Boat ramp annexed into Holmes Beach
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist signed a House bill June 3 that annexed the area west of the Anna Maria Island Bridge into the city of Holmes Beach.
The area includes the Kingfish Boat Ramp, which formally was part of unincorporated Manatee County. For years, Holmes Beach thought the land was within city limits and policed the boat ramp.
City officials have been wanting to bring the area back into the city, primarily for patrol by Holmes Beach Police Department officers.
“This is better for the general public, but it’s an added responsibility to the city,” Holmes Beach Mayor Rich Bohnenberger said. “We’re stretched pretty thin.”
Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube said multiple jurisdictions would continue to be involved in policing nearby.
Bradenton police officers and the sheriff’s office have jurisdiction on Perico Island and up to the east end of the bridge on Manatee Avenue/State Road 64. Florida Highway Patrol has jurisdiction on the bridge.
About two years ago, there were multiple burglaries from vehicles left at the Kingfish Boat ramp overnight. Two HBPD officers patrolling the ramp last week said there have been no recent problems at the ramp.
However, there still is no lighting at the county-operated ramp. As part of the recent Kingfish Boat Ramp improvements, the lights were removed in order to add new drainage pipes around the ramp.
Although there were reports of complaints about the lighting, Rick Redd of Tampa, who used the ramp to go tarpon fishing June 3, said a lack of lights is not a problem for boaters.
“Anyone who is a serious boater is capable of handling it without lights,” Redd said.
The Florida Department of Transportation is awaiting a county response on comments from its first review.
Ed Giddens, a reviewer for permitting with the DOT, said the DOT is likely to approve the permit once the county tells the DOT to proceed.