Holmes Beach Mayor Rich Bohnenberger recently met with Manatee County administrator Ed Hunzeker to iron out a dispute over the county’s plan to install 11 40-foot light poles at Kingfish Boat Ramp.
On March 9, at the city commission’s direction, Bohnenberger wrote Hunzeker to remind him that site-plan approval and a permit from city staff was required before the county implemented its lighting project.
Bohnenberger said when Holmes Beach annexed Kingfish, an agreement was reached for the city to review and approve any improvements. There also was an understanding that any work would adhere to the county land development code.
On April 5, the mayor and Hunzeker discussed the issue. “We agreed the number of proposed lights was not necessary, and it was further agreed that the contractor would apply for a permit from the city,” said Bohnenberger.
Manatee County planning division manager John Osborne said lighting is an accessory use and a site plan is not necessary. He noted that under the county’s LDC site plans are only required when a new building or structure is proposed, more than 1,000 square feet. Therefore, the additional lighting at the boat ramp property will only require permitting.
Following their meeting, Hunzeker wrote to Bohnenberger stating that the county already had a permit from the Florida Department of Transportation using FDOT approved lighting design criteria.
However, in a discussion with FDOT District 1 Secretary Stan Cann, Hunzeker said he learned that the FDOT-approved lighting criteria is not a mandate for the Kingfish Boat Ramp.
“It is our intent to install lighting that meets the operational and safety needs of those who wish to use the boat ramp,” Hunzeker wrote to Bohnenberger. “We will work closely with you and your staff to ensure that the lighting a Kingfish Boat Ramp … satisfies the community’s desires.”
Bohnenberger said there will be continuing dialogue with the county regarding the lighting before permitting.