Sandwich (boards) get the bite in Anna Maria

No more sandwiches for you, Anna Maria.

Anna Maria commissioners at their April 25 meeting removed almost any opportunity for a sandwich board sign from city businesses.

Commissioners voted 3-1 not to extend the May 1 deadline that allowed outdoor sandwich boards in front of a business. Commissioner Doug Copeland voted no, while Commissioner Dale Woodland was absent.

At the same time, however, Mayor SueLynn and city planner Alan Garrett are working on an exception procedure for businesses that need a sandwich board to direct customers to their location.

Copeland noted there is one such business on top of the post office in the Bayview Plaza that can’t be found without a directional sign.

Too bad, according to the commission vote. That business owner will have to wait for the exception process to be approved.

SueLynn said the exception procedures should be ready for a first reading at the Wednesday, May 7, meeting.

Commissioners also approved the first reading of an amendment to the traffic ordinance that includes no parking on the traffic island on Blue Heron Drive.

The amendment also provides for pedestrian crosswalks at various locations, and prohibits trucks weighing more than 8 tons from driving on residential streets to reach a business.

In other business, commissioners approved a replat of two lots at Banyan Tree Estates between Park Avenue and Beach Avenue. The approval, however, is contingent on attorney Ricinda Perry, on behalf of the owners, the Walker family, not finding a legal cause to change the city’s 1953 vacation of the property.

That vacation has a scrivener’s error that put the wrong page number of the plat on the city vacation, Perry said.

“Just as long as you don’t find anything since 1953 that the city legally owns the property,” Dye said.

Commissioners continued a hearing on a variance request by Kathy Hayes and Mark McClean, owners of 114 Tern Ave., to install an elevator in the residence. That hearing will resume at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 7.

Webb said he’ll research the Bert Harris Property Rights Act to ensure the owners could have installed an elevator before the city changed the living-area ratio in May 2013.

By changing the LAR for the second floor of a house, Hayes and McClean need a variance of 280 square feet for the elevator. Hayes said she has arthritis and can’t walk the flight of stairs to and from the ground level to the second-floor living area.

Determining if a municipal government took away a property right under the Bert Harris Act “is a very complex process,” Dye said.

“You could have 20 lawyers in a room, and get 30 different opinions on Bert Harris,” he said.

Webb said he’ll have his research done by the May 7 work session.

The city also received a “clean audit” for fiscal year 2012-13 from auditor Randy Dillingham.

“This is the highest we can give, and your city is in better shape financially than a lot of others,” Dillingham said.

For that fiscal year, the city took in $2.6 million in revenue and had expenses of $2.3 million. The excess amount went into the general fund, he said.

SueLynn thanked city treasurer Diane Percycoe for her work in preparing for the audit.

Also, SueLynn presented Holmes Beach resident Nancy Ambrose with a proclamation of support for the Relay of Life May 17-18 to raise money for the fight against cancer.

The next commission meeting is 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 7, at Anna Maria City Hall, 10005 Gulf Drive.

Meetings are normally on the second and fourth Thursday of each month, but the first meeting in May was changed due to anticipated absences.