Dock expansion granted for Bridge Street restaurant

Boaters looking to dock for a meal or libations at the Bridge Tender Inn and Dockside Bar soon will have more options.

Bradenton Beach commissioners and Mayor John Chappie Jan. 17 voted unanimously on three motions to approve the expansion of the existing dock at 131 Bridge St., with the stipulations that business owner Fred Bartizal not allow overnight mooring. He also must post dock rules.

The dock will be expanded 44 feet into Sarasota Bay, with perpendicular 24-by-4-foot finger docks branching from each side of the extended walkway. A 54-by-4-foot terminal will cap off the dock, creating a T-end.

The dock is for temporary mooring for Bridge Tender customers during business hours, according to Bartizal. The slips will not be rented, and the docks will have no fish cleaning tables or fueling facilities.

Sarasota-based contractor Duncan Seawall will build the expansion using a shallow-draft barge equipped with a winch-operated boom crane for pile-driving and heavy lifting.

Deck material will be Trex, a plastic composite, which the plans indicate will limit leaching harmful materials into the bay.

Wood pilings, which will be jetted and driven 6 feet into the bay bottom, will be wrapped with PVC sheeting from below the mudline to a foot above the mean-high waterline to reduce leaching preservatives.

During public comment, Barbara Baker, a Bradenton Beach resident and president of the Old Bridge Village Condominium Association, expressed concern with enforcement of the rules against overnight mooring.

“The restaurant closes at 11 p.m. and my concern is, what happens after that?” she said. “You know, if boats are still there, who is going to police that?”

Bradenton Beach resident Mary Bell said the additional boat parking will be beneficial, but she agreed with Baker’s concerns about overnight mooring.

“While the business is operating, clearly, Bridge Tender would enforce — and they do a good job of that today,” Bell said. “But after hours, the property owners adjacent to those kinds of properties end up becoming the policemen.… How are we going to police these stipulations to make sure this doesn’t turn into a blight instead of an attractive gem for our city.”

Bradenton Beach Police Lt. John Cosby said Bartizal could join the BBPD Trespass Program, which authorizes police to enforce the stipulations.

“I wish I would have known about this before,” Bartizal said, adding he is willing to join the program.

When complete, the dock will be open to boaters first come first serve, and will be regulated during business hours by an attendant who currently oversees parking and the existing dock.