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Bradenton Beach starts over on cell tower ordinance

By Mark Young, Islander Reporter

Following an official Feb. 8 dissolution between Bradenton Beach and the Center for Municipal Solutions regarding the ongoing cellular communications tower saga, the city is working on a new ordinance that will better fit its needs.

Negotiations between city attorney Ricinda Perry and CMS’s Lawrence “Rusty” Monroe came to a standstill over three key issues in the ordinance Monroe authored in 2011.

Perry said Monroe would not budge on the city’s insurance requirements to retain him as a consultant to review cell tower applications, which was required by Monroe’s ordinance; would not agree to a termination clause; and wanted the city to be responsible for paying him if any applicant pulled out of the process.

Perry informed commissioners Feb. 7 that she did not believe the city and Monroe would come to terms and sent Monroe a letter dated Feb. 8 announcing that the city would not pursue the relationship further.

Perry updated commissioners on the next step at the Feb. 21 city commission meeting.

“He sent a very gracious response back that he understood it wouldn’t work out with us,” said Perry. “That relationship has been severed. The city is working on a new ordinance, public hearing dates have been picked and we will be sending out a request for proposal for another professional company to help with the technical aspects associated with cellular communications.”

Perry said the RFP could be presented to commissioners at their March 7 meeting.

Progress also is being made to address the city’s noise ordinance.

The issue has been listed under old business on the agenda for some time with Mayor John Shaughnessy calling it a complicated issue that the city should not rush.

Shaughnessy said progress is being made, but there is a lot more to do.

“I have been given the first phase of a noise ordinance that we are putting together because times have changed in Bradenton Beach,” he said. “Changes have to be made. It’s been awhile.”

Shaughnessy said as the process moves forward, “we will have public comment, but this is a thing in process.”

In other matters, Shaughnessy, Vice Mayor Ed Straight and Commissioner Ric Gatehouse approved a $5,200 purchase for a digital recording system. Currently, the city uses a cassette-tape recorder.

Commissioners Jan Vosburgh and Gay Breuler were absent with excuse.

Public works director Tom Woodard asked commissioners to begin a process to set standards for issuing permits on city rights of way. Woodard said the city has no specifications, “and people do what they want.”

The result, he said, is that work is left up to city staff that should have been covered in an individual permit. Woodard gave an example of a resident using cold-patch asphalt purchased at a hardware store to repair a pot hole on a city right of way.

“And that just doesn’t work,” said Woodard. “We had to go back in and clean out the base of that area.”

Woodard said standards should be attached to right-of-way permits that apply to citizens and contractors alike. The cost to draft the standards will be $2,000, but Woodard said the price would be split between the public works and planning departments.

The request was approved 3-0.

A request was denied 3-0 to install a speed bump on 11th Street South. Frank Harrison, a resident on the street, said speed bumps were in place before a resurfacing project.

Harrison said there are a lot of rentals on his street and speeding is a serious situation.

Straight moved to deny the request, saying it’s an issue that should come up during budget discussions.

“If we put it on one street, I think we are going to have more requests and that is going to get costly,” said Straight.

Gatehouse agreed, suggesting law enforcement be notified to have a presence in the area.

“If that doesn’t work, then maybe we can revisit this,” he said.

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