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Date of Issue: October 25, 2007

Palma Sola highway group adopts bylaws

Participants in the Palma Sola Scenic Highway project adopted bylaws Oct. 10 that codify how the group operates going into the new year.

Most significant in the bylaws is the definition of who serves as a voting member of the Palma Sola Scenic Highway Corridor Management Entity that advises on beautification along the corridor from 75th Street West in Bradenton to East Bay Boulevard in Holmes Beach.

The bylaws for the CME provide for nine voting members on the committee, including a staff person each from the city of Holmes Beach, Manatee County government, the city of Bradenton and the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, as well as representatives from local businesses, non-profit groups and the local citizenry.

Previously, under a looser makeup of the committee, elected officials served as voting members. Elected officials now will still serve as liaisons.

The bylaws also provide for a technical advisory committee made up of representatives from the Florida Department of Transportation and the Sarasota/Bradenton Metropolitan Planning Organization.

After adopting the bylaws, the group agreed to appoint Holmes Beach resident Molly McCartney as a general member with voting rights. The committee presently consists of McCartney, Bradenton residents Ken Crayton and Rick Fawley, Holmes Beach resident Kathy King, Keep Manatee Beautiful executive director Ingrid McClellan and city of Bradenton representative Seth Kohn.

Staff from the city of Holmes Beach, Manatee County and SBEP have yet to be named.

Also, a vote on electing a chairman and vice chair was postponed to a later meeting.

The committee also discussed a landscaping project during the meeting at the Manatee County Administration Center in Bradenton.

The project, estimated to cost about $280,000, will result in the planting of 744 trees along the causeway, said McClellan.

She said the trees should be in the ground by Christmas. “We are 100 percent native,” McClellan added, referring to the types of plants to go in along the 4.5-mile corridor. Much of the summer was spent removing non-native exotic trees such as Brazilian peppers from the east-west route.

Kohn said landscaping bids will be reviewed and the project awarded Nov. 1.

The committee also briefly discussed plans to improve the Kingfish Boat Ramp operated by Manatee County on the Holmes Beach border.

Bill O’Shea, of the Manatee County conservation lands management department, said county officials are revising the plan for Kingfish because the conceptual plan “is not ground-truthing at all.” In other words, the measurements on paper are not matching the measurements at the boat ramp.

O’Shea said a pedestrian path at the boat ramp may be moved to the south side of Manatee Avenue for safety reasons and to allow for more parking at the ramp.

Moving the path could result in the construction of an under-ramp at the Anna Maria Island Bridge, or possibly even two such ramps, one at each end of the bridge.

King endorsed the path on the south side of Manatee Avenue, pointing out that Holmes Beach wants to improve the pedestrian walk to the Manatee Public Beach.

“I think it’s great that you are looking at that,” she said.

O’Shea also mentioned some discussion about relocating the welcome sign at the entrance to Holmes Beach to create more parking at the boat ramp.

McCartney, who lives at nearby Westbay Cove condominiums, said such a move would meet with resistance from residents who would oppose parking closer to their property.

“There will be a mass demonstration if this is happening,” she warned.

O’Shea said the idea was discussed, but no decisions had been made.

The group’s next meeting will be at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 14 at the county administration center, 1112 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.