The Sandpiper Resort in Bradenton Beach is caught between two cities regarding a solution to the 2008 quitclaim of 27th Street east of Gulf Drive along the mobile home park’s northern boundary with Holmes Beach.
And the Bradenton Beach City Commission might be in a quandary, unable to move forward with any solution offered by Holmes Beach because it lacks a quorum for a vote.
After the 2008 quitclaim deed was issued to the Sandpiper Resort Co-Op Inc., no one had expressed a concern or complaint to Sandpiper for restricting access to the mobile home park, 27th Street or Gulf Drive, Sandpiper management said.
Holmes Beach Commissioner John Monetti, who owns property on the Holmes Beach side of 27th Street — an unplatted and unimproved street — reported to his commission in August that the Sandpiper Resort was building a fence along its boundary. He claimed the fence would restrict public access to the beach and other public facilities and lower property values in that area of Holmes Beach.
Holmes Beach commissioners agreed with Monetti and subsequently voted to proceed with a state process for conflict resolution against Bradenton Beach over the quitclaim issue.
At the initial conflict resolution meeting between the two cities Dec. 7, Holmes Beach presented a potential solution to Bradenton Beach city attorney Ricinda Perry and Bradenton Beach Vice Mayor Ed Straight.
The Holmes Beach proposal calls for Sandpiper Resort — an owner co-operative — to quitclaim back to Bradenton Beach a 30-foot-wide portion of the boundary along the length of 27th Street. That would return some of the street to the public, Petruff said.
Perry said she would present the proposed solution to the commission at its Thursday, Jan. 5, meeting. If the commission approves, it would then request the Sandpiper Resort proceed with the quitclaim.
The Bradenton Beach commission, however, has only four members, and two have recused themselves from voting because they reside at the mobile home park.
In the meantime, Sandpiper Resort Association board president Doug Le Fevre said that although his board will meet Dec. 28, it won’t yet have an official proposal from Bradenton Beach.
“We’re the ones being asked to do something. We need to see the proposal, discuss it and make an official response,” he said.
However, Le Fevre might also have a problem getting a quorum for his board’s Dec. 28 meeting, as several members have not yet arrived at their winter homes in the park.
The board won’t hold its next meeting until Feb. 1.
Le Fevre said he didn’t want to give the newspaper his personal opinion on the quitclaim matter, but would rather the board issue a collective response.
A few Sandpiper residents were willing to express their opinions, but several asked to remain anonymous because, they said, they are friends with Monetti.
Resident Kay Williams, who does not know Monetti, said she just returned from Michigan and was not completely familiar with the issue, although she had been reading The Islander online.
“I just think when you’re here in person, you’re better able to understand and give an opinion,” Williams said.
She indicated the only ones likely to come out ahead are the lawyers, who will be paid regardless of the outcome. The Holmes Beach action appears to be a “waste of taxpayer money,” she said.
One man who said he’s lived at the park for 22 years and he knows Monetti. He said Monetti wants to be able to go fishing at the bayfront end of 27th Street.
“That property belongs to the Sandpiper,” he said. “It’s never been part of 27th Street or a public access.”
Another couple, who also requested anonymity, said they’ve lived in the Sandpiper 28 years and as far as they are aware, there has never been a problem with pedestrian access from Holmes Beach to 27th Street and the beach.
One man, who identified himself only as Meade, said Holmes Beach is making a “mountain out of a mole hill.”
He also said the property at the east end of 27th Street on Sarasota Bay belonged to the Sandpiper before the 2008 quitclaim.
“So the argument that the fence restricts public access to the bay is ridiculous, because that’s not public property by the bay,” Meade said.
While Bradenton Beach Mayor John Shaughnessy said he was not in a position to give his opinion of the conflict resolution proposal, he did note that no part of 27th Street is within the Holmes Beach city limits.