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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Parking lot proposal postponed by planners

A proposed parking lot in Bradenton Beach has been stalled until April 8 by city planners.

Agent Charlie Ugarte, representing owners George Marinos and Wendy Kokolis, asked the city planning and zoning board to approve a special exception for a 31-space parking lot on Ninth Street North. The area, approximately one-third of an acre, is zoned commercial, and historically was used as a parking lot for the defunct Trader Jack's restaurant.

However, planners were concerned about a number of gaps in the proposal, including lack of a lighting plan, landscape plans that appeared incomplete, questions about stormwater runoff and the amount of impervious surface area on the site, and bike and sidewalk provisions along Gulf Drive.

"Compared with other packages we've received," planning board member Rick Bisio said, "they're usually more fleshed out. I'd like to wait a few weeks and get a lighting plan presented to us before we vote on this." Other members of the board agreed.

The lighting plan presents some interesting obstacles for the parking lot owners and developers. City codes require a certain level of lighting averaged throughout the lot. However, Ugarte told planners, that level of lighting runs counter to what state officials and Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch members require for protecting sea turtles that nest on the beach during the summer.

Ugarte urged planners to revisit the city lighting requirements in light of new turtle protection requirements.

The parking lot matter will come back before the planning board at 6:30 p.m. April 8.