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Date of Issue: December 10, 2008

Sandpiper gets deed, assigns easements

The Bradenton Beach City Commission voted Dec. 4 to execute a quitclaim deed for some unused rights of way to the Sandpiper Resort Co-op.

The vote was 3-0, with Commissioners John Shaughnessy and Bob Conners, who own property at Sandpiper, recusing themselves.

The vote followed more than an hour of legally focused testimony from Sandpiper attorney Chuck Webb on why the city should execute the quitclaim deed, and arguments from Holmes Beach city attorney Warren Pies on problems with the action.

All together, the commission took three actions related to the Sandpiper. It approved a utility easement from the city to Manatee County; accepted a stormwater drainage easement from the Sandpiper to the city; and approved a final reading of an ordinance executing a quitclaim deed to the mobile home resort for 27th Street from Gulf Drive to Anna Maria Sound, Avenue B and Avenue C from 26th Street to 27th Street, and the northerly unpaved portion of 26th Street from Gulf Drive to Anna Maria Sound.

Sandpiper Co-op members sought the quitclaim deed because some homes exist on part of the city rights of way. The deed was needed to clarify ownership of land that contains some dwellings, Webb said.

The commission actions pleased Sandpiper residents and satisfied the concerns of an attorney representing Manatee County, but did not meet the request of the attorney for the city of Holmes Beach, which had concerns about citizen access on unimproved 27th Street.

Pies had asked the commission to postpone action. “We request that you give us some more time to hash this out,” he said.

His request drew a chorus of “No” from the audience, made up mostly of Sandpiper residents, and the commission showed no interest in further delay after the lengthy discussion.

Webb first addressed the commission, providing a history of the Sandpiper’s development and surrounding property dating back to 1911.

He identified platted roads in the resort area that were never used as such. He said Florida law allowed Bradenton Beach to convey the unimproved roads by quitclaim deed.

“Stage by stage, there is no development of those roads,” Webb said.

“Sandpiper exercised private control over all these roads, and, for that reason, quitclaim deed is the appropriate mechanism to clear up the ownership issue,” he continued.

Manatee County attorney Maureen Sikora next addressed the commission, saying the county’s concern was with access to its utilities in the area, which the awarding of easements addressed.

“We feel we have reached an arrangement with the city,” she said. “We don’t have an issue with anything the city is going to do.”

Pies then addressed the commission, explaining that Holmes Beach “wants to be a good neighbor” and had no interest in how Bradenton Beach handled unimproved Avenues B and C and 26th Street.

“Our only disagreement is to the treatment of 27th Street,” he said. “We’re fine with 80 percent of the plan.”

Pies cited case law that showed that executing a quitclaim deed for 27th Street was inappropriate.

He claimed that 27th Street had been dedicated and therefore Bradenton Beach could not issue a quitclaim deed. “It’s not the right vehicle,” Pies said.

The attorney suggested perhaps Bradenton Beach and Sandpiper enter into a use-agreement for 27th Street instead.

“We’re just worried about our citizens having access,” Pies said, his comments echoed by Holmes Beach City Commissioner John Monetti, who lives in Holmes Beach near the Sandpiper property.

Webb said Holmes Beach “doesn’t have a dog in this fight” and that the case law cited did not apply.

Sandpiper, he added, would be willing to provide “the appropriate easement” for public use of 27th Street.

While the Bradenton Beach commission took its final vote on the quitclaim deed last week, the Holmes Beach commission was scheduled to discuss the Sandpiper issue at a 7 p.m. meeting Dec. 9 at Holmes Beach City Hall, after the paper’s deadline.

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