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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Holmes Beach Candidate Profiles

Pat Geyer
Pat Geyer served as a commissioner from 1978 to 1990, then two terms as mayor of Holmes Beach from 1990 to 1994. She was elected commissioner from 1994-96, but was unseated in the 1996 elections. She made a successful return to the commission in 1997 and was re-elected in 1999. She was unopposed in 2001 and lost a re-election bid in 2003.

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Geyer came to Anna Maria Island in the 1950s.

Since 1971, she and husband Ed have owned Duffy's Tavern in Holmes Beach.

In addition to her 24 years as an elected official, she has been actively involved in supporting the Anna Maria Island Community Center and other civic and community organizations.

Geyer believes her experience and knowledge gained during her many years as both commissioner and mayor of Holmes Beach make her well-suited for election.

The city faces a number of pressing issues in the next few years, she said, including implementation of its stormwater drainage plan as mandated by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, an update of the comprehensive plan and city codes that should limit development and protect single-family areas from intruding condominium construction.

She's also concerned about the current building-height restriction in the city in view of the new building restrictions implemented by the DEP for new construction seaward of the coastal construction control line.

With so many re-development projects and new construction in the city falling under the DEP rules, the city may want to review its current height restriction for a lesser limit, she said.

Sandy Haas-Martens
Sandy Haas-Martens is currently the Holmes Beach City Commission chairperson. She was first elected to the commission in 1998 and is seeking her fourth term. She first came to the Island in 1969, has been a volunteer for many civic organizations and groups, and is a past president of the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce. She is a retired banking executive.

Haas-Martens believes she has the experience, leadership and dignity needed to be a city commissioner. Her history of community activism demonstrates her sincere desire to help Holmes Beach become a better community, she says.

The city will face a number of important issues and projects in the next two years, including updating the comprehensive plan and a review of the land development codes. Her experience will help her make the right decisions on these issues to protect Holmes Beach from over-development and preserve the city for future generations.

She wants to ensure that building density and building height are not increased, and that the city commission works to "keep our own small-town atmosphere."

That may not be easy, given the current plight of small business owners and rising taxes, and Haas-Martens believes the city should meet with the recently formed organization fighting increasing taxes.

"We need to see what we can do for them, what solutions are available." she said. "We need to preserve our small business atmosphere and the mom-and-pop motels we have."

Haas-Martens also wants the city to continue dredging its many canals and favors proceeding with a new Key Royale Bridge.

She's the type of person who works well with other commissioners, as demonstrated during the past six years in office, she said.

Roger Lutz
Roger Lutz has lived in Holmes Beach for 28 years and is seeking his fourth consecutive term as a city commissioner. He was first elected in 1998. He is a practicing civil litigation attorney, and has worked in the Bradenton-Sarasota area for the past 30 years.

Lutz believes that because of his legal background, he brings "the ability to deal with the complex problems facing the city" to the commission.

Of particular concern are the issues related to growth and development, and in re-writing the comprehensive plan.

"I believe I'm in a good position because of my legal experience and with six years on the commission to realize the threats to the city, help the city evaluate complex issues and avoid unnecessary legal difficulties."

The upcoming comprehensive plan rewrite will be a major undertaking by the city, and Lutz believes he'll provide experience and advice as a commissioner to get a proper plan written.

"With ever-increasing property values, it's important that our comp plan be evaluated and updated. It was designed for a different Holmes Beach than what we have now. It's been patchworked the past 50 years. It's time to do a proper plan," he said.

Lutz wants to retain as much of the "small town" atmosphere of Holmes Beach as possible in the new plan, recognizing the threat from over-development.

"I'd like the city to stay the way it is as much as we can" when the new plan is written.

David Zaccagnino
David Zaccagnino is a Tampa native who grew up watching development overtake Clearwater Beach. He doesn't want that to happen in Holmes Beach, and that's one reason he's seeking a commission seat.

A graduate of Florida State University, he worked for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection before joining the Wall Street investment firm of Morgan Stanley. He moved to Holmes Beach in 1999 and has a 3-year-old daughter. This is the first time he has run for public office.

Zaccagnino believes that while the current commission has done a good job, it's time for a fresh face, one with energy.

Change is coming to Holmes Beach and commissioners need to be more involved in controlling development and helping city residents, he said.

He believes the commission should be more involved with the current group of Island business owners formed to protest rising taxes and seek solutions. Rather than telling them to talk to the county or state, Zaccagnino would be "pro-active" and start talking with business owners about solutions to the problem.

He's concerned about the upcoming comprehensive plan review and land development code changes. They need to be written to control growth, to protect the city from unwanted development, and also to protect the environment.

"We chose to live in Holmes Beach because of the family values we found here," he said. "I want to do something as a commissioner to protect those values."

Zaccagnino lives in south Holmes Beach, and many residents there believe they don't have a voice on the city commission. He wants to ensure all residents can air concerns to the commission.