Vol. 14 No. 40 - July 30, 2014
letters to the editor
As a 28-year, full time resident and homeowner, the increase in traffic is huge, especially the last four-to-five years. Traffic is congested all over the Island pretty much all of the time. This will not diminish but continue to grow. Proposals are being discussed by city commissioners and committees. This suggestion may add to the discussion.
What about construction of shell parking lots as close to either side of both bridges as possible? These would be constructed in state, county and city owned land, and land owned by developers. When daily traffic has reached a critical mass as determined by law enforcement and the use of existing technology, visitors can be notified through using digital signage at strategic locations, as to where to use alternative sites for parking. Trolleys and ferry boats would take visitors to and from the Island for nominal fees. Island residents and workers would use through passes as well as visitors staying at resorts/motels, etc., having designated parking spaces. This suggestion would require additional planning and tweaking but on its face, it appears to be doable.
Nick Shea DiOrazio
A private Island?
An Anna Maria City resident published a thoughtful letter which noted that “A while back we had ‘day trippers.’ This was properly called out for its classism, elitism, and not so subtle racism.” That is as sad an observation as it is true. Then this: “Now comes ‘paid parking.’ At its heart, it is just another grasping at any available means to make it more difficult and unpleasant for mainlanders to visit and enjoy our island.”
The Anna Maria city commissioners intend to close their island off to the other county residents to the extent they can possibly do so, and give themselves a free parking pass (even though they already have places to park). All this under the fiction that they do not need the county infrastructure, much less the state and federal government. In reality they are saying send us your money, county infrastructure, school system, road maintenance, beach renourishment, judicial system, coast guard, subsidized insurance ... and stay out.
Well, there are 340,000 other county residents who may not see it that way. Anna Maria City has a population of maybe 1,600 and shrinking. Do the math.
The over-arching governance is Manatee County, which has a board of seven commissioners, and that should be the forum for this. It is, after all, their mission “To legislate policy to protect the health, welfare, safety and quality of life of Manatee County residents” and “they may take action on any programs to improve the county and the welfare of its residents.” That would be all of the residents, and not just a handful of loudmouths. Three county commission seats are coming up for election; districts 2, 4, and 6 (at large). If you are voting these seats, please find out where the candidates stand and vote accordingly.
Here is a suggestion for the County Commission. Someone has been careless about preserving the resources and quality of life we have in these barrier islands. It is easy to tally up the tourist dollars, not so easy to be accountable for the divisive and harmful impact it has had on our community. It seems many tourist council members receive a direct financial benefit from pumping more and more bodies, from outside of Manatee County and around the world, into a very finite space. It is called exploitation, and the county commissioners have apparently approved it. Just look at the result. How about a new approach which is balanced and respects the unique culture and beauty of our barrier islands, rather than promoting them far and wide with no consideration of the consequences for those of us that live here. And pay the taxes here. And vote here.
Noise ordinance too restrictive
After sitting through the (Holmes Beach City) Commission meeting and the work session that followed, I was left with one question related to the baseball field and Little League: How will we ever be able to have Little League and batting cages under the proposed noise ordinance?
The sound of a bat hitting a baseball registers at around 120 db. The crowd noises also register well above the proposed maximum 65 db level. Additionally, the announcers traditionally use microphones and loudspeakers that must be heard above the noise of the crowd. How can a Little League tournament practically be expected to come in below 65 db?
Tonight's "Save the Birds" presentation rated at approximately 85 db. Can any type of baseball game come in below the volume of a presentation in a fairly uncrowded room? We already have the "Friends of Flotilla" complaining about the noisy dog park. How long do you think it will take to register the first complaint about the noise from a Little League game or the cracking sounds emanating from a batting cage?
The city's own proposed ordinance makes redoing the baseball field a moot point. It is a waste of time and taxpayer dollars to continue to pursue a renovation that will clearly be in conflict with the new, over-restrictive noise ordinance.
I think the return of Little League to our city could be a very beneficial thing. The noise ordinance should not be as restrictive as it is. However, citizen pleas for a more reasonable noise ordinance seem to have fallen on deaf ears. If the city is going to continue to push their over-restrictive noise limitations in our commercial zones, I urge the commissioners to stop wasting taxpayer dollars pursuing more amenities that will never be able to be used. Either make the noise ordinance more reasonable so that such activities are not precluded, or stop wasting our money building things that will never be used due to noise concerns.