Tag Archives: 07-11-2012

Storm-damaged BB pier may close 4-6 months

Bradenton Beach city commissioners and staff say the Historic Bridge Street Pier may close until a proposed reconstruction project is completed. And the project is likely to take four-six months.

Tropical Storm Debby pummeled Anna Maria Island for three days beginning June 24 and wind and waves sent several boats slamming against the pier.

One boat, a 30-foot sailboat, slammed against the pier’s day dock, and the sustained battering of the pier damaged a concrete piling, forcing the closure.

Two weeks was the expected time line to have the piling temporarily repaired so the pier could open long enough for fishers to have access until the pier reconstruction project begins, with a still undetermined start date.

But now the pier may be closed until the reconstruction project is completed.

The Bradenton Beach city pier team met July 5 for an update on the extent of the damage.

Police Chief Sam Speciale, pier team facilitator, said more than a half dozen boats slammed into the pier during the storm. Three sunk below the pier.

“But the ones that didn’t sink did the most damage,” said Speciale. “The one big issue was the concrete piling at the beginning of the pier. It’s completely broken, so I needed an expert opinion on whether to close down the pier and what needed to be done to reopen it.”

Speciale enlisted the service of Charles Sago, the engineer of record who will spearhead the pier reconstruction project.

“The reinforcing steel was all corroded and the bearing weight might be 3 inches of concrete,” said Sago. “It would not withstand another storm, and if it goes, it could cause that portion of the pier next to the restaurant to collapse.”

The idea was to sling the piling, which Sago said would be enough reinforcement to open the pier to the public, but city staff were unclear on the cost of the repair.

Public works director Tom Woodard said he is waiting for a written cost estimate from two companies, but the ballpark figure is $5,000-$10,000 to fix the piling.

“Commissioners will have to decide whether to go forward with repairs,” said Speciale. “What I want to do is bring the bid to you and then ask: Do we spend upwards of $10,000 to fix the piling, plus the railings, or wait the four to six months to do the reconstruction and leave the pier closed until then?”

Mayor John Shaughnessy said he could not see spending that much money on a piling. “The only thing the pier is being used for is fishing,” he said. “I’m in favor of leaving it closed.”

Commissioner Gay Breuler agreed, saying it would be silly to spend that kind of money on something that is going to be ripped out in a few months.

“We already have all these extra expenses because of this storm,” she said. “I don’t think we should even spend $5,000. It doesn’t make sense.”

Commissioner Jan Vosburgh was concerned about Bridge Street businesses being impacted by leaving the pier and day dock closed, but Woodard said the day dock is a whole different story and would not reopen for some time anyway.

“Originally we were going to shorten the day dock because the beginning sections were fine,” he said. “They aren’t fine anymore. The day dock is not gone, but it needs major repairs. All of the sections are separated now.”

Speciale said the decision for now is to keep the pier closed, but move forward with getting estimates.

“We are going to get all of the information we can and get the commissioners as many options as we can,” said Speciale. “At that time, we can have a special meeting or bring the information to a commission meeting so you can make your decision.”


AMI’s sea turtle nesting on record track

Tropical Storm Debby’s arrival to Anna Maria Island June 25 brought a series of ups and downs for the Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring staff and volunteers.

AMITW executive director Suzi Fox said the latest news is good.

“We are back on track to break the nesting record,” said Fox. “Since the storm ended, we have had an average of seven nests a day, and we also found four nests that must have been laid during the storm.”

By July 6, 248 nests were documented, breaking the previous season record of 247 nests.

Fox estimated the island lost as many as 90 nests due to storm surge created by TS Debby, and each section of the nesting beach reported different circumstances.

“All sections seem to have fared a bit different,” she said. “Section 7 has a seawall that has shown up after 15 years. There is no nesting habitat between the water and the wall for a half mile. Section 2 (in Anna Maria) has actually accrued sand and Section 9 had loads of rocks.”

Rocks and seawalls previously covered with sand, either accrued or from past renourishments, reappeared in some locations.

Fox said some sections lost dunes, and some have added sand.

“We did lose many stakes and quite a few nests,” she said. “We won’t know the exact number of nests until after the original hatch date has passed and we are sure they are gone.”

Fox remains optimistic with the frenzy of nesting activity since the storm concluded.

“Our turtle girls are still nesting and making a great comeback,” she said. “We still have not seen a slowdown and we have another month of nesting.”

It was initially bad news for the black skimmers that nested before the storm arrived, but AMITW volunteer Glenn Wiseman reported the birds returned to their nesting site after the storm.

The nesting sites were marked and Wiseman said the skimmers resumed “their personal business.”

BB attorney seeks help with lawsuits

Bradenton Beach city attorney Ricinda Perry July 5 asked for and received a consensus from city commissioners to hire a special litigator to help with two lawsuits.

One lawsuit against the city was filed by Holmes Beach over the ongoing Sandpiper Resort border-27th Street dispute. The other action contends the city misinterpreted city codes in allowing a dune and parking lot project to move forward across from city hall.

Perry said soon she will file responses to both lawsuits, but she asked commissioners to hire another law firm for legal support.

Perry recommended the city retain Chuck Johnson of Blalock Walters of Bradenton, who Perry called a “top litigator” in the state.

“I will do the lion’s share of the legwork, but Mr. Johnson will do the litigating,” she said. “Neither action qualified for League of Cities, so unfortunately your taxpayers will be burdened by this litigation. When people become contentious on matters, my bill goes up.”

Perry played a role in guiding and recommending how the commission should act in both matters. The commissioners have repeatedly supported Perry and they reached a consensus to hire Johnson.

Taxpayers, in addition to paying Perry’s legal fees, also will pay the bill for an attorney to litigate the lawsuits.

In the HB-BB border dispute, Holmes Beach maintains a quitclaim deed for the length of 27th Street between Gulf Drive and the bayfront granted by Bradenton Beach to the Sandpiper Resort, 2601 Gulf Drive N., was an illegal transfer of property.

Holmes Beach filed an action for declaratory relief May 24 to have the quitclaim voided and a declaration that 27th Street is a public right of way.

The dispute arose when the Sandpiper Resort installed gates and fences with signs announcing “private property” and blocked public access by locking the gates on the fence separating the resort and the city of Holmes Beach.

Bradenton Beach Mayor John Shaughnessy and Commissioner Gay Breuler have recused themselves from voting on the matter because they reside at the Sandpiper Resort.

The second lawsuit filed against Bradenton Beach was brought by three citizens, including two former planning and zoning board members.

Former P&Z members Jo Ann Meilner and Bill Shearon, also a former city commissioner, as well as Tjet Martin, Shearon’s partner at the Linger Longer Resort, want the court to void the city’s development plan with ELRA, the corporate entity of Ed Chiles’ BeachHouse Restaurant.

The suit challenges the city’s code interpretation involving a dune and parking lot project approved by the city to begin in October south of the restaurant, 200 Gulf Drive S., Bradenton Beach, and across from city hall.

P&Z members recommended against the project 4-1 based on a number of land development code and cited comprehensive plan violations geared more toward the parking lot rather than the dune.

The contentious battle culminated at a May 3 city commission meeting when Perry questioned P&Z members’ qualifications.

Perry said city staff were better qualified to interpret codes and discounted P&Z expertise by saying only people with lettered degrees behind their names should interpret codes even though P&Z members are involved in writing the codes.

P&Z members also were rebuked by Commissioner Ric Gatehouse, who accused them of personal bias and presenting a tainted recommendation.

Breuler said she would trust city staff first and foremost, as commissioners unanimously approved the project.

Commissioner Jan Vosburgh later voted “no” when it came time to approve the contract, saying she had become uncomfortable with the agreement.

Following the May 3 commission meeting, four P&Z members resigned, including Meilner, Shearon, Joyce Kramer, and chair Rick Bisio.

Round 2: Chickens abandoned, captured, relocated

Domesticated chickens — believed to be at least 13 in number — were abandoned last week near the border of the cities of Anna Maria and Holmes Beach. It’s the second time in less than a month that hens and roosters were left on the island and later captured for relocation.

        Both the cities of Anna Maria and Holmes Beach have ordinances that forbid maintaining farm animals.

        Wildlife Inc. of Bradenton Beach, a wildlife education and rehab organization, captured the chickens.

        “We’ve been down there several times. I think we’ve got them all — for now — unless they bring more,” said Ed Straight of Wildlife Inc. He and wife Gail Straight are own and operate the nonprofit wildlife rehab group.

        Holmes Beach code enforcement officer David Forbes said the first report on the abandoned birds came from a Holmes Beach resident on 84th Street, who said the chickens were seen July 5 at the beach end of Beach Avenue in Anna Maria.

        Forbes said when he saw the chickens July 5, they were in a vacant lot in the 100 block of Beach Avenue in Anna Maria, adjacent to the beach access that separates the two cities.

        Forbes said he spoke with Anna Maria public works employee Gary Thorpe and called Wildlife Inc.

        Wildlife Inc. also responded last month after chickens and roosters were abandoned at the Anna Maria Island Historical Society museum on Pine Avenue. Volunteers captured eight birds and found a home for them on a farm in North Port, according to Gail Straight.

        On July 6, she and several volunteers — Claudia Wiseman, Glenn Wiseman, Damen Hurd, Devon Straight, Tyler Russell and Laura Gutierrez — caught most of the chickens from the second abandonment.

        “This is just stupid,” said Gail Straight. “And they’re not in the best of condition. You can tell there’s been pecking to their heads.”

        She added that the environment is endangered when anything non-native is introduced in an area.

        Gail Straight said chickens eat bugs that migratory birds normally eat, and releasing chickens “causes damage to our native wildlife.”

        “I hope whoever did this gets caught and pays for it. I’m going to call the Florida Fish and Wildlife (Conservation Commission),” she said.

        “It’s just not necessary,” said Forbes. “It’s pretty cruel. There’s no water source. And (chickens) may be a food source for other animals.”

        Forbes warned that if chicken releases continue, the perpetrator will be caught.

        “You can’t tell me the chickens don’t make noise when they’re left off. When I was out there, there was constant clucking,” he said.

        He’s confident “there are eyes and ears” on the island to report future abandonments.

        The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office polices Anna Maria, where the chickens were first collected by Wildlife Inc.

        “I guess they’re waking up people,” said Sgt. David Turner, supervisor of the MCSO-Anna Maria substation.

        “If we catch (the people who leave them), we’ll file charges against them, write a ticket, seize the chickens if we catch them in the act, and we may be able to do an abuse case,” he said.

HB code enforcement to visit rental agents

Holmes Beach code enforcement officer David Forbes will continue his folksy-styled enforcement this week, knocking on the doors of each rental agent in the city.

        He will be delivering a one-page “Holmes Beach Regulations Reference” and a message aimed at getting word out to agents and renters about the city’s trash, parking, noise and turtle/beach regulations.

        “I want them to give each of their renters one of these on a bright sheet of paper,” he said, pointing to a regulations handout.

This latest move in Holmes Beach code enforcement comes on the heels of Forbes’ warning letters sent June 18 to owners and rental agencies about previous noise complaints to Holmes Beach Police Department at their properties. The letters will “lay the foundation” for future code violations if there are repeat occurrences, Forbes said.

        In addition to noise, rental agents will be on the hot seat for trash, parking and other code violations, and may be held liable along with the property owners and renters.

        There are 34 doors to knock on, according to Forbes, including A Paradise Realty, AMI Beaches Real Estate, AMI Real Estate, Anna Maria Gulf Coast Rentals, Anna Maria Island Accommodations, Anna Maria Realty Inc., Anna Maria Vacations, Bark & Company, Big Fish Real Estate, Charity & Weiss, Coastal Properties Realty, Colwell Banker, Dolores M. Baker, Duncan Real Estate, Edgewater Real Estate, Engel & Voelkers, Fran Maxon Real Estate, Green Real Estate, Gulf-Bay Realty, Horizon Realty, Island Real Estate, Island Vacation Properties, Mike Norman Realty, Old Florida Realty Co., Re/Max Alliance Group, Sato Real Estate, Skipper & Associates, Sol Terre Properties, Sotheby’s Sun Resorts International, Suncoast Real Estate, T. Dolly Young Real Estate and Wagner Realty.

        The Holmes Beach regulations in the handout include:

        Trash and recycling

        • All trash and recyclables must be in cans or bags.

        Recycling is picked up on Mondays.

        Trash is picked up on Mondays and Fridays.

        Trash may not be set out earlier than 5:30 a.m. the day before pickup.

        • Empty trash cans must be removed no later than 10 a.m. the day following the pickup.

        • Tenant should inform rental agent immediately of any missed pickup.

        • Brown cans designate side-door service and are not intended to be taken to the curb. Waste Management will retrieve and return cans to the side-door location.


• All vehicles must be parked in garages or driveways.

• Vehicles cannot be parked in rights of way longer than 72 hours.

• Boats, trailers and recreational vehicles may not be parked in rights of way or along streets, but may be parked in a driveway or side yard.


• Loud music, voices and other unreasonable noise is subject to the noise ordinance between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., Monday-Friday, and between 10 p.m. and 10 a.m. on weekends and holidays.

• Police are expected to issue one warning upon response to a noise complaint, and the property’s rental agent is to be notified. If the same offender/property requires future visits, citations and $75 fines may be issued, and multiple offenses may lead to eviction.

Turtle/beach regulations

• Turtle nesting is May 1-Oct. 31, and the sea turtles and their nests are protected by federal and state laws.

• All beach items, including canopies, tents, chars, beach toys, umbrellas and trash, must be removed from beach at night.

• All lights visible from beach must be turned off or shielded.

        • Dogs, bicycles, alcohol and open fires are not permitted on beaches.

Fourth of July celebrations “Click here for more photos”

Many thanks to the BeachHouse, Mar Vista and Sandbar restaurants for the pyrotechnic entertainment the nights of July 2-4, and to the Anna Maria Island Privateers for the parade and party July 4. Islander Photos: Bonner Joy, Kimberly Kuizon, Karen Riley-Love and Annie Weir


































Builder pledges old Florida cottage to remain

Anna Maria resident and builder/developer Shawn Kaleta is taking some flack for building rental homes that are large enough to accommodate several families in Holmes Beach. His name was mentioned at one Holmes Beach commission meeting as someone who didn’t care about the old Florida charm of Anna Maria Island.

But after purchasing an older family home from the Moss estate last year at 101 Willow Ave., Anna Maria, Kaleta pledged to do what he could to preserve the historical significance of the Moss home and others he might buy in the city.

He now has that chance.

Kaleta recently purchased a small, 1938-built, ground-level vacation rental at 9802 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria, but said he has no plans to tear the structure down.

“I plan to restore the cottage and a local resident has already bought it as a full-time home/office. It will remain a quaint, Anna Maria cottage,” Kaleta said.

The property lies within the city’s retail-office-residential district, and Kaleta could build a three-story ROR structure with a residence atop a ground-level business.

But he says that’s not the plan.

“I want to help preserve as many of the old Florida homes as possible,” he said.

Sissy Quinn, chair of the city’s historical preservation committee, was ecstatic to hear Kaleta’s comments.

“That’s just wonderful. That’s just so good to hear. I hope some of the other builders will follow his example,” she said.

“This is what we on the committee are working for. Everyone comes to Anna Maria for the old Florida charm. If developers keep building three-story homes as vacation rentals, old Florida in Anna Maria will disappear. I really congratulate Shawn.”

Kaleta also owns a single-family home at 9405 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria, which he renovated. The house will remain a vacation rental, he said, although it sits on two lots.

Stop-work order posted at builder’s home

Anna Maria building official Bob Welch posted a stop-work order at the home of Shawn and Jennifer Kaleta at 101 Willow Ave.

Welch said he ordered work stopped July 5, after observing work being done in excess of the permit he issued for the property. He allowed the roofing contractor to continue with some necessary repairs, which he said he will inspect this week.

While the order is for the Kaleta family home, Shawn Kaleta, a well-known builder/developer on the island, also has been active in the real estate market.

He recently purchased a vacation home at 9802 Gulf Drive and, he says, he plans to restore the cottage to its original condition for use as a retail/residential property. (See related story below.)

He also purchased a three-story house at 804 N. Shore Drive, that Welch cited last month, saying Kaleta had bedrooms on the ground-floor garage and storage level, which is prohibited.

Kaleta paid $1.1 million for that house in February and put it back on the market for $2.2 million after making improvements and adding a swimming pool.

Kaleta’s agent in that purchase indicated the selling price is based on the anticipated rental revenue the property will produce, approximately $250,000 per year.

Kaleta also last year purchased and renovated a single-family home — now a vacation rental — at 9405 Gulf Drive.

Kaleta gained notoriety in Holmes Beach last year when he either contracted to build or developed a number of large, multi-bedroom duplexes that drew the ire of some people at a city commission meeting.

Kaleta, however, has maintained that every construction project was built according to city codes.

“I am only building what I am allowed to build,” he said recently.

Mosquito outbreak brings Island flyover

Manatee Mosquito Control District supervisor Chris Lesser said the recent outbreak of mosquitoes caused by standing water left from Tropical Storm Debby prompted his department to aerial spray Anna Maria Island around 8:30 p.m. July 5.

He apologized for not getting word out, but the decision to make the flyover came only after inspectors found spraying from trucks was ineffective at killing the pesky insects that began breeding in the wake of Tropical Storm Debby.

Lesser said another flyover might be necessary, but truck-spraying will continue for now.

The district’s helicopter also sprayed Anna Maria Island on June 21. It was the first time in 15 years that aerial spraying of the Island was needed. The chopper usually sprays large areas of the mainland for mosquito control. Mosquito-spraying airplanes and trucks also are used.

“We can spray Anna Maria Island in a few minutes,” Lesser said.

The Island is susceptible to mosquito outbreaks because of the numerous vacation rentals and second-homes that may be vacant for several weeks or longer, he said. Some seasonal properties are empty from May through October.

Lesser also is concerned that Island mosquitoes are not acting like their mainland counterparts.

“These mosquitoes aren’t like normal mosquitoes,” he said. “They come out about an hour before dusk, unlike ordinary mosquitoes that prefer darkness.”

After sunset, the island’s mosquitoes return to their breeding grounds or hide where the trucks have difficulty reaching them.

Lesser was concerned that islanders would not over-react to a low-flying helicopter, and he said he hoped everyone understood the reason for the flyover.

“If there’s another flyover, we’ll try to notify the Island in advance,” he said. “Thankfully, it won’t be at 2 in the morning, but shortly before dusk.”



Tips to fight mosquitoes

Tom Larkin, Manatee County’s environmental health director, offered these tips to keep the mosquito breeding to a minimum:

• Standing water in tires, toys, retention ponds, bird baths and drainage swales are excellent breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Keep those areas clear.

• Clean out eaves, troughs and gutters.

• Remove old tires or drill holes in those that hold water.

• Turn over or remove plastic pots.

• Pick up beverage containers and cups.

• Check out tarps on boats or other equipment that might collect water.

• Pump out bilges on boats.

• Replace water in birdbaths and pet or other animal feeding dishes at least once a week.

• Remove vegetation or obstructions in drainage ditches that prevent water flow.

Larkin also recommended people avoid the outdoors between dusk and dawn, the time when mosquitoes are most active.

Lesser, however, has said island mosquitoes are most active in the hour before dusk.

World-class surfer, crusader Rich Salick dies

Rich Salick grew up on the smooth, glassy waves of the Manatee Public Beach on Anna Maria Island.

He went on to greatness, induction in 2000 to the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame and founder with twin brother Phil of the National Kidney Foundation Pro Am Surf Festival.

But never you mind his struggles with kidney disease and the gift of life — three kidney transplants — he received from siblings, including the first from Phil.

Never mind his 40-year fight against medical odds and a bout with cancer in recent years.

Never mind all that. He lived life to the fullest, and he did it to see that others with kidney disease could triumph, succeed and live their lives to the fullest.

Rich Salick, 62, died July 2 shortly after surgery at Orlando Regional Medical Center. His heart would have no more.

But his legacy as a surfer and as an inspiration to people affected by kidney disease will live on. So many people are influenced by his wake.

Rich was the No. 1 ranked surfer on the East Coast in the 24-35 age group in 1980.

He and Phil started a surfing competition in Cocoa Beach, where they had moved to pursue the perfect wave and a surfing profession. They opened a surf shop, started forming their own brand of boards, and from that was born the world’s largest charitable surfing competition — which draws tens of thousands of spectators to Cocoa Beach on Labor Day weekend. This will be the 27th consecutive year for the tournament that last year raised some $125,000 for the NKF Orlando chapter.

They also opened a highway of surfers trekking from Anna Maria to Cocoa Beach and back to frequent their favorite beaches and learn from the best of the best, and to purchase a coveted Salick surfboard. Their surf shop and board-making enterprise operated from the 1970s-80s.

Salick had received a trio of kidney transplants from his brothers over the course of 38 years. He received transplants from twin Phil in 1974, older brother Channing Salick in 1986 and younger brother Wilson Shymanski in 1999.

“He was the heart and soul of the National Kidney Foundation. He personified who we are and what we do,” Stephanie Hutchinson, chief executive officer of the organization’s Orlando-based Florida chapter told Florida Today on his death.

“He was all about being there for patients — getting them the right care that they needed — and he did that for over 30 years. He would run all over the state in his car, in Jacksonville and Fort Myers, meeting with volunteers,” Hutchinson said.

“I only worked with him the past seven years — but in my life, I have never had the privilege of working with such a great man. And I will miss him every day,” Hutchinson said.

A memorial service was held July 7 in Cocoa Beach with a gathering that followed at the Cocoa Beach Pier.

On July 8, friends and family participated in a paddle out service from the beach at Third Street North, the beach nearest the Salick’s surf shop.

A local celebration of life is to be announced.

Memorial donations may be made by mail to the National Kidney Foundation of Florida, Patient Services Program, 1040 Woodcock Road, Suite 119, Orlando FL 32803 or by calling 800-927-9659.

Salick is survived by his twin, Phil, sister Joanie and husband Tony Mills and their son Brandon of Holmes Beach, brother Rosser Shymanski, son Philip, stepson David Morgan, and ex-wife Michele Brenner Salick.