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Anna Maria City Pier tenant claims parking lot rights

By Rick Catlin, Islander Reporter

A plan to limit entry to the Anna Maria City Pier parking lots with a gate could eliminate the trolley stop there. Pier leaseholder Mario Schoenfelder claims in a letter to Anna Maria Mayor Mike Selby that as the tenant, he has authority to fence the pier parking lots. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin

The city of Anna Maria appears headed into a disagreement with its city pier tenant Mario Schoenfelder over parking at the pier — and a proposed parking lot fence.

In a Sept. 5 letter to Mayor Mike Selby, Schoenfelder claims that after reading the minutes of the Aug. 15 commission meeting, he feels he must exercise control of the parking at the pier.

Further, Schoenfelder wrote in his review of the meeting, he understands Commission Chair Chuck Webb to say, “therefore (the tenant) should do whatever is needed to ensure their use for their customers.”

Schoenfelder claims the lease gives him the authority to do that, adding, “Webb says he sees the gate request as a tenant issue.”

In another letter to Selby in early August, Schoenfelder said he would put up a gate at the city pier parking lot to ensure he had the required number of parking spaces allowed by the lease. He said there are too many times the lot is full and his customers can’t find a parking place.

The situation worsened, Schoenfelder wrote in August, after the city closed the Pine Avenue-Bay Boulevard lots across from the pier to parking.

In Schoenfelder’s Sept. 5 letter, he said that since he saw no further reference in the minutes to city pier parking, “I understand Commissioner Webb’s statement as the city’s official position.”

He wrote his understanding of the city’s position is that it’s the tenant’s business and it is the tenant’s discretion to install or not install a gated parking system.

“The tenant has the right to do whatever is needed to ensure parking for city pier visitors, including, for example, the installation of a gated parking system,” wrote Schoenfelder.

Further, he wrote, it is his understanding that the city has no objection if and when his corporation, TCPR Inc., installs such a system and the city “will not prohibit the installation of such a system.”

Schoenfelder requested a letter of no objection from the city before starting the parking lot project.

One new problem for Schoenfelder, however, is the island trolley, which did not exist when the lease was signed in 2000.

“Since this service started ‘our’ parking lot has been used as a bus stop, although there is no such regulation in the lease,” wrote Schoenfelder.

He said the current situation with the trolley stopping at the pier entrance is “unacceptable” and called for a new solution.

Webb said he read Schoenfelder’s letter and will respond.

One Response to Anna Maria City Pier tenant claims parking lot rights

  1. Tim Johnson says:

    I think the city of Anna Maria made a mistake in not designating the property across from the Pier for parking when it is not being used for festivals and other special occasions. The Trolley needs to park there, and the tenant on the Pier should be accommodated. However, I don’t feel a gate is the proper solution. A certain number of parking spots at the Pier entrance could be labelled “Pier Restaurant parking only,” and enforced like other designated spaces in the city are. The Tenant has a point. When the restaurant is open, parking is very hard to find.

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