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Date of Issue: January 27, 2010

Commission gives nod to liquor ordinance

The Bradenton Beach City Commission is preparing to toast a new ordinance revising an old policy on alcohol sales.

The proposed ordinance would amend the Bradenton Beach Land Development Code by eliminating a separation rule for establishments selling liquor on Bridge Street.

The old rule, instituted in an effort to clean up the commercial corridor in the late 1980s and early 1990s, required 200 feet between Bridge Street businesses that sell liquor, though the city made numerous exceptions to its policy over the years.

The proposed ordinance also would establish a process for businesses that want to sell liquor to obtain conditional-use permits from the city, as well as meet other regulatory requirements for selling alcoholic beverages.

During a meeting at city hall Jan. 21, the commission held a first reading on the ordinance — after a five-minute delay to print copies of the proposal.

Commissioners discussed several elements of the ordinance and the new process it creates, but focused on the collection of a fee for processing a conditional-use application.

After attempting to find a fair formula for setting a flexible fee, the commission asked city attorney Ricinda Perry to draft a resolution setting the fee at $750, but agreeing that the amount can be revisited later.

Perry and building official Steve Gilbert had recommended the $750 charge.

The city effort to draft an ordinance began with a request from Bradenton Beach resident and business-owner Jo Ann Meilner, who wants to sell beer and wine at the Back Alley on Bridge Street.

Meilner, in preparing to seek a liquor license, came across the old regulation, which prohibited her from selling liquor at the boutique, gallery and coffee house.

She attended last week’s meeting and questioned a provision in the proposed ordinance that would allow the city to revoke a business’s conditional-use permit for a landlord’s failure to pay city fees.

After a lengthy discussion on the ordinance, the commission unanimously set the measure for a second reading at 7 p.m. Feb. 4 at city hall, 107 Gulf Drive N.

In other business, the commission:

• Approved payment of a $8,531.26 invoice from M.T. Causley for building department services.

• Approved an application for a special-event permit for the fifth annual Bass 4 Bucks Redfish Tournament to be held at 5:30 p.m. June 12 at Coquina Beach.

• Approved the installation of signs to discourage the use of plastic bags on the shoreline. The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program paid for the signs.

• Heard from two citizens, Tjet Martin and Carl Parks, requesting the replacement of recently posted directional parking signs with the signs recommended by the ScenicWaves advisory committee and approved by the commission last summer.

• Discussed with Perry plans for her upcoming leave of absence. Perry is pregnant, and her due date is Feb. 2. In her absence, she said attorney Greg Hootman will work with the commission.

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