Vol. 16 No. 47 - September 21, 2016


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryDrive is on for parking garage

BRADENTON BEACH – For the second week in a row, a member of the City Commission has proposed the construction of a paid parking garage in the vicinity of the Bridge Street business district.

When giving his commissioner's report during the Thursday, Sept. 15 meeting, Commissioner Jake Spooner suggested the city consider purchasing the property at the corner of Gulf Drive and Third Street South owned by Joe Spallino, the proprietor of the Joe's Eats & Sweets ice cream parlor.

Spooner also suggested the city consider approaching John Hardesty to gauge his interest in selling the property at 106 Third Street South that is adjacent to Spallino's property. Spooner believes the two properties combined would provide the space needed for a 200-space parking facility. More...

Franchise moratorium approved on first reading

HOLMES BEACH – Commissioners approved the first reading of an ordinance establishing a moratorium on new franchise, or formula, businesses for eight months beginning June 14.

The issue began when commissioners learned that Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins were planning to come to the Anna Maria Island Centre, owned by the Benderson Development Company. This was followed by complaints from other business owners and residents about losing the Island's character and Old Florida charm.

City Attorney Patricia Petruff said, "It allows you to take a step back and study the issue and see if anything would work well with Holmes Beach on how to regulate these types of businesses." More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StorySun nabs 8 awards

A photo of a twister hitting the Skyway Bridge and a cartoon of a cyclist being ticketed by a cop were two entries that helped the Anna Maria Island Sun walk away with eight awards in this year's Florida Press Association Better Weekly Newspaper Contest.

The Spot News Photo winner was taken by Sun contributor Tyler Kapela and framed the dramatic moment just before a tornado descended from the sky and slammed into the lower portion of the Skyway.

FPA judges said: A once-in-a-lifetime photo and the epitome of the perfect spot news photo. Stunning. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryBert Harris claims continue

ANNA MARIA – The city of Anna Maria received two more Bert Harris claims last week.

On Tuesday, Sept. 13, a claim was filed by the Blalock Walters law firm on behalf Benjamin and Julie Asper for the four-bedroom short-term vacation rental they own at 507 S. Bay Blvd. The Aspers are claiming $345,000 in lost property value due to the occupancy limits imposed on a rental unit that had a pre-vacation rental ordinance occupancy of 10 persons.

On Thursday, Sept. 16, the Steven M. Jones Law Firm filed a claim on behalf of Violet and Neil Rosenbilt, the owners of a six-bedroom plus-den vacation rental located at 804 N. Shore Dr. The Rosenbilt's claim cites $525,000 in assessed lost property value for a structure that listed a pre-rental ordinance occupancy of 18 guests. More...

Holmes Beach receives two more Bert Harris claims

HOLMES BEACH – The city received two more Bert Harris claims from property owners.

Attorney Scott Rudacille, on behalf of client Robin Rokisky, filed a claim for the property at 3078 66th St., which she said she purchased in 2013 as an investment property for vacation rentals.

According to the claim, "the property contains a six-bedroom home, which is configured for, advertised for and regularly rented to parties of 15," and when the city approved Ordinance 15-12, it limited the occupancy to 12. More...

Commission pooh-poohs peeing in public

HOLMES BEACH – City commissioners last week reviewed an ordinance establishing public urination as an offense with a $75 fine.

"We need an ordinance that allows us to fine people who urinate on the beach," Police Chief Bill Tokajer explained. "We see it every day. We drive down and see somebody in the bushes taking a leak.

"Right now, as a police officer, we can't take legal action. We have to have a citizen that would be a willing participant to say it is offensive to them and sign an affidavit." More...

Commissioners on rental ads: No fibbing

HOLMES BEACH – Commissioners reviewed changes to the vacation rental ordinance that were added to address illegal advertising of vacation rental units.

City Attorney Patricia Petruff said Section 4.14 makes the city's expectations clear by stating that all advertising shall state the maximum occupancy limit of the vacation rental unit and the maximum parking.

The following statement was added to the section, "Advertisements that do not contain this information or that contain inaccurate information, shall be deemed a violation of this ordinance and subject to the penalties contained in Section 4.11." More...

$12.3 million budget gets first OK

HOLMES BEACH – Commissioners approved the 2.25 millage rate and $12.3 million budget on first reading last week.

City Treasurer Lori Hill explained that the budget includes $187,000 in additional revenue from vacation rental certificates, and outside agency funding of $56,000, which includes The Center, Keep Manatee Beautiful and any other agencies that request funding.

In reply to a question from resident Jim Kihm regarding funding for The Center, Chair Judy Titsworth said, "There is money for the community center in this year's budget, but the City Commission has not agreed if we're going to fund it this year. If not, it will be rolled over to the general fund." More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryIsland receives Keep Manatee Beautiful awards

At Keep Manatee Beautiful's 19th annual awards ceremony on Sept. 15 at IMG Academy Golf Club, local businesses, governmental agencies, neighborhoods, organizations and citizens were recognized for demonstrating leadership by surpassing the norm in being stewards of Manatee County's natural resources.

Island cities and local businesses received the following awards:

• Outstanding Volunteer Group Award: the city of Holmes Beach for marking 165 storm drains out of 615 in 2016; More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryWord's out on little tunny

The water was flat and there was no sign of life as we neared the Tampa Bay Ship's Channel. Word was out that little tunny and Spanish mackerel were attacking baitfish in and along the edges of the waterway, but as far as we could see the water was flat and mirror smooth without a hint of action. After 10 minutes of surveying the waters in an easterly direction towards the Skyway Bridge we were starting to wonder if the run from Longboat Key was a mistake. Then I remembered a day a few years back when Captain Rick Grassett, who was accompanying me today, and I had a similar experience off Longboat Pass. Just as we were beginning to consider fishing in the bay instead of the Gulf, a striking fish exploded on the surface. After that we were surrounded by action that lasted the whole morning. More...

real estate

Is your house ready for the competition?

Selling your home may not qualify as an Olympic sport, but you can bet there will still be plenty of competition. If this is the year you decide to sell and move on, you need to get your house in shape, and it's going to take more than a stroll around the block.

For most people, it really doesn't take a lot to get your house ready for sale. Of course, there are homeowners who have put off not only updating projects, but also maintenance projects, and they will be paying the price. But for the majority of us, it's a lot easier. This week let's talk about staging your home, and next week we'll tackle the not so much fun stuff like maintenance and renovations. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryFresh fish, right off the boat

There's something fishy on Cortez Road and believe me you can't miss it. Smack dab in the middle of the colorful strip of stores containing the Cortez Post Office is the new Cortez Fish Market, which isn't really new at all.

John Banyas has owned Cortez Bait & Seafood, a fixture in the Cortez Fishing Village, since 1996, in addition to the Swordfish Grill, Taylor Boatworks and other local businesses. Last year he purchased the small strip of stores along Cortez Road West near 121st Street and added yet another business to his portfolio. The Cortez Fish Market officially opened the week of July 18 on Cortez Road West next to the Post Office.

The large bright space is managed by James "Wyre" Lee who knows more about fish then the old man and the sea and has five more people to help him pull in the nets. The expansion is obvious with a very substantial display of fresh seafood including; royal red shrimp, snapper, cobia, swordfish, mahi mahi, tuna, hog fish, grouper and whatever else is caught fresh from the Gulf waters surrounding us. Most of the seafood at the Cortez Fish Market comes right off the boats from the Cortez Fishing Fleet. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Reverse mortgages worth another look

Investment Corner

I have written about reverse mortgages over the years, at least twice here in the Sun. My advice was that reverse mortgages were expensive for the borrower, but in the case where a retired person or couple had run out of assets, using the equity in their home through a reverse mortgage wasn't the worst idea in the world.

I'm bringing the topic back one more time because some changes in federal guidelines have made the reverse mortgage a more attractive option for those who are over age 62, that own their home free and clear of another mortgage and who are concerned about the possibility of running low on retirement income during their lifetime

Space limitations don't' allow us to go into a full primer on reverse mortgages, but let's hit some of the highlights. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryLadies of the gridiron make the difference

The Thursday night lights at The Center were bright in the last game of the night, and the athletic ladies lit up the field. Team captain, and the newest Sato, Lexi, racked up 35 receiving yard, a touchdown, one extra point and two critical flag pulls, while Laura Alderson supported her team, both on the offensive and defensive fronts.

For Team Moss Builders, Emily Moss and Rainia Lardas presented a tough team presence in the late night game, playing a strong defensive game and making Tyler's Ice Cream earn every yard.

Once again the Sato family, sprinkled with two Aldersons, are featured in the game of the week, but this time they came away with the win for Team Tyler's Ice Cream. The loss for Moss Builders and all of the Moss family players, with the exception of Jon Moss who plays for Beach House Real Estate, brought each of the teams' records to 2-2 for the season. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryTurtle laws still apply

It ain't over 'til it's over, Suzi Fox reminds Anna Maria Island beachfront residents and visitors.

Sea turtle nesting season does not end until Oct. 31, and in the meantime, turtle laws apply, including those prohibiting beachfront lighting and leaving furniture and other objects on the beach after dark, the director of Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring said.

People are saying they don't see any nests on the beach and are turning on their beachfront lights in violation of the law, she said. More...

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