Tag Archives: 03-13-2013

AM moratorium exemptions outlined

Anna Maria building official Bob Welch, working last week with city attorney Jim Dye, determined guidelines for construction projects to be exempt from an in-process building moratorium.

The city commission at its Feb. 28 meeting agreed to allow certain projects to proceed, but said Welch and Dye must agree on what’s  “in the pipeline” and the conditions for exemption. Homes proposed to be less than 27 feet tall are not affected by the moratorium.

Welch said at the meeting he had 12 projects that would likely meet the exemption criteria.

Welch stated in a memo distributed March 5 that property owners wanting a moratorium exemption should complete an affidavit form and provide backup information.

The required information includes “executed contracts for design, engineering, soil sampling, surveying or construction service, or any combination of other work,” Welch said.

Welch will consider proof of actual expenditures, work already performed that the owner is obligated to pay, design documents under contract; work seaward of the coastal construction control line for which a city letter of no objection was required and the subsequent application to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, as well as projects seaward of the CCCL that have a notice to proceed from the DEP.

Additionally, Welch said “any other form of proof that shows the project has been under substantial development and is proceeding in good faith.”

Welch said applicants for the exemption will be notified of the status of a request “in a timely manner.”

He asked applicants to “Please, be patient as this process will be time-consuming and requests for additional information or adjustments in the exemption process may be made. It is in your best interest to apply as early as possible in this process.”

Employee winner

Anna Maria Island Elementary School custodian Todd Persinger, left, is congratulated March 8 by principal David Marshall on being named Manatee County School District Support Employee of the Year. Persinger received a $5,000 savings account at Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union, game tickets and a trip to Pittsburgh for a Pirates game. He was nominated by AME for his exemplary work ethic, ingenuity and suggestion to reduce waste collection at AME, saving the district $6,600. Islander Photo: Edna Tiemann

Congress could move beach nourishment up 1 year

Manatee County natural resources director Charlie Hunsicker will have his fingers crossed when Congress votes March 27 on a new spending plan. Included in the plan are emergency funds to restore beaches damaged by Superstorm Sandy and Tropical Storm Debby.

Hunsicker said T.S. Debby did considerable damage to Anna Maria Island beaches from Holmes Beach south to Coquina Beach and renourishment there is already in the 2014-15 beach renourishment plan. If Congress approves the emergency funding, renourishment could possibly start this year, Hunsicker said.

“We’re practically shovel-ready now. It would not take us long to begin the project,” he said.

Included in the government package would be funding to convert some of the old groins at Coquina and Cortez beaches into walkable piers that would serve as groins and fishing spots.

Hunsicker went to Washington, D.C., recently to make his pitch for Manatee County to be included in emergency funding.

“Anna Maria Island, especially Coquina Beach and Cortez Beach, suffered significant beach erosion because of Debby,” Hunsicker said.

The county has been planning the 2014-15 island renourishment project for five years.

Keep cool, says BB top cop

With the winter visitor season in high gear on both Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key, Bradenton Beach Police Chief Sam Speciale has some advice for motorists.

“Have patience,” he said, especially if the drawbridge is raised.

He sees traffic backups routinely when the Cortez Bridge bascule goes up. Vehicles stack up on Gulf Drive to the Longboat Pass Bridge and beyond. The bridge holds up motorists about 10 minutes, and the minimum time for traffic to resume flowing is about 5 minutes.

“Every vehicle stops for at least 5 minutes and nobody is going anywhere, so just have some patience and relax. Everybody’s in the same situation,” the chief said.

The Cortez and Anna Maria Island bridges are raised on the half-hour February-April, while the remaining months both bridges can be raised on 20 minute cycles on boater demand.

“Let’s all just keep our cool and don’t drive foolishly,” Speciale said. “We’ll get through this just fine.”

The chief gave a friendly reminder to pedestrians that they should cross roads at designated crossings. Florida law gives pedestrians the right of way only in a designated crosswalk, not anywhere along the street.

Lack of support kills BB gateway project

Bradenton Beach Commissioner Gay Breuler expressed disappointment after a March 7 capital improvement projects meeting that effectively killed her effort to beautify the city’s gateway.

Breuler was authorized via consensus to pursue the landscaping project in September 2012. She was authorized to use $2,600 from the Scenic Waves Partnership Committee budget that was set aside for years for the gateway project, which includes installing a new “Welcome to Bradenton Beach” sign.

The sign proposal is moving forward, but commissioners would not support Breuler’s final proposal for the project. Breuler brought commissioners a landscape agreement drawn up by attorneys for two condominium associations in the project area. But the condo members required authorizations to remove the plants if they did not like them.

The landscaping was to take place on the Gulf of Mexico side of Gulf Drive from south of the Cortez Road intersection to just north of the Gulf Drive Cafe, but the property is owned by three condo associations.

Breuler said she has wanted to see the area improved since she moved to Bradenton Beach. Upon receiving the initial consensus to work on the project, she entered into discussions with the three associations.

One of the condo boards signed off on the project, while the other two insisted on more control. This raised concern from Commissioner Ric Gatehouse and Mayor John Shaughnessy.

“I think it’s a great idea to do something in that area,” said Gatehouse. “I only have one problem with the agreement in that the condos can remove it at any time.”

He said considering the city is paying for the plants, “I’m not comfortable with this agreement.”

A Gulfwatch condo board association member took offense to Gatehouse’s comments, saying it was private property and the condo board would reserve its right to do what it wants.

He said there was no intention to remove the landscaping. In fact, he said, it was likely the condos would want to enhance the area, but the board did not want to give up its property rights.

Gatehouse said he meant no offense.

“My point here is that if the city is going to spend money, we want control of what happens to the money,” Gatehouse said. “Otherwise, we might as well throw a bunch of green dollars out there and see if they’ll grow.”

Shaughnessy said he would object to spending tax dollars on private property.

“I don’t like this project the way it is,” he said. “We have the go ahead to see what would happen and it has snowballed. Now we have an agreement before us and it says the city will water it. I don’t remember giving any kind of authorization to use city resources for this project.”

Shaughnessy said he was displeased that the project has become a one-commissioner effort.

“We are a team,” he said. “It’s not up to one person to go ahead with a project like this. Secondly, it’s always been my policy not to spend taxpayer money on private property. We spend tax dollars to put in plants here and we’ll have other businesses asking us why we can’t do it for them.”

Shaughnessy said he also disagrees with the agreement that would give control to the condo boards.

“I can’t put my stamp on this,” he said.

Breuler said she has kept the commission informed each step of the way and the city’s short-term corridor improvement policy allows for public/private partnerships.

“The fact about it being city funds, the truth is that we have voted to designate money to the gateway,” she said. “We are only talking about a couple of thousand dollars. I urge you all to vote yes. I think beautifying our city at a tiny cost like this would be a fabulous thing to do.”

Shaughnessy said the agreement does not a represent a partnership and the money should be put to use on city property.

Gatehouse recommended that city attorney Ricinda Perry look over the agreement, but Shaughnessy said that would add expense to the city.

Commissioner Jan Vosburgh said she believes the project would be a waste of money.

“You know how people are,” she said. “People walk there all the time and it will just get trampled.”

Breuler moved to approve the landscape agreement and her motion died for a lack of a second.along the street.

BB police officer recovering from head-on crash

Bradenton Beach Police Officer Erik Hill’s prognosis is significantly better than initially suspected following his March 3 head-on vehicle collision with a North Carolina fugitive.

Amanda Varner, 24, led police on a brief pursuit along Holmes Boulevard in Holmes Beach, after her tag revealed she was driving a car stolen out of North Carolina.

Law enforcement converged on Varner in a shopping center parking lot, but she evaded the containment attempt and drove out of the lot and onto Holmes Boulevard.

Bradenton Beach Chief Sam Speciale said Varner exited the parking lot quick enough to force her vehicle into the outer lane of oncoming traffic just as Hill was arriving to assist the Holmes Beach Police Department and Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

Speciale said Hill made a quick decision to swerve into the open lane to avoid her, but Varner quickly swerved back into her own lane, causing the collision.

An initial MRI performed on Hill indicated his knee had been shattered. The chief said it could have been a career-ending injury, but surgery revealed it was less severe.

“What happened is when they took the MRI, they saw all these bone fragments in his knee,” he said. “But when they went in, they found it was his femur that had splintered and sent the bone fragments down to his knee area.”

While the injury is serious, Speciale said it will not prevent having Hill back on the job.

“He got out of the hospital Wednesday and will be on six weeks of bed rest and rehabilitation,” he said. “Then he will be on light duty behind a desk for six weeks, and then is expected to resume his patrol duties.”

Speciale said it was great news for everyone.

“Officer Hill wants to make sure everyone knows how appreciative he is of all the cards and calls he has received wishing him well and hoping for a quick recovery,” said Speciale, who noted nothing in the investigation has indicated Varner intentionally tried to injure Hill.

“There’s no indication the head-on collision was on purpose,” he said. “She pulled out in an attempt to flee and turned into the oncoming lane just as Hill was approaching. She said afterward that she was scared and lost control while attempting to run.”

Varner was charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a motor vehicle, one count of grand theft auto, fleeing to elude with great bodily injury to a law enforcement officer and driving while license suspended.

She has several outstanding warrants for her arrest in North Carolina and is being held in the Manatee County jail without bond.

New city position created, appointed by Holmes Beach mayor

Holmes Beach volunteer and native islander, Mary Buonagura, was hired by Holmes Beach Mayor Carmel Monti to a newly created city position as a human resource specialist.

        In a press release, Monti said he hired Buonagura to update job descriptions, policy and procedure manuals, create performance evaluations, reinstate grievance procedures and provide Equal Employment Opportunity representation for city staff.

        At a March 7 meeting, Monti asked for the commission’s blessing on the hire, and commissioners unanimously agreed to Monti’s plan to hire Buonagura for six months, after which her employment could be reviewed.

        City attorney Patricia Petruff told commissioners they will need to ratify Buonagura’s contract, which she planned to draft after speaking to Monti that evening, at a future city meeting.

        As of press time for The Islander, city hall officials said there was no public document or further information about Buonagura’s salary.

        Buonagura said she had not been advised of the offered compensation. Petruff and Monti did not return calls for comment before press time.

        At the city meeting, Monti said the city is currently running under its total budget, and he is looking to move funds from the police, public works and general administration budgets to fund Buonagura’s position.

        There will be 42 city workers with a new hire, according to city treasurer Lori Hill.

        Buonagura began working 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily on March 4, and said she had expected a three-month temporary position.

        She has no assigned office yet in city hall, but has been working on the computer in Monti’s office, she said last week.

        “She’s going to add a lot to the city,” said Monti. “In the short time she’s been here, she’s added a lot.”

        For the past several months, Buonagura has been working as a volunteer, helping Monti interview city staff and gather information to improve efficiencies.

        Buonagura grew up in and now lives in a Holmes Beach family home her father built in the 1940s.

        According to her resume, she holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of New Orleans and a master’s degree in theological studies from Virginia Theological Seminary.

        Recent employers include the Center for Spiritual Development for the Christ Episcopal Church of Bradenton and the Episcopal Church Against Human Trafficking for the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida of Sarasota, according to Buonagura’s resume.

        For Christ Episcopal, she worked as a bereavement, premarital and substance abuse counselor as well as an advocate for those needing assistance with the Social Security Administration, the state Division of Children and Family Services and Veterans Affairs.

        For the Episcopal Diocese, she worked as a business consultant and grant writer.

HB commish poised to approve chickens

Holmes Beach appears ready to allow chickens into the city.

        An ordinance to allow residents to raise egg-laying hens within the city’s limits is on the March 12 commission agenda for final approval.

        A 4-1 vote last month approved the new rule on chickens on first reading.

        Commissioners in favor of the measure say it will encourage learning opportunities for children and return people to a natural food source.

        At press time before the March 12 meeting, Commissioner Pat Morton was against approving chickens, saying he foresaw a future enforcement problem in the beach community.

        The city has a long-standing regulation prohibiting farm animals.

         If passed, the ordinance will prohibit more than four hens and roosters; slaughtering of chickens, and any selling of eggs or other chicken products; chickens in front yards; chickens closer than 10 feet to an adjacent property and 25 feet from a neighboring home; and odors and pest-infested chicken feed.

        Other matters on the March 12 agenda included:

        • First reading of a party-wall ordinance, changing the code to eliminate the provision that allows two or more structures to be built separately on a common foundation.

        • First reading of a one-dock-per-shore-frontage ordinance, including dock location and setback requirements and how shoreline length is determined under condominium ownership.

        • Consideration of two appointments to the Municipal Police Officers’ Pension Trust Fund Board of Trustees.

Cortez man arrested for passing counterfeit cash

A 20-year-old Cortez man was charged Feb. 28 with two counts of felony counterfeit and misdemeanor possession of methamphetamine.

According to the probable cause affidavit, a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputy was contacted by a Winn-Dixie employee at 3500 53rd Ave. W., Bradenton, regarding a man who attempted to pass a fake $20 bill.

The man was not in the store when the deputy arrived, but was observed nearby at another business. The deputy was told the man successfully passed a counterfeit bill the previous day. He observed the suspect at the register with a $20 bill in his hand, and then made contact with Kevin Dowd.

According to the report, Dowd told the deputy he received one of the fake bills from a friend. He said he went to the other store after Winn-Dixie refused to accept the bill.

The deputy said that it was unusual for a business to return a suspected counterfeit bill, and upon checking with Winn-Dixie employees learned they had not returned the bill to Dowd.

The deputy checked the serial numbers of the bill passed the day before, the one Winn-Dixie kept and the bill Dowd was attempting to pass at the other business.

They all had the same serial numbers, according to the report.

The deputy confronted Dowd with this information, at which time he allegedly admitted that his friend had given him five fake bills. According to the report, Dowd admitted to passing the fake bill the previous day and said he passed another counterfeit bill at a nearby 7-11 convenience store.

He allegedly told the deputy he knew they were counterfeit bills.

Dowd was arrested on two felony counts of counterfeit and, in a search of Dowd’s vehicle, the deputy reported finding a glass pipe.

The residue in the pipe field-tested positive for methamphetamine. Dowd was subsequently charged with misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

He was scheduled to be arraigned at 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 2, at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.

Island real estate transactions – 03-13-2013


A sale address was incorrectly listed in the March 6 edition of The Islander. The sale at 537 68th St. should have been for 537 67th St., Holmes Beach, a 2,261 sfla / 2,744 sfur 3bed/2bath/2car canalfront home built in 1972 on a 100×114 lot was sold 02/12/13, Tucker to Curry Family Partnership I LLP for $595,000.

2000 Gulf Drive, Bradenton Beach, a 2,146 sfla / 2,457 sfur Gulffront multi unit property built in 1945 on a .5011 acre lot was sold 02/21/13, BBC Bungalow LLC to Luper Enterprises Inc. for $2,250,000.

520 70th St., Holmes Beach, a 1,296 sfla / 1,894 sfur 2bed/2bath canalfront pool home built in 1965 on a 85×103 lot was sold 02/19/13, Sardegna to Peabody for $535,000.

7100 Gulf Drive, Unit 105, Nautilus Apartments, Holmes Beach, a 1,081 sfla / 1,185 sfur 2bed/2bath condo with shared pool built in 1973 was sold 02/15/13, Groark to Andrix for $350,000; list $369,500.

5617 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, a 1,076 sfla / 1,362 sfur 2bed/1bath/1car home built in 1960 on a 58×105 lot was sold 02/20/13, Richardson to Rea for $330,000; list $335,000.

1000 Gulf Drive N., Unit 3, Beach House Resort, Bradenton Beach, a 480 sfla 1bed/1bath condo with shared pool built in 1983 was sold 02/21/13, Frady to Barry for $300,000; list $333,000.

201 35th St., Unit 2, Anna Maria Beach Place, Holmes Beach, a 630 sfla 1bed/1bath condo with shared pool built in 1969 was sold 02/20/13, Leonard to Kreps for $300,000.

1801 Gulf Drive N., Unit 250, Runaway Bay, Bradenton Beach, a 1,080 sfla / 1,140 sfur 2bed/2bath condo with shared pool built in 1978 was sold 02/14/13, Bard to Ruis for $270,000; list $289,000.

611 Gulf Drive N., Unit 12, Imperial House, Bradenton Beach, a 794 sfla 2bed/1bath 55+ condo with shared pool built in 1968 was sold 02/21/13, Kinneer to Sutton for $160,000.

2312 Avenue C, Unit 9, King of Hardts, Bradenton Beach, a 651 sfla 1bed/1bath condo with shared pool built in 1979 was sold 02/20/13, Vosburgh to Wilson for $145,000.

Jesse Brisson, broker/associate at Gulf-Bay Realty of Anna Maria, can be reached at 941-778-7244.