The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 10 No. 4 - October 21, 2009


Island candidates talk about themselves and their goals

Residents in all three Island cities will go to the polls on Nov. 3.

In Anna Maria, voters will elect three of five candidates for commisson seats. Incumbents John Quam, Chris Tollette and Dale Woodland are being challenged by David Gryboski and Harry Stoltzfus

In Holmes Beach five candidates also are viying for three commission seats. Incumbents Pat Geyer, Pat Morton and David Zaccagnino are being challenged by Al Robinson and Andy Sheirdan.

In Bradenton Beach, incumbent Mayor Michael Pierce is being challenged by former commissoner Bill Shearon.

Click for Candidate profiles.

Authorities thwart attempted boat theft

ANNA MARIA – A 30-foot Grady White boat was stolen from the owner’s dock behind his house late Saturday night, but authorities were able to recover it after two suspects in the boat jumped overboard in Tampa Bay with the throttle at full speed, according to Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer Scott Logan. He said law enforcement authorities shot out one of the motors to slow the boat down.

The boat belongs to Island Lumber owner Thomas Kern. Authorities searched for the two men who jumped into the water, but were unable to find them. Longboat Key police towed the boat to the Cortez Coast Guard station, where investigators went over the craft for clues Monday.

According to Manatee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Dave Bristow, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement was the main agency involved in investigating the theft.

“The FDLE statewide was investigating stolen boats,” he said. “We were helping out along with the Longboat Key Police Marine Unit and our Violent Crimes Task Force.

The United State Coast Guard Cortez and St. Petersburg offices would not comment further on the incident, since the FDLE is investigating.

FDLE spokesman Mike Morrison said he could not comment on the incident. Longboat Key Police Chief Al Hogle did not return The Sun’s call Monday.

Kern also was unavailable for comment.

Candidate forum this week

Just a reminder that The Sun candidate forum for the Nov. 3 city commission election in Anna Maria is this week on Wednesday, Oct. 21, at the Island Community Center, 407 Magnolia Ave. in Anna Maria. This will be one of the final opportunities for voters to hear the views and positions of those running for the commission.

The forum will begin with a meet and greet session at 6:30 p.m. Candidates will respond to questions submitted in advance beginning at 7 p.m. For more information, call The Sun at 778-3986.

Dogs to rule this weekend

g good time when The Sun presents its Seventh Annual Dog Costume Contest this Saturday, Oct. 24, starting at 1 p.m. in Island Sun Plaza, 9801 Gulf Drive in Anna Maria.
But time is running out - registration ends Thursday, Oct. 22, and only 50 dogs will be allowed to compete. Prizes and trophies will be awarded to the winners and there is no charge to enter. Sign in is at 12:30 p.m.

So come on out and let Bowser raise the "woof" and strut his stuff this scary season.

Building professionals: Code needs clarifying

ANNA MARIA — An ambiguity in the code at the state, county and local level has led to a move to clarify what profession should review plans for commercial space.

The matter arose in the city when Robert and Nicky Hunt questioned the legality of allowing the two existing Pine Avenue Restoration structures to be built without an architect’s seal and signature.

The Hunts said an engineer reviewing the plans for the building they plan to erect at 303 Pine Avenue noticed the problem with the PAR plans.

When you build a residential structure, you don’t need an architect or an engineer to sign off on the plans, but that’s not the case with a business use.

“You need an architect to deal with the issues affecting health, safety and human welfare,” said architect Brian Bradley, who is president of the local chapter of the American Institute of Architecture. “That’s what our training is. You need an engineer to sign off on the structural elements.”

The Florida Board of Architecture and Interior Design and the Florida Board of Professional Engineers have prepared a paper on how the two professions interact in the planning and building of structures.

The word architecture means the rendering of services in connection with the design and construction of a structure, which will be primarily used for human habitation and use.

Architects are trained in application of the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as plans for entrances and exits to the buildings.

Engineers, on the other hand are trained in the application of physical, mathematical and engineering sciences to such services as the structural elements of a design. Engineers deal with the the technical aspects of the design such as air conditioning units the distribution of air within the structure and electricity.

In a building that will be used for commercial purposes, an engineer must draw up plans for his or her area of concern and then conduct inspections as the elements are completed.

An architect should be on hand to do the same for areas of his or her expertise.

The problem comes from a section of the code that states that architects can sign off on “incidental” elements of the engineering details and engineers can sign and seal architectural elements “incidental” to the plans.

“This is a pretty widespread issue. There’s no definition of incidental in the code, so it’s been a matter of interpretation,” Bradley said. “Professional groups of both architects and engineers are working on getting clarification to that word written into the code,” Bradley said.

The city of Anna Maria isn’t waiting for changes to the state code.

“We’re working to get a clear definition into the city code as soon as possible,” said Anna Maria Building Official Bob Welch. “Other municipalities and counties are seeing the same problem and are working on their codes as well.”

Updated tourist logo will reflect islands
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

rendering of how paid advertising would look
on the exterior of the free trolleys.

As snowbirds begin their annual migration to Anna Maria Island, county tourism officials learned Monday about new efforts to keep them and year-round visitors coming back.

A new county tourism logo and Web site design will emphasize simplicity and authenticity, qualities that visitors crave in complex economic times, according to Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau marketing experts.

A key component in the new look is changing the area’s logo to give top billing to Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key. The former logo listed “Florida’s Gulf Islands” as the main slogan, with Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key, Bradenton and Lakewood Ranch listed underneath, which tourism officials said was confusing, since the latter two communities are not on the barrier islands.

The new logo will use “Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key” as the primary slogan, with “Florida’s Gulf Islands” underneath.

In addition to the logo, a new advertising and marketing campaign will emphasize the authentic old Florida feel of the islands, highlighting activities such as wearing flipflops to dinner, surfing, shelling and fishing.

“People are looking for authentic,” Manatee County Tourist Development Council member Ed Chiles said. “(It’s) a place where they can ride their bikes and have a low-key experience, but still have things to do.”

The new campaign also will make more use of Web-based tools including Facebook, Twitter and blogs to attract visitors with personal stories of Island tourists, including an anecdote about diners sharing their champagne with other visitors.

The Web site is

In other business, the council:

• Heard about planned capital projects including $1.6 million for Coquina Beach restoration projects such as the concession stand, restrooms and pavilions, $1 million for the Manatee Pier in Holmes Beach, and $1.7 million for the Crosley Estate carriage house and the Manatee Convention and Civic Center conference center, which will be closed for renovation beginning in summer of 2010;

• Discussed adding advertising to the free trolley rather than charging a fare;

• Learned that a new Anna Maria Island festival will incorporate a discontinued kayak festival.

Back yard structures cause concern
Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

SUN PHOTO/PAT COPELAND This structure called a parvis,
which has no sides and an open roof, has caused
concern among neighbors in Key Royale.

HOLMES BEACH – Although it has generated complaints, Holmes Beach Building Inspector Bob Shaffer said a back yard structure called a parvis is not illegal.

A parvis is defined as a court or enclosed space before a building. At last week’s commission meeting, Ron Robinson spoke about one in his neighborhood.

“You’re allowed to build them all the way out to the lot line as long as the roof is not solid,” he explained. “I bought a house on a canal because you could keep a boat, but also because of the nice view. If they build these all up and down the canals, there’s not going to be any view at all.”

Robinson’s neighbor, Dennis Schavey, said there is one in the yard next door to him and told the board, “I worry about a proliferation of them. It’s going to get out of control. It ruins our view. What’s to stop them from putting sides on it?”

Schaffer said the structures are allowed and explained, ‘If it’s open and unobstructed and doesn’t shed water, it’s OK. I’m not sure if they needed a permit at the time that one was built, but they would now.”

Schavey said that boat lift covers could cause the same problem. The owner of a company that sells the covers recently asked commissioners to consider changing the city’s code banning them.

“There’s such a thing as boat covers then there’s boat lift covers, which is a whole new ball game,” Schavey said. “If you have a boat lift cover with a solid roof, you could have a problem. How do you regulate the construction and police the upkeep?”

Chair Sandy Haas-Martens said the city attorney is checking on whether the Florida Department of Environmental Protection would approve them.

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