Connor Bystrom docks the family boat at his parents home in Holmes Beach following the incident offshore of Anna Maria in which his friend C.J. Wickersham was bit by an 11-foot-long bull shark. Islander Photo: Jeannie Bystrom
The Manatee County Sheriff’s office reports that at approximately 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, C.J. Wickersham, 21, of Longboat Key, suffered a shark bite to his left thigh while spearfishing in the Gulf of Mexico.
He was with a group of five friends offshore of Anna Maria Island, including Connor Bystrom, 22, of Holmes Beach when the incident occurred. The group was aboard the Bystrom family’s boat.
According to Connor’s mother, Jeannie Bystrom, who went to the Rod & Reel Pier as the boat and the ambulance that had been called to meet them arrived, three men were spearfishing while three female friends were relaxing in float chairs.
Jeannie Bystrom said Wickersham was bit on his thigh by an 11-foot bull shark and the group immediately got Wickersham and everyone else aboard, called 911 and headed to the pier.
Wickersham was transferred to a Bayflite helicopter ambulance and transported to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg.
Jeannie Bystrom said he was alert after the incident, and that he was heading into surgery at 5:30 p.m. The bite is approximately 12 by 12 inches.
Look for more on this incident in the Sept. 28 edition of The Islander.
Team Moveable Feast — Feast Restaurant sponsored — shows purple spirit for the judges of Spirit Week fan competition at the Anna Maria Island Community Center Soccer League kickoff Jamboree Day Sept. 17. Youth soccer teams played mini games and enjoyed refreshments and food at the center to start off the fall soccer season. Islander Photo: Karen Riley-Love
Maya and Joseph Schon are listed as the owners of this property in the 200 block of 83rd Street in Holmes Beach. On Sept. 18, the Holmes Beach Police Department responded to a report of a double-shooting. Maya Schon is recovering from a gunshot wound to the head. Joseph Schon died of an apparently self-inflected gunshot wound.
The Holmes Beach Police Department Sept. 19 was investigating the apparent suicide of one person and the attempted homicide of another.
The incident took place at about 8:30 p.m. Sept. 18 in the 200 block of 83rd Street, according to HBPD Lt. Dale Stephenson.
“We had an attempted homicide and a suicide,” Stephenson said. He added that a married couple was involved.
A news release from HBPD Chief Jay Romine stated that his officers had responded to the report of a double shooting.
When they arrived, they found Maya Schon, 66, outside the residence. She had suffered a gunshot wound to the back of the head.
Romine said the woman was alert and communicated briefly with officers before being airlifted to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg.
She remained in the hospital Sept. 19.
Inside the residence, HBPD officers found Joseph Schon, 69, in the bedroom. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Romine’s statement said the man died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Landscape consultant Mike Miller stands in front of several Australian pines in Gulf Park near the beach access of Willow Avenue. The pines would be removed as non-native species under his landscaping plan. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin
A plan by Anna Maria landscape consultant Mike Miller with the concurrence of public works director George McKay to remove six or seven Australian pines from city-owned Gulf Park between Willow and Cedar avenues has drawn fire from some tree supporters.
David Rogerson of Gulf Drive in Anna Maria wrote in a letter to the editor and Mayor Mike Selby that he rejects a claim by Commission Chair Chuck Webb that Australian pines keep native plants from growing underneath its branches.
“They have not killed any of these vegetation as Commissioner Webb has alluded,” Rogerson wrote.
When Anna Maria announced a plan to cut down some Australian pines in the city right of way in October 2004, members of the Stop Taking Our Pines protested long and loud to then-Mayor SueLynn about removing the trees. The city, however, had an order from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to remove invasive trees and plants from city property wherever possible and proceeded with the removal.
Rogerson claimed in his letter that the recent cleanup of the city park was a “botched procedure” that resulted in some buttonwood trees that were 10-feet tall or higher cut down to ground level. He wrote that chainsaws killed many buttonwoods just to provide a view for a homeowner.
“How does an individual’s desire trump the interest of citizens?” Rogerson wrote. He claimed a real estate developer is behind the effort to clean out the pine trees.
“Those trees belong to the citizens of Anna Maria, not one individual,” he said.
That cleanup effort by Willow Avenue resident Ed Moss began in July, before the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office renewed its search for the body of Holmes Beach motel-owner Sabine Musil-Buehler, who was last seen in 2008. While Moss was clearing the park, he discovered some of Musil-Buehler’s personal belongings.
The MCSO began another search for her body and excavated a portion of the park and beach area, but without success.
Rogerson wrote that the MCSO should restore the area of the park and beach it tore up in the search.
Anna Maria should be preserving the Australian pines, not replacing them with other species, Rogerson wrote, and urged Selby to tell Webb to “STOP-stop taking our pines.”
He said he planned to organize a group of like-minded people to attend the next commission meeting and protest any removal of Australian pines.
The MCSO has said it plans to restore the dunes and sea oats that it excavated during the search.
And, according to Miller, the MCSO had DEP permission to dig.
Miller assisted the MCSO team with the beach dig. He said he also helped with the MCSO’s plans to restore the dunes and replant the sea oats.
The outcry about the pines was not unexpected, said McKay.
When he informed commissioners at their Sept. 8 meeting of the plan to remove the Australian pines, McKay said there would be “controversy” on both sides.
Miller said some of the funding for the removal is coming from a person who wants to remain anonymous. He said the donor wants the focus to be on the park, and Miller is seeking other donations to help pay for the removal of invasive species from the park. He said he has no plans to approach the commission for funds.
Commissioners agreed with the concept, but asked to see a landscaping study. The commission suggested McKay plan on removing the Australian pines and replacing them with native species.
The removal of exotic plants from other public properties has been ongoing by Miller for some time. Additionally, the removal of Australian pines from city property is approved and encouraged by the DEP.
Rogerson said the city should ignore the DEP.
“As far as I’m concerned, they are a terrorist organization, just like the EPA. We don’t have to do what they say,” he said.
Miller said Australian pines may look nice, but they are a non-native species that stifle the growth of native plants. One of the few plants that will grow under an Australian pine is mother-in-law tongue, also an invasive species.
Australian pines also are a danger in a hurricane, he said, because they do not have deep root structures and can easily topple in hurricane-strength winds.
Rogerson dismissed Miller’s opinion of Australian pines and suggested he talk to all the people who go to the beach at the park and use the pines for shade from the sun.
Miller countered that the pines scheduled for removal under his plan are not at the north end of the park, but at the southern end between Willow and Cedar avenues.
Shawn and wife Jennifer Kaleta are buying the Moss home — the property that fronts the beach where the park and the subject pine trees are located.
Shawn Kaleta told The Islander his plans are to restore and raise his family in the Moss “cottage” and, he added, stories circulating that he will develop multiple homes there are not true.
He said he plans to either fully trim back or remove the pines on his property that threaten damage to the home in a storm event, and he would encourage a plan to maintain — trim existing pine trees in the park — and develop a long-term replacement plan that would include adding native species.
Australian pines grow tall at Herb Dolan Park in Bradenton Beach, where commissioners recently rejected a proposal to trim the trees. Islander Photo: Lisa Neff
Bradenton Beach commissioners, citing no pressing public safety issue, unanimously rejected a proposal to trim 19 Australian pines at Herb Dolan Park, the bayfront park on the city’s north end.
The trees are near the intersection of 25th Street and Avenue A, where the city this year completed a new kayak launch and made a series of improvements to the stormwater system.
Public works director Tom Woodard brought the tree-trimming proposal to the commission Sept. 15, along with an estimate from Casey’s Tree Service in Bradenton. The company’s preliminary numbers said the tree trimming would cost $125 per tree for a total $2,375.
Woodard said the Australian pines had not been trimmed in at least seven years, but that he was not an expert on whether they should or should not be cut.
“The last time I brought this forward, it was voted down,” Woodard said, adding that one resident in the neighborhood had requested the city trim — not remove — the trees.
“It really is just a visibility issue,” Woodard said.
A coalition of agencies in the state — from university labs to the county natural resources departments and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection — consider the Australian pine an invasive plant and recommend removal when possible.
The tree is non-native, introduced to the state about 100 years ago and originally from Australia. The DEP classifies the Australian pine as a Class 1 prohibited aquatic plant, and possession, collection, transportation, cultivation and importation of the tree is illegal without a permit.
Numerous studies have shown that the Australian pine’s prolific growth forms monocultures, threatening native habitats in Florida, especially in southern parts of the state.
The trees also can topple in storm events, a concern expressed last week by Bradenton Beach Commissioner Jan Vosburgh.
However, Vosburgh’s focus was not on the shade trees nestled in Herb Dolan Park but with the Australian pines along Gulf Drive, including one near Cortez Road that she said could threaten utility lines or block an evacuation route.
“We should take a look around the city,” Vosburgh suggested. Referring to recent storm events on the Atlantic Coast, she added, “The trees did more damage than anything.… We should be cutting trees where all the wires are.”
But at Herb Dolan park, Vosburgh and the other commissioners did not see the Australian pines posing an immediate threat and rejected the unbudgeted expense.
“If there were power lines there, I’d be in favor of it,” said Commissioner Ed Straight, who represents the area. “But to trim it back so it can grow back again, well, no. And there are a lot of wild animals that nest in those trees.”
Straight added, “I think the money would be better spent in evacuation areas.”
After a few more minutes of discussion, Mayor Bob Bartelt asked for a motion.
“There’s no danger,” the mayor said. “Just somebody wants a better view.”
The commission unanimously voted not to trim the trees.
In other business, the commission:
• Approved paying a $4,451 invoice from city attorney Ricinda Perry for July services.
• Approved an application for the Drift In, 120 Bridge St., to host an Anna Maria Island Privateers fundraiser from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 5. The menu will include corn-on-the-cob, hamburgers, hot dogs, smoked mullet and grog.
• Approved paying a $29,873 invoice from Gator Grading for stormwater work on Avenue A and Avenue B.
• Approved paying a $2,065 invoice from Kern Construction for a message board at the Historic Bridge Street Pier and nearby dinghy dock. The message board was installed last year.
• Approved a proclamation of Peace Day at Anna Maria Elementary School. AME was set to celebrate on Sept. 21, after The Islander went to press this week.
• Approved paying a $3,542 radio maintenance fee to Manatee County.
The commission’s next regular meeting will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 6 at city hall.
The commission also will meet Sept. 21 for meetings on the 2011-12 budget, capital improvements and community redevelopment issues.
The campaign season for Island candidates seeking to fill city commission seats in Holmes Beach and Anna Maria up for election Nov. 8 got under way Sept. 17 with the Manatee County League of Women Voters and The Islander forum at the Island Branch Library.
Candidates from both Holmes Beach and Anna Maria were given the opportunity to present their views on issues, provide personal background and answer questions from the audience and forum moderator Rosalie Shaffer of the league.
Although no seats are contested in Bradenton Beach, incumbent Commissioner Gay Breuler and Mayor-elect John Shaughnessy also spoke to the audience.
Three commission seats are up for election Nov. 8 with incumbent Commissioners Dale Woodland and John Quam facing a challenge from political newcomer Nancy Yetter and former Mayor SueLynn in the race. And although Quam had replied to the LWV that he would attend the forum, he did not appear.
Ex-Mayor SueLynn said that she served on the city’s transportation enhancement grant committee and City Pier Centennial Committee after leaving office in 2006.
She has stayed “on top” of the issues in Anna Maria and is running for a commission seat because she’s concerned with a number of changes in the city the past five years.
“Outside forces are determining what’s taking place in our city,” SueLynn said, and these forces appear to be more interested in tourism than in the residential character of the city.
Woodland, who grew up on Anna Maria Island, said he is seeking another term to continue the work that he’s done since first being elected to the commission.
He first became involved with the city in the early 1990s when he headed a committee to dredge the Lake LaVista channel. The permit was issued in 1993 and is still in use by the city.
As a commissioner, he has helped draft the 2007 comprehensive plan, initiated the stormwater drainage fee that provides revenue for drainage issues, and worked to create the present public parking system at the city’s beach access points and along Pine Avenue.
Yetter is a member of the planning and zoning board and took that position upon nomination by Mayor Mike Selby after her husband resigned from the board.
She said she’s always been “pro-active” and willing to give something back to the city where she lives
Her intent as a commissioner is to “respect and protect the village atmosphere of Anna Maria,” while at the same time facing the issue of taxes, something every city across the country is facing these days.
Yetter supports the purchase of the six lots across from the city pier and favors using the area for green space, although she does not yet have a firm idea of how best to use the space. She suggested the city consider a cell tower as a revenue stream, possibly on the six lots.
Woodland and SueLynn agreed that the six lots should be used for green space, but not empty green space.
SueLynn said the “outside force” influencing Anna Maria is the travel industry, which appears to be marketing the city successfully to increase visitor traffic. The problem, she said, is that more visitors mean a greater impact to the city’s infrastructure.
“I’m not saying it’s good or bad, right or wrong, but we need to manage it,” she said.
Anna Maria resident George Barford asked the candidates if they consider it “proper” for the city to accept an offer from an anonymous donor to pay to cut down Australian pines on city property. Barford said the “rumor” in the city is that a Holmes Beach builder has plans to develop the area near the pine trees.
Woodland said “anonymous” donors don’t matter, but the decision to remove the pines or not should be based on what the community wants, not one person.
Yetter said a lot of information circulating about Australian pines might not be true. She does believe the pines provide “a beauty to the Island.” Any decision to remove them should be up to the community, she said.
The candidates also shared varying views on the addition of a cell tower in the city.
SueLynn was mayor when the current cell tower ordinance was passed in 2003 and no company has yet to apply for a permit. But she believes the day is coming when cell service will dominate the communications industry.
Woodland replied that no company has made application because there’s not enough revenue in Anna Maria for a cell tower. That will change in the near future, he predicted, and the city should let the industry decide when it’s ready for an application.
Yetter suggested a cell tower on the recently purchased lots across from the city pier might provide a revenue stream to help pay for that purchase.
All three candidates stated opposition to a 65-foot-high-rise bridge to replace the Anna Maria Island Bridge, and believe a compromise height for a mid-level bridge would be sufficient.
The candidates for the three seats up for election Nov. 8 are incumbent Commissioners Pat Morton, David Zaccagnino and Al Robertson and the challengers are Jean Peelen and Andy Sheridan. Sheridan gave notice he could not attend, while Robinson RSVP’d the LWV but did not attend the forum.
The No. 1 issue emerging from the candidates was development, particularly development of large multi-bedroom visitor accommodations in residential neighborhoods.
Morton said developers have found a loophole in the city code allowing them to tear down older properties and build large rental homes with six or more bedrooms.
“The big rental houses are coming. We can’t stop it, but we can put parameters on it,” Morton said.
The whole issue is driven by tourism, he said.
Peelen is a retired civil rights attorney who was unsuccessful in her first campaign for the commission.
But she’s adamant in her desire to “give back to the community.”
Her major concern is that the interest of the residents is taking a back seat to tourism.
The current commission has “done a great job” with handling the city’s revenue and budgets, but she wants the city to be “pro-active” against the push for more rental properties.
Zaccagnino also said growth issues would be a major focus of the future commission.
“Let’s refocus on what’s happening in our city,” he said and examine how to limit the proliferation of rental properties.
He also wants the Manatee County Tourist Development Council to return more funds to the city.
“Too much tax goes off-Island and is not returned to the city. We only get back about 10 percent of the taxes we pay,” he said.
The candidates were in favor of the city’s police department and had little to no interest in pursuing law enforcement services from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
Robinson, who was not present, has often said the department costs the city too much money.
Zaccagnino said the police department is” not a huge budgetary issue.” If it were, he would favor looking at alternatives or reducing its size.
He indicated that he favors looking at consolidation of services with other Island cities, including trash pickup and building department services.
Morton agreed. “Citizens like the police department,” he said.
The numbers produced by Robinson about the department are “funny numbers” that do not reflect reality, Morton noted.
Peelen said the overall cost of the department is not too much money for what the city gets, but she was surprised to learn the pension Chief Jay Romine will get when he retires.
“I won’t know enough of the details until I am elected,” she said, “but we do need to look at incoming salaries. They are great officers. I don’t agree with the tactics used by the commissioner (Robinson), who is not here, but I don’t disagree with some of his basic points.”
All three candidates favored the city taking control of the concession at the Manatee Public Beach. There is a lot of revenue involved, and the city does not seem to be getting a fair share. Annexation should be addressed, Zaccagnino said.
The Islander will present candidate profiles for each Island city beginning in the Oct. 5 edition.
The concessionaire at Manatee Public Beach and the county arts council recently issued a call to artists in local high schools.
The Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe, 4000 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, and the Manatee County Cultural Alliance/Arts Council of Manatee County are holding a contest to paint murals on the north side of the beach restaurant.
For students and teachers who think big, there are four panels on the building, each measuring about 7 feet by 11 feet, said Mark Enoch, co-owner of United Park Service, which operates the county concession.
Enoch isn’t sure what to expect from the first contest, which is taking place this fall, but he’s hoping to establish an annual or bi-annual event.
Since taking over the concession last year, UPS has made a number of improvements and expansions to the property, including the addition of an outside tiki bar and an indoor ice cream shop. Most recently, a new sign was installed at the Manatee Public Beach entrance.
“We also have some plans for landscaping out front,” said Enoch.
Enoch is working closely with Dorothy Blum of the MCCA on the mural contest, and Blum is working with Manatee County School District officials.
She said she’d like to have school groups to enter the contest by Nov. 1, and possibly have the murals installed before the end of the year.
The awards are the artists’ designs in a high-profile public place — thousands of people visit the cafe each week.
But Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe, which also is providing the art supplies for the project, is offering a $200 first-place award as well second-place awards. Additionally, the cafe is offering gift certificates to participating teachers.
“We thought it would be pretty cool to involve the schools, to have a regular competition,” Enoch said.
Bradenton Beach Mayor Bob Bartelt addresses the Holmes Beach City Commission at its Sept. 13 meeting about a fence recently built along the eastern part of 27th Avenue North, the street that divides the two cities. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin
Holmes Beach city commissioners decided at their Sept. 13 meeting they’d rather talk to their neighbors to the south than fight them in court, at least for the time being.
Commissioners agreed to postpone initiating conflict resolution and subsequent legal action against Bradenton Beach for the private construction of a fence along 27th Avenue North and, instead, have the mayors of the two cities meet to find a solution.
At the July 24 commission meeting, Commissioner John Monetti expressed concern that the fence might restrict public access of Holmes Beach residents. City attorney Patricia Petruff was instructed to investigate the issue and to send a letter to Bradenton Beach asking the city to hold off construction until they could talk about those concerns.
The division began in 2008, when Bradenton Beach vacated the avenue to the Sandpiper Resort. Holmes Beach opposed the action, as 27th Avenue is the dividing line between the two cities. Holmes Beach said the vacation should have been down the middle of the avenue and considered the vacation illegal, but did not pursue the matter.
In July, however, the Sandpiper Resort applied to Bradenton Beach for a permit to build a fence along the northern edge of the vacated street east of Gulf Drive and the Sandpiper. No portion of 27th Avenue west of Gulf Drive toward the Gulf of Mexico was vacated in 2008.
At the Sept. 13 Holmes Beach commission meeting, Petruff reported that she had sent a letter to Bradenton Beach Mayor Bob Bartelt asking for a delay, but the letter was never answered. Petruff said she also investigated the quitclaim deed that Bradenton Beach gave the Sandpiper in 2008, but could not find the document. She also reported that she found a lock on one of the gates in the fence.
Petruff said she concluded that the quitclaim deed was inappropriately vacated by Bradenton Beach in 2008. Therefore, the fence should not have been installed, and the “no trespassing” signs should not have been posted.
That led Holmes Beach Mayor Rich Bohnenberger to place a resolution on the Sept. 13 agenda for the city to “initiate conflict resolution with Bradenton Beach prior to initiating court proceedings.”
Before discussion, Petruff noted that conflict resolution between cities before a lawsuit is a “very process-oriented” procedure that could take some time to complete and become expensive. However, it’s up to the commission if it wants to move forward, she said.
Chair Sandy Haas-Martens called for public comment.
Two Holmes Beach residents, commission candidate Andy Sheridan and Robert Heiger, said the city should proceed with conflict resolution, but resident Peter Graziano pointed out the process would “require a big expenditure of taxpayer dollars” by both cities.
“Access to the Gulf has not changed. It’s just a perimeter fence, and still provides unrestricted public access to Gulf Drive,” he said. Any litigation would not benefit the taxpayers of either city, Graziano concluded.
Bartelt said he learned of the problem four days before the Sept. 13 meeting, and said he never received a letter from Petruff.
“I would not have ignored such a letter, but would have immediately called Rich and said ‘let’s talk’ and settle this informally,” Bartelt said.
Holmes Beach resident Jean Peelen, also a commission candidate, said she lives in the area and owns a unit at the Sandpiper, so she could see both sides of the issue. The fence and gate are not restricting anyone’s access to Gulf Drive or the Sandpiper, Peelen said, and the no-trespassing signs have been there since 2008 with no complaints.
Bradenton Beach Mayor-elect John Shaughnessy, who lives in Sandpiper, said there has been “a lot of misinformation about the fence passed around. I’m not here to argue right or wrong, but present a proposal.”
He suggested the commission set aside the conflict resolution for now and allow Bohnenberger, himself and Bartelt to “sit down and arrive at a solution agreeable to both sides.” While he doesn’t think any proposal reached would please everyone, he’s “confident” the mayors can find something they agree upon and bring back to their respective commissions.
Rather than generate “hard feelings and ill-will” on both sides of the fence, Shaughnessy said, “Let’s give it a try, guys. We’ve got nothing to lose.”
Bradenton Beach Commissioner Gay Breuler, who also lives in Sandpiper, said no one at the resort knows who put the lock on the gate and the lock has been removed. There were never any plans for a lock on the gates, and no plans to restrict access by Holmes Beach residents.
Holmes Beach resident Mary Jones said the gates have been in place since 2008, and she’s never had a problem entering the property or asked to leave.
Petruff noted that a lock provides “an opportunity to exclude,” but she agreed “wholeheartedly” with the proposal to table the motion while the mayors talk.
Commissioners agreed, and set aside the conflict motion until the mayors can return with a recommendation.
Bohnenberger said he was ready to meet as soon as possible, but the commission must decide to accept or reject any compromise.
While Holmes Beach Police Chief Jay Romine told city attorney Patricia Petruff he’s not considering the addition of any more streets to the current list of roads that golf carts can drive on, Commissioner David Zaccagnino wants to discuss the problem with the chief.
The “problem,” said Zaccagnino, is that none of the streets that allow operation of unlicensed golf carts are south of the Gulf and East Bay drives intersection. That prohibits all unlicensed golf cart owners on the south side of the city from using those vehicles to drive to Publix and other nearby businesses for shopping.
City attorney Patricia Petruff reported to commissioners at their Sept. 13 meeting that all the streets that permit the operation of unlicensed golf carts are in the northern part of the city. Romine “does not recommend adding any more streets,” she said, until the Florida Department of Transportation issues a permit for a Gulf Drive crossing at the traffic light by Mike Norman Realty.
Although Petruff said Romine is confident the permit will be issued, Zaccagnino, Mayor Rich Bohnenberger and Commissioner Pat Morton said they’ve been hearing that from the DOT for years and still no permit has been issued.
Bohnenberger said when the commission in 2003 approved the ordinance allowing unlicensed golf carts to operate on some city streets, it intentionally left out any streets in south Holmes Beach.
Some people wanted streets for golf carts on both sides of Gulf Drive to get to Publix or a convenience store, but that would mean crossing Gulf Drive, the mayor said.
Crossing Gulf Drive — State Road 789 — in an unlicensed golf cart would subject the driver to a potential traffic ticket, Bohnenberger said.
Romine, however, said previously that when officers detect an unlicensed golf cart using a street not on the permitted list, they use it as an “educational opportunity” to inform drivers of what’s allowed under the ordinance.
Zaccagnino, however, wants discussion with Romine to see if there is any possibility of adding some streets in south Holmes Beach to the list. Romine was not at the meeting.
Drivers of unlicensed golf carts must be at least 14 years old. Similar electric vehicles must have tags, lights, be insured and operated only by someone with a valid driver’s license
These low-speed vehicles are only permitted on streets with a 25-mph speed limit or lower, Petruff said, and that excludes Manatee Avenue.
Even if a crossing is built on Gulf Drive at East Bay Drive, there is still no access to it for an unlicensed golf cart in south Holmes Beach east of Gulf Drive, Petruff observed.
She said an access road could possibly be built through a small area of Grassy Point behind Mike Norman Realty that connects with Avenue C, but that will cost money.
Getting golf carts across Gulf Drive south of East Bay Drive has “been a problem for years,” said Commissioner Pat Morton.
Zaccagnino and Morton asked for Romine to attend a commission work session to discuss the matter and Petruff pointed out that the city charter designates the chief of police as the city’s traffic engineer.
Commission Chair Sandy Haas-Martens said she would ask the chief to attend an upcoming work session to discuss possibilities while awaiting the DOT permit.
In other business, commissioners approved the final reading of an ordinance to amend the comprehensive plan to add Kingfish Boat Ramp as a park on the future land-use map and designating the land-use as recreation open space.
Also approved was the final reading of an ordinance rezoning Grassy Point from single-family residential and medium-density residential to the conservation zoning district. The ordinance added public rest rooms and roads as permitted uses.
Holmes Beach allows unlicensed golf carts to operate on a number of city streets, all north of Manatee Avenue. Those streets are:
• All streets in Key Royale.
• Marina Drive north of Key Royale Drive.
• All streets north of Key Royale Drive and east of Palm Drive.
• Seventy-first Street from the bay to the Gulf of Mexico.
• Holmes Boulevard from Gulf Drive to 75th Street.
• Seventy-fifth Street from the bay to the Gulf.
• Seventy-seventh Street from the bay to the Gulf.
• White Avenue from Gulf Drive to Aqua Lane.
• Flotilla Drive.
• Sixty-second Street.
The Holmes Beach Police Department responded late Sept. 2 to a fight in the 5300 block of Gulf Drive, just outside Martiniville.
At least five people were involved in the incident.
The police report states that HBPD officers were called to Martiniville at about 11:35 p.m. and found a 26-year-old woman, her face covered in blood, lying in the road.
Two other women, acquaintances, told the officers that the injured woman had been engaged in a mobile phone conversation on the patio at Martiniville and they told her to “chill out” and not be a “Debbie downer.”
The woman then became irate when a Martiniville bouncer asked her to move from the patio, and both the woman and her 28-year-old boyfriend yelled racial slurs at the bouncer.
Outside Martiniville, the three women began to fight, apparently over lost car keys, according to HBPD.
Two witnesses said the injured woman fell in the road when the Martiniville bouncer attempted to break up the fight.
The report indicated that no one involved in the incident wanted to pursue charges.