What's new? Anna Maria parking argued - again
Dealing with a problem that began when the first Model-T Ford crossed
the old wooden bridge to the Island in the 1920s and looked for a parking
space in Anna Maria, Anna Maria city commissioners once again debated
the decades-old parking problem at their Jan. 13 worksession.
The city's problem now is
that no-parking zones, stop-sign locations and speed limits have never
been officially designated by ordinance. An emergency ordinance passed
by the commission in December has temporarily solved that problem until
it expires on Feb. 15.
At two meetings in December, the
commission hashed out the draft of an ordinance that would make legal
only the allowed parking, no parking and speed limits that are already
in place in the city and the first reading was held Jan. 13.
But in Anna Maria, what's
decided at one meeting can change at the next.
Commission Chairperson John Quam
had previously proposed four new no-parking locations be added to the
ordinance, and the commission consensus in December was to proceed. No-parking
zones would have been added across from the Bayfront Park, along North
Shore Drive, at the end of South Bay Boulevard and some sections of Fern
Hold on a minute, said Commissioner
Dale Woodland. He only agreed to what was already in place, not any new
locations, and he's still against any additions.
"I don't see why any
of these locations should have no parking. I'm opposed to adding
these four locations," he said.
Not to be outdone, Commissioner
Carol Ann Magill chimed in that she's "concerned" because
some residents have complained to her that they still have parking on
their street, while other residents do not. That's not fair and "I
can't in good consciousness vote for this ordinance," she
Hold on another minute, replied
Quam. "We are just documenting where no parking areas are now and
what's been there for years. This is not a parking plan."
Commissioner Duke Miller said the
parking plan comes after adoption of this ordinance, although he dryly
noted that the commission has spent the past three years in an unsuccessful
attempt to establish a parking plan agreeable to every interest in the
Anna Maria property owner John
Cagnino said the commission was penalizing some property owners and not
others with this ordinance, and was "packing all parking on a few
"This is not a plan," said
Quam in an unsuccessful attempt to separate the two issues.
The commission could legally remove
no-parking locations from the proposed ordinance, said City Attorney
Jim Dye, in a response to a question from Magill, but that "might
not be wise. Without an ordinance, the city would be open parking."
Sgt. John Kenney of the Manatee
County Sheriff's Office Anna Maria substation added that deputies
would not write tickets without an ordinance because the legislative
justification would not be available in a court case.
Just remove those four new locations
from the ordinance, said Woodland, with Miller agreeing.
Magill was unimpressed and still
opted for other streets to have no parking, but Quam, Woodland and Miller
agreed to the revised ordinance. The second and final reading was scheduled
for Jan. 27.
Quam again reminded the commission
and the public that this ordinance is not a parking plan, just legal
documentation of what is already in place.
In other business, the commission
agreed that to continue to pursue collection of the alleged $180 in overpayment
to former Mayor Gary Deffenbaugh was pointless, as Deffenbaugh has refused
to pay, countering that he does not owe the city any back payments. He
did pay a large portion of the original amount.
"Let it go as a bad debt," said
Fine, said Mayor SueLynn, but remember
that four other elected officials have paid their overpayments. Perhaps
the city should refund that money, she suggested.
Woodland countered that when Deffenbaugh
was mayor, he used a different accounting system to pay elected officials,
not the one that the city's accounting firm presently uses. Both
are acceptable accounting practices, Woodland claimed. After examining
the issue, he said, he "can't legitimately say this is a
Commissioners agreed there was no
point in continuing to pursue payment, although the
money owed could be reported to a credit agency.