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Date of Issue: October 18, 2007

Alleys? Easements? What are those 'whatevers' in Bradenton Beach

Call them Bradenton Beach’s dirty little secrets.

In the northern section of the southernmost city on the Island lie a set of alleys/easements/trails between avenues A, B and C. The shell paths are used by some residents as a means of ingress and egress to their properties. Garbage is collected from some of the paths. It’s a front door to some homes.

But what are those paths officially?

It’s a question that has plagued city officials for years. Building official Steve Gilbert has requested an opinion from city attorney Ralf Brookes as to the actual definition of the little shell - whatevers.

“The plat map calls them alleys,” Gilbert said. He said if they are really some form of city street, “there are some life-safety issues we’ll need to address. They’re tight. If it’s designated for private citizens or for utility use, we can’t address it [as a city].”

Former city attorneys have called the paths utility easements that are used by citizens, not alleys that have to be maintained by the city, although the city does maintain them through filling the potholes with shell as needed.

Public works official would also like to have some form of definition for the trails, Gilbert said, because the - whatevers - could be used as stormwater retention sites for the generally low-lying section of Bradenton Beach.

“It’s a real hard situation,” Gilbert concluded.

Brookes’ decision is expected shortly.