Tag Archives: 04-18-2012
Anna Maria City Pier Restaurant leaseholder Mario Schoenfelder speaks to Anna Maria commissioners, including SueLynn, right, at their April 12 meeting of unforeseen parking problems at the pier and along Pine Avenue created by the success of the pier boardwalk and the Pine Avenue business district. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin
Anna Maria commissioners, Mayor Mike Selby, city staff and experts spent nearly two years creating a parking plan for Pine Avenue that they hoped would satisfy the parking needs of everyone.
That plan, however, was developed before the success was known following completion of the boardwalk at the city pier, the Pine Avenue business district grew, the new beach by the city pier was created, and the overall tourism marketing of Anna Maria Island resulted in a record tourist season this year.
Parking is again a problem in the city, particularly on Pine Avenue and at the City Pier Restaurant.
Roger Roark of the Roser Community Memorial Church told commissioners at their April 12 meeting that the three church parking lots are filling up almost daily with tourists, often leaving churchgoers to find an alternate parking location.
“We don’t know these people and there is a liability. We are getting people who park there all day,” Roark said.
“We don’t want to chain the lot, so we’re bringing it to the city to try and work together for an agreement. We want to be good neighbors,” he said.
Roark said this past winter season has been the worst for visitors parking in the church-owned lots.
City pier leaseholder and restaurant-operator Mario Schoenfelder said parking has become a problem at the pier, largely because of the success of the new boardwalk and the Pine Avenue business district.
He pays rent for a number of spaces at the pier, yet he still has customers complain they couldn’t find a parking spot.
Schoenfelder asked commissioners to reconsider their prior decision to close the lots across from the pier to parking May 7.
Pier restaurant manager Dave Sork said the pier, boardwalk and Pine Avenue have made Anna Maria extremely attractive to vacationers and visitors.
“We’re getting squeezed out. I suggest adding angle parking at the city lots. You could still build a park there and have parking,” said Sork.
Commission Chair Chuck Webb said the city went through two years of deliberations about Pine Avenue parking. “Roser was never mentioned as an issue. There was supposed to be enough parking on Pine Avenue.”
There is, replied Mike Coleman of Pine Avenue Restoration LLC, developer of a number of businesses and rental properties on Pine Avenue. “It’s just that everybody wants to park as close to the pier as possible,” he said.
Coleman said he saw many days this past season when a number of Pine Avenue parking spaces were vacant, while the pier parking lot and nearby areas were full.
Selby said he’s talked to Ed Chiles of the Sandbar Restaurant and they may have a solution.
Under Chiles’ plan, Pine Avenue and Gulf Drive merchants would contribute $1,500 monthly to Roser for use of its parking lot on the south side of Pine Avenue at the church thrift shop. That would relieve Roser of the liability.
Roark said that would work for the church, although the church does not want to be in the paid parking business.
Selby said neither does the city, and suggested if the Chiles’ idea is adopted, “free parking” signs could be placed at the lot.
Commissioner Jo Ann Mattick suggested the city lease the lot from the church, then sub-lease it to the collective merchants.
“It’s only during the season we have these problems, but this year was exceptional for tourism,” she observed.
Webb said with the season winding down, the city would have time to deal with the parking issue and be ready for next season.
Commissioner Dale Woodland agreed.
Although he previously objected to public parking on the city property, he had no problem with keeping the vacant lots open to parking after May 7. “This gives us time to do something and not make the situation worse” by next season, he said.
Selby said he would coordinate with Chiles and the church on leasing the lot to the city, and give the details to city attorney Jim Dye for legal review.
Webb suggested commissioners observe parking at the pier, the city lots, Roser Church and along Pine Avenue for the next two weeks and report at the commission’s April 26 meeting.
“There’s never been this much of a parking issue before,” he said. “I think it’s seasonal. Let’s make sure there is a problem now,” he said.
Commissioners agreed they had time to determine a rational solution before the next tourism season.
A number of other issues will be discussed at the April 26 meeting, including Commissioner SueLynn’s concerns about parking on streets that adjoin Pine Avenue.
Another issue for the April 26 agenda will be how city codes should be applied to property rentals.
The business association’s plan for downtown Holmes Beach includes more green space and a roundabout at Marina and Gulf drives. Islander Courtesy Photo
It’s about making Holmes Beach more walkable, and “eat, play and stay” — not just increased tourism.
Amy Welch, Holmes Beach Merchants Association president and owner of Acqua Aveda hair salon, introduced a concept plan to remake the downtown commercial district April 10 to the Holmes Beach City Commission, and a consensus of commissioners agreed she should continue working on the plan.
“I’m not trying to make it what it’s not,” Welch said. “I’m just trying to love it.”
Welch said the plan grew out of “jealousy,” watching other Island cities develop their business districts and thinking, “why aren’t we paying more attention to what’s happening in our own backyards?”
The plan proposes changes in city-owned property and rights of way, starting north from Sunrise Lane at Gulf Drive to past Island Real Estate on Marina Drive.
Welch told commissioners her plan calls for a waterfront park, green areas, benches, lighting, sidewalks and a traffic circle. It looks to connect shopping areas and improve traffic flow.
“I know you’ve all noticed how bad the traffic has been,” Welch said.
Commissioned by the merchants association, the plan was designed by Gary Hoyt of Hoyt Architects, Sarasota, whose work includes the Main Street project at Lakewood Ranch.
Landscape architect Peter Keenan, also of Hoyt, engineer Christopher Bolyard of Bolyard Consulting also contributed to the project, Welch said.
“This is a real drawing,” she said, adding the group is “ready to hit the trail for money” and listed numerous entities as potential grant sources, including the Metropolitan Planning Organization, Florida Scenic Highway Program and BP. “I’m writing grants right now.”
Mayor Rich Bohnenberger said he spoke to the MPO and, “just like the bicycle path,” the possibility of future funding would be several years out, although the city could consider allocating its gas-tax revenue.
Commission Chair David Zaccagnino said “maybe we should start the process to get on a list.”
Welch said she’s taken input from HBPD Police Chief Jay Romine, the mayor and other officials, and is now looking to the commission for direction.
Commissioner Jean Peelen complimented her on taking on the project, indicating she’s disappointed by downtown’s current condition.
Commissioner Sandy Haas-Martens voiced a concern about the proposed two-lane roadway — absent turn lanes — and the traffic circle to replace the existing intersection at Gulf and Marina drives.
She pointed out the fire department might have difficulty turning in a smaller roadway, and suggested talking with West Manatee Fire Rescue Chief Andy Price.
“I’m not saying it’s not a good plan,” Haas-Martens said after the meeting, adding “it’s just there are questions on logistics and feasibility.”
After the meeting, Welch said her next step will be to prepare a budget.
At its April 10 public hearing, the Bradenton Beach Planning and Zoning Board voted to recommend the city reject the proposed joint development agreement with ELRA, the corporation which owns the BeachHouse Restaurant, 200 Gulf Drive N., Bradenton Beach.
The JDA was entered into March 1 when city commissioners approved the agreement designed to construct a protective dune system across from city hall, 107 Gulf Drive.
In exchange for the agreement, ELRA agreed to pick up the lion’s share of the project’s costs, which includes the creation of a parking lot. ELRA would gain additional parking spaces for the restaurant, and the city also would have some added parking.
The primary sticking point for the zoning board was the parking lot, which the majority of the members felt violated the city’s comprehensive land-use plan, and a city ordinance which denies development on renourished beach.
After a lengthy question-and-answer session with building official Steve Gilbert and project engineer Lynn Townsend-Burnett, the board recommended rejection of the project 4-1.
Board member Patricia White, who voted against the rejection, was not necessarily for the project, but didn’t want to cast a vote without more information.
P&Z board member Bill Shearon motioned to table the issue to continue discussion on the project, but that motion failed 3-2 with White also in favor of a continuance.
“I feel it’s not as simple as accepting or rejecting,” said Shearon. “I can’t vote for or against recommendation without all my questions answered.”
Board member Jo Ann Meilner said there was nothing further to discuss, saying the project was a clear violation of the city’s land-use codes.
“I think it violates too many sections of the code to be approved,” she said.
P&Z chair Rick Bisio said the dune restoration part of the project was a positive, but the proposal to eliminate or relocate the park to make room for a parking lot was not. Bisio said any intention to move or eliminate the park area would require a referendum.
“I look at it and two things are clear,” he said. “Dune restoration is a positive. I think it’s something we want. Converting the city park to a parking lot is a big negative and that’s fairly clear.”
Bisio said, “What we are looking at here is a single proposal. I don’t think we can vote on these pieces separately, because it’s been presented as a single project. So we accept, deny or feel additional time will make a difference to our opinions and continue this to a later date.”
Meilner moved to reject the project.
“I don’t think we can find any new information that would change that this land use is (zoned) preservation,” she said. “You can’t convince me that you can build a parking lot on preservation.”
White brought up the existing BeachHouse valet parking, saying parking already exists on the beach.
“It does exist,” said Meilner, “but that doesn’t mean it’s a legal parking lot. You can continue to run a red light, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to eventually be legal. That (existing) parking lot is illegal.”
Bisio said there were too many concerns to warrant P&Z approval.
“I personally don’t think city property should have anything to do with this,” he said. “If it came back in a different form, I might look at it differently.”
With Meilner’s motion to recommend denial on the table, the board voted to reject the project proposal.
The P&Z board is a recommending board and the matter will next be taking up by city commissioners at their May 3 meeting.
Several factors can take place before the commission vote. Those involved with planning the project can work on the concerns of the P&Z before presenting the plan to the commissioners.
The commissioners have the right to disregard P&Z recommendations completely, or take into account those concerns in either approving or denying the project.
“I sure hope the mayor and commissioners will listen to the tape of this meeting, take into account documents presented, and consider the reasons why we are rejecting this,” said Shearon.
City argues dune project not about parking lot
By Mark Young
The proposed dune creation across from Bradenton Beach City Hall has been viewed as a positive step toward protecting not only city hall, but Gulf Drive, the city’s primary evacuation route during severe storms.
The sticking point in the joint development agreement between the city and ELRA, the corporation that owns the BeachHouse Restaurant across from city hall, has been to include a parking lot.
The agreement would create easements for both parties, allowing ELRA to expand parking for the restaurant, provide five parking spaces to the city and open the door for dune construction.
Building official Steve Gilbert and project engineer Lynn Townsend-Burnett argued the city’s position at the April 10 planning and zoning board public hearing.
“There are several components making up this application,” said Townsend-Burnett. “The major element is the dune system. A local mitigation strategy was put together by the county and cities several years ago, but the funding has never been in place.”
ELRA is proposing to pay more than $200,000 to the city’s $46,000 to construct the dune system. What it wants in exchange is additional parking, she said.
“(Florida Department of Environmental Protection) had already adopted the mitigation strategy and has encouraged local entities to continue working on it,” said Townsend-Burnett.
The P&Z board did not object to the dune system, but some members had objected to the parking lot, and ultimately recommended the city reject the JDA by a 4-1 vote, citing violations of land-use codes and city ordinances that prohibit development on renourished sand.
Gilbert said the land is zoned E-1, and while there isn’t language that allows a parking lot, there also isn’t language that prohibits it. However, Gilbert has repeatedly stated the parking is secondary to the coastal protection goals of the project.
“The land-use plan doesn’t talk about parking, but it’s not expressly prohibited,” said Gilbert. “The comprehensive plan is used for guidance because it’s more restrictive, but the comprehensive plan allows for other uses not contemplated in the land-use code.”
However, Gilbert reiterated the project is not about parking and said the P&Z board could certainly make its recommendations on parking to the commission accordingly.
“This is a dune-protection project,” he said. “What you choose to recommend as far as parking is strictly up to you.”
Gilbert faced tough questions from the board, whose members cited land-use codes verbatim. Jo Ann Meilner said allowable uses in E-1 “shall not be physically developed unless in conformance with the intent of preservation. I don’t think a parking lot is preservation.”
Meilner said she hasn’t found anything that says a parking lot is anything other than development and she opposed the city’s partnership with ELRA.
Meilner said she opposed the project, but called restaurant owner Ed Chiles a good man and good citizen to the community.
“Ed Chiles is one of the most involved and generous businessmen toward the city,” she said. “But I’m opposed to this parking lot.”
A key selling point in the city of Bradenton Beach’s partnership with ELRA, the corporation headed by Ed Chiles and owner of the BeachHouse Restaurant, to construct a dune across from city hall has been enhancing sea-turtle nesting habitat.
During the April 10 public hearing on the joint development agreement between the city and ELRA of the planning and zoning board, Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring executive director Suzi Fox said the city’s argument for the dunes should not be made in the name of sea-turtle protection.
Fox spoke at the hearing and told P&Z board members that this is not the first time this project has been considered.
“The initial dune project came about in 2007 and I was at that meeting with the city,” said Fox. “This dune was thought up so we could have parking on sea-turtle habitat.”
Fox said that since AMITW began collecting data, there have been 88 nesting sites and false crawls at the proposed development site.
“I felt then that parking in that area was not a good thing,” she said. “We are talking about sacrificing 88 habitats for a private restaurant to make more money. I want to see businesses expand, but it reaches a point where you can’t do it anymore.”
Fox said there were two recorded nests in the proposed development area last year.
“Be cautious about what you are doing,” she said.
The city’s argument for sea turtle protection has been that the dune would provide more protection by shielding headlights from Gulf Drive that may cause hatchlings to be disoriented, and the dune would provide a barrier from foot traffic that could encroach on nesting sites.
And still more opposition
Fox wasn’t the only person who spoke out against the project during public comment at the P&Z meeting.
Former city commissioner Janie Robertson also opposed the plan. While much of the opposition has been against the parking expansion, Robertson said the city may not be able to afford the long-term costs of maintain the dune system.
“I have a history of planning, zoning and development in this city,” she said. “I also have experience looking at dune projects and what happens to them.”
Robertson said the dune would become a budgetary concern to the city and cited those concerns “among many of my objections to this project. (The city) would be responsible for maintaining their portion of the property for at least 10 years. I feel it would be impossible for the city to maintain it for that amount of time.”
Robertson said dunes shift and move and what’s not being taking into account are additional expenses of having to install retention obstacles to keep shifting sands off of the proposed parking lot.
“And you wouldn’t be able to use (Community Redevelopment Agency) funds,” she said. “CRA funds can only be used for the creation of a project, not to maintain a project. The city would have to budget money every year to maintain something that is alive and moving on its own.”
Robertson also said she was not in favor of giving city property to allow the flow of traffic through a commercial parking lot.
Building official Steve Gilbert reiterated the city’s position — that parking is secondary to the project’s main goal of the dune project — which is designed to protect city hall and Gulf Drive from storm surge.
P&Z member Bill Shearon said the design of the dune system may or may not protect city hall, but it wasn’t going to protect private citizens on Gulf Drive.
“The dunes running south aren’t connecting to other dunes,” he said. “All that’s going to happen is the flow would take water (away from city hall) and impact private property.”
Shearon also objected to the project, saying it conflicts with the Scenic Waves committee’s “vision plan, which spent $25,000 on that plan.”
Shearon said BeachHouse Restaurant owner Ed Chiles was on the committee when the vision plan was created. Shearon also said $4,000 was spent by CRA in creating the small park in the proposed development area and the project would require CRA to spend city tax dollars twice.
Dune project engineer Lynn Townsend-Burnett said the city’s position was not to expand parking, but to enhance public safety.
“It’s about enhancing turtle and public safety,” she said. “You have the ability to address the parking concerns in your recommendations, but that’s not what this project is about.”
P&Z chair Rick Bisio said the way the project was presented as a complete project, including parking, the board had no choice but to address the parking, “which is obviously against the comprehensive land-use plan.”
The P&Z board voted to recommend the city deny the agreement.
The city commission will address the agreement at its May 3 meeting at Bradenton Beach City Hall, 107 Gulf Drive.
Commissioners will have the final say, as the P&Z board is strictly a recommending board.
The city of Holmes Beach honored three community partners — and past city officials shared memories of days gone by — at the 62nd anniversary celebration of the city’s incorporation April 13.
“I guess I’m the founder of Founder’s Day,” Mayor Rich Bohnenberger said in welcoming approximately 50 people to the reception and ceremony.
The mayor announced this year’s community partner awards: Otis Rothenberger, Jeb Stewart and Gary Taylor, all of Bradenton.
“These three people have made significant contributions to the city even though they don’t live in the city,” Bohnenberger said.
Rothenberger, a former Islander, was chosen for his contributions to youth activities on the Island, the mayor said. Stewart was honored for beautification and maintenance projects, and Taylor and his company were honored for their recent donation of 145 palm trees.
Also during the ceremony, Paulette Webb, former city clerk in 1971, shared her memories dating to 1953 — including her mom, then-city clerk, making her deputy clerk Snook Adams, the first police chief, giving her a valuable police identification card, and the politics of the time, including her resignation — due to a $1,200 pay cut and coffee duties.
Former Commissioner Jeff Asbury, now of Ellenton, also recounted stories of the past. He served the city as an official 1975-78 and throughout his 31 years on the Island. He told tales of affordable taxes, insurance – less than $300 —and low property prices. He mentioned how the peacock population swelled, the popularity of Pete Reynard’s Restaurant, and how developers wanted to make Holmes Beach like St. Pete Beach.
He shared memories of the worst storm in 1972 when “the city lost 28 houses, mostly because they built too close to the water.”
Holmes Beach Police Chief Jay Romine, who’s been with the city 19 years, also told stories passed to him by his father, who built the Key Royale Bridge and much of the city’s infrastructure. He described the first police station — a former sewage pumping station, evidence room and shooting range, and how one telephone line at the station was so commonly mistaken for the number to Pete Reynard’s that police officers sometimes took restaurant reservations.
The event began with a meet and greet in the lobby with books of historical newspaper clippings. Music was provided by the Anna Maria Island Community Chorus & Orchestra. There was a posting of the colors by the American Legion Post 24, and entertainer Mike Sales sang the national anthem. The reception was sponsored by The Islander.
The ceremony kicked off the 2012 Island CityFest, a Holmes Beach Founder’s Day Celebration, April 13-14.
Proceeds from the CitiFest go to the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce youth scholarship fund.
The event included a classic car show, arts and craft vendors, food and beverage sales, and a lineup of bands and music throughout the two-day event.
Jeff Asbury, former city alderman, now known as commissioner, shares memories of early days in the city at the mayor’s reception.
The LaPensee Classic Car Show at CitiFest attracts onlookers and more than 120 vehicles to Birdie Tebbetts Field.
Jack Elka plays keyboard for the crowd at the Billy Rice Band Saturday night performance at CityFest.
Saturday night headliner Billy Rice croons a tender ballad on stage at Citifest.
Scott’s Garage band draws an early crowd Friday evening.
Island Pearl launches from the city basin, treating passengers who purchased tickets at CityFest to tours of Anna Maria Island waters.
Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce Mary Ann Brockman stops to chat with Lance Hubschmitt in his Cruizin to the Hop Car Shows booth.
Classic car show top prize winners are applauded at CityFest.
Demi Wing offers to share her heaping helping of funnel cake at CityFest.
Sam Hwang ,2, of Michigan enjoys popcorn and live music at CityFest.
Islander Photos: Kathy Prucnell and Bonner Joy
Approximately 6,600 square feet of mangroves were illegally cut on the bayfront at 28th Street, Holmes Beach, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Originally thought to be a larger area, the DEP concluded the illegally cut mangroves were as shown here. Islander Courtesy Photo
A large swathe of mangroves was illegally trimmed on the bayfront at 28th Street in Holmes Beach without a permit, violating the state statute that protects the shore-hugging trees.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection issued its findings in two letters, one April 4 to Roderick L. Parsons of Ripley, W.Va., proposing a settlement of $2,000 plus $250 in costs and, a second similar letter April 5 to Sunset Tree Service of Bradenton, proposing a payment of $1,000 plus $250 costs to settle the violations.
“Although there are no actions to correct the violation, you remain subject to civil penalties as a result of the violation,” as well as the costs incurred in the DEP investigation, according to letters signed by Gary S. Colecchio, DEP southwest district director.
Approximately 6,600 square feet of mangroves were altered “within the landward extent of Grassy Point Bayou,” according to the DEP correspondence. The figure was reduced from its original 9,500-square-foot estimate after DEP officials checked the measurements with a global positioning system, according to DEP spokesperson Ana Gibbs.
An inspection report dated Feb. 15 states that Parsons hired the Bradenton contractor to cut mangroves across the street from his 28th Street property on land owned by Cedar Hames of Tierra Verde.
Letters dated Feb. 29 warning of the possible violations were sent to Parsons and Hames. A similar letter was sent March 21 to Miguel Guevara of Sunset Tree Service, according to Gibbs.
She said the investigation concluded, “based on our conversation with Mr. Hames, it appears he was unaware of the trimming of mangroves.”
She said the DEP would not pursue Hames for the mangrove trimming.
The recent letters to Guevara and Parsons refer to the proposed settlement as a “short-form consent order” and, if signed, would “acknowledge and waive” rights to an administrative hearing otherwise available to appeal the DEP findings.
Parsons was given until May 18 to pay $2,250 to the DEP.
Guevara and Sunset Tree Service were given until May 9 to pay the first $250 installment of five consecutive monthly payments.
State law prohibits a person from altering or trimming any mangroves “within the landward extent of wetlands and other surface waters” except by permit.
No such permit had been obtained for the mangrove work performed on 28th Street.
After DEP’s inspection of the unauthorized mangrove trimming, it reported the “impacted fringe was approximately 16-20 plus feet in pre-trimmed height. At the completion of the alteration, it appears the trees were reduced to a final height of approximately 5 feet.”
The Feb. 15 report also described the fringe as comprised of mostly black mangroves and white mangroves with an average diameter of 5 inches, an average depth of 75 linear feet and length of 126 linear feet.
The mangrove alteration was first noticed by Janet Fitzgerald, who regularly walks her dog on 28th Street. She noted a marked difference in the mangroves, and told Holmes Beach Commissioner Jean Peelen in January about her discovery.
Fitzgerald has lived on the Island since the 1970s, and said she values the mangroves “for the shade, wildlife nesting and spawning areas, and the coastal protection they provide.”
On learning of the DEP findings, Fitzgerald said April 10 that while she didn’t wish the neighbor any ill will, she was glad to see DEP’s enforcement can “really work.”
Mayor Rich Bohnenberger
Saying April 10 he’s “no longer undecided” at a work session of the Holmes Beach City Commission, Mayor Rich Bohnenberger declared his intent to run for re-election in November.
Bohnenberger said last month he did not yet know whether he’d run. He has since received phone calls from supporters and decided to run, he said.
The mayor is a non-voting member of the commission and serves as the chief executive officer of the city.
Bohnenberger has been mayor since 2006, and previously served both as a city commissioner and mayor.
He was first elected as a city commissioner in 1993, elected as mayor in 1994 and served until 1996. He ran again for commissioner, and served in this capacity from 1999 to 2006.
In addition to the mayor, the terms of two commissioners, John Monetti and Sandy Haas-Martens, also will expire this fall. Both have previously said they intend to run for re-election.
Any candidate seeking election in the Nov. 6 general election must first “qualify” by an in-person visit between noon June 4 and noon June 8 with city clerk Stacey Johnston at city hall, 5801 Marina Drive.
Candidates must reside in the city for two years prior to qualifying for office, be a voter and present a petition of 15 city voter signatures. In addition, state election code requires certain forms and pay an assessment fee equal to 1 percent of the annual salary of the office — $120 for the mayor and $60 for commissioner — or file an “undue burden” oath.
Holmes Beach commissioners and the mayor are elected for two-year terms.
60-year-old woman Anna Maria woman has been arrested on felony domestic battery of a pregnant woman.
According to a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office arrest report, Irene Hernandez was arrested April 9 at 205 Gladiolus St., Anna Maria, following a physical altercation with her pregnant 19-year-old daughter.
Mother and daughter became engaged in a verbal argument and, according to the report, at some point in the argument, Hernandez ended up sitting on top of her daughter.
It was at this point the daughter informed her mother she was three months pregnant. Hernandez allegedly became more enraged, according to the report, telling her daughter she hoped she lost the baby.
The mother let her daughter up and headed for the front door. The daughter tried to stop her from leaving by standing in front of the door, at which time Hernandez is alleged to have grabbed her daughter by the hair to pull her out of the way.
Sheriff’s deputies responded to a 9-1-1 call and made contact with the mother outside the residence. The report states Hernandez admitted she grabbed her daughter after she learned she was pregnant.
The alleged victim is reported to have a high-risk pregnancy, so emergency responders were called to the scene by deputies. She was then medically cleared, and the report states there were no visible injuries to the daughter, however based on the mother’s admission, she was arrested on the felony battery charge.
As of press time, Hernandez remained in custody on $250 bond.
Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Matt Kiernan of the MCSO Anna Maria substation talks April 11 to Juan Carlos Hernandez-Rafael, 32, (inside vehicle) after arresting Hernandez on several Arizona warrants following a routine traffic stop in the 9400 block of Gulf Drive. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin
A reputed Phoenix gang member was arrested last week in Anna Maria by Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Matt Kiernan of the MCSO-AM substation for three warrants out of Arizona after a routine traffic stop led to discovery of the warrants.
MCSO Sgt. Dave Turner, who heads the substation, said Juan Carlos Rafael-Hernandez, 32, is wanted in Arizona for human trafficking, money laundering and possession of narcotics.
Hernandez was stopped by Kiernan around 4 p.m. April 11 in the 9200 block of Gulf Drive for driving an overloaded vehicle.
Turner said that when Kiernan ran the man’s name and fingerprint through a law enforcement computer, it returned three outstanding warrants in Phoenix (Maricopa County), along with information that Hernandez is a known gang member and an illegal immigrant from Mexico.
Kiernan then arrested Hernandez, who did not have a Florida driver’s license, and took him to the Manatee County jail, where he was booked pending notification of Arizona law enforcement officials.
Turner said Hernandez would be extradited to Arizona, and would not be granted bail while in Manatee County custody.
Kiernan said in his report that at the time of the arrest, Hernandez said he was working for a construction company on Anna Maria Island. The company was not identified in the MCSO report.