Smoke, mirrors and AMI’s ‘parking problem’

They make it sound like beach access and parking is the issue, but is it?

A four-story parking garage at the county-owned Manatee Beach would exceed the three-story height limit that the city of Holmes Beach has wisely imposed, echoed by the cities of Anna Maria and Bradenton Beach.

State Rep. Will Robinson and his colleagues are trying to break that precedent by eliminating the Island’s three cities and their pesky regulations and putting them under Manatee County control.

But that would not only allow for the parking garage. It would open the door of Anna Maria Island to high-rise development, east coast-style.

And that is far more likely to be behind the move by Republican legislators than “fixing” the parking problem in Holmes Beach with a single garage.

The trouble with their argument is that once high-rises or even mid-rises are allowed, the garage will be obsolete, a drop in the bucket to providing beach access, which belies their true motive – the D-word. Development.

And what would happen to beach access then, with so many parking places required by multi-story vacation rentals (let’s not even bother to pretend they will be residences)?

There’s a lesson to be learned from the Martinique condo mid-rises built five decades ago. Local elected officials put the kibosh on those extra floors almost immediately after seeing the visual impact the two buildings had on what was then truly “Old Florida.”

Now that what little of Old Florida is left on the Island has been nearly completely redeveloped (also known as destroyed), it’s apparently time to redevelop it again, this time, vertically.

We’re only number two on the state’s highest-priced real estate list, according to the Wall Street Journal. We have to be number one, at all costs.

Elderly folks were the first to be priced off this Island. Then families. Now, it’s the workforce.

Soon, unless someone clears the smoke and cleans the mirrors, it may be all of us.