Vol. 17 No. 15 - January 25, 2017


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryFDOH proposes medical marijuana rules

FLORIDA – The Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative approved by Florida voters in November took effect Jan. 3, and state health officials and lawmakers have until July 3 to develop the state laws and regulations to govern the new medical marijuana program.

On Jan, 17, The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) released a report containing its initial proposed rules for the production, distribution and acquisition of medical marijuana.

The proposed rules mirror some of what is already contained Florida State Statute 381.986, which currently applies to low THC marijuana prescribed for patients with seizures or advanced stages of cancer.

THC is the agent in marijuana that produces the euphoric high and the low THC strain prevents or limits that effect. More...

Bradenton Beach says no to dispensaries

BRADENTON BEACH – Barring a state mandate or court order, there will be no medical marijuana dispensaries in Bradenton Beach.

Last Thursday, city commissioners unanimously adopted on second and final reading Ordinance 17-478, which prohibits growing, cultivating, processing, dispensing and selling medical marijuana within the city limits.

As a precaution, City Attorney Ricinda Perry included in the ordinance a provision she feels would allow the city to enact a temporary moratorium on dispensaries if the state or the courts rule that local prohibitions are not consistent with the state laws regulations currently being developed.

Before the commissioners voted, Perry provided them with an alternative type of ordinance to consider.

It was sent to her by Margaret Good, an attorney in Sarasota who represents a lobbying and marijuana advocacy firm in south Florida. More...

BIEO talks alternative Island transportation

An Island water taxi may be docking on Anna Maria Island as early as February.

During the Jan. 18 Barrier Island Elected Officials meeting, Holmes Beach Commissioner Carol Soustek said the city was in negotiations with a private vendor to operate a water taxi service from Fort De Soto Park, south of St. Petersburg, to Keyes Marina.

"Holmes Beach is very happy that someone wants to help take cars off the road," Soustek said.

She said the service may start as early as mid-February with a 40-person capacity boat.

Longboat Key Town Manager Dave Bullock said the city is in talks with a company considering offering a restaurant shuttle service by boat from waterfront restaurants on Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryTry local honey for allergies

BRADENTON BEACH – The City Commission is working on new vacation rental regulations.

During the Wednesday, July 10, workshop, commissioners engaged in their first discussions on the vacation rental regulations recommended by the Planning and Zoning Board (P&Z).

The commission reached preliminary consensus in support of several P&Z recommendations and went a step farther in directing City Attorney Ricinda Perry to research a possible legal interpretation of the city's comprehensive plan as it pertains to the property uses allowed residential zones.

Similar to the declaratory judgement previously discussed, but never pursued by Anna Maria commissioners in 2015, Bradenton Beach Vice Mayor John Chappie believes the city's comp plan and land development code might prohibit rentals in two residential zones. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryHBPD officer says farewell to community

ANNA MARIA –Manatee County officials have clarified their position on sharing the cost of the anticipated $2 million rehabilitation of the city pier.

At the request of Commissioners Dale Woodland, Nancy Yetter and Carol Carter, the city recently issued a request for proposals (RFP) seeking bids from firms interested in serving as the city's pier rehabilitation contractor.

Prior to RFP issuance, Mayor Dan Murphy repeatedly told the commission that his preliminary discussions with County Administrator Ed Hunzeker and Parks and Natural Resources Department Director Charlie Hunsicker indicated the city had to use the county's preferred design firm in order to be considered for up to $1 million in matching county funds. More...

Tree house owners 'not giving up'

It's back to the drawing board for tree house owners Lynn Tran and Richard Hazen.

Holmes Beach building official Jim McGuinness denied the couple's request Jan. 18 for an after the fact building permit for the two-story tree house structure on their property at the Angelino's Sea Lodge, 103 29th St.

In a letter to the couple, McGuinness cites several reasons for the application denial, including elevation, foundation concerns, stability of the structure, building material concerns and issues with the location of the structure.

The tree house was partially constructed in an existing Australian pine tree on the beach side of the couple's property with wooden pilings making up the remainder of structure's foundation. Part of the tree house is located beyond the erosion control line, requiring Tran and Hazen to obtain a permit from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection before the city can issue a permit. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryCommissioners question mayor's response to attorney

BRADENTON BEACH – Last week, Vice Mayor John Chappie and Commissioner Jake Spooner defended City Attorney Ricinda Perry in response to criticism she received from Mayor Bill Shearon regarding a public records request she made on the city's behalf.

During the Jan. 10 workshop discussion on vacation rental regulations, the commission, including Shearon, reached unanimous consensus in directing Perry to assess the feasibility of pursuing a court ruling as to whether the city's comprehensive plan and land use regulations allow commercially-operated vacation rentals in the city's residential zones.

Perry was asked to research the cost and viability of pursuing a declaratory judgement similar to what was previously discussed but never fully pursued by the Anna Maria Commission in 2015. At that time, two of the three attorneys the Anna Maria Commission consulted with felt a judge would not rule in the city's favor. Those opinions were further supported by court rulings issued in two other Florida cities. More...

City planner resigns

ANNA MARIA – City Planner Bruce McLaughlin's letter of resignation was submitted to the city of Anna Maria Monday morning, Jan. 23.

On Thursday, Jan. 19, McLaughlin sent his resignation letter to Michael Causely at the M.T. Causley consulting engineering firm for whom McLaughlin served as a subcontractor in his role as city planner.

"Please accept this letter, to be forwarded to the city of Anna Maria as my resignation, and that of Bruce McLaughlin Consulting Services, from the position of city planner for the city of Anna Maria. It is with a great deal of reluctance that I resign from this position, but various personal reasons, including the onerous commute, necessitate this action."

The office McLaughlin uses for his self-operated consulting firm is located in Indian Rocks Beach.

McLaughlin was out of the office Monday and unavailable for comment. Last week, he told commission Chair Doug Copeland that he was going to resign and that he tentatively planned to serve through the Thursday, Jan. 26, commission meeting. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryBack to the basics

Humility, a word that I have known all along, but have just recently understood in my life. As a young chef working in high-end, fine-dining establishments, I was full of piss and vinegar as they say. No one could tell me anything and I knew it all. But I couldn't have been more wrong. I should have listened to mom. Life is funny that way isn't it?

I was once told by another chef, "Don't let the business run you." I never entirely understood what it meant. Now, at the helm of this beloved, iconic restaurant, after years of doing what I thought was right (and some grey hairs later), I know what he was saying – slow down. Assess the situation. React based on what is most necessary at the given time. It is integral to take the moment to listen and obtain a basic understanding of what is going on around you. And while delegating tasks has always been a challenge, I now realize what a team effort cooking really is. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryLiving seawalls

Sarasota is the birthplace of a new concept in local seawall design called living seawalls, and Sarasota Bay Watch and President Larry Stults can be credited with getting them acceptance. In all started in April of 2015, when the Gulf Coast Community Foundation announced its $500,000 Innovation Challenge to promote new ideas and businesses in our coastal Blue Economy. Stults sprang into action to form the Living Shoreline team to compete for top honors.
The team consisted of Sarasota Bay Watch, Reef Ball Foundation, Science and Environment Council of Southwest Florida, Sarasota Bay Estuary Program and Marie Selby Gardens. The team's goal was to use the prize money to spearhead a workshop among coastal engineers and marine contractors to come. Traditional seawalls, which have hardened the majority of our waterfront property, are a poor substitute for the natural, mangrove rich shorelines the Gulf Coast once enjoyed.

We have seawalls for a reason. They protect land and structures from erosion and storm impacts. Sarasota Bay Watch and Stults was particularly interested in the innovation of eco-friendly seawalls because they felt there was tremendous opportunity to build new technology that satisfied both the environment and the community. The Living Shorelines team finished sixth in the Innovation Challenge without any prize money. What they did have, however, was worth much more. More...

real estate

Target: mortgage interest deduction

This is the time of year that you will be receiving the annual statement from your mortgage lender itemizing the interest paid on your mortgage for tax purposes. This year, however, the statement could contain a big fat target right in the middle.

Steven Mnuchin, who is president-elect Trump's nominee for the treasury secretary position, indicated that the administration's plan would "cap mortgage interest but allow some deductibility."

Statements like this is like waving a red cape in front of a furious bull. The furious bull in this case is the National Association of Realtors and its 1.2 million members against the tax reform.

Their position is that capping the deduction would hurt every homeowner, even those whose interest payments fall below the cap, because housing is all one cohesive market. Economist Richard McKenzie has estimated that the value of every home in America would decline by 10 percent to 15 percent the day after the deduction is capped. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryHometown Desserts opens second location

The holidays are over, and you're really trying to fulfil those New Year's resolutions, but I'm here to tell you that you don't have a chance since one of the best bakeries in Manatee County opened a second location.

You may have visited Hometown Desserts on Pine Avenue located in one of Anna Maria City's Green Village shops and fell in love with the variety of baked goods that come out of that little space. Well now you don't have to fight the winter beach traffic out to the Island and pray for a parking spot. If you're craving one of Cindy Tutterow's coconut cakes, you just have to run up Manatee Avenue to 51st Street and park in front of the second Hometown Desserts' location.

Tutterow has been baking since she was a little girl in North Carolina. After a career as a Manatee County school teacher, she had a seven-year home based baking business, which grew into her first location on Anna Maria. After four years on the Island, it was time to expand to be more convenient to non-Island visitors and residents. In July of last year, a shop that was formerly The Cupcake Bakery became available, and Tutterow snapped it up right along with the staff and the cupcake sign on the wall. 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 StoryFun in the sun on the gridiron

Rejuvenating the sense of community at the Island's core is the goal of The Center this spring. In an attempt to reignite the spirit fun in the sun with flag football, all of the youth flag football games have been scheduled on Saturdays.

From morning to late afternoon, kids of all ages can be found on the gridiron running and catching the football. With the friends and family cheering them on, children from 5 to 18 years old are pulling the flags of their classmates and life long friends.

Starting the day off, nearly 40 players take the field in the 11- to 13-year-old league. The seven teams play their hearts out representing area businesses Planet Stone and Progressive Cabinetry, as well as long-time community supporters Miller Electric, Anna Maria Oyster Bar and Tyler's Ice Cream.

After three weeks of play, the middle school age group finds Team Miller Electric, coached by David Johnston, at the top of the ranks with an undefeated record and two wins. Coach Ray Gardner took his team, Planet Stone, to a 2-1 record this week, sharing post-game positive accolades with team members, building their character and strengthening the team. Currently tied for third with 1-1 records, Tyler's Ice Cream, coached by Tyler's owner and father of two players Rob Alderson, and Progressive Cabinetry, coached by Larry Pearson, go into week three looking for their second win. Team Anna Maria Oyster Bar (AMOB), led by coach Zac Yost, works hard to gain its first win. More...

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