Vol. 15 No. 1 - October 29, 2014
It was all dogs all the time Saturday afternoon in
The Sun’s 12th Annual Dog Halloween Costume
Contest. Winning first in the Most Original category were
Biscuit, Muffin and Devo, with owners Stephanie Gemperlise
and Shawn Duval for their entry, The Wizard of Paws.
walgreens | submitted
A perfect sunny afternoon greeted those who turned out for The Sun’s 12th Annual Dog Halloween Costume Contest Saturday at Island Sun Plaza. There were cowboys and girls, some Bob Marley wailers, lady pirates, tiny bikers and even a Betsy Ross – and the dogs had good costumes too! Tin hats off, however, to the Wizard of Paws entry, which took first place in the Most Original category and stole the hearts of everyone. Congratulations to all and Happy Halloween.
The list of winners
1. Digby the elephant, escorted by Brian Hayes.
2. Grady the Harley biker, escorted by Darren Volmer.
3. Sasha, the lady pirate, escorted by Karen and Mike Stormes.
1. Kingston, as Bob Marley, escorted by Brianna Shaughnessy and Caleb Roberts.
2. Gracie, as Betsy Ross, escorted by Linda Mayberry.
3. Bay Breeze, as another Bob Marley, escorted by Charlene Doll.
1. The Wizard of Paws, with Biscuit, Muffin and Devo as the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion and the Flying Monkey, escorted by Stephanie Gemperlise and Shawn Duval.
2. Cow and cowboy, with Suling and Sami, escorted by Sandy Mullon and Pat McLaughlin.
3. Satchmo and Rachel, dressed as cowboy and horse, escorted by Dr. Sharon Otis.
BRADENTON BEACH – Gia Lancaster’s two-month tenure as Bradenton Beach’s city clerk came to an abrupt end Thursday afternoon, when the commission unanimously agreed to fire her.
The commission appointed Assistant Clerk Terri Sanclemente to serve as clerk pro tempore and acting city clerk and authorized the temporary hiring of a full time contracted employee to assist her.
Mayor Bill Shearon recommended Lancaster’s termination during an emergency commission meeting on Thursday afternoon. The commission supported the recommendation, based on the grounds that Lancaster’s job performance was unsatisfactory. Unexcused absences and failure to distribute time-sensitive city documents and meeting materials were cited as primary reasons for the dismissal.
When they terminated Lancaster, the commission was not yet aware that she had been arrested on Tuesday, and charged with committing battery on a Bradenton police officer. According to the police report, Lancaster bumped the officer that attempted to resolve a dispute between her and her roommates. The report states that Lancaster was belligerent and threatened to kill her roommates if they refused to move out of the Bradenton home they shared.
Police Chief Sam Speciale relayed this information to City Attorney Ricinda Perry as the meeting continued, but the arrest played no role in the commission’s decision.
Lancaster attended Thursday’s meeting and sat silently as commissioners discussed her fate. She declined the opportunity to address the commission and offered no comments to the media after being fired.
What went wrong?
On Friday, Oct. 17, Lancaster and the commission members attended a Sunshine Law seminar in Sarasota. Lancaster left the seminar early and did not return until the final minutes. She then failed to return to city hall to complete her workday and chose instead to check into a Sarasota hotel, without informing the mayor of her intentions.
When she returned to work Monday, Lancaster received a written request from the mayor to participate in an employee counseling session with him and Perry on Tuesday. Lancaster said she would also bring an attorney to the session.
According to Perry, the meeting lasted three minutes. When Shearon said he wanted to address concerns about her job performance and her availability during city business hours, Lancaster told him to direct his concerns to her attorney. She said she would provide her attorney’s contact information by 5 p.m. that day, but that never happened, and six hours later Lancaster was in jail.
Her arrest resulted in an unexcused absence Wednesday, which led to a department head meeting being cancelled because she had not distributed the meeting materials. She also failed to distribute backup materials for the Tuesday, Oct. 28, special commission meeting, and failed to submit paperwork to Manatee County for a pier reconstruction reimbursement payment.
The commissioners have no plans to seek outside candidates to fill the clerk’s position and they collectively expressed interest in making Sanclemente’s appointment permanent, if it can be determined that she can serve as clerk while pursuing the accreditation that would make her a certified city clerk.
According to representatives of the International Institute of Municipal Clerks and the Florida Association of City Clerks, certification is highly recommended, but not mandated by state or federal law.
When contacted Friday, both representatives said a clerk’s qualifications are solely the discretion of the entity doing the hiring, and an examination of the city charter revealed no provision stating the city clerk must be certified.
Sanclemente recently attended a three-day Sunshine Law and ethic seminar and has expressed interest in becoming certified.
She previously served as acting clerk when City Clerk Jamie Anderson was fired and Deputy Clerk Tammy Johnson resigned and again when Lancaster, who was hired in August, missed two weeks due to personal issues.
“I just want to do a good job for the city,” Sanclemente said, when asked about the recent turn of events.
Center director Stiles resigns
ANNA MARIA – Once again the community was surprised by events at the Island Community Center when Executive Director Dawn Stiles submitted her letter of resignation Tuesday, Oct 21.
“I am leaving to return North to the ones I love: family and friends,” said in her letter. “After all, at the end of the day, relationships are what truly make life worthwhile.
“Over the past few very difficult months, it has become increasingly clear that living apart from those I love is not the life I want or anticipated.”
Stiles said a year ago her husband, George, received a heart stint and then in August, she had her spine fused.
“We talked about it and agreed that this is the healthiest time of our lives. He’s in Maine and two of the kids are also in Maine. We decided that we need to rethink our arrangement,” she explained.
Stiles resignation is effective Nov. 15 and she said at press time, board members are discussing their options.
“There’s Jennifer (Programs Developer Jennifer Griffith) and Wende (Chief Administrative Officer Wende Webb),” she said. “We never replaced Scott (Assistant Director Scott Dell), but board members have been very active.
“I wouldn’t leave if we were still in crisis,” she stressed. “We have a strong board and staff and are getting ready for the winter season. If I was going to go, it should be now.”
Stiles was referring the to Center’s financial crisis, which was revealed in June when officials said they did not have enough money to continue operating the Center for another month and asked for the community’s help.
The community rallied with donations, volunteers and ideas, and Center officials cut the budget and developed a growth strategy.
“We’re stable and going into a busy season,” she continued. “We’ve got a good start on selling memberships to rental property owners. It will grow because it will become a marketing tool for the owners.”
She said 88 rental property owners have purchased memberships for their visitors and the Center is $1,700 from its goal of $3,200 for the program.
The Center also is enjoying a record soccer season and is implementing a new therapy program called Sandcastles for children whose parents are going through divorce.
In addition, the idea committee submitted a list of ideas to generate revenue.
“I’ll miss the community and the Island,” Stiles concluded. “People here are so welcoming and friendly everywhere you go. We are keeping the condo at Runaway Bay, and we’ll be snowbirds.”
Barfords are named Citizens of the Year
ANNA MARIA – Former Mayor Fran Barford and her husband, George, were named Citizens of the Year by the Citizen Recognition Committee last week.
Committee member Lynn Brenan said the couple has lived in the city for 14 years and has been involved in city government as well as Roser Church.
In addition to being mayor for two terms, Fran served as chair of the Planning and Zoning Board and the Citizen of the Year Committee and chaired Roser Church’s long range planning committee.
George was vice chair of the city’s Capital Improvement Committee and served on the Historic Preservation Committee. He is a captain in the U.S. Naval Reserve and a member of several military organizations.
He was a member of the Roser Church board of trustees and the Manatee County Library Foundation board. He is a member of the Friends of the Island Library and volunteers at Our Daily Bread food kitchen.
The couple serves on the board of the Anna Maria Island Preservation Trust and supports the Manatee County Humane Society. They have fostered rescue dogs and cats for several years.
They also served on a mission project in Havana, Cuba, in 2006 to construct a seminary and were co chairs of the Roser Church Centennial Committee in 2013. They also monitor the city's beach during turtle season.
In addition to Brennan, committee members are Maureen McCormick, Laurie Gyson, Mary Seine and Margaret Jenkins. Committee members and city commissioners held a reception in the Barford’s honor at city hall with refreshments donated by Vinny and Cheryl’s Italian Kitchen and provided by committee members.
PAT COPELAND | SUN
George and Fran Barford accept their
award at Thursday's city commission meeting.
Holmes Beach charter questions on ballot
HOLMES BEACH – Voters will be asked to vote on 18 proposed amendments to the city charter in the Nov. 4 election.
There are six non-substantive changes (Articles 3, 5, 12, 14, 16 and 18) to the charter, which include fixing errors in grammar, making provisions consistent with state law and adding provisions to allow for modern technology.
There are 12 substantive changes including:
• Amendment 1: limiting building height to 36 feet;
• Amendment 2: limiting density to 5.8 units per acre in the R1AA and R1 zoning districts and 10 units per care in all the other zoning districts.
• Amendments 4 and 17: clarifying the initiative and referendum process;
• Amendments 6 (city clerk), 7 city treasurer), 8 (city attorney), 9 (police department) and 10 (public works department): defining the scope and responsibilities, composition and structure, qualifications, selection and appointments of city department heads;
• Amendment 11: adding the position of human resources analyst;
• Amendment 13: filling the office of mayor when there is no candidate;
• Amendment 15: requiring a super majority of the city commission to change the charter by ordinance;
Voters can go to the city website, holmesbeachfl.org, for a listing of all ballot questions, a question and answer card and a full mark up of the charter reflecting the proposed changes.
Full house at Holmes Beach
pat copeland | sun
Mayoral candidate David Zaccagnino answers a
question while mayoral candidate Bob Johnson listens.
HOLMES BEACH – A full house listened as the city’s two mayoral and three commission candidates responded to questions posed by voters in the Sun’s candidates’ forum Thursday.
Candidates Bob Johnson and Commissioner David Zaccagnino are running for the mayor’s seat, and incumbent Commissioners Marvin Grossman and Judy Titsworth are being challenged by Andy Sheridan for their seats. Each candidate began with an opening statement.
Grossman: We are on the road to balancing the needs of our residents with the rights of our visitors and commercial interests to respectfully enjoy our part of paradise.
Titsworth: In the past two years our commission has accomplished so much. We passed many new resolutions and ordnances that will help bring balance back to our community.
Sheridan: I can be a thoughtful and reasonable conduit between our citizens and the city departments and serve to ensure transparency and accountability. Our local government can and should be more responsive to our needs.
Zaccagnino: I have a clear passion for the community. We can’t stop change, but we can direct it in the right kind of way where we still have that Old Florida feel.
Johnson: I have 44 years of hands on operations and management experience both in the military and in business. This is the experience that is required to effectively and efficiently run our city operations.
Q: Do you agree with the congestions committee’s recommendation to eliminate street and right of way parking in all residential districts?
Sheridan: No. A compromise could be made. It needs more work.
Titsworth: It’s a real problem in the beach neighborhoods. Maybe try it in one area first.
Grossman: It makes a lot of sense for our residents. We must do something. We need to study it carefully.
Johnson: No. I’m looking forward to good input by qualified people at the Urban Land Institute (ULI) to look at our common problems and help us find solutions.
Zaccagnino: I live in a rental district and I see it every day. It’s important to come up with solutions and work with others.
Q: What is your position on paid parking at the public beach?
Titsworth: I’m against it. It’s commercialization of the beach.
Grossman: I’m open to consider it. There’s no reason to do it if we don’t make money.
Johnson: I’m not in favor of it at this time.
Zaccagnino: I agree with Marvin.
Sheridan: I’m against it right now.
Q: Has the city done enough to restrict vacation rentals? What else could be done to attract new residents and preserve the quality of life?
Johnson: The effort to reduce the size of facilities that are being rented is positive. We have a lot more to do in controlling what goes on in them. The whole business of codes and enforcement is where most of that lies.
Zaccagnino: Enforcement is a big key; call the chief. In April 2012, we had 27 suggestions and more than half of them have been done and worked. The process needs to continue.
Sheridan: I look at lot of these vacation rentals in the R-2 district as being commercial, and they are up against commercial beach resorts that have inspections and pay for commercial services. We need to find a way to treat them like commercial businesses.
Titsworth: Over the years, the commission did a disservice, so now we have to work our hardest to try to get the quality of life back for our residents and do whatever it takes.
Grossman: The density and intensity got out of hand with 16 bedroom duplexes. This commission worked to prevent it. We still need to work on the problem. I will do everything I can to make sure we have quiet enjoyment of our homes.
Q: Would you try to get a portion of the tourist tax money for the city and how?
A: All said they would pressure or continue to pressure the county for it.
Q: Will you support continuing the practice of allowing the commissioners to contact the city attorney any time they feel like it?
Grossman, Sheridan and Zaccagnino said there should be a traffic cop procedure in place where questions are vetted by the mayor or clerk first.
Titsworth said it is important for the city commissioners to be able to discuss issues with the city attorney, but they should check with the clerk to see if anybody has already asked the question.
Johnson said protocols should be established in all areas of the city administration.
Q: How do you feel about the charter amendments?
Titsworth: All of them are good.
Sheridan: I would vote for #1 and 2 and not the others.
Zaccagnino: The mailers cost $5,000 and the flyers cost $1,200. If you want to correct clerical errors, the commission can do it without putting it on the ballot at this huge expense.
Johnson: The changes here are to bring the city up to date; it had not been reviewed in 20 years. This presents charter that is usable by the city.
Grossman: This brought the charter into the 21st century. The charter commission was supposed to fix it, and they had to do it this way.
Q: Do you support the ban on live music in the city field on Sundays?
Johnson: It deserves a relook. How often and how loud?
Zaccagnino: Maybe allow acoustic and with a time limit.
Sheridan: Relook at it and not limit it to acoustic.
Titsworth: I thought Sunday could be a day of peace. It’s zoned recreational, not commercial.
Grossman: We had to do something. This was a compromise.
Q: Do you think the crosswalk signs should be taken out?
Grossman and Sheridan: No
Titsworth, Zaccagnino and Johnson: Yes
Q: Should the human resource analyst be a charter position?
Sheridan and Zaccagnino: No
Titsworth, Grossman and Johnson: Yes.
Q: Can you put in the time truly needed to perform the job?
Zaccagnino: Absolutely. I operate my business remotely.
Johnson: I’m prepared for that. I have no other obligations.
Q to Zaccagnino: Why did you wait to resign until after the election because if you had resigned a week earlier, the citizens could have voted for your replacement?
Zaccagnino: That’s the way it was always done in the past.
Q: How will you work with the commission especially when they direct you to take action in a manner you may not personally support?
Johnson: Cohesively and sharing and consultation. It’s the job of the mayor to enforce and administer ordinances that get passed. It’s not about political confrontation.
Zaccagnino: The mayor’s job to take the policy of this commission and move forward. If I get outvoted, I’ll move on to the next thing.
Johnson: I have the time, desire and ability to effectively run the city and deliver results. I’m the choice to move our city forward in a cohesive way.
Zaccagnino: Vote for me because of experience. We shouldn’t be reinventing the wheel and spending another two years trying to figure out what we need to do. I know how to accomplish things.
Sheridan: I want to make the city government more responsible. Vote for me to protect the quality of life.
Titsworth: Even thought there are many things we would like to see undone, we can’t undo them all. We can come together and as a community and continue our efforts to restore balance wherever we can.
Grossman: I believe we’ve been given a sacred obligation to work together to save our fragile barrier island for future generations to enjoy.
Voters who have not voted early can cast their ballots at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church and St. Bernard Catholic Church on Nov. 4.
Candidates talk vacation rentals, Australian pines
pat copeland | SUN
Mayoral candidates Dan Murphy and SueLynn
talked issues and how they would tackle the
problems caused by vacation rentals in
ANNA MARIA – A capacity crowd packed into city hall on Tuesday, Oct 21, for the Anna Maria Island Sun Candidate Forum. There were agreements and there were disagreements, but it lacked the contentiousness of a Rick Scott-Charlie Crist debate.
At stake are the mayor’s position, between incumbent SueLynn and Dan Murphy, and two commission seats between challenger Dave Bouchard and incumbents Nancy Yetter and Chuck Webb. The two top vote-getters will be seated.
The debate began with each candidate talking about his or her background and qualifications. SueLynn talked about this being her second time serving as mayor and said she was appointed two years ago when Mike Selby resigned because he declined to run for a second term and no one filed to run for the position.
“I did it because I love the city, and I wanted to be mayor,” she said, adding she felt taking the position she had held previously would be beneficial because she knew what to expect. She feels her experience in making sure the city is run well gives the commissioners the time they need to tackle the problems of vacation rentals and parking.
Dan Murphy said he would bring energy, enthusiasm and competence to the position through leadership, communications and good sound management. He said he would bring new ideas for fresh challenges. He said he wants to expand communications to include an e-newsletter.
Chuck Webb talked about being raised in Orlando before and after Disneyworld.
“While people made a lot of money, the quality of life went into the tank.”
Webb served in the Marine Corps and then served in the Army and Marine Corps Reserves. He retired as a full colonel. He’s also an attorney.
Nancy Yetter served two years as commissioner and before that she served on the Planning and Zoning board. She said she brings a message of hope.
“We’ve all seen permanent residents leave because they are disillusioned and unhappy and some of you are may have thought of that yourself,” she said. “I ask you to please stop, take another thought, stay with me and fight to retake this Island.”
David Bouchard has been a resident of Anna Maria for about 13 years. He said he has an investment property and he feels he bridges a gap. He wants to ensure the quality of life, but still wants to protect his investments. He is an engineer who works for a telecommunications company.
“I hope I can be a bridge between the old thought and the new thought,” he said.
Vacation rentals and moratorium
Bouchard said he wonders if the moratorium the commission called on homes with more than three bedrooms or rooms that could be used as bedrooms is needed. He said they needed more input on whether citizens agreed that they need to curtail the big box rental homes.
“There has to be a middle ground that everybody can agree with,” he said.
When asked about tying the number of bedrooms to the lot size, he said if that were the case, he would not be able to raise his children in his home. He also called for better enforcement of the laws on the books.
Yetter said the moratorium was a definite plus.
“We needed to call a halt to uncontrolled growth,” she said. “Anytime you have, say, a 2,500 square-foot house and you try to squeeze in eight bedrooms, unless you’re the Von Trapp family, don’t try to tell me that’s a single-family residence that will never be rented out. Some of these places don’t have closets.”
Yetter said the moratorium was a “time out” so they could get a handle on the situation.
Webb looked at the audience and said, “Are you going to support your own quality of life? You do that by voting.”
He said the main issue to him is whether these rental houses, which some equate to small motels or hotels, would be a commercial property in a residential area. He said he has been trying for three years to try to get the commission to take action.
Murphy said the moratorium was the right thing to do.
“The moratorium stopped the building of eight-bedroom boarding houses,” he said. “If I had been in office when that came through, I think I would have had that developer in my office that afternoon.”
He suggested being proactive in talking with developers about what their projects are doing to the neighborhoods.
SueLynn said the moratorium is very important.
“This is the time to draw the line in the sand,” she said, adding she has talked with developers who say they only have three bedrooms with a playroom or a study and as soon as they get their certificate of occupancy, they turn those rooms into bedrooms. She cited one builder who turned his ground level non-living space into a living area and hid it behind a faux garage door.
Bouchard was asked about his rental properties and he said his family owns the building in which Harry’s Grill is located, the little cottage next to it and the vacant lot behind it. He said he rents the cottage for as little as three days to a week, depending on the time of year.
The next question was about enforcement as a way to control rentals, whether the city could pass a law restricting rentals and the role of code enforcement in controlling rentals. Webb said the city cannot control the length of rentals and as for enforcement, the city has to know when there are violations. He said as long as a rental has no more impact than a residence, there would be no need for code enforcement.
Yetter said the city needs to have a fulltime code enforcement officer to make sure the owners don’t change the use of their homes.
“For some reason, these developers want to turn the city into a noisy resort town,” she said. “We’re a residential community, and we should be able to stay that way.
Bouchard said the city needs to be proactive in its code enforcement.
Murphy said the city has to proactively enforce the code to be effective. He said he has heard a lot of complaints about the lack of code enforcement. SueLynn said the code enforcement officer currently relies on complaints to act and is expanding from working two days a week to three, but she agrees they need more enforcement. She said the city will be hiring somebody to enforce parking violations during high use periods, but for now, residents should call to report violations.
The candidates talked about paid parking in the city to control parking and raise money for the city.
Yetter said she supports the effort.
“I think it’s the only way to hold people accountable and collect needed revenue to help rebuild infrastructure that’s being destroyed by careless parking on our swales, on the residential lots,” she said. “The only way to get people’s attention is when you put a value on their actions.”
Yetter said the Sheriff’s Office would have to be more active in enforcing the parking laws. She said she would not put paid parking in the business district. She would have it in the residential areas and the beach accesses where a lot of the problems are occurring. She said last year, beach goers set up a grill in a neighbor’s driveway and stayed there all day.
Bouchard said the current laws need stronger enforcement. He said former Sheriff’s Deputy Jules Dengler used to go through a parking lot writing tickets when a car’s tires were on the pavement, and the deputies need to get back to that type of enforcement. He said paid parking should have a way to distinguish between residents and tourists.
SueLynn agreed the plan should cover the whole city except the commercial district. The city should hire a company to help decide how to implement the plan. She said the city already passed an ordinance that allows a deputy to issue parking tickets for the same violations several times per day.
Murphy said he is opposed to paid parking, but would consider it if he deems the city needs it. For now, he favors hiring people whose main job would be parking enforcement. He said that should have been done before parking got to the point where it is now. He said paid parking would drive all the cars into the residential neighborhoods where residents would have to deal with it.
Webb said he would have paid parking everywhere but the commercial district, Bayfront Park and the piers. He said more people are coming to the beaches from Manatee County and they need to limit that. The areas that have paid parking use a company to set it up and run it.
Six Lots future
Candidates were asked what should be done with the six lots property that the city owns at Pine Avenue and South Bay Boulevard.
Murphy said he was initially opposed to the purchase of the property because the city paid more than the appraised value, but now, he said, it is an asset, and they should replace the dead and dying trees that were planted. He said the city should use the park.
SueLynn agreed the city needs to have a plan, and she would like to see it developed for recreational use.
Webb said he was opposed to purchasing the land, and the city is waiting to see if the oak trees survive. He does not want the park to be used for parking. He said he is all ears to find out what people want to use it for.
Yetter said the city rejected the Rex Hagen offer of money to develop the park because, initially, the money had no strings attached, but then came the request for parking spaces and restrooms. She said it could be used for small events like concerts.
Bouchard said Bayfest was one of the best uses for the park. He said there should be no parking except handicap parking there.
Gulf Front Park
Candidates explained their views on the proposed plans for the park along the Gulf made by environmental planner Robert Barron that included Australian pine removal.
Webb said if the community wants them, the Australian pines should stay.
Murphy said don’t touch the pines and questioned why they should listen to someone from the eastern coast of Florida.
SueLynn agreed the trees should stay because they are an attraction but they should get rid of the mother-in-law tongue plants.
Bouchard said the pines should stay, although they are prone to blow over in high winds.
Yetter said she was opposed to the plan from the start. She said she learned Barron’s credentials were not as advertised.
Yetter said the city needs to get more of the bed tax the county collects and spends on advertising the Island and other Manatee County treasures. She said it could pay for the use of infrastructure.
Bouchard agreed on getting the tax money, maybe to hire somebody to help enforce the law.
Webb said the Tourist Development Council is selling the Island, but not paying for it. He said the law that tells where the money could be spent needs to be changed.
SueLynn said she talked with Sen. Bill Galvano about changing the law. He told her he would think about it.
Murphy said the law needs to be changed but the city could go before the council for money to pay for tourist related projects.
The candidates agreed there was no communication problem between the mayor and the commission. Yetter said her big problem with the commission is when they agree on something and then change their minds. Bouchard said using the social media might help with communications.
What would you do?
Hendricks asked the candidates if they were king or queen of Anna Maria, and could solve one of today’s problems, what would it be.
“I really want to bring the people back,” SueLynn said. “I want the people to come back here and others to see that it is a place to live and raised a family, retire to, and, yes, keep it a vacation destination, but I really want to see the people come back so we could reclaim our neighbors and that sense of being a residential community.”
Murphy agreed that keeping this as a residential paradise would be a priority.
“That’s what I came to 20 years ago, he said, “but I think there has to be a balance.”
Webb had a different approach.
“We need to control our rentals,” he said. “People say vacation rentals are progress but they are not. They are ruining our quality of life. If they can have a rental property that has no more impact on the neighborhood and a single-family residence, that’s OK.”
Yetter said she would limit rentals to those who are for maintaining the atmosphere of the Island and not come to take advantage of it for their own greedy self-interests.
“We have a lot to offer those visitors as well as to residents,” she said. “I would love for them to come and treat it as if it were their own.”
Bouchard joked they he would open snook season and little longer, but he agreed it would be a quality of life dream.
“It’s not just raising families and living here,” he said. “I would want to retire here. I want to be taken off the Island when I’m not breathing.”
Congestion committee to proceed with ordinance
HOLMES BEACH – Congestion committee members plan to ask city commissioners to proceed with an ordinance to eliminate street and right of way parking in residential areas.
They are reviewing sample ordinances from other cities, and Chair Carol Soustek said, “We’re trying to take the best from different cities. I like St. Pete Beach’s because it is exactly what we’re trying to do for the residents.”
Member Pam Leckie they should just eliminate parking on the west side of Gulf Drive because “the others really aren’t affected.”
However, Soustek said the problem then would shift to other streets She also pointed out that if the county implements paid parking at the public beach, it would affect the neighborhoods.
Members agreed they would like to have a draft ordinance for commissioners to consider at the Nov 25 city commission meeting.
Soustek said they have to develop a procedure for guests to park when visiting residents, and it must be part of the ordinance.
“My idea is that they call the city and say they will be having extra vehicles,” member Jayne Christenson said. “But I wondered how the police will know because the city hall and police data bases are not shared. If the police will be managing the calls for guests, why don’t they also manage the data base for permits?”
Soustek agreed and pointed out that the police would be enforcing the guest parking and that most of it would occur on the weekends. She said she would speak to Police Chief Bill Tokajer.
Committee members developed a draft resident parking permit application and decal. They have recommended that decals would be good for two years for a $10 fee to cover the cost of issuing the decals.
Christenson said committee members could volunteer to help issue stickers in order to reduce the cost and make it easy on city employees.
Commissioner Marvin Grossman, who has been working with resident Kim Rash to build bike racks for the city, told committee members that they have four bike racks ready to place. Each eight-slot bike racks counts as two parking spaces for beach renourishment funding.
“Before you put up bike racks, you need to talk to the residents about where to put them,” Christenson stressed. “It’s like putting a parking sign in front of someone’s home.”
Grossman said committee members could pick the four spots and that they could be put at beach accesses to encourage people to ride bikes.
Christenson said there are two types of bicyclists – residents and visitors.
“Are people going to the beach on their bikes or are they riding for exercise?” She asked. “Visitors are not bringing all their stuff to the beach on their bikes. Do we really need more?”
After some discussion, they decided that one bike rack could be placed at White Avenue by Gulf Drive, one between 26th and 27th streets and two between 54th and 63rd streets.
Christenson asked Grossman if the committee could put up parking signs in areas they’ve identified for additional parking. Grossman told them to come to a city commission meeting and make that request.
Members set their next two meetings for Nov. 7 at 10 a.m. and Nov 12 at 1 p.m.