The fiscal year ends September 30, 2012. I am pleased to report that our City is closing out the year under budget and without debt and for the first time in our City history we have five consecutive years without a tax increase. We have a healthy reserve fund and over the last six years our City has received $3,934,327.69 in public and private grants. During the 2011-2012 budget year even with the economic down turn our City did not reduce services and with prudent fiscal management at all levels we were able to build a new Public Works Roadway Maintenance Building and construct the Veterans Memorial Pavilion on the City field.
With grant money and funding from our City Storm water Utility we were able to implement major storm water improvements, to alleviate some street flooding during normal rain fall and comply with the Federal Clean Water Act.
Recently our Building Department underwent two independent audits. The first was the Community Rating Service audit which rates our City for compliance with floodplain management. Our City rating was upgraded and our residents are now eligible for an increased flood insurance discount. The second audit rated the department on staffing, plans review and inspections, we were rated at three on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the lowest, with a three rating we scored above most in the State of Florida.
Our roadway maintenance schedule allowed for resurfacing of 10% of our streets and Miami curb replacement on Key Royale funded by the gas tax we all pay at the pump.
The City of Holmes Beach has been recognized by Tree City USA as a Tree City due to our park expansion using unopened right of ways and donated land. The tree plantings consist of donated and grant funded trees in the parks and other locations about the City. Citizens that desire to plant a memorial tree should contact our Public Works Department.
The City Commission authorized the City Dog Park and donations from citizens covered some of costs of enhancements.
Recently there has been much criticism of our Building Department for allowing larger homes to be built. The City Codes have limited the size of homes to 30% of lot coverage since the 1950’s. What is now being built still is limited to the 30% rule. Keep in mind that the founding fathers established the zoning we have today and the R-2 district was always intended to be no less that 50% rentals. The City Commission in recent years limited the R-2 short term rentals to no less than one week. However the State Legislature last year imposed severe restrictions on our ability to address some of the current issues.
In General Government we upgraded our meeting digital recording equipment and software systems. The audio in the Commission Chambers was upgraded and additional speakers installed and our server was replaced and we are in the process of implementing a new email system.
This past year our Police Department filed over one hundred felony charges and received several honors. Officer Copeman was a co- recipient of Manatee County Crime stoppers award named in honor of our Police Chief. Members of the Department received 26 written commendations from the public. Chief Romine received the Past Presidents award from the Florida Police Chiefs Association and was also appointed by the Governor to a third term on the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission
Looking forward to the 2012-2013 fiscal year, I will be asking the Commission to support placing newly hired police into the State Pension plan. This action will in the long term save our tax payers a significant amount of money and protect the current plan for those on pension.
In Code enforcement with the increased issues regarding noise, trash and parking, our maintenance workers carry referral forms to report observations or complaints to the Code Officer. The police on patrol carry Citation books to be used if they cannot resolve things amicably. This policy expanded Code compliance at no additional cost.
Other projects will include Storm water improvements in the 30 th and 31st street area and opening the Grassy Point Preserve to the public as soon as the pathways are shelled. The proposed Boardwalk is currently number three on the FDOT Enhancement Grant list. I expect this project will advance quickly since recent FDOT projects have been coming in with costs below estimates. Lastly, Cross training of existing employees assure continued delivery of services during vacations, illness or unexpected loss of Key employees.
Is this a City in Crises?
A 31-year-old Holmes Beach woman was found dead Aug. 27 in Tampa of an apparent murder-suicide, Tampa police are reporting.
Jamie Kimble, of 72nd Street in Holmes Beach, was dating Orlando resident Luis Roberson Rodriguez, 39, off and on for several years, police say. She was returning to Tampa from a visit to London, where police say she was visiting a new boyfriend.
Rodriguez met Kimble’s flight at Tampa International Airport and police say the two began arguing almost immediately. It is unclear if Kimble knew Rodriguez was meeting her at the airport. Rodriguez has an Orlando address, but police say he had recently moved to Kansas City, Mo.
Investigators say they are unsure if the argument was about Kimble’s new boyfriend, but are sure the argument ended about 7:45 p.m., when Rodriguez is alleged to have punched Kimble several times while the two were in his vehicle.
Kimble escaped the vehicle, at which time police say Rodriguez shot her several times. Police say Rodriguez then began to drive away, did a U-turn and fatally shot himself.
Kimble is the daughter of a Galesburg, N.C., former city administrator. She was born in Galesburg, but the family moved to Charlotte when Kimble was 2. Her father is now a deputy city manager for the city of Charlotte.
According to North Carolina media reports, Kimble was preparing to move to Dallas after being promoted to director of regional sales for BYB Brands, a subsidiary of Coke Consolidated.
The family is holding a Sept. 15 memorial for Kimble in Galesburg.
Anna Maria code enforcement officers and Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputy Steve Ogline, who is assigned to the MCSO-Anna Maria substation, have begun targeting vacation rental owners for failure to have proper licenses or violating city codes.
One of the first properties targeted by Ogline is 211 Willow Ave., where the city has sent owners Alison Boak and Allan Weinstein a notice to bring the property into compliance by eliminating a downstairs living area.
Ogline, meanwhile, has been working to identify properties that lack a vacation rental license from the Florida Department of Business Regulation, and 211 Willow is on the list.
He contacted rental agent Jan Callaghan and informed her a DBPR license is needed for the property.
In his letter to Callaghan, Ogline says it has “nothing to do with any taxes that are to be paid for the home being used as a rental property. You will still need to comply with whatever that entails.”
He asked Callaghan to inform him when the proper application is sent to the DBPR or when the license is obtained. “That would be great,” he said.
The deputy stressed he is trying to cooperate with rental agents and homeowners, but he did copy his investigation report to Anna Maria code enforcement.
Ogline was given authority by Sgt. Dave Turner, head of the MCSO-Anna Maria substation, to seek out properties that do not have required state licenses.
On the code issues, building official Bob Welch said he usually gives owners 30 days to comply before re-inspecting the property.
If a property is still not up to code, Welch can issue a citation requiring an appearance before the city’s special magistrate.
Ogline and the city’s code enforcement officers are working separately but doing their best not to step on the other’s toes.
Ogline has 12 properties to investigate to determine if they have the required DBPR license, but he asked code enforcement officer Gerry Rathvon if she’s had any contact with the DBPR regarding a license or if she’s been in touch with the property owner or rental agent.
“I wanted to run them by you first” to avoid any overlap, Ogline said in a memo.
Rathvon is on vacation and could not be reached for comment.
Welch said one of the city code enforcement officers will check the list to determine if any complaints have been received about those particular properties, or if they violate any city code. Code enforcement will not be checking to see if the resort taxes or sales taxes are being paid.
The resort tax is the 5 percent charged on rentals in Manatee County of six months or less. The sales tax is the 6.5 percent charged on all rentals, regardless of length.
Sue Sinquefield of the Manatee County Tax Collector’s resort tax collections division said she could not give out the names of owners or managers not paying the resort or sales tax, but said code enforcement agencies would have such authorization.
Sinquefield said any property owner or rental agent out of compliance with payment of the resort tax would have to pay the past due money and possibly a fine. Additionally, the owner’s name would be given to the Florida Department of Revenue.
Anna Maria Commissioner SueLynn, who spearheaded the commission effort to find vacation rentals using the ground floor as a living area and to identify nuisance properties, said the cooperation is a “good first step” but there is long way to go.
“We welcome tourism. We just want to protect our old Florida atmosphere and ensure we can keep it for future generations,” she said.
An estimated 700 vacation rental properties are in Anna Maria. The database kept by Ogline and the code enforcement office has slightly more than 500 properties and owners listed, Rathvon has said.
Ogline has sent letters to owners of all the properties on his list. The list came from his database of Anna Maria property owners who list their home as a vacation rental, but apparently do not have a DBPR license.
The list of properties Ogline is investigating to determine if the owner or property manager holds the proper DBPR licenses are:
• 214 Palmetto Ave.
• 208 Palm Ave.
• 411 Alamanda Road.
• 227 Willow Ave.
• 10107 Gulf Drive
• 201-203 Elm Ave.
• 510 South Drive.
• 123 Hammock Road
• 314 Tarpon St.
• 798 North Shore Drive.
• 853 North Shore Drive.
• 211 Willow Ave.
• 11101 Gulf Drive and 11103 Gulf Drive. Ogline noted the owners applied for the wrong type of license and are amending their application.
Robert Herman, co-owner of AMI Radio, 105 Bridge St., Bradenton Beach, began broadcasting to a 50- to 200-foot radius in May. Lacking a Federal Communications Commission broadcast license, it dropped “W” from its AMI name, according to Herman. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin
Bradenton Beach Commissioner Ric Gatehouse told his fellow commissioners Sept. 6 at the city meeting he plans to introduce a new cell tower ordinance to repeal the current ordinance and ask the city to sever ties with the co-author of the draft ordinance — Lawrence “Rusty” Monroe of Municipal Solutions Inc.
The ordinance was adopted May 5, 2011, during former Mayor Bob Bartelt’s administration.
When the city first discussed a new cellular communications tower earlier this year, commissioners were relieved an ordinance was already in place.
However, Gatehouse now says the ordinance is standing in the way of moving forward because it was designed to be “obstructionist.”
Gatehouse read a three-page letter admonishing Monroe’s involvement with the ordinance and those previously objecting to the cell tower.
He also addressed implications of possible payoffs levied by Scenic Waves chair Carl Parks, who addressed commissioners Aug. 16 about an email letter he sent to the city and others titled, “I smell a rat.”
In July, the city entered into a land-lease agreement with a cellular communications company, but not a development agreement, which would trigger some provisions for the cell tower in the current ordinance.
In August, Parks along with some other residents, objected to the agreement under the assumption the land-lease agreement was the contract, but such was not the case.
Parks implied city officials were being paid off, which launched a statement from Mayor John Shaughnessy, who said Parks had just insulted the city, commissioners and everyone who works for the city.
Gatehouse responded Sept. 6, countering many of Parks’ complaints against the city, saying Monroe helped draft an ordinance that is financially profitable to him. He said Monroe’s fee schedule is included in the ordinance he helped to create.
In the ordinance, Monroe is required to be consulted and paid on all cellular communications towers being considered by the city.
“To some, this smacks of a back-room deal and stinks to high heaven,” Gatehouse said. “Not only has Mr. Monroe attempted to force the city to name him the exclusive ‘expert’ consultant to all applicants at a minimum fee of $8,500 per applicant, it has come to my attention he further wishes to gouge a successful applicant for an additional substantial fee.”
Gatehouse called the ordinance obstructionist and written to profit Monroe.
He called for a repeal of the ordinance, but said he would make the motion to do so in the near future.
Gatehouse said the 30-page ordinance for a city the size of Bradenton Beach is unnecessary, and he included as an example draft copies of city ordinances from Boston and other areas.
Gatehouse also said Monroe’s ordinance has been challenged and defeated in courts in other states and is setting up Bradenton Beach for similar litigation by cellular communications companies, which are protected under federal communication laws.
Gatehouse said AMI Radio, which operates a business on Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach, hopes to put up a 9-foot antenna to allow it to broadcast beyond the current limited range, and the current ordinance has prohibited AMI Radio from doing so. He said that for a small business to meet the terms of the ordinance, it would cost in excess of $25,000.
“For a small project such as WAMI, this is extremely burdensome,” said Gatehouse. “And the fees required to satisfy Mr. Monroe would be crippling to a small business.”
Gatehouse said the city’s ordinance is a “poor piece of legislation” that complicates the process and possibly violates federal law.
“It is my opinion there is a clear conflict of interest here,” he said. “And some are saying this situation smacks of a back-room deal, blatant cronyism and does not best serve the people or business community of this city.”
Gatehouse called for a four-point solution.
Sever all ties with Monroe, issue a request for proposal for a professional engineer, repeal the current ordinance and “draft a new ordinance in keeping with the national standards modified for our specific needs,” he said.
Parks has accused the city of maneuvering outside of the Florida Sunshine Law, but Gatehouse said the previous process was the one that did not receive proper public scrutiny. His suggestions would be done in the open where it belongs, he said.
Gatehouse concluded by saying he would bring forth motions on his suggestions at a future meeting.
The very mention of vacating city property raised eyebrows and concern levels Sept. 6 at the Bradenton Beach City Commission meeting.
Suzette Buchan requested the city vacate a 4-foot-wide, 65-foot-long section of city property at 26th Street North because a 1930s city land survey incorrectly identified her home’s location at 2518 Gulf Drive N. as private property, even though 40 feet of the building encroaches on city property.
Buchan said she purchased the home last year and the issue was not discovered until she began the process of trying to finance a renovation.
The Sandpiper Resort situation quickly came to mind and is a touchy subject since a lawsuit filed by Holmes Beach against Bradenton Beach over a vacated street is making its way through the courthouse. And Sandpiper is just one block from Buchan.
“Could we be setting ourselves up for something like that?” asked Commissioner Gay Breuler.
City attorney Ricinda Perry said it was not a concern.
“Here we are dealing with a 4-foot section,” she said. “It is very different. It’s an apples to oranges example.”
City planner Alan Garrett had no objections to the city vacating the property, but added two stipulations to which Buchan has agreed.
Buchan will provide landscaping for the remaining city property and will pay for a walkover to provide better access to the Gulf beach on the adjacent right of way.
Commissioner Ric Gatehouse said he is not a fan of giving away city property.
“In the event of a natural disaster or if it just falls down one day, I would like to see that the property is quitclaimed back to the city and a new building built back into the actual footprint,” he said. “I’m not in favor of vacating city property, although this has very extenuating circumstances.”
Buchan said she had no problem with Gatehouse’s request, as long as the city made it a policy.
“Whatever the policy the city wants to make and if we are the precedent setting that policy, I’m happy to be a part of that,” she said. “But I don’t think there was language like that in any other vacations, so I don’t want to be singled out. I would like some consistency from the city.”
Commissioner Jan Vosburgh agreed with Buchan, adding she would oppose Gatehouse’s suggestion of adding language that only would apply to Buchan.
Stephen Thompson, a principal in the Bradenton law firm of Najmy Thompson, P.L., representing the nearby beachfront Anna Maria Island Club condominiums on 26th Street North, objected to the city allowing the vacation to occur.
“When you take a look at the survey, it’s only 45 feet in length,” he said. “Why do they need the extra space? It appears they are asking for 20 feet more.”
Thompson questioned the vacation application, saying a better survey was needed. He also said residents of the Anna Maria Island Club had not received proper notice of a public hearing and could not understand the legal description of the property as it was written.
“We do not support the vacation of any portion of this unless it can be demonstrated that all they are wanting is the portion of the building, but I don’t see that,” he said. “This is a public right of way and shouldn’t be given up for private profit.”
Garrett said Buchan notified 298 individuals of the application and, “If Mr. Thompson would like, we could show him how to read the legal description.”
Garrett confirmed the 40-foot building encroachment, adding the additional 20 feet is to allow for walking-around room and for landscape improvements.
Breuler moved to approve the resolution to vacate the property, which passed 4-1. Gatehouse voted against the resolution.
A right-of-way use permit to satisfy Garrett’s stipulations also was brought to the dais, with Buchan agreeing to the terms to landscape the remaining portion of the city’s right of way and construct a dune walkover.
Thompson once again objected, citing notice was not properly provided to the condominium residents and he objected to the overall process.
“This has been kind of sprung on us,” he said.
Perry interjected, saying the public hearing was requested as a courtesy, but was not required.
“A right-of-way permit is administrative in nature,” she said. “When I hear them suggest there’s been no notice or no ample opportunity to present their opinion, that is not a requirement. This doesn’t even have to be a public hearing.”
Garrett said his door is always open to address citizen concerns.
“We have an open-door policy and we would be more than happy to sit down with neighbors,” he said. “We are here to work with everyone in the city.”
Breuler motioned to approve the right-of-way permit, which passed 5-0.
The roundabout on Bridge Street and Gulf Drive will likely see beautification by early next year. Bradenton Beach commissioners Sept. 6 tentatively approved a roundabout landscaping project to be funded by the Bridge Street Merchants. Islander Photo: Mark Young
The Bridge Street Merchants has been working to get approval to beautify the two roundabouts in Bradenton Beach for several months.
BSM first wanted to approach the city to split costs for the project, but a budget battle left no funding for beautification projects as commissioners focused extra spending on infrastructure needs.
BSM shifted its focus to pay for the project on its own, but soon learned the red tape of government can bring even the best of intentions to a standstill.
BSM cut through the first layer of red tape Sept. 6 during the city commission meeting at Bradenton Beach City Hall, when commissioners gave a consensus for the roundabout projects to move forward.
But more red tape lies ahead for BSM.
The roundabout that circles First Street in front of the Historic Bridge Street Pier is less of an issue. The street is city-owned and needs only city approval.
The roundabout at Bridge Street and Gulf Drive is part of a state road and scenic highway, so the project requires approval from the Bradenton Beach Scenic Waves Committee, the city and the Florida Department of Transportation.
Scenic Waves approved the project several weeks ago, and commissioners agreed to have building official Steve Gilbert contact DOT to begin the permit process.
BSM member Jake Spooner and Keep Manatee Beautiful executive director Ingrid McClellan presented design plans to the commissioners at the meeting.
The DOT permit became just one issue, as public works director Tom Woodard sought clarification on who would oversee the roundabouts once the landscaping was completed.
“When someone runs over the plants, who fixes them?” Woodard asked. “Am I responsible for maintenance? I have a 300-gallon water tank, so I could water it, but would have to pull someone off of other duties for the day to do it.”
Mayor John Shaughnessy said those details could be worked out with further meetings, but first asked for a consensus for the overall project.
Commissioner Jan Vosburgh said the project was a “no-brainer. If it’s good for Bridge Street Merchants, it’s good for our city and our citizens.”
McClellan said KMB also would step in with any financial shortfalls BSM may incur from a project cost estimated at more than $2,900.
Spooner said all he was seeking was permission to move forward and help from the city coordinating two possible workdays to complete the projects. Spooner said a temporary road closure of Gulf Drive might be needed to unload trees.
McClellan suggested the project be done at night to alleviate traffic concerns after the restaurants close. In the meantime, she said, she wanted to focus on the city’s roundabout at First Street while awaiting approval for the Gulf Drive roundabout.
“I’d like to see these done during our Arbor Day celebrations,” she said. “We could do the city roundabout for Florida’s Arbor Day celebrations in January and do Gulf Drive for the National Arbor Day in April.”
The project will include only native vegetation, which McClellan said would require an initial watering schedule for three months.
“After that, it should stand on its own unless we find ourselves in a drought,” she said.
Commissioner Gay Breuler said it was “fabulous that the Bridge Street Merchants have picked up the ball and have run with it. I like to see that happen and I would like to recommend that our public works department do the watering during the three-month establishment period.”
The commission came to a consensus for the city to authorize the project, select Gilbert as the point person to contact DOT and for public works to assist in the initial watering phase.
A trio of newcomers to politics running in the Nov. 6 city election races for two Holmes Beach commission seats and for mayor have been organizing with meetings, door-to-door visits and phone calls. Some candidates have been speaking out at city hall.
And their campaign coffers are growing.
And the trio of incumbents — Mayor Rich Bohnenberger and Commissioners John Monetti and Sandy Haas-Martens — were guests at a campaign event at the Beach Bistro last month, according to restaurant owner-host Sean Murphy. He is planning another fundraiser for the incumbents at the end of September, he said.
Mayoral challenger Carmel Monti has been attending city meetings and doing research on problems in the Residential-2 zoning district.
In addition to research and attendance at commission meetings, candidate Judy Holmes Titsworth has provided written input and met with the mayor and public works superintendent Joe Duennes, attempting to improve building department practices which, she says, have resulted in residential overdevelopment.
Candidate Marvin Grossman has been attending meetings and contributing to the R-2 rental zone discussions in the community with videos and literature. He’s also been looking into ways to use Grassy Point, the 34-acre nature preserve, purchased in 2000, although not yet open to the public.
Grossman is planning a Sept. 16 meeting of his supporters where he’ll be giving out signs, T-shirts, literature and more, asking people to wave signs and looking for permission to post signs on his supporters’ properties.
All Holmes Beach commission and mayoral candidates have filed the required campaign treasurer’s report with Holmes Beach clerk Stacey Johnston.
As of Aug. 9, Grossman reported a total of $1,907.50 in contributions, including a personal contribution of $250.
Others contributing $100 or more to Grossman’s campaign are Ed Chiles of Anna Maria, Boyd Realty of Anna Maria, John Patterson of Sarasota, Ron Travis of Bradenton and Piero Rivolta of Sarasota.
As of Sept. 5, Haas-Martens reported $1,600 in campaign contributions, including a $100 personal loan. Her campaign contributors of $100 or more are Jean Taylor of Lake Orion, Mich., and Helen Blaser, John Agnelli Construction, Frank Davis, Jo Davis, Peter Mattina, Warren Jarlath, Frank Leggio and Joseph Callaghan, all from Holmes Beach.
As of Aug. 9, Monetti reported only a $300 loan from himself to his campaign.
As of Aug. 9, Bohnenberger reported a $200 personal loan and $100 from former Commissioner Billie Martini of Holmes Beach.
Monti reported $165 in contributions to Aug. 9, of which $120 was a personal loan.
In the November 2011 city election, Johnston reported a 28 percent turnout, with 984 of 3,515 registered voters casting ballots.
Voters then re-elected incumbents David Zaccagnino and Pat Morton and newcomer Jean Peelen. Commissioner Al Robinson and Andy Sheridan were unsuccessful in their 2011 bids for office.
A 65-year-old man convicted of two counts of sexual battery recently moved to the 1600 block of Gulf Drive in Bradenton Beach.
The man was convicted in Polk County in 1995 of sexual battery of a child under the age of 12 and sexual battery of a minor.
The man has since been released from probation but under Florida law is required to register his address whenever he moves.
He lived in the 6000 block of Elm Avenue in Tampa before moving to Bradenton Beach Aug. 28, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement website.
There is one convicted sex offender residing in Holmes Beach, while none are known to live in Anna Maria. One convicted sex offender lives in Cortez, while two live in the Palma Sola area, the FDLE website reports.
Holmes Beach city commission candidate Judy Holmes Titsworth maintains this duplex at 308 68th St. violates setback rules. Islander Photo: Kathy Prucnell
Commission candidate Judy Holmes Titsworth is looking for solutions to residential overdevelopment in her push to improve building practices in Holmes Beach.
Titsworth met with Mayor Rich Bohnenberger and public works superintendent Joe Duennes in late August after researching nine residential properties undergoing construction.
A lengthy email on Sept. 4 summarized an Aug. 31 meeting with city officials on her most recent concerns regarding how the city’s land-development code was being interpreted and applied to construction projects.
In her email, Titsworth identifies issues with new construction and remodeling, including half finished duplexes, encroachments in setbacks, short-term rental parking, buffering requirements, stormwater retention requirements and Federal Emergency Management Agency guidelines.
As to her observation of code violations, she asked, “What happens now?
“It has been determined that we do currently have a number of half-duplexes permitted and given a certificate of occupancy in Holmes Beach,” Titsworth stated.
For the past decade, builders have been allowed to construct two residences that look like single-family homes on one duplex lot without the required 20-foot spacer — usually an underground footer connection.
Titsworth and others believe the city’s minimum spacing interpretation contributed to the proliferation of the multi-story rentals in the past, leading to citizen complaints about noise, garbage and parking that the commission has been attempting to address with focus groups and code changes this year.
In the email addressed to Bohnenberger and Duennes, and copied to commission members, Titsworth asks questions for the city attorney.
Where the second home has not yet been built, she asks whether it can be added, whether it will be required to be attached to the existing unit’s roof or by a partition wall. She also asks whether half-duplexes should be reclassified as single-family homes.
Titsworth also questions about construction jobs lacking drainage plans to address stormwater runoff, as well as potential FEMA problems in Key Royale, where she alleges compliance problems with the 50 percent rule and the absence of V-zone breakaway walls and flow-through vents.
“If violations are found by FEMA, not only can the city and its residents lose its flood insurance,” Titsworth wrote. “But all of the residents in the city can be fined as a result of this lack of playing by the rules.
Her email also asks how setback encroachments will be treated.
In previous correspondence with city officials, she identified two R-2 properties, one on 68th Street and one on 74th Street, with third-floor side setback encroachments.
She also noted front yard setback issues at the 68th Street property, where 13 feet separates the building and the street, a violation of the 20-foot front-yard setback requirement that she says results in insufficient parking areas for the two five-bedroom units.
At the most recent commission meeting, Bohnenberger denied there were setback violations. He said Titsworth provided examples, not specific cases in her previous email. However, after the meeting, Titsworth disagreed with Bohnenberger’s assessment, saying she had named actual violations.
After the meeting, Bohnenberger said that while Titsworth has valuable contributions to make to the city, he believes new homes have been built according to code.
He also acknowledged that if a home was mistakenly given a certificate of occupancy and had a violation, such as the setback, the liability lies with the city, not the homeowners.
“Some of it I agree with,” Duennes said of the Titsworth memo. “Some of it I don’t.”
Bohnenberger said he will be issuing a state-of-the-city report at the end of September that will further address some of Titsworth’s issues.
Titsworth is a candidate for city commissioner in the Nov. 6 election, and owns Shoreline Builders with her husband.
Marvin Grossman also is a candidate for the commission, along with incumbents John Monetti and Sandy Haas-Martens.
Titsworth’s email comes on the heels of resident Mary Buonagura’s release of a brief Aug. 28 memorandum that summarized her findings from a public records request and a review of some 25 properties under construction.
Buonagura claims to have uncovered missing and incomplete inspection reports in some construction. She labeled it an “egregious lack of enforcement by the city,” but provided few details and no addresses of the subject properties.
Similar problems were identified in Commissioner Jean Peelen’s Crisis in Holmes Beach Aug. 14 report, which pointed to a “lax” land-development code and blamed a builder, rental agents, the building department and inspector, as well as most of the city commission for creating an out-of-state, investor-driven rental market.
“This election cycle is so ugly,” said Bohnenberger. “That they’re attacking city employees, it makes me think they don’t have anything constructive to say.”
Bohnenberger also is facing re-election in November and has a challenger for his seat, Carmel Monti.
City responds with policies
Land-development code policy changes are in the works at Holmes Beach City Hall.
While some changes have been under consideration for some time, others may have been prompted by commission candidate Judy Holmes Titsworth.
Public works superintendent Joe Duennes wrote a memo dated Aug. 30 in which he listed “new policies to be added to the land development code at its next writing,” including:
• New construction on duplex lots will require simultaneous construction of both units through certificate of occupancy.
• All structures must be shown on surveys and plans at the time of permitting, including building height, setbacks, pool, driveway and fences.
• Living-unit to land coverage calculations will be required on as-built surveys before certificates of occupancy are issued.
• Total impervious land coverage calculations must be shown on surveys before certificates of occupancy are issued.
Duennes and Bohnenberger said they’d been working on drainage policy changes for some time, including requiring on-site water retention of 1-inch minimum for new construction on vacant lots; drainage plans with erosion control permits before construction; and compliance letters on drainage from engineers and surveyors before issuance of certificates of occupancy.
A former Holmes Beach man was found guilty in the 12th Judicial Circuit Court of obtaining money from a pawnshop by fraud after he entered a plea of no contest.
Douglas Mullaney, 40, was sentenced to 29 months in prison. He received credit from Judge Janette Dunnigan for time served while awaiting trial.
Mullaney also pleaded no contest to failing to inform the Florida Department of Law Enforcement within 48 hours of his new address when he left Holmes Beach earlier this year. Convicted sex offenders in Florida are required to report any change of address to the FDLE within two days of moving.
Dunnigan found Mullaney guilty of that offense and sentenced him to another 29 months in prison, although the sentences run concurrently.
Mullaney originally pleaded not guilty to both charges, but changed his plea when his trial began in late August.
Mullaney also was ordered to pay restitution to the pawnshop and court costs.
He was classified by law enforcement as a sexual offender after he was convicted in Pennsylvania in April 1999 of having sex with a minor.
Mullaney fled from Florida earlier this year after he was charged with obtaining money from a pawnshop by fraud. He was arrested by police in Oregon in February, and extradited to Manatee County March 1.
A sister, Christine Ueltschi, is wanted for questioning in connection with the same burglary. She was last reported to be in the Kentucky area.
Anyone with information on Ueltschi’s whereabouts is asked to call the Holmes Beach Police Department at 941-708-5804.