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Date of Issue: March 16, 2006

At long last: Road improvements for Anna Maria

A project that has been at least four years in the making - and probably longer - is now "surfacing" in Anna Maria.

Mayor SueLynn along with City Engineer Tom Wilcox presented a complete list of the condition of all 62 streets and 14.3 miles of roads in the city to commissioners at their March 9 worksession, including a priority list of those that are in desperate need of a "full-depth reclamation."

The mayor's proposal is that the commission approve the priority list for Phase I of road improvements, authorizing the mayor to put the projects out for bid as one package. Funding for the improvements would come from the $1 million line of credit recently approved by the commission.

Phase I of road improvements would cost an estimated $763,000, according to Wilcox.

The mayor also asked the commission to approve $125,000 for stormwater improvements and an additional $80,000 to meet the low bid on the Gladiolus Drive drainage project. The projects would also be funded from the line of credit. The total estimated cost of Phase I of road improvements and the two drainage projects is $968,000.

Wilcox gave a slide presentation on "full-depth reclamation," which is a complete asphalt overlay, along with mill and overlay for streets not in danger of falling apart but rapidly approaching that category, and microsurfacing of roads that need repairs to keep them from reaching the critical stage of either mill and overlay or full-depth reclamation.

The priority list for full-depth reclamation, in alphabetical order, is:

  • Bayview Place from South Bay Boulevard to its southwest end.
  • Blue Heron Drive from South Bay Boulevard to its southwest end.
  • Lake View Place from Lake View to the end of the cul-de-sac.
  • Magnolia Avenue from 400 feet southwest of its intersection with Gulf Drive to South Bay Boulevard.
  • South Drive from South Bay to the end of the cul-de-sac.
  • Spring Avenue from its west end to Gulf Drive.

Wilcox listed sections of 10 streets in need of mill and overlay, including Crescent Drive, Jacaranda Road, Loquat Drive, Los Cedros Drive, Magnolia Avenue, Lakeview Drive, Magnolia Avenue, Pine Avenue, Spring Avenue and Spring Lane.

A total of 12 streets will be microsurfaced in Phase I.

The drainage projects would be the Pine Avenue and Crescent Drive localized flooding area and North Shore Drive between Willow Avenue and Magnolia Avenue.

"That's a lot of work out there," noted Wilcox, suggesting that the commission "do it now before prices go up."

In fact, Wilcox noted three months ago when oil prices soared to nearly $3 per gallon that construction costs had climbed proportionately. He said the estimates in Phase I are based on current construction costs and include design, permitting and construction.

The mayor said it would take her and Wilcox between 60 and 90 days to get the bid package ready and receive bids, once the commission approves. No money from the line of credit will be drawn until a bid is accepted, she said.

Commissioners praised SueLynn and Wilcox for their work and were eager to get started on the long overdue improvement of the city's roads.

When the mayor added that the city also needs to have a special meeting on the Gladiolus drainage project, Commission Chairperson John Quam suggested that the city have one special meeting to approve both the roads project and the additional funds for the Gladiolus drainage effort.

"Let's do it all in one night," he said.

The commission will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 16, to discuss and, possibly, approve both items.

Commissioners also thanked the capital improvements advisory committee for its efforts the past four years in preparing the priority list. That committee includes Larry Albert, Bill Snow and Chuck White, among others.

Snow accepted the congratulations on behalf of the committee and urged the commission to move quickly.

"We've been talking about this for years, now expedite it. Each week that goes by, costs go up. Do it now so we don't have to ask for more money," he said.

After four years of discussion, the commission finally agreed.

In other business, the commission held the first reading of an amended sign ordinance that would regulate signs in the city.

Commissioners were in favor of several recommendations from the environmental education and enhancement committee, including a prohibition on fluorescent or "day-glo" signs and a height limitation, but rejected an EEEC proposal for a maximum sign size of just 1.5 square feet.

The commission consensus was for a maximum size of 3 square feet, limit each residence to one sign, and have no more than three lines of copy.

Commercial establishments could have a sign on an overhang in front of the business, in addition to a sign for the shopping plaza. Restaurants would also be permitted a sign to advertise daily specials.

City Planner Alan Garrett said he would have the changes ready for the final reading of the ordinance on March 23.

The commissioners also agreed to look at the ordinance passed in January 2004 that limits intrusions into the side yard setback to 24 inches and a maximum height of 12 inches.

Pool companies have indicated that the ordinance as written forbids heat pumps and air conditioners on the side of a house if they cross the setback line.

The commission agreed the ordinance probably was never intended to regulate such mechanical equipment. Quam said the commission would look at the minutes of the planning and zoning committee meeting when it recommended passage of the ordinance to determine what the intent was at that time. The commission will discuss those minutes at its April worksession.