The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 14 No. 13 - January 22, 2014


Chalk Festival draws thousands
Carol Whitmore

Lynn chaya | submitted

Talented artists drew many different styles of
pictures, all of it on the asphalt on Pine Avenue.


The Anna Maria Chalk Festival had a cold beginning but when the sun came out, so did the people.

According to Micheal Coleman, who helped bring the event to Anna Maria, organizers estimate 15,000 people came out Saturday and Sunday,

“It was a huge success,” Coleman said. “Everybody pitched in together to make this happen, and it drew a good crowd. It was a gratifying thing.”

There was some concern Saturday morning when a cold mass of air hung over the area. Many of the early artists dressed in jackets and blue jeans.

“The cold does make it a bit harder on the artists who travel from the warmer climates, but the artists from up North were happy and said it was a heat wave,” said Sarasota Chalk Festival organizer Denise Kowal. “We had a lot of wind that also makes it harder on the artist because their chalk gets almost blown away before they can rub it into the asphalt.”

The Anna Maria Island Privateers had their parade ship, Skullywag, at the event. It was one of the few vehicles on Pine Avenue, which the city blocked from traffic during the festival.

“We had a great group of professionals and several artists that came and tried street painting for their first time with us,” Kowal said. “Overall, even the ones who were new at it had a wonderful time as my artists are very welcoming and helpful. We even taught a class on Friday afternoon so people could get a few tips before they chalked.”

There was an area for the kids to draw. Sponsored by Rex Hagen and Olive Oil Outpost, the kids were having fun when the temperature rose. Morgan Gingras, 9, had wanted to go to the Sarasota Chalk Festival, held last year, but she couldn’t.

“I was so glad they had another one,” she said as she drew trees in a square marked off on the pavement.

Down the street, Lysa Ashley and Lorelle Miller, both from California, worked on a drawing of a mustang. Instead of drawing on the pavement, they has a large, cardboard backdrop that was weighted down with sandbags to keep it from blowing over.

Some of the artists jumped into their projects freehand, while others graphed their artwork before they drew it on the asphalt.

Coleman said everyone involved wants to host a chalk festival next year, but it's up to the city to decide.


List of requirements grows for Tiki Bar owners

HOLMES BEACH – While remaining open for business, Barefoot Tiki Bar and Café owners Nicole Heslop and Jon Westergard are still under fire by the city.

Heslop told commissioners at last week’s meeting that she submitted a revised, hand-drawn site plan for the business to the building department after her first one was rejected.

“The issue is beyond a site plan,” Building Official Tom O’Brien stressed to the board. “I got crude sketches without a single dimension, without any indication of the dimensions of the existing buildings, without any indication of parking, without any indicated ingress or egress or access points.”

He said the only permit that has ever been issued for the business is for a retail store.

“With the construction of tiki huts and the expansion of the business, it has gone way beyond a retail store with no site plan review,” he continued. “It was a major change of use. What you submitted is the most incompetent degree of a site plan. It is not acceptable.”

Heslop said all she was asking for was to use a self-contained food trailer to prepare and serve food to customers. The city shut down the food trailer in December, and Heslop was told she must comply with requirements for food preparation and outdoor dining.

Following that, O’Brien told Heslop that the business would require site plan review and approval.

Site plan needed

Chair Judy Titsworth advised Heslop to provide O’Brien with a site plan with dimensions and parking information. O’Brien said he required the same information from owner Sean Murphy when he expanded his restaurant Eat Here.

“Could you share what Eat Here did?” Titsworth asked O’Brien, and Heslop said that it’s a complex list.

“That’s what a design professionals are for,” O’Brien stressed. “If she’s not capable of preparing the plans she needs to hire someone.”

“I can submit a plan that shows dimensions and parking and that’s all I need?” Heslop asked.

“That’s not going to get approval,” OBrien replied. “There’s a whole laundry list of violations that have never been addressed.”

Titsworth said Heslop “just needs to know what to submit.”

“You need to do the same thing as everybody else,” Mayor Carmel Monti responded. “There’s a laundry list of what you need to comply with. It’s the building inspector’s role to give you the criteria to which you have to conform.”

Monti said it is Heslop’s responsibility to respond in a timely fashion and that she received the list in October. Heslop said it is difficult to get an appointment with the building official to discuss the issue.

O’Brien said any correspondence from Heslop must be in writing, and Titsworth asked if that is a common practice. O’Brien said it is when it’s a code enforcement issue.

200-unit project OK’d for Long Bar Pointe

BRADENTON – After withdrawing a controversial mixed-use request in late December, Long Bar Pointe developers wasted little time in submitting plan B.

Thursday morning, the Manatee County Planning Commission unanimously approved a preliminary site plan for a 200-unit residential development at the southeast corner of the Long Bar Pointe property, next to the Legends Bay community along the El Conquistador Parkway in Bradenton.

County staff recommended initial approval of the site plan that will now be reviewed by county commissioners, whose approval is required in order for Carlos Beruff and his partners to proceed with the proposed development. If approved by county commissioners, the gated community would consist of 200 single-family homes with a maximum height of 35 feet, located on 5,600 square foot to 6,500 square foot lots with private roads paid for by the developers and two access points along El Conquistador Parkway.

The site plan indicates a density of 3.3 residential units per acre, on property holding a future land use designation of Res-9, which allows a maximum of nine residential units per acre.

“There are no wetland impacts to this proposed project,” said Ed Vogler, attorney for the developers.

The proposed development does not call for intrusion into the coastal mangrove barrier and will not provide direct access to Sarasota Bay.

“It is a low-density, non-controversial, customary project for this area,” Vogler said. A small portion of the parcel lies within the Coastal High Hazard Area, and the entire parcel lies within the Coastal Evacuation Area; neither designation is expected to hinder the approval process.

Now identified as phase one of the Long Bar Pointe development, the proposed 61.75- acre development is similar in scope to the Seagrass at Long Bar Pointe development approved by the county commission in 2004, which allows for the construction of 258 multi-family structures on 102 acres at the northern end of the Long Bar Point property. The Seagrass phase was never built, but the approval remains in place until July 1, 2019. Previous commission actions allow for a total of 1,658 residential units and limited neighborhood commercial development on the 463-acre property.

Planning commission member Matt Bower posed a series of questions pertaining to coastline intrusion, landscape buffering and evacuation requirements. He stated his personal opinion that the proposed development is too intense for the area, but voted in favor of the tentative site plan approval.

Four residents offered public input, including a Tidy Island resident, and a Longboat Key resident who inquired about elevation and drainage requirements.

A member of the public works department said the development would be elevated according to the county’s floodplain ordinance, accomplished either by using fill materials to create a higher ground level or by constructing elevated structures.

The developers will be required to address stormwater runoff at a 150 percent ratio and the site plan indicates a large water retention area in the center of the development.

Cortez resident Jane von Hahmann was a member of the county commission that granted the existing land use approvals. She adamantly opposed the mixed-use proposal that included a hotel and conference center and at one time a marina, but supports the new plan.

“I believe the development is doing pretty much what we requested as a community,” she told the planning commission.

“I appreciate the fact that they are staying completely out of the mangrove fringe because that protects from flooding,” she added.

More changes for Mainsail agreement

HOLMES BEACH – Commissioners last week made changes to the agreement regarding Mainsail Development Company’s plans to build guest units, a lodge and restaurant near the corner of Gulf and Marina drives.

City representatives and Mainsail officials have participated in two mediation sessions with a special magistrate, both followed by numerous changes to terms attached to the settlement agreement. The company requested the mediation after the city commission revoked its site plan for the development nearly a year ago.

City Attorney Patricia Petruff said she clarified the number of charter boat spaces, removed a paragraph regarding addition of parking and uses, clarified setbacks for Building B and the lodge and added language regarding the emergency access from Sunrise Lane, as requested by commissioners in December.

Mainsail neighbor Lance Spotts asked commissioners to vote against the agreement citing unresolved issues with Sunrise Lane neighbors.

Then Commissioner Marvin Grossman suggested the most radical change – turning Building B so people can have a better view of the water from Marina Drive. Building B is planned for the spit that juts into the boat basin.

Part of the settlement agreement reached after the second special magistrate hearing was the removal of Building A and a portion of Building B from the spit to give people a better view. “When I look at Building B and try to look at the bay, it’s hard to picture where the three-story building actually starts and ends,” Grossman said.

“They want to connect Building B to the lodge, but if they twist Building B just a little maybe another 30 degrees or so to meet that building, it would give us a great angle to see the view.”

He asked Petruff to insert a stipulation asking Mainsail, if possible, to move Building B to create a maximum view of the bay.

More demands

This prompted Commissioner David Zaccagnino to remark, “At every meeting, we add more and more and more demands. The percentage of them accepting the agreement becomes less and less, and we’ll get into litigation we don’t want to get into.”

Grossman said it was just a suggestion, not a demand and added, “It’s something Holmes Beach will live with the rest of its life.”

Chair Judy Titsworth asked about the width of parking allowed under Building E, and Building Official Tom O’Brien said it would be a two-way drive. Titsworth and Grossman insisted that it was to be one-way

Grossman also questioned the size of the building and said, “They said they didn’t plan on expanding the size of the building, just the parking underneath it.”

O’Brien replied, “There’s really nothing in our code to prohibit this configuration. This is typical of all the buildings along Gulf Drive. If they comply with setbacks and height and coverage, there’s nothing in our code that dictates the width of the building.”

Titsworth said the building is wider than agreed upon, and it also encroaches in the setback on Sunrise Lane. She said they should return to angle parking and one lane, and asked Petruff to determine a maximum number of feet for the width.

Parking for meeting rooms

Titsworth and Grossman questioned parking standards for the lodge’s meeting rooms, and O’Brien they are based on occupancy loads.

Titsworth said in the original agreement, the meeting rooms were only supposed to be used by guests of the lodge, and Petruff said the issue was discussed at the special magistrate hearing, and this is what they agreed on.

“My preference is to leave it in here with the understanding that Mr. O’Brien feels comfortable that based on occupancy limits and parking requirements this can be addressed,” she said.

“They should be have the ability to open those meeting rooms to Island community activities provided they can address the parking situation in the manner that satisfies the city.”

Titsworth asked Petruff to add language to prevent a tiki bar from being built within 50 feet of Spotts’ property, and Petruff did so.

Grossman questioned a provision regarding a third party challenge to the city commission’s approval of the agreement.

Petruff pointed out, “Mainsail is saying at the end of the process – we reach a settlement, they come in and submit a site plan, it goes through public hearings and the city approves it and then somebody challenges that, it puts us back at square one and Mainsail has the right to sue you on the original revocation issue that started this.”

She said it’s not unusual language in a settlement agreement.

“I’m getting mixed signals on whether or not to kick the can down the road,” Mayor Carmel Monti said. “Can we distill what the objectives are because I’ve heard from the other side, and they’re OK with it.”

Petruff summarized the changes, and Titsworth said they would continue the discussion at the next meeting.

Community rallies for Privateers


Privateers Debbie and Roger Murphree
during the 2013 Christmas Parade


BRADENTON BEACH – The Anna Maria Island Privateers are legendary for the fundraising activities they conduct to benefit kids and community.

Saturday afternoon, the Privateers gathered with friends and community members at the Drift In in Bradenton Beach and raised more $5,000 to benefit two of their own – Debbie “Stumbles” Murphree and her husband, Roger “HooDat” Murphree.

Debbie was recently hospitalized in hopes of receiving a life-saving liver transplant. Saturday’s benefit was planned as a fund-raiser to help offset some of those medical costs, but the event took on a deeper sense of meaning and appreciation as word got around that complications had arisen, and that Debbie would be transported to the Tidewell Hospice in Bradenton Sunday evening. There, she will spend the final days of her life, surrounded by friends and loved ones.

“I’m very grateful for all the people that came down and to all the musicians who played and volunteered their time,” said Roger on Sunday morning.

“She loves the Island very much, and she loves the Privateers, and she loves kids,” Roger, the Privateers’ vice president, said of his beloved wife.

The couple has been married for 39 years and moved to Bradenton, from Dallas, Texas, seven years ago. They have one son and six grandchildren.

Privateer Angie “Lily” Kreitz said, “It’s a very sad time for the Privateers, losing one of the hardest working, most loyal, loving and giving women in the club. We’ve given away thousands in scholarships, and we couldn’t have done without these two. To lose Deb, is like losing the heart of our ship. She’s only 61. This is going to be hard loss, and we pray for her husband.”

Privateer Shelley “Fireball” Hill said, “Deb is a wonderful woman, a great friend and a great person who believes we should live and let live.”

Doreen Flynn, manager of the Drift In, helped organized the benefit. Holding back tears as she spoke, Flynn said, “Deb and I ran a benefit together a while back, and she ran it better than anyone I’ve ever worked with, so I thought it was time we helped them out. The Privateers have helped so many on the Island; at least we can help pay some of their bills.”

The fundraising efforts included raffles and a silent auction, with gift baskets and prizes donated by more than 30 local businesses. Drift In assistant manager Jill Capparelli said, “Everybody’s been very generous and I’m so grateful.”

Dredging interrupted again


Pipe and equipment wait at Manatee County Beach for
the order to resume renourishment, which was
stopped by storms causing high waves at the dredge.


A series of cold fronts bringing winds and high waves has again caused the beach renourishment project to shut own. Coastal Planning and Engineering spokeswoman Michelle Pfeiffer said they shut down last Tuesday and were to resume Sunday. The renourishment is near Manatee Public Beach and the slow progress has meant pipes will remain on the beach longer than expected. Pfeiffer said the contractor, Great Lakes Dock and Dredge, will try to keep the disruption to beachgoers at a minimum.

The renourishment project is split into two portions. The first, which is financed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will cover Holmes Beach south to Coquina Beach and stop. The next day, the second project, which was financed by the state and county, will proceed through Coquina Beach.

The cost of the first project is $13 million, and the second will cost $3 million. The renourishment is scheduled to be completed by the end of April.

Residential sites red-tagged

HOLMES BEACH – Building official Tom O’Brien has shut down two residential construction sites – one at 626 Key Royale Drive and one at 403 39th Street.

In Tuesday’s city commission meeting Mayor Carmel Mont said, “The building department did two stop work orders this week on houses that building permits claimed they were going to do about a 30 percent change, and they went to 100 percent.

“We stopped the work, and they may end up being demolished. It’s going to send a very clear signal that we did what we said we were going to do and that is to enforce the laws on the books and change those that we can’t enforce.”

626 Key Royale Drive

In a field inspection report on the Key Royale home, O’Brien said the contractor could only remove and replace a maximum of 30 percent of the roof structure.

“Upon arrival, the inspector and the plans examiner determined that the scope outlined in the original drawings had been expanded in the field,” O’Brien wrote. “The changes to the approved plans included removal of structural members in three different rooms to provide for additional ceiling height.”

A series of photos showed the work done and O’Brien continued, “The areas were specifically excluded from the permitted remodel area. The pictures outline the reconstructed areas where the ceiling heights were elevated by the removal of the original roof trusses, new joists were installed and new drywall is visible with new electrical work having been performed.”

403 39th Street

In the field inspection report on the 39th Street home, O’Brien noted, “It was observed at numerous locations around the perimeter that the entire exterior wall was only supported by a 8- to 9-inch thickened slab edge.

“There is no proper footing as required by Section 18, Florida Building Code. Apparently no investigation and analysis had been performed by the engineer who prepared the retrofit details as required by Section 17, FBC.”

He also pointed out that the exterior wall and furring strips, interior wall framing, plumbing, air conditioning system electrical system, roof covering and exterior door and window installation are 100 percent new construction.

Jazz Fest is back


Koko Ray Hansen has mastered the art of
playing two saxophones at the same time.

The Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus & Orchestra (AMICCO), Gulf Drive Band, the Sandbar restaurant, and the Anna Maria Island Sun newspaper are sponsoring the 10th annual Jazz Fest on Thursday, Feb. 6, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Sandbar restaurant pavilion, 100 Spring Avenue, Anna Maria. After expenses, ticket proceeds from Jazz Fest go directly to AMICCO.

Bring your dancing shoes or just relax overlooking the beautiful Gulf beach. Jazz Fest will feature the Gulf Drive Band, with Ted Young from Pittsburgh on piano and Bil Bowdish from Boston on flutes, saxes and vocals. This year the special guest artist is Anna Maria Island favorite, Koko Ray Hansen. Hansen is an outstanding instrumentalist and vocalist who is able to fluently play two saxophones at once. Jazz selections will go as far back as the 1920s and span seven decades.

Tickets are $8 per person in advance (before noon on Feb. 6) and $10 at the door. Refreshments sold by the Sandbar restaurant. Tickets may be purchased online at, from Etta at 941-896-3899 or at the AMI Chamber of Commerce 5313 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach.

AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper