Tag Archives: News

Looking back: Island business evolves

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A visit Jan. 4 to the Rod & Reel Motel, 877 N. Shore Drive, Anna Maria, reveals an in-ground pool and spa in place and rooms with new windows and doors installed. Owner Suzette Buchan says her goal is a June 1 opening. Islander Photo: Sandy Ambrogi

It may seem like a revolving door.

But in the past year, independent businesses have come, gone, rebuilt, remodeled and reimagined on Anna Maria Island.

Now with the arrival of 2017, here’s a look at some of the changes.

An island neighborhood favorite, MaryAnn’s Castaways Tavern, 117 Seventh St. N., Bradenton Beach, morphed into the almost ready-to-open Tommy Knocker’s Clam Stand.

Owner Mark Rosato, who purchased the space from Mary Ann Speciale in April 2016, said the remodeled bar will open for business by the end of January — a raw bar and ice-cold beer are expected to be the draw.

In May, Cupcake Delights opened its doors at 3324 E. Bay Drive in the Anna Maria Island Centre. The bakery is the second location for entrepreneur Judy Owens of Mount Dora, where the original Cupcake Delights continues to bake up area favorites.

In mid-summer, Island Spice pulled up its Bradenton Beach roots and relocated to the northernmost building in the Anna Maria Island Centre. The Indian cuisine eatery is now located at 3608 E. Bay Drive, serving up lunch and dinner.

The customer-favorite Island Coffee Haus, 5350 Gulf Drive, in the hub of Holmes Beach, capitalized on its popularity and opened a second location on tourist-driven Pine Avenue in Anna Maria.

Proprietor Bev Lesnick said she was pleased with the expansion and that “people were getting out of their regular routines and finding the new Coffee Haus at 317 Pine.”

“We had a very successful holiday season and walking traffic is starting to pick up more every day,” Lesnick said shortly after the new year began.

In Holmes Beach, the Ugly Grouper, 5704 Marina Drive, is working on improvements promised in a June press release from its corporate office. After buying surrounding real estate and drawing plans for an expanded kitchen and bathrooms, the restaurant is adding a new state-of-the-art kitchen to be completed by Feb. 1.

Speaking about the Ugly Grouper improvements, its manager, also Island Coffee Haus proprietor Lesnick, said, “It’s about the nicest kitchen on this whole island.”

Lesnick said site-plan approval is forthcoming, and owners are trending the restaurant toward a more family-friendly environment with games and live music.

On the north end of the island, longtime island jeweler Libby’s Island Jewelry and Gifts shuttered Nov. 30, 2016, and Island Charms is taking the space at 501 Pine Ave. next to the Anna Maria General Store.

Also relatively new on Pine Avenue is Paradise Found AMI, a store that sells books, art and exotic plants. Find a cozy corner or a shady spot in an Adirondack chair in the landscaped front yard and curl up with a good read in “Paradise.”

Suzette Buchan, who along with husband John owns the Rod & Reel Motel at 877 N. Shore Drive, Anna Maria, is excited construction on the site is moving along at a decent clip, after a slow start with permitting and several punches from Mother Nature. The motel was gutted in the fall of 2015, but reconstruction efforts only began in summer 2016.

“We’ve had some surprises shoring up the old building and we had to do almost everything on the interior — electric, mechanical, all of it,” Buchan said Jan. 5.

Shooting for a June 1 grand opening, Buchan says she feels it was a “good call” to keep the historical element in the area, rather than bulldozing it like so many of the surrounding properties.

“We are glad to keep the pier and motel together, as an historical place,” Buchan said. “With the new build, visitors will have great amenities at their disposal and a place with history.”

For those wishing to brush up on their French skills, a stop at the former Rudy’s Subs and More — now just plain Rudy’s — at 9906 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria, should do the trick.

Mother Lolo Laurence and daughter Mathilde Apecechea returned from France in October and opened the doors to the reimagined shop, adding French pastries, crepes and salads to the menu that retains some Rudy’s favorites, including the Philly cheese-steak. The charming French accent and hospitality of the proprietors comes at no charge along with the continental offerings.

Mathilde says things at the island eatery are going “very well.”

In keeping with the French theme on the island, the French Table, 103 Gulf Drive N., Bradenton Beach closed after flooding earlier in the year, and reopened Dec. 1 with new owners who —like the previous owners — are from France.

Marieke and Christophe Celis with their daughters from Toulouse, France, are operating the bistro, specializing in cuisine from the south of France.

In mid-December, island restaurateur Sean Murphy opened his third Anna Maria Island enterprise. The Doctor’s Office, at 5312-B Holmes Blvd., Holmes Beach, in the space that previously housed the Giving Back thrift store, which closed in April 2016.

The intimate craft-cocktail bar features infused liquors, locally hand-crafted beer and select wines.

To submit business news, email news@islander.org or reporter Sandy Ambrogi at sandy@islander.org.

Pine Avenue Food and Wine event canceled

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Festival on Pine Avenue in Anna Maria canceled. Islander Photo: Jack Elka

It’s official: 2016 was the final year for Food and Wine on Pine.

The spring event has been hosted for the past five years on Pine Avenue in Anna Maria by the Chiles Group, the trio of restaurants owned by Ed Chiles of Anna Maria.

Caryn Hodge, marketing director for the Chiles Group, announced Jan. 2 that the annual wine-tasting event would not return in 2017.

Hodge cited the labor involved in organizing the event as the reason for the cancellation.

After a sudden storm rained out much of the 2014 festival, organizers had concerns about the logistics of planning an event that could be interrupted by bad weather and decided to end the event on a high note.

However, the success of the 2016 event made the group reconsider.

“We had said last year that it was going to be our final year and then it was a huge success and, of course, after a success like that, you want to do it again,” Hodge, who served as event chair, said in a phone interview.

“So we said we’ll do it again, and then as time went by and we started doing the logistical planning, we rethought about it and realized it’s a lot of work…. So we said well, let’s get back to our original decision,” she continued.

After a key organizer, Ruth Uecker, Hodge’s mother, dropped out as volunteer coordinator, the group struggled to find someone willing to manage 350 volunteers. “That was a big part of the decision,” Hodge said.

Food and Wine on Pine, first held in 2011, was the brainchild of Chiles, but Hodge said, the decision to cancel the event was left up to the event organizers, not Chiles. “He really just listened to the people that had boots on the ground, myself and the committee chairs,” she said.

The annual event eventually incorporated as a nonprofit and shared proceeds with other organizations. In the five years the event was held, it donated $111,300.

The Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus and Orchestra, the Center of Anna Maria Island, the Anna Maria Island Historical Society and others received funding.

AMIHS president Lynn Brennan said she was sorry to hear of the event’s cancellation. Following the 2016 event, she said, the historical society received a $2,500 donation. “They’ve been great donors,” she said.

Brennan said many AMIHS members volunteered for the festival, including herself and husband Jack Brennan.

“I thought it was great PR for the city and for the island itself. The fact that the moneys were donated to nonprofits, I think, really sets a tone for the event being more than just a retail event. It was really more about the community and helping out,” she said.

In addition, Brennan added, the event also gave local restaurants an opportunity to reach out to new customers. “Featuring local restaurants and having people be able to walk around and taste the local fare, that really promotes the restaurants. …I’m sorry it’s been canceled,” she said.

Hodge said her committee wanted “to go out on a high note and let everyone remember it as a wonderful event and let everyone appreciate it.”

Marina offers $1 wet slip to Bradenton Beach

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The Bradenton Beach police boat sits on a trailer Jan. 5 outside the police department, 403 Highland Ave. Islander Photo: Kathy Prucnell

The city of Bradenton Beach has issues when it comes to marine patrols, particularly in the anchorage area adjacent to the Historic Bridge Street Pier.

And lives are potentially at risk.

Approximately 35-40 boats, two submerged and awaiting removal, many of them liveaboards in deteriorating condition, anchor in the shallow area near shore with access via a city dock adjacent to the pier.

While in discussion with the West Coast Inland Navigation District to secure funding for a lift at the pier for the BBPD patrol boat, the boat presently is being trailered and kept at the station.

In a Dec. 16, 2016, letter to the commission, Mike Bazzy, owner of Bradenton Beach Marina, 402 Church Ave., offered a wet slip at the marina for the police boat until a lift can be installed at the pier.

In his letter, Bazzy said the marina could provide a slip for $1 for as long as the city needs it.

At the Jan. 5 city meeting, Bazzy voiced his offer to the commission.

Commissioner Marilyn Maro said, “Saving time is saving lives — you have to get there fast or someone could be dead.”

Commissioner John Chappie worried Speciale was not at the meeting to give input.

Mayor Bill Shearon said, “The chief has no problem with the offer — he sees it as a convenience for the city and his department.”

Shearon also pointed out that currently it takes about an hour to launch the boat at the boat ramp at Coquina Beach and motor to the anchorage area. If it were stored at the marina, it would take an officer about 20 minutes to get underway and arrive at the anchorage.

Chappie suggested an agreement would have to be drawn up, but Bazzy said a standard lease would be provided.

Chappie also suggested that to keep a boat in the water, some maintenance would be required.

Bazzy said the bottom of the boat would need to be painted, but that also would be required to store it on a lift.

Commissioner Jake Spooner said keeping a boat in the water can be a “maintenance nightmare,” and he would like to see the lift installed as soon as possible. He said he would like it if, when the new day dock is installed, the police boat lift also could be installed.

Shearon said Speciale is planning for the lift on the north side of the pier, which would require additional permitting from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Bazzy’s offer provides a “stopgap for us to get the boat into the water,” Shearon said.

Chappie motioned to accept the offer at Speciale’s “full discretion,” as well as for city attorney Ricinda Perry to review the lease.

The motion passed with a unanimous vote.

The commission planned to review the agreement with Speciale at its next meeting, noon Thursday, Jan. 19, at city hall, 107 Gulf Drive N.

Now reporting for The Islander

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Jennifer Sheppard

Introducing Jennifer Sheppard, reporter for The Islander, covering the city of Holmes Beach and other areas of interest.

Sheppard is a native of Central Florida, and holds a master’s degree in journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of South Florida.

She is a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter and journalism professor who returns to the city beat with a passion for local news and public service.

In her spare time, she enjoys racing motocross and hot yoga.

She can be reached at jennifer.s@islander.org or at the newspaper office, 941-778-7978.

FISH plans, readies 35th commercial fishing festival

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Florida Sea Grant scientist John Stevely shows a souvenir T-shirt from the first Commercial Fishing Festival Jan. 2 at the FISH board meeting. Islander Photos: Kathy Prucnell

The Cortez festival that began in 1983 with hundreds of attendees will celebrate its 35th year with an expected two-day attendance of 20,000.

The Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival will be held Feb. 18-19 in the same location as recent fests — the area surrounding the 119th Street fishing docks.

Since the early 1990s, the festival has been sponsored by the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage.

At a Jan. 2 meeting, FISH board members spoke of pulling permits, lining up security and trying to build on the event’s recent successes.

Vice president Jane von Hahmann predicted the numbers based on the growing festival.

Themed “Fishing for the Future,” the lineup of music, food and exhibits — many geared to educate the public about commercial fishing — are expected to crowd the waterfront.

FISH, with some 180 members and a 15-member board, is a Cortez-based nonprofit dedicated to preserving the commercial fishing industry and the environment upon which it depends.

Festival chair Rose Lipke said FISH has encouraged sustainable and locally sourced food vendors — though some local restaurants have found it hard to participate during the peak tourist season.

Dock Talks, a returning feature, includes Sea Grant Florida scientists speaking on the environmental concerns related to commercial fishing.

Lipke said such concerns include red tide and coastal development. She added fishers face excessive governmental fishing regulations.

“The fishing industry has always faced challenges,” Lipke said.

Cortez was settled in the 1880s by North Carolina mullet fishers and the community grew despite a 1921 hurricane, bouts of red tide in the 1930s and ’40s and mangrove destruction due to coastal development in the 1960s and ’70s.

A recovery came to Cortez in the 1970s as the price for mullet and the harvest skyrocketed, only to be set back by the 1995 gill-net ban, which pushed fishers to retool. Some went to stone crabbing. Some continued mullet fishing with cast nets.

“Over the years, those issues affect everybody on the coasts who work on or depend on the water — even residents,” Lipke said.

New to the festival this year will be a stone crab trapping demonstration.

Mark Coarsey, president of the Manatee County chapter of Fishing for Freedom, told the FISH board Jan. 2 he is gathering volunteers to assist with the exhibit.

As in previous years, his group also will host a “touch tank.”

Last year’s festival drew an estimated 19,000 visitors and raised $118,000 in net proceeds, up from $80,000 in 2015.

Like last year, there will be free parking at the FISH preserve.

Manatee County Area Transportation shuttles run from G.T. Bray Park, 5502 33rd Ave. Drive W., Bradenton, and Coquina Beach, 2650 Gulf Drive S., Bradenton Beach.

To cover rising costs, the $3 admission price of past years will increase to $4.

Festival proceeds fund the FISH budget, including a 95-acre preserve, the Cortez Cultural Center, a boat works program, Fisherman’s Hall and other properties, historic signs and legal challenges to protect the environment and economy of Cortez.

FISH will next meet at the Sunday School Building, the offices behind Fisherman’s Hall, 4515 124th St. W., Cortez.


Student artists paint, spruce up FISH fest

Art is possible on a variety of canvases.

And artist Rose Lipke is looking for leftover paint to spruce up the one thing all festivals need — festive garbage receptacles.

It’s her third year chairing the Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival committee for the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage.

Among her festival duties, she’s organizing a paint project with students from Manatee School for the Arts in Bradenton.

As the students have done in previous years, they will paint cardboard containers with nautical or marine life designs of their choice.

“We’re just trying to support up-and-coming artists in any way we can,” Lipke told the FISH board Jan. 2.

The school is one of few focused on art programs and the students get credit for helping the nonprofit, she said.

Lipke knows how to make art fun and educational with a resume that includes Feld Entertainment productions, such as Disney on Ice, “Finding Nemo” and “The Incredibles.”

“Quite a few kids show up. It’s kind of a free for all,” she said.

Anyone with a latex paint donation can call Lipke at 941-725-9189 or email her at rosemlipke@gmail.com.

Runners take your mark

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Youngsters dart from the starting line at the Anna Maria Elementary Dolphin Dash in 2016. This year’s event takes place Saturday, Jan. 14, with age-group awards and two races — a 5K and a 1-mile fun run — gets underway with 5K registration at 7 a.m. at AME, 4700 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. Proceeds go to the AME-PTO. The cost is $25 for adults and $15 for children. The 5K race starts at 8 a.m. and the 1-mile fun run begins at 9 a.m. Islander Photo: Karen Riley-Love

Cortez man arrested for DUI

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Jeffery Pansiera, 30

A Cortez man was arrested for driving under the influence in Bradenton Beach at more than three times the legal blood-alcohol limit after police observed him driving and weaving a Honda on the road without headlights at night.

Jeffery Pansiera, 30, was traveling north on Bay Drive North at 1:53 a.m. Dec. 16 when BBPD Officer Steven Masi noticed erratic driving.

He stopped Pansiera in the 100 block of Third Street North and the motorist told police he had one drink and he was on his way home from a friend’s house.

Masi noticed signs of impairment and called the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office to assist with a DUI investigation.

The motorist agreed to take field sobriety tests, which he performed poorly, according to the MCSO report.

He was transported to the Manatee County jail, where he provided two breath samples measuring 0.263 and 0.262 blood-alcohol content, according to the police report. The legal BAC limit is 0.08.

Police found two open containers of alcohol in an inventory of the contents of Pansiera’s car.

He was released on $500 bond, pending an 8:25 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18, arraignment at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.

Car plunges from Cortez Bridge to bay waters, motorist, passenger rescued

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With his nephew Angel aboard the rescue vessel, Jeremy Thomas talks Dec. 30 at a dock in Cortez about the bridge crash, explaining that he brought one of the victims of the Dec. 26 crash to waiting EMS workers on the docks.
Jeremy Thomas of Bradenton Beach motors in his skiff Dec. 30 to the spot where a 2010 Nissan Sentra hit the water after it crashed Dec. 26 and went into Sarasota Bay off the Cortez Bridge. Islander Photos: Kathy Prucnell

“I heard a screech and then a thud.”

Witness Jeremy Thomas described what prompted him to navigate his skiff Dec. 26 to a single-vehicle crash at the Cortez Bridge. Thomas said the crash occurred at about 9:05 p.m., adding “the car must’ve been traveling at a high rate of speed.”

The vehicle careened and spun and then sailed over the side of the bridge, landing in Sarasota Bay.

The U.S. Coast Guard sent a vessel and the Florida Highway Patrol responded.

FHP reported a 2010 Nissan Sentra was eastbound on the bridge, east of Gulf Drive North in Bradenton Beach, when the driver, Brittany Johnson, 24, of Bradenton, “failed to maintain control.”

Thomas was one of several Good Samaritans who called the Coast Guard, rushing on the water in a skiff to rescue Johnson and her passenger, roommate Christopher Plantz, 28, of Bradenton.

The motorist swerved into the westbound lane and the Sentra struck a concrete curb, according to the FHP report.

The FHP cited Johnson, who sustained minor injuries, for careless driving.

“This is what happened,” Thomas said. “I heard it happen and called the Coast Guard three or four times.” Thomas said he attempted to notify the Coast Guard, but had trouble with his marine radio.

He lives with his wife aboard a sailboat in Bradenton Beach south of the city pier, just south of the Cortez Bridge.

They took a 10-foot dinghy to the scene.

“We get there and see the man and woman, the man clinging to an oyster-riddled piling and the woman in the water,” he added.

Both Plantz and Johnson tried to board Thomas’ boat, which proved difficult.

Thomas eventually pulled Johnson into the dinghy while Plantz retreated to the piling, where Thomas’ friend showed up in a 25-foot boat and “plucks the man out,” he said.

Plantz was passed to the Coast Guard vessel, which transported him to shore.

Thomas estimated the water was 7-12 feet deep.

As directed by the Coast Guard, Thomas took Johnson to a dock at the Tide Tables Restaurant and Marina, 12507 Cortez Road W., where emergency workers were waiting.

Owner Bobby Woodsen said the restaurant closed at 8 p.m. but he was there and watched as the rescuers brought the woman to his dock.

“We didn’t hear anything until all the cops and ambulances came,” he said, adding at first the responders didn’t believe there was a car in the water “because there were no marks on the bridge.”

EMS transported Johnson to Blake Medical Center in Bradenton. Plantz also was admitted into Blake. They were treated for minor injuries and released.

FHP Trooper Kenneth Watson said the cause was unknown and the crash was under investigation.

At about midnight, a crane pulled the submerged vehicle out of the water and it was towed from the scene.

Florida Department of Transportation public information officer Robin Stublen said Dec. 28 that the bridge had some damage, but the repairs needed were “cosmetic.”

“There are a few scrapes and a few patches we’ll have to do. But it’ll be easy-peasy,” he added.

Islander remembers Debbie Reynolds’ dazzle

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Debbie Reynolds — circa 1954 —sings onstage at the K-6 Marine Base in South Korea. Islander Paul Barnett — a Marine serving at the base after the close of the Korean War — remembers well Reynold’s visit. Islander Courtesy Photos
Debbie Reynolds smiles out the window of her escort car on arriving at the K-6 Marine Base in South Korea for a show to entertain troops.
Islander Paul Barnett has renewed his memories of Debbie Reynolds onstage at the base where he served in South Korea .... as a photo he has cherished more than 50 years shows her spreading her arms out to the troops. The Navy Seabees at the K-6 Base in South Korea quickly constructed the stage and backdrop for Reynolds’ performance in 1954, nicknaming it the CB Bowl.

It’s been more than half a century since a young Paul Barnett — serving in the U.S. Marines — stood in the South Korean sun and watched a young star dazzle hundreds of far-from-home soldiers.

That star was Debbie Reynolds, barely past her teenage years, playing a show for the troops on a makeshift stage.

The Korean conflict was over in 1953, but troops stayed on in the south and the DMZ — the Demilitarized Zone — to keep the peace and guard U.S. bases.

Performers were not strangers to the troops serving there, as Bob Hope, among others, had made several appearances with a bevy of entertainers in tow over the years.

Debbie Reynolds arrived alone that day in 1954 to the K-6 base.

The star’s appearance was a surprise for the weary soldiers.

Barnett and some of his friends were close enough to get photographs of the star arriving in a car, escorted by base personnel.

And the stage where Reynolds performed that day was a surprise for the soldiers, as well.

“I had asked my buddies, what? Is she going to get up on a garbage can and sing at the end of the runway?” Barnett recalled.

Much to their surprise, on another part of the base, Navy Seabees had erected a box stage, as Barnett said, “practically overnight.”

Base personnel accompanied the singer and dancer during the show.

It was an afternoon Barnett never forgot, and he has guarded the photos, safekeeping them all these years.

Reynolds died Dec. 28, 2016, at the age of 84, and Barnett, wanting to see her recognized for the time she so generously donated to entertain troops, shared his photos with The Islander.

“She was in the prime of her life, in the prime of her career as a star, and yet, she came halfway around the world to entertain us,” Barnett said.

“She was a big star and she was a great lady,” Barnett reflected. “I think she deserves a lot of recognition.”

BB code changes proposed would limit home sizes

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Bradenton Beach city planner Alan Garrett presents proposed changes to the land development code to planning and zoning board members Dec. 28, during their meeting at city hall, 107 Gulf Drive N. Islander Photos: ChrisAnn Silver Esformes
The Bradenton Beach Planning and Zoning Board meets Dec. 28 to consider code changes.

The Bradenton Beach Planning and Zoning Board plans to recommend changes that would limit the size of new homes in relation to the size of the lot and encourage bungalow-style architecture in the R-1 and R-2 residential districts.

The board has been meeting weekly to revise the land development code and comprehensive plan to enhance the aesthetic character of the city and limit the construction of large homes.

During a Dec. 21 meeting, board members unanimously agreed to recommend to the city commission that the maximum lot size could not exceed 5,000 square feet, instead of the current 7,500 square feet maximum.

However, existing properties exceeding 5,000 square feet would be grandfathered under the new code.

Under the proposed changes, lots could be combined but the buildable size would be constrained to a maximum 5,000 square feet.

At a Dec. 28 meeting, P&Z Chair John Burns said if someone bought three lots and built three four-bedroom homes — one per lot — the population density would be higher than if that person built one large home.

City planner Allan Garrett agreed, but said the proposed recommendation is an incentive to build smaller houses in keeping with the city’s vision, not to decrease population density.

The board also agreed to recommend to the commission that a structure cannot exceed 40 percent of the property’s total square footage.

On a 5,000-square-foot lot, this would allow for a 2,000-square-foot house. Additional, non-climate-controlled spaces, including porches and lanais, would not be included in the habitable living area.

“If this goes through, you can build as large of a home as you could prior to the code change, but you will have less air-conditioned space,” Garrett said during the Dec. 28 meeting. “They may still be short-term rentals, but with more porches and more setbacks, they will look better in the community.”

Burns said according to the National Association of Homebuilders, the average single-family home contains 2,700 square feet of habitable space.

During public comment, former Commissioner Jan Vosburgh said most lots in Bradenton Beach are small and don’t allow for a house that size.

At the Dec. 21 meeting, the board discussed limiting the size of the second level of living space in a new structure to create more architectural variation.

“If we are trying to make the architecture look more like cottages, the way to do that is to not put a box on top of a box,” P&Z member Reed Mapes said.

At the Dec. 28 meeting, P&Z member John Metz said he thinks once people start seeing new cottage-style houses being constructed, “they will embrace the aesthetic.”

Garrett said the height restrictions on buildings on Anna Maria Island raised its desirability, “because we are different from places like Siesta Key that have big condos.”

P&Z member Patty Shay said, “People who live here are going to like it, it’s the developers that are going to rumble and grumble.”

Garrett responded to Shay, saying when a similar restriction was passed in Anna Maria, residents and developers embraced the change.

P&Z member Jim Lynch said he agreed with Metz and Shay, but he is concerned with the number of building permits filed for large homes that will likely become vacation rentals. “Is this really what is happening?” Lynch asked Garrett. “Do people just want more bang for their buck?”

Garrett responded, saying there is about a 50 percent split between large vacation houses and smaller single-family homes being built in Bradenton Beach.

“Fifty percent is a lot on a small island — that’s scary,” Shay said. “That’s why this is so important.”

“The question is: do we want a family island or a rental island? That’s what all of this gets boiled down to,” Mapes said.

At the Dec. 28 meeting, the board reached a consensus to recommend to the city commission that the maximum living area of a structure be limited to 40 percent of the lot size, and the second level of living area cannot exceed 60 percent of the first living level. Additionally, the maximum habitable area cannot exceed 2,000 square feet on any lot, no matter the size.

The recommendation passed 4-1, with Burns voting no.

The board also continued discussion on the definitions of floor-area ratio and habitable-area ratio and agreed that Garrett should draft an outline of proposed changes for review by the P&Z.

The next P&Z meeting will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18, at Bradenton Beach City Hall, 107 Gulf Drive N.


BB commission sets workshops

Bradenton Beach commissioners will hold a series of workshops on the planning and zoning board’s recommendations for a proposed transient public lodging establishment ordinance.

The ordinance would replace the quality-of-life ordinance and would allow “transient use of residential property” — similar to vacation-rental ordinances in Anna Maria and Holmes Beach — upon issuance of a license from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, a city business tax receipt and a yet-to-be-enacted city TPLE license.

The QOL ordinance restricts the number of people who can stay overnight in a rental — two guests per bedroom plus two people — but it lacks the ability for police to enforce occupancy. It was adopted but not put into effect.

The first city commission TPLE workshop will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10, at Bradenton Beach City Hall, 107 Gulf Drive N.

        — ChrisAnn Silver Esformes