clients.
"Thats why residential uses are not permitted
in the commercial zone," Garrett said.
Garrett said that the plans conformed with all city
"The final site plan is in substantial compliance
with the preliminary site plan that was addressed
on June 29, 2005."
Ed Chiles, the Sandbars owner, began the expansion
and renovation plans after being sued over lack
of compliance with the requirements of the Americans
With Disabilities Act. He was ordered to bring the
restrooms and the parking at the restaurant into
compliance with the act. He decided the renovation
that was needed to comply with the law also provided
an opportunity to do a complete makeover at the
Chiles swapped a strip of land he owned in the middle
of his property with a strip the city owned adjacent
to the existing restaurant building. That swap enabled
Chiles to expand his building to the east enough
to build restrooms that meet ADA requirements.
In exchange, Chiles offered to make a landscaped
and paved public walkway running the length of his
property. At the north end of his property, he agreed
to extend the walkway through the citys beach
access on Spring Avenue so that people with disabilities
and others could get out to the beach and "enjoy
That beach access and one to the south of the Sandbar
property were the subject of discussion at the final
site plan hearing.
"My client will take liability for the portion
of the walkway on his property and he agrees to
maintain it," said Ricinda Perry, an attorney
representing Chiles. "However, we do not think
its fair to ask him to bear the liability
on the city-owned beach accesses."
In the end, the agreement was for Chiles to maintain
the beach accesses and for the city to assume liability.
There was strong objection from neighboring residents
on the use of Spring Lane.
"We take exception to the proposed extension
of the Sandbar parking lot into Spring Lane for
the use of so-called drive aisles," said Judy
Adams. "This proposed drive aisle is in fact
a part of the proposed parking lot and should be
contained within the walls of the lot."
An agreement was hammered out whereby the lot will
be designed so that cars cant block out into
Spring Avenue or Spring Lane.
Chiles also agreed to remove all the existing shell
and hard pack surface from his entire parking area
and replace it with some pervious material so rainwater
can soak down into the ground instead of flowing
onto neighboring property.
The site plan also includes a drainage plan that
is designed to improve the flooding that takes place
there when it rains.
Commissioners unanimously approved the plan.
to seek county post
By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH After months of speculation,
Mayor Carol Whitmore has announced that she will
run for Pat Glass at-large seat on the Manatee
County Commission and people are lining up to support
"Im overwhelmed with all the support,"
Earlier in the year, she had considered running
for the seat but decided against it when former
county commissioner Ed Chance said he planned to
"I backed out because of the time and resources
it would take to run against Ed," Whitmore
explained. "I decided it would take too much
away from my job as mayor.
"I gave my support to Ed. I knew him and worked
with him when I was a city commissioner and he was
a county commissioner. We always worked well together."
After Chance passed away last week, Whitmore said
state Sen. Mike Bennett came to her asking her to
step into the race.
"He came to my office and said, We need
someone that we can communicate with and work with,"
she explained. "He is having a fundraiser for
me at his house on July 12."
Whitmore said Glass, state Rep. Ron Reagan, developer
Pat Neal, all of the local mayors, as well as local
physicians and Island residents, have called expressing
their support of her campaign.
"I have good working relations with everybody,"
she said. "They all know who I am. Ive
never lied or done a back room deal."
Whitmore said she plans on running an aggressive
campaign because she is starting late. Challengers
include Stella Burnett and Craig Trigueiro.
Whitmore is office manager and nurse at the practice
of her husband, Dr. Andre Renard. She has served
as mayor of Holmes Beach for eight years, and prior
to that she served on the city commission.
pier pilings force change of plans
sun staff writer
BRADENTON BEACH The Historic Bridge Street
Pier refurbishment is in its early stages, but it
appears the adage, "If it can go wrong, it
will," is in effect.
City commissioners approved a change in plans that
will save a little money and keep the pier rehabilitation
project on schedule, as long as they can find a
The commission agreed to scrap plans to wrap some
of the pilings underneath the restaurant area of
the pier in an epoxy cement to protect and strengthen
Instead, they voted in favor of taking down the
pier restaurant area, removing the 44 concrete pilings
and replacing them with wood.
The initial cost estimate was $124,372 to wrap 12
of the 44 pilings, but after removing the growth
on them and testing all of them, the engineers determined
that 23 would need extensive repair at a cost of
Furthermore, the contractor, SteMic Marine, told
the city that it did not have the equipment available
to do the job because of previous obligations.
After learning the news, the citys pier team,
consisting of department heads and Commissioner
Bill Shearon as a liaison, decided to ask the engineer,
Sego and Sego, to get estimates on demolishing the
pier and its superstructure where the restaurant
is located, removing the pilings and replacing them
with wood. Sego and Sego came up with $110,000.
Building Official Ed McAdam described what the pier
would look like after that phase of the project.
"You would see the wood pilings, youd
see diagonal bracing and youd see a deck,"
he said. "We would, however, remain on schedule
for the estimated May through June 2007 construction
According to McAdam, the area of the pier beyond
the restaurant would not be affected. The overall
project calls for refurbishment of that area later
as well as the addition of a floating concrete dock
for an eventual water taxi, a day dock, a bait shop
at the end of the pier and an office for the harbormaster
who would oversee a planned mooring field.
After approving the changes, Mayor John Chappie
asked commissioners about seeking a line of credit
to get the pier finished without having to do it
The city plans to repay any money borrowed with
proceeds from the concessionaires rent and
from Community Redevelopment Agency tax funds.
"We initially talked about $1.7 million,"
he said. "Remember, we would only pay interest
on what we use, but once we set a figure, we wouldnt
be able to come back and ask for more."
The commission decided to heed Chappies words
and agreed to seek a $2.2 million cap to cover any
unforeseen problems and inflation.
Harry�s wins bid for city pier
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
After months of haggling and two requests for bids,
the city has finally found someone to run the Historic
Bridge Street Pier restaurant when it opens next
year. His name is Harry.
Only two entities responded to the latest request
for bids: Harrys Continental Kitchen and Rotten
Ralphs. Each submitted a proposal based on
minimums outlined in the request. One of those was
rent and it had to be at least $7,500 per month.
Rotten Ralphs proposed $8,000 and Harrys
proposed $8,500, but that didnt automatically
give the vote to the latter.
Instead, the city pier team, consisting of department
heads and Commissioner Bill Shearon acting as liaison,
broke down each respondents answers to all
the questions on the proposal. The rent represented
40 percent of the decision and the other answers
represented 60 percent.
After presenting their findings to the city commission
last week, the pier team had each commissioner fill
out a blank scorecard. The results were close, but
they were the same as the pier teams findings.
The commission then voted to have the team begin
negotiations with principals Harold R. Christensen,
Lynn R. Christensen and their son, Hal.
The restaurant is not expected to reopen until a
complete rehabilitation of the pier is finished
some time next summer or fall.
The Christensens described their vision for the
restaurant in a written statement.
"Harrys at Historic Bridge Street Pier
will provide an Island state of mind through a modern,
old-fashioned way. It will be an anglers retreat
with pictures of Old Bridge Street, large mounted
fish and Caribbean soul. Sounds of Jimmy Buffet,
steel drums and the splash of waves will set the
mood. Harrys attractive, friendly staff will
provide the rest. High quality local seafood and
fun family food with competitive prices will please
the guests palate and pocketbook! Come enjoy
the tropical air while strolling down the pier or
just kick back and relax at Bradenton Beachs
newest old time addition!"
coverage of turtles, local politics honored
The Sun has been
honored with statewide awards for its coverage of
sea turtle nesting on Anna Maria Island and for
its political cartoons.
Award-winning Sun reporter Laurie Krosney took third
place in the Florida Press Association 2005 Better
Weekly Newspaper contest in the environmental reporting
category for her series of stories on turtles and
on Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch.
Sun cartoonist Steve Borggren, also a repeat winner,
received a first place award for original local
editorial cartoons. The entry, which ran in the
May 25 edition, focused on the issue of consolidating
the three Island cities into one.
Borggren takes a definite strong stance on
a local issue, yet injects humor, too, said
one of the judges from the Indiana Press Assocation,
in comments included with the award.
Krosney won for her stories and photos of turtles
and for her reporting on Turtle Watch.
Great coverage of the people who work hard
to help the turtles, one judge wrote in her
Weekly coverage of turtle nesting and Turtle Watch
in The Sun has included not only stories but also
graphics, such as Turtle Toms Timely Tips
and the Turtle Tally box, showing the number of
nests and false crawls and also the hatchlings that
make it successfully into the Gulf.
One of the goals of the coverage, Sun
Publisher Mike Field said, has been to help
get the Turtle Watch message out to the public.
Weve tried to emphasize the importance of
protecting the turtles, not just because theyre
endangered but also because theyre an important
resource for the Island.
The honors for environmental and political coverage
follow the 11 awards The Sun won in the FPAs
advertising contest earlier this year.
input wanted on manatee management plan
By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer
The Florida Fish
and Wildlife Conservation Commission is seeking
public input on the reclassification of manatees
from an endangered species to a threatened species.
The commission voted in June to recommend reclassification,
triggering the creation of a draft manatee management
plan outlining protections necessary for the species
Reclassification will not become official until
the management plan is approved, which could take
more than a year.
Written comments must be received by Aug. 8, and
should focus on topics that should be considered
in managing the species. Topics are outlined in
a sample draft management plan available at: MyFWC.com/imperiledspecies/mgt_plan_template.htm.
Send comments to: Manatee Management Plan Comments,
DHSC, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission,
620 South Meridian St., Mail Station 6A, Tallahassee,
FL 32399-1600 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
To comment on other species that are being considered
for reclassification, send comments to the following:
Gopher tortoise Gopher Tortoise Management
Plan Comments, DHSC, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission, 620 South Meridian St., Mail Station
10, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600.
Bald eagle Bald Eagle Management Plan Comments,
DHSC, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission,
620 South Meridian St., Mail Station 10, Tallahassee,
Panama City crayfish Panama City Crayfish
Management Plan Comments, DHSC, Florida Fish and
Wildlife Conservation Commission, 620 South Meridian
St., Mail Station 10, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600.
signs city boundaries bill
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
BRADENTON BEACH With the stroke of his pen,
Governor Jeb Bush has pushed the citys police
force into action to control boat parking south
of the Historic Bridge Street Pier.
Bush signed House Bill 1217 last week, which extends
the citys law enforcement boundaries into
the Gulf of Mexico and the bay.
The bill, sponsored by Florida Rep. Bill Galvano,
was needed to give the city the power to enforce
a new mooring field it plans to install in the waters
south of the pier, but the police want to put it
to use now.
In light of vandalism at the pier including dumping
of nautical sanitary facilities in the restrooms,
Police Chief Sam Speciale wants to check out the
boats anchored there.
Many of them have been there for years and they
may not be operational anymore, even though they
are occupied. Speciale also said he wanted to check
out their sanitary facilities to make sure they
arent dumping sewage into the bay.
In reacting to the news of the bills passage,
Speciale said they took the departments boat
to a dealer to get it ready visit the vessels.
"We will check everyones registration
to make sure they are registered and that they own
the boat," he said.
"In some cases we will issue warnings or citations
to give them time to get legally registered and
if they dont, we will have the boats towed