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Date of Issue: December 23, 2009

Tie is win for Anna Maria nominee

In the National Hockey League, a 2-2 tie at the end of regulation play earns both teams one point. Some say a tie is like kissing your sister.

But at the Anna Maria City Commission Dec. 17 meeting, a 2-2 tie earned former Commissioner Bob Barlow a seat on the planning and zoning board.

Barlow was nominated by Mayor Fran Barford to fill the vacancy after Doug Copeland resigned.

For the first time in her tenure, however, a board nomination by Barford ran into difficulty with some commissioners.

Barford said she nominated Barlow because he was the best applicant. Barlow has also had previous service on the P&Z board, the charter review committee and as the city’s vice-mayor and a commissioner.

Commission Chairman John Quam, however, asked what other residents applied and Commissioner Harry Stoltzfus suggested that, in the past, the mayor has nominated people to the P&Z board based upon the date of application.

Not so, Barford indicated.

“Michael Coleman was the first to apply and I don’t think he is the right person” for the position, she said.

The mayor said the order in which the applicants applied for the position was Coleman, Carl Pearman, Tom Turner, Charlie Daniel and Barlow.

Quam wondered why the person who applied last was moved to first on the list, but Barford said she followed the process required of the mayor. She has never nominated candidates to boards or committees based upon who applied first, but upon their qualifications and desire.

Resident Robin Wall said the mayor has “made a mistake,” and Tom Turner should be nominated because he is next in line, not Barlow.

Barford responded that she thinks Turner is already the vice chairman of the capital improvements advisory committee and will likely become the chairman in the near future. He also advises her on a number of issues, she said.

Commissioners Dale Woodland and Chuck Webb voted for the nomination, while Stoltzfus and Quam were opposed. Commissioner Jo Ann Mattick was absent.

Quam initially believed that the nomination would have to be brought before a full commission.

  Building official Bob Welch, however, pointed out to Quam that the city code — Section 2, chapter 2 — states that in the event of a tie, the nominee “shall be deemed approved.”

Quam said that settled the issue and Barlow’s nomination was approved.

Safety committee

Each commissioner and the mayor nominated one person to serve on an ad hoc parking safety committee that will study parking in the ROR district and make recommendations to the commission.

Stoltzfus argued that the commission was “backing up,” because it was his understanding that commissioners had already agreed there was a parking safety problem in the ROR.

“This committee is a waste of time,” he said.

He asked that the commission look at his suggestions for changes to the land-development regulations that don’t match the comprehensive plan. That will show there is a parking safety problem, he indicated.

Woodland, however, countered that the purpose of the committee is to find the problem the city is trying to solve. Otherwise, it’s just everyone’s opinion.

Quam at first opposed the nominations of Tom Aposporos and Mike Coleman and Stoltzfus backed him up.

Stoltzfus said he did not want people on the committee who have already said there isn’t a safety problem.

Webb, however, said that in his 20 years experience in county government and forming committees, it’s best to give all sides a “seat at the table and flush out all the issues.” Good ordinances and suggestions come from a good mix of opinion, Webb indicated.

“Besides, if we don’t like their advice, we don’t take it,” he said.

The commission then voted 3-1 to approve Aposporos, Coleman, Terry Schaefer, Larry Albert, Gene Aubry and Mike Pescitelli to the committee, with Stoltzfus dissenting.

Quam then appointed Stoltzfus as the commission liaison to the committee.

Joint commission-P&Z workshop

Commissioners agreed to hold a joint work session with the P&Z board at 6 p.m. Jan. 7 to review site-plan procedures, then study changes to the LDRs.

Stoltzfus said each of his recommended LDR changes should be part of the work session.

Woodland, however, said he wants to make sure the site-plan process is right before examining LDRs.

There are two separate issues at work, but they do come together at the end, he said.

Quam said if enough time remained at the Jan. 7 work session, the LDRs would be studied after the site-plan process. Otherwise, LDR changes would be an agenda item at the commission’s February work session.

New business

Stoltzfus wanted commissioners to examine land-development regulations and Chapter 74 as part of new business, but Quam said Stoltzfus should e-mail the items he wants to include under new business for the next regular meeting.

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