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Warning: Keep off the grass

Anna Maria city officials posted “no trespassing” and “no fishing” signs for about 60 percent of the six lots recently acquired by the city across from the Anna Maria City Pier. Public works director George McKay said the signs are up while the city commission decides the use of the property. Parking is allowed on the remaining portion of the property. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin

One Response to Warning: Keep off the grass

  1. John Chambers says:

    Lots of Lot Ideas

    It is obvious that Anna Maria’s City Commission is struggling with determining what the use(s) of the six purchased lots should be. At the commission meeting on Halloween night, each commissioner had their own ideas of what the property should be used for after considering significant input from their constituents. There was certainly no consensus even though one commissioner thought they were close and believed they could probably decide on the use by the next meeting.

    Uses that were suggested by the commissioners were varied and often mutually exclusive. They included a desire to retain open space, yet some wanted to use it to relocate historical buildings or cottages or build an open-air, multi-purpose building which could be used for parties, events, classes, etc. Some wanted to use it for parking and some wanted to plant native vegetation. One wanted to make it as beautiful as the beaches while acknowledging that it would be difficult. Some wanted to put the cell tower there to pay for the property. Others did not want to do anything that required additional City maintenance. The bottom line is the commission has lots of ideas but no direction. They need to establish what the City’s goals and objectives are with respect to the lots, decide what type and amount of return is expected (whether it is financial, economic, aesthetic, historical, environmental, etc.) and establish guidelines and constraints for the ultimate use. While the commission is capable of deciding on a use at their meeting November 10, their time would be better utilized and the maximization of the property’s benefits from the ultimate choice would be greatly enhanced by setting forth guidelines and letting an informed, capable committee prepare a slate of possibilities from which the commission can select.

    Now that the City owns the property, everyone wants to move forward quickly with this opportunity. However, this is a significant investment for the City and it should provide long-term benefits for us and future residents and visitors. This can be achieved. There is, and should not be, any particular need to rush to a decision on its use. We should maximize our ultimate return through a well thought out process which meets the commissioners’ goals and objectives while yielding to predefined constraints.

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