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City, scenic waves hash out protocol issues

By Mark Young, Islander Reporter

Bradenton Beach Scenic Waves Partnership committee member Carl Parks previously raised concerns over the city’s joint development agreement with ELRA, the corporation that owns the BeachHouse Restaurant, to construct a dune system and create a parking area across from city hall.

At its previous scenic waves meeting, Parks said the city should have first sent the project to scenic waves for review, since it is a state-sanctioned agency responsible for addressing development issues on Gulf Drive.

Parks reiterated his concerns to commissioners at their April 15 meeting.

“There was a very important item that completely bypassed our committee,” said Parks, who noted he was speaking as a private citizen. “I would appreciate it if our committee was kept in the loop on that.”

Parks went on to express concerns over his ability to communicate with the city, saying e-mail addresses didn’t work and the city’s website was not updated as it should be.

Mayor John Shaughnessy acknowledged Scenic Waves should have been kept apprised of the proposed dune project. The mayor then shared some concerns of his own regarding the April 27 National Arbor Day celebration planned on Bridge Street.

At the April 14 Community Redevelopment Agency/city commission meeting, public works director Tom Woodward informed commissioners he had been directed by Keep Manatee Beautiful — which works in conjunction with Scenic Waves — to conduct work for the celebration.

Commissioners had a lengthy discussion at the previous day’s CRA meeting about the upcoming Arbor Day celebration.

Woodard said April 14 he was directed via e-mail by members of Scenic Waves and Keep Manatee Beautiful to remove materials from the tree-planting site, and to store the materials at public works.

“I have a problem with committees giving city employees instructions,” Shaughnessy said. “You guys take orders from us, not anybody else.”

Commissioner Gay Breuler agreed, saying it was not the right thing for KMB to do.

“My suggestion is that someone contact KMB and explain that she can’t just tell anybody to do something,” said Breuler.

Shaughnessy said it amounted to an attempt to spend taxpayer dollars without permission from a governing body. Shaughnessy then addressed Parks on his concerns.

“Just to reverse some of the things you said about bypassing scenic waves, I think the city has been bypassed on this (Arbor Day) project,” he said. “I don’t know how scenic waves has the authority to direct city staff to do anything.”

Shaughnessy said the commission doesn’t have a plan from Scenic Waves or KMB in place to approve the Arbor Day event.

Parks said he was not involved in directing city staff to do the work.

“I believe it was our chair and Keep Manatee Beautiful,” he said.

Commissioners will not meet again before the April 27 Arbor Day event.

Shaughnessy said he would consult with city attorney Ricinda Perry to determine if he can instruct city staff to perform the requested Arbor Day work without commission authority. If so, he said, then he would ensure the celebration moves forward as planned, but he first wants a documented plan from scenic waves.

Perry said no authority could be given without a plan. Parks said he would ensure the committee had the plan to the city in time.

In the meantime, Breuler motioned to approve the request for the planned Arbor Day celebration in Bradenton Beach, “with stipulations” that administrative approval is obtained. It passed unanimously.

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