Goofing around a pumpkin patch are the Hansen kids: Eli, 2 (left), Piper, 8 (center) and Maite (right), 5. Dad Ray Hansen runs a music studio in Holmes Beach and mom Diana Bogan is an Islander reporter.
Sandy Mattick, acting as vice chair of Anna Maria’s planning and zoning board, had a difficult time opening the board’s Oct. 19 meeting. She announced with emotion that board chair Randall Stover died the previous day.
Mattick said Stover had met with county administrator Ed Hunzeker for about an hour Oct. 18 and seemed fine, although he had been battling cancer of the saliva gland the past few years.
“When he returned home, he told his wife he was tired and wanted to sleep,” Mattick said. He apparently died some time during the night.
Mattick said, “We are all better for having known him.”
She said Stover’s devotion to Anna Maria was endless and he volunteered to serve the city right up to the end.
Board members and the public observed a minute of silence in Stover’s honor before beginning the business meeting.
Pre-school site plan
Board members unanimously recommended approval a site-plan for a private pre-school at 305 Pine Ave. after receiving additional information from applicants Terry and Becky Rozhon of Massachusetts.
Under the retail-office-residential plan the Rozhons submitted in October 2009, they would live above the school, while the downstairs would be converted into classrooms. A play area outside the structure would be fenced and distanced from neighbors at the rear of the house.
Dan Gagne of Gagne Construction Inc., acting on behalf of the applicants, submitted a larger site-plan that made it easier for members to read, and reiterated that there would be no on-site meal preparation. Prepared meals would be purchased locally.
Gagne said he met with Kurt Lathrop of West Manatee Fire Rescue, who told him he could either add a sprinkler system to the downstairs or build a fire-separation wall to meet the fire code.
Board member Tom Turner said if Gagne has that in writing when he applies for a building permit, “We are in a position to move this forward.”
Gagne also clarified to the board that access to the residence will be through existing stairways inside and outside the building.
Member Mike Piscetelli was concerned about parking at the school, but city planner Alan Garrett said the plan meets the code requirement that allows for two private vehicle spaces to meet parking requirements.
“That’s what makes this work,” Garrett said. Ideally, it’s how ROR structures on Pine Avenue should be built and occupied, he said, although city code allows the residential portion of an ROR project to be a rental unit.
There were no comments from the public. The board voted unanimously to recommend approval with the stipulations that no food preparation take place at the school, a WMFR certificate be obtained prior to applying for a building permit, and the fence around the play area meet height requirements.
Board members were in a quandary about when to schedule a work session to discuss establishing two new land-use districts proposed by the commission under a comprehensive plan amendment that has been transmitted to the Florida Department of Community Affairs.
The new districts are for a historical pier-use that includes the city pier and Rod & Reel Pier and for a marina use that would encompass Galati Marine and a nearby spoil island in Bimini Bay.
The proposed Nov. 2 date for the work session is the date of the general election and Mattick is a candidate for mayor. City clerk Alice Baird suggested the board meet Nov. 9. That allows the city to swear in the new mayor and commission Nov. 4, Baird said.
Mattick noted that, if elected mayor, she would be required to resign from the board and could not attend the Nov. 9 work session as a board member.
Baird said Commission Chair John Quam has scheduled a joint commission-P&Z work session for 6 p.m. Nov. 4, to determine which sections of the land-development regulations need “immediate” clarification and rewriting.
The new mayor and commissioners will be sworn in at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 4, followed immediately by the commission’s organizational meeting to elect a chair and establish its rules of order. The joint work session would follow the organizational meeting, Baird said.
Tax increment financing
Following a suggestion by some board members at a prior P&Z meeting, Garrett provided information about tax-increment financing for the business district.
Essentially, these tax plans allow business owners in the ROR to voluntarily increase their annual property taxes, with the additional revenue targeted for improvements in the ROR, such as street lights, crosswalks and landscaping, Garrett said.
Other financing programs for a business district are creation of a community development district or a community redevelopment area, such as in Bradenton Beach.
“Generally, those programs are for ‘blighted’ areas,” Garrett said.
Baird said when she was Bradenton Beach city clerk, the city had to designate a blighted area, but it received a $500,000 federal grant for use in the CRA.
She said there was a lot of “grumbling” at the time about the designation.
Turner said Pine Avenue isn’t blighted and suggested the city doesn’t need such programs.
“We are a small community and the business district is working just fine. I don’t see the need,” Turner said.
Piscetelli said he’d like to know if the commission has any interest in pursuing such districts. Board member Bob Barlow suggested inviting several business owners to the board’s Nov. 19 meeting to hear their views on the issue. In the interim, Garrett said he would further research the programs, and ask the commission if there is any interest on its part for such a plan.
A memorial service for Anna Maria resident Randall Stover, who died suddenly on Oct. 18, will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, at the Church of the Nazarene, 1616 59th St. West, Bradenton.
Stover was chairman of the planning and zoning board at the time of his death.
For more information on the service, call 941-794-1685.
Six changes to the Florida Constitution and one non-binding resolution are on the ballot for voters on Nov. 2, and four of them have hit hot buttons: Amendments 5 and 6, which would require the Legislature to draw state and congressional district boundaries along logical boundaries; Amendment 4, which would force governments to place zoning plans or changes before voters; and Amendment 8, which would loosen the state’s class-size amendment that voters approved in 2002.
Proposed amendments on health care reform and redistricting were removed from the ballot by the Florida Supreme Court.
Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 1
REPEAL OF PUBLIC CAMPAIGN FINANCING REQUIREMENT
What it would do: Would get rid of Section 7 of Article VI of the State Constitution, which requires public financing of campaigns of candidates for elective statewide office (governor, attorney general, chief financial officer, agriculture secretary) who agree to campaign spending limits.
Who supports it: Incoming Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, introduced the bill in the Legislature. His supporters, mainly House and Senate Republicans, argue public campaign funding is a welfare system for candidates and the money would be better spent on the state’s needs.
Who opposes it: Opponents, mostly Democrats in the Legislature, say getting rid of the system would give wealthier candidates an unfair advantage.
Savings: In 2006, the public finances for the statewide offices cost $11 million.
Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 2
HOMESTEAD AD VALOREM TAX CREDIT FOR DEPLOYED MILITARY PERSONNEL
What it would do: Require the Legislature to provide an additional homestead property tax exemption by law for members of the military or reserves, the Coast Guard or its reserves, or the
Florida National Guard who were deployed in the previous year on active duty overseas. The exempt amount will be based upon the number of days of active-duty deployment in the previous calendar year.
Who supports it: Every member of the Legislature. The bill passed unanimously.
Who opposes it: No apparent organized opposition.
Cost: The state estimates it to be $13 million a year.
Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 4
REFERENDA REQUIRED FOR ADOPTION AND AMENDMENT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMPREHENSIVE LAND USE PLANS
What it would do: Before local governments could adopt or amend their comprehensive land-use plans, they would need approval of voters.
Who supports it: Florida Hometown Democracy Inc., a political action committee led by South Florida lawyer Lesley Blackner. The measure gained more than 700,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot and also has the backing of the state and local chapters of the Sierra Club and various anti-growth groups. Proponents say the people, not appointed boards or elected representatives, should have a say in controlling growth.
Who opposes it: Builders, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, local chambers, realtors and others who say requiring elections on zoning proposals would paralyze growth and kill jobs.
Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 5
STANDARDS FOR LEGISLATURE TO FOLLOW IN LEGISLATIVE REDISTRICTING
What it would do: State legislative districts or districting plans could not be drawn to favor or disfavor an incumbent or political party and could not deny racial or language minorities the equal opportunity to participate in the political process and elect representatives of their choice. Districts must be contiguous and compact, as equal in population as feasible, and where feasible must make use of existing city, county and geographical boundaries. That would mean an end to gerrymandered districts created by the Legislature in 1992.
Who supports it: A nonpartisan group, FairDistrictsFlorida.org, which wants to stop politicians from drawing districts to ensure their own elections or re-elections; co-chairs include former Sen.
Bob Graham and former Attorney General Janet Reno; the NAACP.
Who opposes it: Republicans in the Florida Legislature; U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla.
Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 6
STANDARDS FOR LEGISLATURE TO FOLLOW IN CONGRESSIONAL REDISTRICTING
What it would do: Language in the measure mirrors Amendment 5 with one change: The first word is “Congressional” and it applies to districts for the U.S. House of Representatives.
Who supports it: The same people who support Amendment 6.
Who opposes it: Ditto.
Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 8
REVISION OF THE CLASS SIZE REQUIREMENTS FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS
What it would do: Florida voters passed a class-size amendment to the state constitution in 2002 that set these limits: prekindergarten through third grade, 18 students; grades four-eight, 22 students; grades nine-12, 25 students. This amendment would instead allow schools to increase those numbers to 21, 27 and 30 students, respectively, provided that classes with that many students were offset elsewhere in the schools by classrooms with fewer students, so that the 2002 limits would be averages only.
Who supports it: Gov. Charlie Crist and cash-strapped school districts, who call the 2002 limits too costly to implement.
Who opposes it: The Florida Education Association, the statewide teachers’ union that says students learn better in smaller classroom environments.
Nonbinding Statewide Advisory Referendum
BALANCING THE FEDERAL BUDGET. A NONBINDING REFERENDUM CALLING FOR AN AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION
What it would do: It asks of voters the following question: “In order to stop the uncontrolled growth of our national debt and prevent excessive borrowing by the federal government, which threatens our economy and national security, should the United States Constitution be amended to require a balanced federal budget without raising taxes?” Beyond raising the question, it would do nothing.
Who supports it: Republicans in the Legislature who want to pressure the federal government to stop deficit spending.
Who opposes it: Florida Democrats, but only to stop language in the original bill that talked of robbing children of their ability to earn a living and of threatening national security. The GOP relented, so now no one really cares.
The Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce is getting $10,000 in funding from the Manatee County Tourist Development Council for the 2011 wedding festival, but approval did not come without some hard work by chamber officials.
At an Oct. 20 board meeting, chamber president Mary Ann Brockman credited Deb Wing, the chamber’s executive assistant, and former board president Mark Davis with assembling a business and marketing plan for the TDC that showed how the money would be used to target the Orlando area for stay-over visitors.
Wing said studies done from the first three festivals show a large percent of attendees came from the Orlando area for the one-day affair. With a two-day festival, the plan is to turn those day-trippers into “stay-overs,” Wing said.
Wing and Davis made the presentation at the TDC’s Oct. 18 meeting and initially met some resistance from several council members.
TDC board members Ed Chiles and David Teitelbaum, however, backed the plan and made successful pleas to other members for support.
Teitelbaum first said he had concerns during the TDC discussion about the funding request.
“The festival is so valuable to our community. I was a bit worried,” he said.
New chamber board member Larry Chatt said that, when the funding request appeared to lose support among TDC members, “Chiles and Teitelbaum brought it back and got it through.”
The money will be well spent, Wing assured the TDC and later the chamber board.
Wing already has $15,000 in commitments from sponsors and vendors for the 2011 festival, scheduled for Feb. 26-27.
The festival began in 2008 with 371 registered attendees. Last year, the festival drew more than 750 people. Many of the guests said they planned to stay for the weekend, prompting the chamber to plan a two-day affair.
In other news at the board meeting, board chair Cindy Thompson said initial reports indicate Bayfest was a resounding success. Actual figures will be available in November, she indicated.
“But we do know we will be able to award three scholarships to deserving students,” she said.
The chamber has a college scholarship program for area high school seniors interested in a career in business.
Manatee County administrator Ed Hunzeker attended the meeting briefly to announce that the county is joining the chamber.
“I thought the county was already a member, but we’re not. So, it’s time to pony up and pay our dues,” he joked.
Hunzeker said there was nothing new to report on the Island trolley. The county plans to replace the current trolleys with new, more fuel-efficient vehicles that can withstand the rigors of the salt and sand generated on Anna Maria Island.
Brockman said the trolley advertisers are due a refund from the trolley advertising program until the new trolleys are up and running.
“We’ve had six months of great ads and we hope that keeps up” when the ad campaign resumes with the arrival of the new trolleys, she said.
The annual installation of officers banquet is scheduled to for 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 8, at the Key Royale Club, 700 Key Royale Drive, Holmes Beach.
Five new board members won seats in the recent election: Chatt, Lynn Zemmer, Eric Cairnes, Amy Van Dell and Lois Gift.
In addition to the installation ceremonies, the chamber will announce the winners of its small, medium and large “Business of the Year” awards, while the Rotary Club and the chamber will present someone with the “Business Person of the Year” award.
Bradenton Beach officials expect to see shoreline improvements begin in February at the bayfront Herb Dolan Park.
The work likely will coincide with other stormwater improvements in the area, said city consultant Lynn Burnett of LTA Engineers.
Burnett briefed city commissioners on the park project during a meeting Oct. 21 at city hall, 107 Gulf Drive N.
The city has worked for more than a year on the project, which involves shoreline enhancement that will allow for kayakers to launch from the site at the east end of 25th Street, but also improve drainage in the area.
Earlier this fall, the city received bids from two companies for the project, which is being funded with a $30,000 grant from the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program.
Marine Contracting was the low bidder on the work, coming in with a $29,972 bid. The other company, Woodruff and Sons, bid $33,471.34.
Background material for commissioners indicated that the low bidder likely would get the contract. However, Burnett said Marine Contracting had withdrawn its proposal.
So SBEP, as the city’s partner, will recommend its board approve Woodruff and Sons for the job at a regular meeting in mid-January, according to Burnett. SBEP also will increase its funding to cover any costs over the already allocated $30,000.
Referring to Woodruff and Sons as a well performing local company, Burnett said, “I am very comfortable with that selection. It really is a benefit for the city — a win-win for the city at the end of the day.”
The project involves removing rip-rap and other material from the shoreline, installing geoweb and constructing and shaping bioswales.
Also, Woodruff will install a boat launch and a canoe/kayak rack for temporary holding.
The shoreline project, now expected to begin in mid-February, is a component of Bradenton Beach’s master recreational boating plan, which also includes an anchorage/mooring field south of the Historic Bridge Street Pier.
City officials are still working through how best to manage the anchorage/mooring field.
New signs are up on Bridge Street, where the city has adjusted its parking restrictions.
The Bradenton Beach City Commission unanimously voted last month to set a three-hour limit on public spaces on Bridge Street and put the enforcement period from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The prior limit was two hours.
Bradenton Beach Police Chief Sam Speciale sought the commission’s review of parking limits on Bridge Street, the city’s central shopping district, saying he needed direction before the start of the fall/winter tourist season.
Parking in the area has long been an issue. Over the years, business owners and city officials have considered a variety of ways to expand parking opportunities or reduce the need for parking spaces.
Most recently the focus has been on reconfiguring city-owned property between Highland and Church avenues to provide more public parking spaces, probably for employees in the area, and creating a park-and-ride shuttle system from Cortez and Coquina beaches to Bridge Street.
Additionally, city officials and members of the Bridge Street Merchants have discussed stepping up enforcement of public parking regulations on Bridge Street, while increasing the time limit.
The commission, in addition to adjusting the time limits, instructed the police department to “issue citations to any person parking on Bridge Street in excess of three hours.”
In the days before the Nov. 2 election for Anna Maria mayor, Sandra Mattick and Mike Selby expressed confidence they have the qualifications needed to perform the duties of the office and asked voters to elect them to the job.
Selby said with his 30 years in business, he has the experience needed to run the city.
And he said any concern that he might spend the summer at his North Carolina home is unfounded.
“I will be in the city as needed to run the city, and run it well,” Selby said.
He and his wife have their North Carolina home up for sale in anticipation of spending the next two summers in Anna Maria, he indicated.
Selby also rejected any suggestion that he is “anti-business,” noting it would not be good for the city to have retail shops and offices on Pine Avenue boarded up and closed.
He said he had no “magic bullet” to solve what many consider the city’s major issue: Pine Avenue parking. Selby pledged to work hard to find a compromise parking solution acceptable to all sides of the issue.
Selby asked voters to consider the wealth of experience he gained in the business world operating his own company and dealing with all levels of government.
Mattick highlighted her government experience as a solid qualification to be the city’s next mayor.
She said she’s acquired considerable experience the past seven years in learning how the city operates, having served on the planning and zoning board since 2006 and attending many of the ad hoc comp-plan committee meetings that began in 2004. She’s also been to many commission meetings.
From those many meetings, she’s learned how a city functions under its own charter, state and federal regulations, and what a comprehensive plan means for the city.
She noted her 16 years working for the federal government in preparing budgets and working with auditors was good experience for a mayor. Mattick has been a small-business owner in the city and understands the Pine Avenue parking issue from the standpoint of both a business owner and a resident.
Mattick also pledged to work for a parking compromise agreeable to all sides of the issue. The wishes of the voters who signed the recent parking initiative can’t be ignored, she said.
She addressed the concern of some voters that her mother — Jo Ann Mattick — is a city commissioner.
There is no conflict of interest because the mayor does not vote on the commission and can meet individually with commissioners to discuss issues, Sandy Mattick said. The mayor, however, can’t be a “conduit” to provide one commissioner with another commissioner’s opinion, she acknowledged.
“That’s a point I understand very well,” she said.
Mattick and her mother “don’t always agree on every issue,” she said, pointing to differing views regarding the conservation land-use and preservation land-use comp plan amendments.
Additionally, some P&Z recommendations forwarded to the commission that the younger Mattick favored were rejected by her mother, including a variance request for a dock permit.
Mattick said she is “pro-business,” as every elected official should be, but only as long as a business or a business application does not interfere with the rights of the residents and property owners of the city. She said she was against a suggestion two years ago that the city establish a separate “motel” district for new accommodation projects.
She believes poorly written, unclear land-development regulations that are subject to various interpretations have caused the city some recent problems. It’s time to get those regulations rewritten to match the comprehensive plan, she said.
Mattick said she has no “hidden agenda” as mayor, but pledged to “always put the residents first and maintain the single-family residential character we all came her for.
Voters should have every confidence she will effectively run the city as mayor.
She said it would be an “honor” and “privilege” to be elected mayor. “I will not let you down.”
Two Bradenton Beach residents are courting voters as they campaign for the Ward 4 commission seat in the southernmost Island city.
The election will take place Nov. 2, with voters casting ballots from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Tingley Memorial Library, 111 Second St. N.
Results of the race, the only Bradenton Beach office to be decided in the midterm balloting, will likely be posted outside the library soon after the polling place closes on election day.
While both Michael Harrington and Janet Vosburgh are running their first campaigns for elected office, Vosburgh is the incumbent in the race. She was appointed to represent Ward 4 in June, when Bob Bartelt vacated the seat to serve as mayor following Michael Pierce’s resignation.
Vosburgh, who runs an accommodations business on the Island and formerly owned and operated a furniture business in Utah, said, “I feel so blessed to live in Bradenton Beach…. I feel it is my privilege and honor to serve this community.”
Harrington, who is retired from careers in law enforcement and facilities management, said he decided to run because “I feel my experience will be an asset to the city.”
He promised voters “to listen … and act accordingly. It is so important to listen to the people that have elected you. They have elected you as their representative. You should always keep that in mind.”
Harrington listed his top three priorities as maintaining a balanced budget, “keeping the ambiance as is” and dealing with the downtown parking problem.
Vosburgh’s priority list includes keeping expenses and taxes under control and protecting “property owner’s rights with as little intrusion from government as possible.”
Her promise, she said, is to “strive to maintain the charm and uniqueness of Bradenton Beach. Please, know I welcome your comments and concerns, and I will try my hardest to respond to your issues in a timely manner.”
The ballot in Bradenton Beach also includes a series of proposed changes to the city charter — most of the proposed amendments are intended to clarify existing language in the document.
Mayor Bob Bartelt will be elected to hold the office for two years with no opposition. Also, Ed Straight, with no opposition, will replace Bob Connors on the commission.
Veteran officeholder Carol Whitmore faces a challenge from rookie campaigner Sundae Lynn Knight in the Nov. 2 race for at-large Manatee County commissioner.
Whitmore, of Holmes Beach, has held the seat for nearly four years. Prior to her election to county office, she served as Holmes Beach mayor and city commissioner.
“I decided to run for office because I love public service,” Whitmore said. “As someone who grew up on the Island, on my own at the age of 15, I told myself that I would make a better life for myself and others if I made it. I have been a commissioner who gets involved.”
The Republican cites her top priorities as encouraging the creation of jobs “for the 13 percent who are unemployed in Manatee County,” bringing more business to the port and improving the quality of health care in Manatee County.
Whitmore said as a former mayor and a four-year veteran on the county board she’s ready “to hit the road running.”
Knight, an engineer, said she decided to run after learning how many colleagues and friends had lost their jobs in recent years.
“I became intensely aware that local government was not doing enough to encourage sustainable jobs in Manatee County and that many of the actions and inactions of the commission actually chased away good jobs,” said the Democrat from Bradenton.
Her priorities, Knight said, are “to help create more green-industry jobs, for the comprehensive greening of Manatee County government to increase efficiency and reduce costs and protect our environmental resources. Attracting green-industry jobs to Manatee County is key to stabilizing our economy from cyclical ‘boom and bust’ sectors of construction, real estate and tourism.”
She promised voters that she has “the analytical skills of a professional engineer, the passion for the environment of an energy manager, the discipline of a veteran and a desire to see Manatee County become the sustainable industrial powerhouse of the South.”
Whitmore promised, “I will represent the entire county. I have no hidden agenda except to make the county the best. I will do it with professionalism and work with all cities to keep up the good relationships that I have established since being elected to office. I will work hard to represent all.”