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Cafe reapplies for market permit

By Mark Young, Islander Reporter

The Gulf Drive Market at the Gulf Drive Cafe & Tiki, 900 Gulf Drive N., Bradenton Beach, is well attended Jan. 29, and since opening in November but, area residents ask, at what cost? Bradenton Beach commissioners, now with a tie-breaking fifth member, will again consider extending the market’s permit to operate through April. Islander Photo: Mark Young

Bradenton Beach police direct traffic Jan. 29 on Gulf Drive at the Gulf Drive Cafe & Tiki-Gulf Drive Market, 900 Gulf Drive N.

The Gulf Drive Market, 900 Gulf Drive N., Bradenton Beach, backed up traffic to Holmes Beach, south to Longboat Key and at the Cortez Bridge-Gulf Drive intersection Jan. 29 — which was to be its final day of operation.

Traffic and safety issues were primary concerns expressed by those citizens opposed to extending the market’s permit, and were concerns for commissioners who denied the market extension through April at their Jan. 19 meeting.

But permission to continue operating the Gulf Drive Market will once again be debated at Bradenton Beach city hall.

A tie vote among four commissioners denied Gulf Drive Cafe & Tiki’s permit to continue operating the Sunday markets.

Bradenton Beach commissioners, now with a new tie-breaking fifth member, Commissioner Ric Gatehouse, will review the permit request at their 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, commission meeting.

The city hall chamber Jan. 29 was standing-room only with the majority of those attending speaking about the market.

Despite the denial, another special exception permit has been submitted to the city. As a public entity, the city is required to accept any requests for agenda items.

Organizers initially wanted six months worth of permits to run the market on Sundays at the cafe.

Citing traffic concerns early on in November, the city granted the market its permit to operate on a three-month trial basis, with the option to request the extension when the permit expired Jan. 29.

Also on the Feb. 2 agenda is the final reading of the proposed amendments to the city’s open-air dining ordinance. The owners of Beach Street Bistro requested the amendments in order to install a wood-burning pizza oven for their outdoor dining area.

During the Jan. 19 public hearing and first reading of the proposed ordinance changes, only two comments were made by the public, both in support of the changes that would relax open-air dining requirements and allow for special exception permits

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