Vol. 13 No. 31 - May 22, 2013
letters to the editor
Do we really have it so bad?
Now that the snowbirds have gone north the local community might like to reflect on some home truths. The major brunt of resentment has been towards vacation rentals but even snowbirds have felt the chill of being held responsible for how busy the island becomes during the winter season.
It isn’t that things are particularly busy during the season; it is that things are artificially quiet during the off season. This is a blessing the locals enjoy but do they think that those who pay their full share of property taxes should not use their property for a few months a year or rent it to others?
Like Cape Cod and a host of other popular coastal spots, Anna Maria sees a flood of mainland residents who come to the beach at weekends. We don’t own the beaches and are fortunate to live on the island. We must accept that during high season we need to plan our off island trips accordingly.
And then of course are the claims of noise and parking issues ruining the locals’ lives. Yes there have been problems but renters have been asked to respect noise ordinances and have complied. Claims that Anna Maria is turning into a Daytona Beach are, to say the least, exaggerated.
The R2 district in Holmes Beach has been zoned for decades as an area where homes can be rented weekly. People who choose to live there know they may have renters as neighbors.
The talk of communities being destroyed camouflages the real frustration. Some residents have been fortunate enough to have couples in their 70s or older residing next door. They were rarely seen or heard. This was taken as defining the neighborhood and when change happened and a new generation arrived with a modern residence complete with lush landscaping and pool it was resented. Nothing wrong with the landscaping or the pool, it was just that there were people enjoying outdoor living and, God forbid, children playing in the pool. This of course becomes inordinately less tolerable when the house is occupied by ‘renters’.
Vacationing families are a tradition on Anna Maria. Apart from isolated incidents the type of family that vacations here is well mannered and epitomized by the frequent images of people on bikes and families making their way to the beach with their pull along wagon.
The unique quality of Anna Maria has been its natural beauty coupled with the friendly and unpretentious nature of old-timers and newcomers alike. There has been a live and let live ambiance and families vacationing here had never been anything but welcome. The antagonism towards change has eroded this important aspect of our community. Do we really have it so bad?
Affaire vols amazing again
The 2013 Island Affaire was a fabulous night of wonderful generous people getting together to have fun and support our Island Community Center. The Center is for everyone to enjoy and we are so very blessed to have such incredible support.
We could not serve this great Island community to such high standards without the success of this event, and it was a success. We sold out our tables, threw a great party for nearly 300 people without a glitch, and raised much needed funds for the children and families we serve.
As chairman of the event, I would like to thank Brian Olsen’s Art in Action and Jake Castro for wowing the crowds with their performances. Together both of their acts raised an additional $41,500 for program scholarships. I would also like to thank every sponsor, donor, volunteer, staff member and guest that made this event such a huge success. It took more than 700 different combined contributors and volunteers to make this year’s Island Affaire happen.
It never ceases to amaze me how, together, this community can accomplish so much. From the bottom of my heart, a huge thanks to all. Your efforts will truly make a difference and I’m grateful and proud to be a part of it.
Community Center assistant director
High-rise bridge to Cortez idea is looney
Let’s stop advocating a 65-foot high-rise bridge from Cortez to Bradenton Beach. It did not happen in 1995 and it cannot happen now. We who live in Cortez do not perceive the village as important because of its charm. Yes, we do have 97 historic structures including a dozen century-old homes. We worked and received national recognition for the village. It is listed as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places. We are proud of that. I am especially proud as it was dated March 16, 1995. That was my Grandpa Billy Fulford’s 128th birthday. In 1887, as a 20-year-old, he bought the first tract of land in Hunters Point (now Cortez). Hopefully, it is still true that Federal funds cannot be used to negatively impact a historic district. Believe me, closing four roads into the village, as would be necessary to build a 65 foot high-rise bridge, would impact the residents. More drastic would be the impact on the commercial fishing industry. The two wholesale companies are both multi-million dollar operations. The five restaurants in Cortez, along with the restaurants on the Island that serve fresh Florida seafood, depend on the Cortez fishermen. Building a high-rise bridge would also close 22 businesses including those on Bradenton Beach.
I urge the staff of the Florida Department of Transportation to get with it. Begin to count the number of cars that will be heading for the beach when the Manatee Fruit Company develops its proposed community; the extension of Cortez Road to Lakewood Ranch is a reality and, the El Conquistador Project is completed. Stop wasting time talking about a high-rise bridge from Cortez and begin planning the one from 53rd Avenue to Coquina Beach or Longboat Key. May I suggest that you began this action by (1) doing a traffic destination study, (2) get busy on the bridge design plan and (3) advocate for public support so you receive the funding. I am going to be proud of you, my FDOT staff, when this work is completed. And so will everybody else.