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Date of Issue: May 27, 2009

BB commission selects planning consultant

Bradenton Beach commissioners voted May 21 to hire Wilson Miller as a planning consultant to update the city’s land-development code during the next year.

Four firms submitted bids on the job — B.A. Garrett Associates Inc., LaRue Planning and Management Services Inc., ZNS Engineering and Wilson Miller.

Commissioners voted in March to seek a consultant to help update the city’s land-development code and to possibly serve as an ongoing consultant to the planning and development department.

The city is amending its comprehensive plan — a process expected to be completed this summer —and will next begin a major update of the LDC.

Wilson Miller, in its proposal, promised a “team of professionals who bring the expertise necessary to successfully and creatively complete the project.”

The firm estimated the LDC update would cost $16,000 — $1,000 for an initial meeting on the project, $2,000 for a review of the comp plan and LDC, $3,000 for a joint workshop with the city commission and planning and zoning board and $10,000 for analysis and draft updates.

ZNS Engineering vice president Thomas C. McCollum, in his proposal, said the firm is the oldest, locally owned engineering consulting firm in the county.

“We are confident we can address the needs of the city,” he said.

ZNS’s estimated charge — a total of $19,700 — included $800 for an initial meeting on the LDC, $2,000 for a plan review, $1,200 for a workshop with the commission and planning board, $4,300 for drafts of the LDC, $5,700 for three public meetings/hearings of the planning board and $5,700 for three public meetings/hearings of the city commission.

LaRue proposed to complete the LDC update for an estimated $26,500 and indicated the fee would include drafting the document, as well as holding 12 meetings.

“We believe our approach, combined with our professional expertise, will provide the city with the broad perspective and technical competence you seek for this important undertaking,” said LaRue president James G. LaRue.

Garrett’s estimate was that an LDC update would take a total of 86 hours for $8,707.50, without billing for travel or mileage and including a 25 percent discount for government work.

During last week’s meeting, representatives with ZNS, LaRue and Wilson appeared to make pitches for the job.

Commissioners said they were impressed with the bids, but most impressed with the extent of the research Wilson Miller had already conducted regarding the city’s comp plan and LDC.

City building official Steve Gilbert said the update process probably will take a year.

He said the city should complete the process of amending its comp plan in the next 60 days. “Following that we have 12 months to get the job done,” Gilbert said, referring to the LDC update.

In other business May 21, commissioners:

  • Approved payment of a $5,937.51 invoice from M.T. Causley Inc. for building department services.
  • Approved payment of invoices from city attorney Ricinda Perry for $5,365.44 in March and $5,282.64 in April.
  • Approved payment of an invoice from the Lewis, Longman, Walker law firm for $9,936.19 for work related to a suit The Islander filed against the city.
  • City clerk Nora Idso said the firm, after negotiating with the city, reduced outstanding fees in the case by 25 percent.
  • Approveda request from Commissioner Janie Robertson allowing for the as-needed hiring of a clerk to prepare minutes for public meetings held under the project/program department.

The city provides professional clerical staff to produce required minutes of public meetings for the board of adjustment, the pier team, the planning and zoning board, and, when it hosts the Coalition of Barrier Island Elected Officials and the Island Transportation Planning Organization.

But, Robertson said, there is no professional minute-taking for a variety of groups that meet under project/program, including ScenicWAVES and the mooring field committee.

“Allow the department head to hire professional clerical services to produce required minutes for all public meetings,” Robertson said.

Her motion was to allow the department to spend up to $200 a month for a minute-taker. Mayor Michael Pierce, who said volunteers have and should help with the minutes, abstained.

He said he didn’t want to weigh in with a “no” vote. “I’ll go along with it,” Pierce said.

  • Approved a first reading of an ordinance on the operation of the Historic Bridge Street Pier.
  • Heard from Bradenton Beach Police Chief Sam Speciale that the police department had secured $36,000 in grant money to buy six laptops and $40,000 in grant funds for a new police vehicle.