Tag Archives: 07-31-2013

Holmes Beach increases parking enforcement

Increasing the cost of parking tickets is just one tool Holmes Beach commissioners will soon discuss to help alleviate what city officials are calling an overwhelming parking problem.

During season and holiday weekends, residents have complained at city meetings that their neighborhoods are being used by visitors for overflow parking for the beach and nearby restaurants.

Currently, a parking ticket in the city will run a violator $25, but some visitors see that as a reasonable expense for all day island parking.

At a June city commission meeting, Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer suggested raising the parking fine to $35, but immediate feedback was to raise the fine to $50.

Tokajer said July 24 that the commission would be addressing a fine increase, and would then need to amend the city’s parking ordinance.

In the meantime, Tokajer has taken another step to ease congestion on Manatee Avenue West leading into the Manatee Public Beach area near the Gulf Drive intersection.

For some time, the city has posted signs that there is no parking allowed on the north side of Manatee Avenue due to limited space between the roadway and the sidewalk.

Tokajer received a consensus from commissioners in June to implement a tow-away zone on the north side, where parking is prohibited.

“The tow-away signs went in either July 19 or July 20,” said Tokajer. “I told my guys not to enforce the tow-away zone until they received an email from me clarifying that it was up and running.”

Tokajer wanted to give the public every opportunity to learn of the tow-away zone before implementing it, but said it would activate sometime in the first week of August.

“I think it’s important to first let people know we are going to start towing from that area,” he said. “Even though it’s a no-parking area, people are still parking there and it’s become a hazard to pedestrians and bicyclists.”

Tokajer said vehicles park in the bike lane and on the sidewalk, forcing bicyclists and pedestrians into Manatee Avenue and potential disaster.

“It forces people into a state road and that’s just unsafe,” he said.

Tokajer said towing companies are used by the city on a rotating basis, so fees for people who have vehicles towed may vary, “but will be significantly more than a parking ticket, potentially running into the hundreds of dollars.”

He said he would be contacting the towing companies before enforcing the tow-away zone to let them know they soon will be needed.

In the meantime, motorists can park on the south side of Manatee Avenue West, where Tokajer says there is substantially more room to park vehicles without endangering pedestrians or bicyclists.

The area often is used during peak times for overflow parking by beachgoers.

“They are allowed to park on the south side because there is enough of a grassy area and no sidewalks,” said Tokajer. “But the vehicle must be parked all the way off the road. It cannot be in the roadway or bike lane or they will be illegally parked and subject to a parking fine.”

HB to pursue tree house violations despite petition drive

To save or not to save, that is the upcoming question for Holmes Beach commissioners when it comes to a tree house that has become the center of an emotional controversy.

In a letter dated July 23 from city attorney Patricia Petruff to Holmes Beach elected officials, Petruff announced that the petition to force a vote to possibly create a new ordinance to allow the tree house at 103 29th St. was successfully filed July 19.

Angelinos Sea Resort owners Lyn Tran and Richard Hazen were able to collect the required 332 signatures representing 10 percent of registered Holmes Beach voters. The petition is at the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office, which has until Aug. 8 to verify that the signatures are from registered voters.

The petition, if verified, will force city commissioners to vote on whether or not to create an ordinance to allow the tree house.

If commissioners vote against the ordinance, the matter will be placed on a referendum and the timetable could allow the matter to go on the November election ballot, avoiding the cost of a special election.

While the petition effort appears to be successful for Tran and Hazen, city officials caution against calling it a victory, saying it’s just another step in the process. The city will continue to pursue the cited code violations against the structure with the intention of having it removed.

Violations cited in the past year include building without a permit, building seaward of the coastal construction line and violating setbacks.

New violations outlined June 13 indicate that the tree house, as well as other parts of the resort property, are located within the 29th Street public right of way and in the platted alley located in block 38 of the Ilexhurst subdivision.

A code enforcement hearing was scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 30, at Holmes Beach City Hall, 5801 Marina Drive.

City officials said that hearing will continue as scheduled because the tree house violates the law and it’s the city’s obligation to pursue the code violations.

Commissioners have given every indication that when the petition to create a new ordinance comes before them, it will be voted down and put to the voters.

Should the election results fall in favor of Tran and Hazen, city officials said it is unlikely that anything will change because an ordinance cannot be created that is contradictory to city, state and federal laws.

Petruff notes in her letter that even though the city must follow the process, “any ordinance adopted must be consistent with the comprehensive plan and should not conflict with state law.”

According to city officials, therein lies the problem with an ordinance. The city alleges that the tree house violates the comprehensive plan, state laws pertaining to the coastal construction line and city building codes. An ordinance, city officials said, would be virtually impossible to create that would not conflict with existing laws.

However, because the petition appears to be successful, the process must continue.

Assuming the petition is validated by Aug. 8, the city has 60-90 days to schedule an election. Petruff said if the supervisor of elections has room and can draft language for the November ballot, the city can avoid the expense of a special election.

If not, the city will be required to pay for the balloting and, according to the city, it won’t change the eventual outcome and goal of the city to have it torn down.

Petruff said commissioners will have to act promptly after the petition is verified and, to that end, the city tentatively scheduled an Aug. 20 public hearing on the matter.

The structure was built in an Australian pine tree in 2011, allegedly with verbal permission from former building official Bob Shaffer. Shaffer has said he was not informed of the scale of the structure at the resort.

Two years later, the city received a complaint and followed through to find the structure violated city and state codes and have since followed standard code violation procedures.

Building official Tom O’Brien has previously said it was the owners’ responsibility to ensure a permit wasn’t needed. Nothing the two resort owners have presented thus far, he said, changes the facts that it is an illegal structure and must be removed.

DUI stop leads to arrest for felony child neglect

A 47-year-old Bradenton man was arrested July 20 for felony child neglect without great harm and misdemeanor driving under the influence.

The Holmes Beach Police Department received a complaint that a man who appeared to be intoxicated was getting into his vehicle with a child.

An HBPD officer initiated a traffic stop as the man was attempting to leave a parking lot in the 3200 block of East Bay Drive. Upon making contact with Keith Marquis, the officer confirmed there was a small child in the vehicle.

The officer also noted a strong smell of alcohol coming from the driver, as well as two small bottles of rum in the front seat. One bottle was empty.

A Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputy was called to assist with the possible DUI. Upon arriving, the deputy confirmed a strong odor of alcohol and discovered several more small bottles of rum in the vehicle toolbox.

The driver was asked to exit his vehicle and, according to the probable cause affidavit, was unsteady on his feet.

Marquis told the deputy he may appear to be intoxicated due to medications he was taking for pain, but also admitted to drinking “a little,” according to the report.

The deputy conducted a field sobriety test and determined Marquis failed the test, at which time he was placed under arrest for misdemeanor DUI and felony child neglect.

Marquis was transported to the Manatee County jail and held on $1,500. He posted bond the following day and was released.

His arraignment is at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6, at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.

Bradenton Beach cafe employee arrested for felony theft

A 31-year-old Bradenton woman working as a server at the Gulf Drive Cafe, 900 Gulf Drive N., Bradenton Beach, was arrested at the restaurant July 20 for felony theft.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Dana Powell had been working at the restaurant for six weeks and somehow gained access to a manager’s access card, giving her the ability to void tickets.

The report states that Powell used the card to void tickets of cash-paying customers and then pocketed the cash for herself.

Bradenton Beach police say Powell stole an estimated $3,000 over the course of her six-week employment.

According to the report, the restaurant owner noticed that Powell had voided several bills and reviewed the restaurant’s video cameras, at which time she observed Powell taking cash from the drawer.

The video was turned over to police as evidence. The manager’s access card was allegedly found in Powell’s apron upon her arrest.

According to court records, Powell is currently on bond in regards to a June arrest for dealing in stolen property.

She was transported to the Manatee County jail, but posted $1,500 bond the following day and was released.

Her arraignment is at 9 a.m. Friday, Aug. 9, at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.

TDC pledges more communication on spending plans

With demands rising from island officials to stem the flow of tourists, Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Elliott Falcione addressed Holmes Beach commissioners July 23.

Falcione provided a breakdown of the Manatee County Tourist Development Council’s $6.4 million budget that is raised from the 5 percent bed tax, for which island cities contribute about 60 percent.

Almost half of the TDC budget is earmarked for advertising and promotion, and Falcione said about one-third of the $3.1 million marketing budget covers overhead expenses, leaving $2.1 million for direct advertising.

Falcione’s primary message to commissioners was there’s a misconception about TDC spending.

“The TDC is an advisory board to the county commission,” said Falcione. “A lot of the time the media or residents think that once the TDC approves something, it’s a done deal. I have a team of marketing people that develops a marketing plan for the county. Then we bring that plan to the TDC for recommendation to send to the county commission.”

Other TDC expenditures include more than $800,000 for administration, $400,000 for maintenance for the Pittsburgh Pirates spring training facility and $500,000 in debt reduction for the $6.5 million convention center.

More than $737,000 is earmarked for beach renourishment projects and $600,000 is reserved for tourism-related projects.

Falcione said Manatee County and particularly Anna Maria Island has a strong brand of “Real Authentic Florida,” which sets the county apart from the rest of Florida.

“We have visitors stay an average of 7.2 days, which is the longest average stay in the state,” said Falcione. “If that changes, we will have a problem with our brand being like everybody else.”

Falcione said an additional $80,000 will be spent over the next two years for personnel to help the island keep its beaches clean.

Commissioner David Zaccagnino questioned the $6.4 million in bed tax revenue, asking if the budget reflects actual revenue.

Falcione said he is given a budget to work with and didn’t want to guess what the actual revenues were, saying, “I can tell you we are on a vertical trajectory from the past year.”

Falcione said if revenues exceed the budget, then the excess money is placed into a TDC reserve fund.

Zaccagnino noted that Holmes Beach would likely qualify for tourism-related projects under the state statute. He pointed to beach accesses and parks as examples, but also said he would like to see the TDC take more interest in Bradenton Beach’s Historic Bridge Street Pier and the Anna Maria City Pier.

Zaccagnino said the two other island cities are having issues with the piers and they are obviously attractions.

Mayor Carmel Monti agreed that Holmes Beach needs to approach the TDC with specific projects, but wants the focus of the TDC to be more about “enhancing the experience of people who are already coming here, rather than getting new customers here.”

Monti said it’s more important to keep residents here and longtime visitors coming back to the island. He said a growing number of comments are related to “people who aren’t happy because things are changing too fast. We want to balance what’s good for the citizens and what’s good for the tourists.”

A lot of recent discussion on easing island congestion has focused on so-called “daytrippers,” or those who visit the beaches from the mainland and surrounding areas.

Falcione acknowledged that managing daytrippers can be difficult, but cautioned commissioners against negative headlines.

“The key is more communication,” he said. “We all agree there needs to be balance. My one caution is when we read headlines that AMI residents are tired of visitors, our marketers cringe. We don’t want to hide from the media, but be careful what we say publicly.”

Commissioner Marvin Grossman said there is no hiding from how tourists are impacting island infrastructure.

“I know you don’t like to hear we have too many tourists, but that’s the reality,” said Grossman. “It’s the elephant in the room. We need advertising letting new tourists know that people live here, too.”

Grossman said many tourists don’t care about island residents because he hears them say, “I paid $7,000 for this room and I can do anything I want.”

He said Falcione should return to the TDC with a simple message.

“People are upset,” said Grossman. “If you don’t help in the next few years, there will only be more anger.”

Commissioner Judy Titsworth said the TDC brand of authentic Florida is being lost and it’s becoming more of a marketing gimmick “to trick people into thinking it still is old Florida.”

Titsworth called for the TDC to reduce spending on advertising, but Falcione said to be careful with wishes.

“You have to be very careful in how you play around with the marketing system,” said Falcione. “We are competing against counties with a lot more spending power. If we cut back too much, we could lose market shares.”

Falcione said more emphasis should be placed on managing daytrippers and the focus should not be reducing a population with an average income of more than $100,000 a year.

He said the high-end clientele being drawn by the TDC are vacationers spending money.

Overheated

West Manatee Fire Rescue firefighters responded to a kitchen fire July 17 in Bradenton Beach and quickly extinguished the blaze. WMFR inspector Keith Miller said damage was minimal, and the quick response of WMFR prevented the fire from causing further damage.

 

Intent ibis

Jack Portman of Norcross, Ga., wins the final weekly Top Notch judging with his photograph of two intent ibis on the beach. He wins an Islander “More Than a Mullet Wrapper” T-shirt and entry in the newspaper’s grand-prize Top Notch contest. Next week, The Islander announces the winner of the grand prize.

Obituaries – 07-31-2013

DeAnn Davis

DeAnn Davis, 72, of Bradenton, died July 28. She was born in Pontiac, Mich., and moved to Bradenton in 1975 from Tampa.

Mrs. Davis was an Anna Maria Elementary School teacher, having retired from AME in 2010 after 34 years of teaching. She was active in the Manatee Education Association. She was a member of Faith United Methodist Church, Bradenton.

A celebration of life will be held at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7, at Faith United Methodist Church, 603 11th St. W., Bradenton. Memorial donations may be made to Anna Maria Elementary School- Parent Teacher Organization, 4700 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach FL 34217.

Brown & Sons Funeral Homes & Crematory 43rd Street Chapel, Bradenton, is in charge of arrangements.

Condolences may be made online at www.brownandsonsfuneral.com.

Mrs. Davis is survived by her son, James R. Jr. and wife Beth of Bradenton; daughter Helen E. and husband Eric King of Bradenton; one brother; three sisters; and four grandchildren, Caitlin, Jamie, Kiley and Dalton.

 

Catherine Theresa Kiefer

Catherine Theresa Kiefer, 89, of Bradenton Beach, died July 21. She was born June 15, 1924, in Baltimore to the late George and Amanda (Grauer) Baummer.

Mrs. Kiefer moved to Florida in 1971 from Baltimore. She was a member of Moose Lodge No. 2188 in Bradenton Beach, and St. Bernard Catholic Church in Holmes Beach.

A private family service will be held at a later date. Memorials donations may be made to TideWell Hospice & Palliative Care, 5955 Rand Blvd., Sarasota FL 34238. Arrangements were by Shannon Funeral Home Westview Chapel, Bradenton. Condolences for the family may be made online at www.shannonfuneralhomes.com.

Mrs. Kiefer is survived by her sons; Paul and wife Irene of Gatlinburg, Tenn., and John and wife Dolores of Bradenton; brothers Leo and wife Lola Baummer of Harrisburg, Penn., and Martin Baummer of Panama City, Fla.; sister, Elizabeth Stoval of Baltimore; four grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

 

Richard ‘Dick’ Edson Rowse Jr.

Richard “Dick” Edson Rowse Jr., 88, of Holmes Beach and formerly of Grand Blanc, Mich., died July 26. He was born June 16, 1925, in Binghamton, N.Y. He was wed to Ursula Adams June 14, 1947.

Mr. Rowse was a veteran of the U.S. Navy, serving in World War II and the Korean War. He had a career for more than 40 years in wholesale pharmaceuticals and then sold real estate.

He was an active member of Flint Rotary Club, First Presbyterian Church of Flint and Roser Memorial Community Church in Anna Maria. He was a member and volunteer at the Key Royale Club in Holmes Beach.

A services was held July 30 in Flint, Mich. Memorial contributions may be made to Genesys Hospice or Roser Memorial Community Church, P.O. Box 247, Anna Maria FL 34216.
 Online condolences may be made at 
www.sharpfuneralhomes.com

Mr. Rowse is survived by his wife of 66 years, Ursula; children Janet R. and husband David Nyholm, Barbara R. and husband Jim VanDam, Sally R. and husband Sam Catanese and Richard E. III and wife Joni; grandchildren Jennifer, David, Christopher, Emily, James, Sam, Sarah, Joe, 
Richard IV, Tyler and Parker; great-grandchildren Robert, Megan, Luke, Henry, Bela, Nelson, Cooper and Gracie; sister Elizabeth Wilson; niece Elizabeth; and nephew Gary.

 

Frank G. Theer

Frank G. Theer of Holmes Beach, formerly of Trenton, N.J., died July 8.

Mr. Theer was a 30-year member of Local 89 Heat and Frost Insulators.

A celebration of his life was held July 25 at Villa Romanza in Hamilton, N.J.

Mr. Theer is survived by his daughter, Deborah Ann Theer Kibler; grandsons David Burke Kibler V and Jackson Francis Kibler; son-in-law David Kibler IV; sisters Florence Termyna, Betty Nowalinski, Dorothy Cacase and Shirley Stephan; sister-in-law Rosemarie; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Real Estate – 07-31-2013

8017 Marina Isles Lane, Holmes Beach, a vacant 105×119 bayfront lot was sold 07/09/13, Gryboski to Martin for $600,000.

205 72nd St., Holmes beach, a 1,312 sfla / 1,504 sfur 3bed/2bath pool home built in 1971 on a 61×105 lot was sold 07/08/13, Walker to Kerns for $550,000; list $579,000.

5806 Gulf Drive, Unit 210, Waters Edge, Holmes Beach, a 1,078 sfla / 1,260 sfur 2bed/2bath condo with shared pool built in 1975 was sold 07/11/13, Helbig to Gulf Drive 210 LLC for $525,000; list $524,900.

238 Gladiolus St., Anna Maria, a 2,202 sfla / 2,994 sfur 3bed/2bath home built in 1981 on a 102×105 lot was sold 07/09/13, Kring to Agnelli for $475,000; list $539,000.

1407 Gulf Drive S., Unit 201, Coquina Moorings, Bradenton Beach, a 1,225 sfla / 1,521 sfur 3bed/2bath condo with shared pool built in 1982 was sold 07/11/13, Moore to Bernsten for $420,000.

6200 Flotilla Drive, Unit 264, Westbay Point & Moorings, Holmes Beach, a 1,114 sfla / 1,426 sfur 2bed/2bath condo with shared pool built in 1979 was sold 07/10/13, Carter to Perkins for $372,500; list $389,000.

6400 Flotilla Drive, Unit 88, Westbay Point & Moorings, Holmes Beach, a 985 sfla / 1,377 sfur 2bed/2bath condo with shared pool built in 1978 was sold 07/09/13, Brumbaugh to Tenill for $370,000.

1000 Gulf Drive, Unit 1, Beach House Resort, Bradenton Beach, a 480 sfla 1bed/1bath Gulfront condo with shared pool built in 1983 was sold 07/09/13, Frady to Teblum for $320,000; list $350,000.

601 Gulf Drive N., Unit 112, Gulf Watch, Bradenton Beach, a 1,282 sfla / 1,380 sfur 2bed/2bath condo with shared pool built in 1984 was sold 07/09/13, Regions Bank to Little for $210,000.

2401 Gulf Drive N., Unit 4, Sun Isle, Bradenton Beach, a 667 sfla 2bed/1bath condo built in 1950 was sold 07/11/13, Thompson to Rocha for $179,500.

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