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Date of Issue: June 04, 2008

Gas gives Holmes Beach Commission heartburn

“You can’t imagine how blindsided we are with your presentation.”

That comment from Holmes Beach Commissioner John Monetti seemed to sum up the aghast commission May 27 after a presentation by TECO People’s Gas to run a 4-inch natural gas line from the mainland at 75th Street to Holmes Beach, then north and south.

Leroy Sullivan Jr. of TECO said that construction plans would include running the pipe along Manatee Avenue under its three bridges, then north 6,800 feet along Gulf Drive. The pipeline would also extend south from Holmes Beach about 12,000 feet into Bradenton Beach at Bridge Street.

Bradenton Beach city commissioners will hear of the matter June 5 at 7 p.m.

TECO’s Tom Lucas said the pipeline would run along Sixth Avenue in Holmes Beach, then jog to Gulf Drive at 28th Street. Phase 2 will have the pipeline on Second Street until it too jogs to Gulf Drive and continues north.

“It won’t deal with plantings,” Lucas said of the pipeline project, adding that the Florida Department of Transportation and Florida Department of Environmental Protection permits have already been attained.

But no permits from the city have been attained on the project, which is scheduled to commence early this month and coincide with Anna Maria Island Bridge renovations and the bridge closure in late September.

“It’s a little late in the process for the city commission to be hearing about this,” said city attorney Patricia Petruff. She said that TECO officials should consult with the building and police departments and address the issue of streets being ripped up.

“There are a lot of assumptions being made,” Petruff said.

Commission Chair Sandy Haas-Martens said that a franchise agreement needs to be presented to the city as soon as possible, and that she will place the matter on the June 10 work session of the commission.

“You don’t want to get Islanders riled,” she advised the gas representatives.