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Date of Issue: January 19, 2006

Boatel planned for part of Bradenton Beach Marina

Changes may be in store for the Bradenton Beach Marina.

Owner Allan Bazzy highlighted renovation plans for the marina on Church Street, just south of the Cortez Bridge on Anna Maria Sound, at a planning and zoning board meeting last week. No plans have been filed at the city, he admitted, but he wanted to be sure that the city's ongoing review of the comprehensive plan would concur with his thoughts on changing the use of the property.

Specifically, Bazzy said, he contemplated tearing down the dry-storage facility and replacing it with a 40-unit "boatel." The boatel would accommodate "short-term stays, three to five days, with people who would come on a boat to stay in Bradenton Beach."

Bazzy said traditional marinas "are going away. The taxes, insurance, all are going up. It's easier to go to condos, so we're trying to decide whether to discontinue the marina and go condo, or stay in the marina business and just do away with dry storage and build a boatel."

He said the actual marina operation of repair and service, complete with lifts to accommodate larger vessels, would remain under his boatel vision, but the 80,000-square-foot storage building would be replaced by the rental units. There would also be dedicated space for 40 boats for boatel patrons, he indicated.

Planning Board Chairman Bob Dale said that since no plans had been submitted to the city, the board should not address the matter. He added that he hoped that planning consultant Tony Arrant and other board members would "think outside the box" to allow boatels and other uses that may not currently be considered in all land-use designations in the city.

The marina was one of the more controversial issues facing Bradenton Beach in the mid-1990s after Bazzy applied for land-use changes (residential to commercial) to permit the storage structure, part of an estimated $1 million in renovations to the site. The city commission at the time denied his variances, prompting him to go to court, where the city's decision was overturned.

During the process, Bazzy took 19 residents to task in federal court on grounds that they "... conspired, reached a meeting of the minds, and commenced their scheme to defeat Bazzy's application." An out-of-court settlement was eventually reached between Bazzy and the residents.