Adventure challenge With Islander Reporter Mark Young
Check your flaps, rev the motor, gently pull on the wheel and it’s nothing but blue skies ahead and teal-colored water below.
The dream of man to take to the sky existed long before the Wright brothers achieved 12 seconds of flight in 1903. Leonardo Da Vinci dreamed of flight in the late 15th century saying, “Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward … and there you will always long to return.”
Da Vinci wasn’t envisioning flying coach class with screaming babies behind him, and the man in the seat ahead who doesn’t understand just because a seat is manufactured to recline, doesn’t mean it should.
No, Da Vinci, like the Wright brothers, dreamed of having the power of flight at their fingertips just as today’s pilots do. It also has been a dream of mine. On March 20, fantasy became reality, thanks to Gulf Coast International Flight Academy and instructor Chris Stufft.
As part of a Let’s Go Flying promotion for the March 27-April 1 38th annual Sun N’ Fun Airshow at Lakeland Regional Airport, a challenge was issued to experience the thrill of flying firsthand. It was a challenge I happily accepted.
Flying a Cessna 172B out of Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport is not flying an F-22 off the deck of the USS Enterprise, but for the first-time flyer greeted by a bevy of strange instrumentation, it can be just as intimidating.
Only at first.
As the instructor explains each instrument, they become less intimidating and it’s not long before one understands, while the checklist before taking off is more comprehensive than pulling your car out of the driveway, it can become equally routine with a little time.
The airshow features veteran pilots performing amazing stunts in front of thousands of attendees, but each of those pilots also had a first lesson.
Whether it’s a 747 commercial aircraft, a small recreation plane or a military jet, all pilots have a common beginning — a need to put the ground beneath them and soar soulfully upon the clouds.
Stufft is a former policeman turned fulltime pilot who began his skyward journey spiritually long before he did so physically.
“I was the guy stopping by the airport watching the planes take off and land, and wishing it was me,” said Stufft. “Flying was something I always wanted to do.”
He acknowledges his former profession, but doesn’t regret leaving law enforcement to pursue his dream of flying.
“The whole time I was a cop, all I thought about was flying,” he said. “When I’m flying, I never think about being a cop, so I think I made the right decision.”
Flying begins with classes to obtain a private pilot’s license.
GCIFA instructors teach a wide range of students, from their youngest at age 14 to their oldest of 78.
CEO Jim Julius started flying out of necessity, but said being able to fly is “a wonderful thing to do.”
Julius said there are plenty of options when wanting to learn how to fly, including licenses ranging from standard to sport.
“We also offer an accelerated program that will have you licensed in three weeks,” he said.
Prices of lessons vary, but most schools, including GCIFA offer an introductory lesson for $99.
If you think the freedom of blue skies is out of your reach, think again. If your gaze has ever turned skyward with a desire to fly, the clouds await your arrival. You are about to be hooked.
If you take the bait for first lesson, prepare yourself for the final bite.
There can be no better place than locally to do so. Taking off from SRQ produces immediate gratification.
Stufft handled the complicated process of taking off, but soon handed me control of the aircraft, as we turned north toward Anna Maria Island. There before me, the waters of Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico could only truly be appreciated from the air.
The Island’s sparkling white beaches are a sharp contrast to the green and blue waters that surround this beautiful Island. I am already proud to call this piece of paradise my home, but on March 20, my chest swelled with pride as I took in her beauty from 1,000 feet.
For that brief experience alone, I am grateful.
Flying the airplane is the easy part. Taking off, learning how to communicate with air traffic control, understanding what each instrument does, and landing the plane are the hard parts, but that’s what flight school teaches.
Even harder is climbing back into your vehicle at the conclusion of the flight. My Ford Explorer has power, but after piloting the Cessna to 120 mph, I felt as though I left the airfield in a golf cart.
However, it’s not a need-for-speed fulfillment. Once in the air, the sensation of floating in a sky blue pool of peace is quite satisfying. It’s not the same as climbing behind the wheel of a sports car.
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like, choose your school and take the introductory lesson. One lesson won’t teach you to fly, but it will tell you everything you wanted to know about your desire to give it a try.
Editor’s note: Do you have an adventurous spirit? Do you own a business that offers a unique experience? Want to tell everyone about it? Contact Islander Reporter Mark Young at firstname.lastname@example.org. and become a part of the Adventure Challenge, The Islander’s new adventure series.
If you get the flying bug
For flight training options, go online at www.gulfcoastflight.com or visit www.letsgoflying.com, established by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.
Anna Maria commissioners were busy at their March 22 meeting, passing a new stormwater ordinance, continuing an ordinance on residential docking and parking, and holding the first hearing of an ordinance establishing environmental zones.
Commissioners agreed to postpone and continue the second hearing of an ordinance establishing a special magistrate for code enforcement cases to April 26.
The stormwater ordinance was one identified by the land-development regulations committee that needed improvements to match other ordinances and the city’s master stormwater plan.
The new ordinance requires rain gutters discharge directly into either a detention-retention pond or cistern, and all water must be evaporated by 72 hours after the rainfall event.
Additionally, the ordinance gives the city the right to inspect a structure to determine if the property owner has failed to maintain the stormwater drainage system according to the master plan.
According to the master plan, any rainfall event is one in which at least 5 inches of rain falls in the city.
The ordinance clarifying residential docking and the maximum width of a driveway was continued to April 26.
City planner Alan Garrett proposed a maximum driveway width of 24 feet, or 12 feet going in and 12 feet going out. This limitation would prevent homeowners from maintaining front yard of crushed shell and claiming it as a driveway, also eliminating parking, he said.
The driveway will have to be identified on future building plans.
Commissioner Dale Woodland said he thought much of the parking provisions in the ordinance had been previously clarified. He said he would sit down with Garrett this week and review his concerns.
Woodland said the city was not minimizing access points as required by the comprehensive plan.
Commissioners also discussed the definition of a sleeping unit as defined in the city code for motel-hotel parking.
Garrett said each “sleeping unit” needs one parking space and Commission Chair Chuck Webb wondered if that could apply to vacation rentals as well.
Commissioner Jo Ann Mattick noted that if a bedroom is one sleeping unit, then a four-bedroom house needs a lot more than a 24-foot-wide driveway.
Garrett said he and Webb would come up with a better definition for discussion when the hearing resumes.
Commissioners also discussed requiring a verified survey for a boat dock in a navigable canal, suggested owners be allowed to have more than one boat at a dock, and looked at provisions limiting the size of a boat house at the dock.
Also continued to the April 26 meeting was the second reading of an ordinance establishing the conservation districts, E-1 and E-2.
The districts are required to pair the comprehensive plan amendment the city adopted to replace the preservation zone in the 2007 comprehensive plan, when no construction was allowed in the preservation zone. But that was before the city learned it did not own all the property in the preservation zone.
After city attorney Jim Dye discovered a number of platted properties with buildable rights, the city had to change the comp plan or face accusations of taking away an owner’s legal rights to build.
But it won’t be easy to build in the E-1, even if a property owner has a platted lot.
Because most of the platted lots are seaward of the coastal construction control line, an owner planning to build would first have to obtain a Florida Department of Environmental Protection permit.
Following that, the city would require the property owner pay for several studies of the proposed construction by experts, including one hired by the city to determine the size of the structure.
“You may find you can only build a 1,000 square-foot house,” Dye said.
The proposed ordinance also eliminates a property owner from owning two lots and replatting them into three lots to get more room to build a house.
Commissioners also continued the public hearing on establishing a special magistrate for code enforcement violations.
Under a bad news heading, Mayor Mike Selby said the Florida Legislature has taken away some of the communications tax money the city receives annually for telephone, television and cell phone service.
Unfortunately, the mayor said, the communications tax revenue is used as collateral on the loan the city obtained to purchase six lots at the east end of Pine Avenue.
The mayor said he did not know “how this will play out” with the lenders, but he would advise the commission after making contact.
Commissioners also agreed to further discuss the special event permit fee at a future work session. Although the commission recently increased the fee to $1,000 for an event with alcohol service at the end of Pine, the permit fee to use Pine Avenue is $200.
The first event to decline the $1,000 fee and use of the vacant lots at Pine Avenue and Bay Boulevard is the May 5 Food and Wine on Pine event. Organizers told the mayor they would hold the event without the vacant lots.
Webb said he would not be surprised if Bayfest — an Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce event — also decides $1,000 is too high a price.
Public works supervisor George McKay said a new Waste Management Inc. contract goes into effect in April and requires all non-homesteaded properties to have rear or side-door trash pickup. Recycling and yard waste will continue to be curb-side pick ups.
There also will be a new collection schedule, with Monday and Thursday assigned as garbage pickup days.
For now, the Australian pine trees at John Chappie Gulfside Park will be trimmed.
At the March 21 capital improvement projects/city commission meeting, the future of the trees at the park, four lots on the Gulf of Mexico in the 1400 block of Gulf Drive, was handled in a sensitive manner with possible public input sought in the future.
Bradenton Beach Police Lt. John Cosby had brought the pine tree issue to the forefront of the CIP committee in February with initial discussions on how to enhance the park and also create an area for public beach access.
However, the discussion stalled with commissioners disagreeing on whether to remove the trees, listed as an invasive species and a nuisance by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Cosby returned the commissioners to the discussion at the March 21 meeting.
“We talked briefly about cutting some of the saplings back, and you can see the ones that are growing on the dune area by the roadway,” said Cosby. “Right now, it’s not an issue, but depending on how fast they grow, it could be.”
Cosby said Australian pines grow very fast, have no solid root support and can fall over during a light storm, creating a public danger.
“All of the smaller saplings are starting to grow, so if you don’t want to do anything, that’s fine. Our thought was anything under 4 feet, we should eradicate,” he said.
Cosby wanted to remove four mature trees from the dune, “but honestly I’m not concerned about those. I’m more concerned about the new ones coming up.”
Commissioner Jan Vosburgh said the pines are a safety issue and should be removed, “because of any potential hurricane problem, and the expense of cleaning them up later. I recommend we take them out.”
Commissioner Ric Gatehouse and Vice Mayor Ed Straight agreed.
“I’m in agreement to take out the saplings, even though I can tell you from talking to people that they don’t care about any studies (on Australian pines),” said Straight. “They are just against trees going down, so I’d be in favor of taking out the small ones.”
Cosby said DEP’s minimum recommendation is to trim them down and remove any deadwood from the area.
“If we did that, it would be the minimum, and this area can stay the way it is until you come back with a type of plan for what you want to do with the park,” he said.
“If we don’t do this, it’s still going to be up to the city to maintain this,” he said.
Cosby said the matter could wait for commissioners to decide what to do with the park, and suggested that a public hearing be held to determine the park’s future, as well as the future of the trees.
The commission agreed to begin with the minimum DEP recommendations.
CIP members also agreed to accept the lone bid from Duncan Seawall to begin seawall improvements at Sixth Street South, Seventh Street South and 13th Street South.
The city put the project out for bid, but only Duncan had submitted a bid in February. The commissioners opted to stall the project for an additional 30 days in an attempt to get more bids, but none were submitted.
Six seawalls and associated docks have been selected for improvements, but due to budgetary limits, three projects were deemed a priority.
The project has been on the city’s radar dating back to the previous administration, and a $37,000 budget was established last year. The lone Duncan bid came in at $43,642, leaving the city with a $6,642 shortfall.
“Here’s the problem,” said Cosby. “If we don’t act on this sometime soon, the next time we go out for bid, Duncan’s not going to put a bid in either and then we won’t have anyone.”
Commissioner Gay Breuler asked city clerk Nora Idso if there was a way to get an additional $6,000.
“We can always take it out of the reserves, but you all know how I feel about that,” said Idso. “It’s unfortunate this was done at budget time, and when it came back to bid, (the amount budgeted) didn’t come to fruition. The short answer is yes.”
Cosby said the additional costs were likely due to the project being budgeted more than a year ago.
“This is another one of these projects that have been put off, and put off, and we talked ourselves right into a rate increase,” he said. “Sometimes it’s better to bite the bullet and get it done before it gets worse.”
“We’ve put this off long enough,” he said. “We are going to get nickeled and dimed to death. It’s only going to come up again. It’s a $7,000 shortfall and if we have to kick the money in, then we have to kick it in. I hate to put projects off that need to be done and I would love to get this done before hurricane season.”
Breuler motioned to accept Duncan’s bid for $43,624 for the three prioritized seawalls. Vosburgh seconded the motion, which passed 5-0.
Fishers, visitors and others enjoy the Historic Bridge Street Pier in Bradenton Beach. An option to remove the T-end of the pier, possibly short-term, is being considered by the city. Islander Photo: Mark Young
The Bradenton Beach City Pier Committee will spearhead the proposed project to replace degrading pilings under the Historic Bridge Street Pier, but will have help from other city committees and staff.
At the March 21 community redevelopment agency/city commission meeting, the city pier committee, facilitated by Police Chief Sam Speciale, will develop a plan for the piling replacement project.
At the meeting, Police Lt. John Cosby asked the CRA to come to a consensus on which committee would spearhead the project, or if the focus would be a joint effort. The city’s pier team is responsible for pier activities, but the funding for projects comes from the CRA, and must be approved by the city commission.
Speciale addressed the CRA at its Feb. 29 meeting, asking for all committees to coordinate a workshop to begin moving forward with the project. Decisions had to be made on materials and possibly reconfiguring the pier to keep the project under a $400,000 budget cap.
“We want a consensus of whether you want the pier team to handle that, (capital improvement projects) to handle that, CRA to handle that, or do you want them to work together,” said Cosby. “The pier team is in place to handle it. The only difference is that the finance officer is not on the pier team and the main thing going forward is the money.”
Commissioner Jan Vosburgh suggested the project would benefit from everyone’s input.
“I think it would be better if (all of the committees) are involved,” she said.
Mayor John Shaughnessy said the pier team is capable of handling the issue, “but I think in conjunction of selecting materials and it being a matter of money,” CRA should be included.
The commissioners concluded that all committees would be involved as the project moves forward, but the city pier committee would chair joint meetings.
Speciale has said the number of pier team meetings would increase from once a month to twice a month, while also scheduling joint workshops with the other committees to expedite the planning process.
The BridgeTender Inn and Dockside Bar, 135 Bridge St., Bradenton Beach, started to build a service area in its bayfront parking area, but that work has been halted by the city. Islander Photo: Mark Young
The BridgeTender Inn and Dockside Bar, 135 Bridge St., Bradenton Beach, has been issued a stop work order for unpermitted work to expand its outside seating capacity in its bayfront parking area.
According to Bradenton Beach building official Steve Gilbert, BridgeTender appropriately applied for an expansion of their outdoor dining area, “but jumped the gun” on its actual construction.
“What they wanted to do is allowable under the outdoor dining codes, but they built a bar, which is a structure and requires very specific items for approval,” he said. “It took awhile to get a site plan put in place and documented, but they jumped the gun with the service deck they were building.”
Gilbert said the work on Bay Boulevard has stopped and the city is attempting to work with the establishment to keep the service deck, but without the structure.
“They are going to have to modify what they have,” he said. “It can be something portable, because then you don’t have to deal with setback issues.”
Posts have already been placed in the ground, which designates it as a structure and a roof was being planned, which Gilbert said has brought the health department into the equation, as well.
“The health department has strict requirements about having a roof over those types of structures,” said Gilbert. “We are trying to get it figured out so they can have service folks there to take care of customers, but I wish they hadn’t put the structure up ahead of time.”
Gilbert said he is working with the owner, their planner, and their attorney to put in a site plan, “but I guess someone wasn’t aware of the fact they had to do that,” he said.
“A structure can’t be more than 3 feet above grade and you can’t put in posts before a design review,” he said. “Now they are talking about putting up a fabric canopy, but fabric then requires involvement from the fire marshal, and whatever they eventually do, has to meet wind-speed requirements as well.”
Gilbert said he doesn’t believe anything intentionally wrong was done, which is why the city will work with BridgeTender to come back into compliance with city and state codes.
“We are working on it,” he said.
Palm Sunday and Easter week services will be offered islandwide at churches, including special events during the holy week, beginning with Palm Sunday services and ending Easter Sunday, April 8.
The annual Kiwanis Club of Anna Maria Island sunrise Easter nondenominational observance will begin at 6:30 a.m. Sunday, April 8, at the Manatee Public Beach, 4000 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach.
All Anna Maria Island churches will participate in the 48th annual Kiwanis service, including an invocation by the Rev. Dee deMontmillion of the Episcopal Church of the Annunciation and sermon by the Rev. Rosemary Backer of the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church.
Also on Easter Sunday, Longboat Island Chapel offers a 7 a.m. sunrise service at Bayfront Park, 4052 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key, with the Rev. Charlie Shook officiating.
Other Easter observances include:
St. Bernard Catholic Church
Services are planned for Palm Sunday, beginning Saturday, March 31, and continuing through Easter Sunday, April 8, at St. Bernard Catholic Church, 248 S. Harbor Drive, Holmes Beach.
A Vigil Mass will be celebrated at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 31.
Masses also will be celebrated at 8 a.m., 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Palm Sunday, April 1.
The Mass of the Lord’s Supper will be offered at 7 p.m., followed by the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament until 10 p.m. Holy Thursday, April 5.
The Passion and Veneration of the Cross will be held at 3 p.m. Good Friday, April 6.
The Blessing of Easter Food is at 10 a.m., and an Easter Vigil will be 8:30 p.m., on Holy Saturday, April 7.
Easter Sunday mass will be at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.
For more information, call 941-778-4769.
Episcopal Church of the Annunciation
Holy week begins at the Episcopal Church of the Annunciation, 4408 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, with April 1 Palm Sunday services at 8 a.m. and 10:30 p.m.
There will be Stations at the Cross 5:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, April 2-4; Holy Eucharist and Healing will be held at 9:30 a.m.; Foot Washing and Stripping of the Altar at 6 p.m.; and Vigil Watch following in the church’s memorial garden Maundy Thursday, April 5.
The church focuses on Jesus’ Seven Last Words, beginning at noon Good Friday, April 6.
On Easter Sunday, April 8, services begin with a Rite I service at 7:30 a.m., followed by 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Rite II Festival Eucharist services accompanied by choir and organ.
For more information, call 941-778-1813.
Gloria Dei Lutheran Church
Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services are added to the regular services during Easter week at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 6608 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.
Regular services will be held at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Palm Sunday, April 1.
A Maundy Thursday service will be held 7 p.m. Thursday, April 5.
Two Good Friday services are offered, at noon and 7 p.m., Friday, April 6.
Gloria Dei encourages early risers to attend the 6:30 a.m. sunrise service at Manatee County Beach, 4000 Gulf Drive, and their regular services at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Easter, Sunday, April 8.
For more information, call 941-778-1813.
Regular services continue for Easter week at Cross-Pointe Fellowship, 8605 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria, at 9 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. Sundays, April 1 and April 8.
For more information, call 941-778-0719.
Harvey Memorial Community Church
Regular services at Harvey Memorial Community Church, 300 Church Ave., Bradenton Beach, will be held Easter week at 9:30 a.m. Sundays, April 1 and April 8.
For more information call 941-79-1912.
Roser Memorial Community Church
Easter week services will be held at the Roser Memorial Community Church, 512 Pine Ave., Anna Maria, at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sundays, April 1 and April 8. For more information, call 941-778-0414.
Longboat Island Chapel
The Longboat Island Chapel will hold special services and a children’s Easter egg hunt during Easter week.
The chapel’s Palm Sunday service will be at 10 a.m. April 1.
A Maundy Thursday supper will be held at 5:30 p.m. April 5.
The church’s Easter sunrise service will be held at 7 a.m. at Bayfront Park, 4052 Gulf of Mexico Drive. Also on Easter, a 10 a.m. service of worship will be held at the church, followed by a children’s Easter egg hunt in the garden. All services, with the exception of the sunrise service, are held at the Longboat Island Chapel, 6200 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key.
For more information, call 383-6491.
Christ Church of Longboat Key
Christ Church of Longboat Key will hold Palm Sunday services at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. April 1, at the church, 6400 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key.
A Maundy Thursday Tenebrae Service will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 5.
Easter Sunday services will be held at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.
For more information, call 941-383-8833.
Twenty lots left?
It was a comment that reverberated at the Feb. 28 work session where a residential moratorium on building was regarded and rejected by the Holmes Beach City Commission.
Commission Chair David Zaccagnino said “a couple of builders” told him only 20 duplex lots — 8,712 square foot lots, the minimum size to support a duplex — remain in the city, and what followed was a reaction of disbelief, and a directive to the mayor to check the accuracy of the claim.
Holmes Beach resident Barbara Marcheck said, “I don’t believe it,” and she didn’t trust the source. A builder had told her and neighbors on 66th Street he would build three-bedroom homes — but eventually constructed two homes on one duplex lot with 12 bedrooms, eight baths and two swimming pools, she said.
Patty Sabo of 68th Street also said at the February meeting she didn’t understand how only 20 lots could be left in the city.
Commissioner Jean Peelen agreed the number provided by Zaccagnino didn’t seem right.
Following the meeting, Mayor Rich Bohnenberger set the public works department onto the accounting task, and building inspector Bob Shaffer performed an informal survey of R-2 zoned duplex lots earlier this month.
“It’s purely guesswork” what lots will actually build out, said public works superintendent Joe Duennes last week.
The mayor said last week that 20 buildable lots could mean 40 vertical units.
From Shaffer’s survey, Duennes estimated a remaining three to five vacant lots; 10-12 lots with an existing residence and lot space for a second unit; and roughly 40-50 existing duplexes that could be demolished and replaced with two land-condo units.
According to city code, new construction is restricted to no more than 30 percent of the property land mass, and a maximum of two stories of livable space, Duennes said. A third story is permissible if the living space is elevated, leaving garage and storage on the ground level, with or without continuous walls.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency restricts buildings to no higher than 36 feet above the 10-foot mean-high sea-level line, measured from the crown of the street to the roof.
The majority of the new land condos are three-story buildings within the 36-foot height limit in compliance with FEMA.
Duennes added the average property in Holmes Beach is only 6 feet above sea level, and another option for home designs other than building a first floor of storage is building up the property some 4 feet to meet FEMA elevation requirements.
Two docks at 5311 Sunrise Lane, Holmes Beach, line the bayfront after last year’s construction and permitting by the city. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has visited the site, measured and found improper spacing between the docks, and is investigating. Islander Photo: Kathy Prucnell
Warning letters were issued Feb. 29 by the Florida Departmental of Environment Protection to the owners of 5311 Sunrise Lane for constructing docks within 65 linear feet of each other in Anna Maria Sound without a proper DEP permit.
The letters warn Jason Syrek of AMI Beach Inn LLC and Neil Sivyer of By the Shore Investment LLC, of the possible violations and request they reply to the DEP within 15 days.
A DEP general permit is required when building a dock in an “outstanding Florida waterbody” unless the construction fits within exceptions for a single-family dock of 500 square feet or less, or is a repair or replacement of a functional dock, according to Ann Gibbs, DEP spokesperson.
“Considering the fact that the property appears to be operating as a multi-family property,” a DEP enforcement report states, “the docking structures would not have qualified for the statutory exemptions.”
According to the letters, DEP requires “a permit prior to dredging or filling in, on, or over wetlands or other surface waters.”
Two DEP site inspections Feb. 15 and March 7 “revealed the construction of two docks totaling 750 square feet in size on the shore of 5311 Sunrise Lane,” according to the inspection summary.
“Further, it appears the structures are approximately 28 linear feet from each other and are approximately 18 and 38 feet respectively from the property lines,” the report stated.
A minimum 25-foot setback from adjacent property is required if the length of the shoreline is 65 feet or more. At press time, it is unclear whether a setback violation occurred.
The owners applied for DEP exemption certification prior to the dock construction, according to Gibbs. However, the certification “does not appear to apply in this case.”
“We are continuing to work with them toward a resolution,” Gibbs said.
Also interested in a resolution are Judy and Steve Titsworth, adjacent homeowners on Sunrise Lane. Judy Titsworth has been asking officials about the dock setbacks for several weeks.
“I have no problem with the person who bought this. They’re really fine people,” said Judy Titsworth. She added, however, the owner she spoke with “doesn’t know she bought a land condo. She thought she bought a single-family home.”
Still, Judy Titsworth says, the dock “needs to be ripped out. I won’t be happy until it is.”
Next door to Titsworth one-story ranch home on Sunrise Lane, fronting on Anna Maria Sound, an old ground-level residence was demolished and construction was completed last year on a new three-story home.
Titsworth, who works in the building trade — she and husband Steve Titsworth own and operate Shoreline Builders — watched while the home at 5311 Sunrise Lane rose three-stories tall and so near her lot line that she planted bamboo as a screen, and then more bamboo.
Soon a dock was built on the shore, and then another, and eventually a dock extension was added.
A large boat on a lift on the dock nearest her dock obscured the Titsworths’ view. That’s when Judy Titsworth began questioning the dock setbacks and permits.
She took her concerns to city and state officials.
Public works superintendent Joe Duennes said Titsworth’s concern is “another one of those situations” where there is sufficient land to support two houses. Although originally platted as one parcel, it was split into two lots using condominium law, he said, allowing for two separate homes.
And, according to Duennes, two docks. Every waterfront home on a “legal lot” is entitled to a dock, he said.
Sunrise Lane is zoned R-1, single family, residential, but the parcel was more than 15,020 square feet, sufficient to allow the lot split and enough land to provide for two homes, according to Duennes.
While only one residence has been built so far, another is anticipated.
“The owners have been contacted by the DEP and there is an issue,” Judy Titsworth said.
“We’re giving parcel rights to units and making developers a lot of money,” she said.
Local mayors participate, including Anna Maria Mayor Mike Selby, right, serving a client lunch, in the national “Mayors for Meals” day March 21, delivering hot meals to homebound seniors. It is sponsored locally by Meals on Wheels PLUS and the Food Bank of Manatee. Islander Photo: Courtesy Laura Coyle
Manatee County Utilities Department crews are preparing trenches for pipeline installation along Anna Maria’s North Shore Drive and nearby side streets, and positioning equipment on the rights of way for further portions of the project. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin
Anna Maria pipeline work begins
The Manatee County Utilities Department is continuing installation of new sewer lines along North Shore Drive in Anna Maria. Motorists are advised to use caution when driving near the construction.
The project area is between Cypress Avenue and Palm Avenue, a MCUD press release said, and should not impact traffic in the area for any extended periods.
There will be intermittent lane closures on State Road 684 at the Cortez drawbridge, 9 p.m.-5 a.m. beginning Monday, April 2, through Thursday, April 5, according to a Florida Department of Transportation press release. The closures will be controlled by a flagging operation.
In an ongoing maintenance project on the Cortez Bridge, sidewalk closures are anticipated this week. No lanes will be closed to traffic, the DOT said.
The DOT repair project to the Longboat Pass Bridge/State Road 789 is continuing.
Any lane closures will be 10 p.m.-6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, the DOT said.
The west sidewalk of the bridge is closed, and the DOT also has closed an area on Greer Island — often called Beer Can Island — near the bridge to pedestrians and boaters during the project. The DOT cited safety concerns and liability as factors in its decision to close that part of the shore.
Construction is expected to end in late spring.