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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Anna Maria eyes big bucks for building permits

Faced with a "bare bones" budget for 2004-05 that leaves little room for any capital improvement projects, such as a new $58,000 roof for city hall, the Anna Maria City Commission is looking at a fee schedule for various permits and services as a revenue generation measure.

At its Aug. 26 meeting, commissioners received a draft fee schedule from Building Official Kevin Donohue and Mayor SueLynn that would charge for a host of city permits.

Those include a new schedule of fees for building permits that starts with $50 for the first $1,000 of valuation and increases by $19 for each additional $1,000 of valuation. A renovation project valued at $100,000 would cost $1,931 for a permit, if the proposed schedule is adopted, while a new home valued at $500,000 would cost $9,531 for a permit.

That could be bad news for homes in the Villa Rosa housing project on South Bay Boulevard, but good news for the city treasury. At an average price of $2 million, each home built in the subdivision would cost an average $38,031 for a permit. With 17 homes planned in Villa Rosa, the city can anticipate approximately $650,000 in permit fees from that project alone.

The proposed fee schedule also includes a charge for a right-of-way work permit, a petition to vacate a right of way, concurrency appeals, amendment and rezoning applications, fence applications, site-plan approval, special-use alcohol permit, a variance application, a demolition permit and a number of other permits offered by the city.

Commissioners will grapple with specific charges for those permits at their Sept. 9 workshop session.

The commission will also examine a stormwater assessment fee for property owners that would be similar to the Holmes Beach plan already in place.

Tropical Treats
Commissioners unanimously agreed to issue a special-use alcohol permit for beer and wine to the Tropical Treats restaurant at 9903 Gulf Drive after learning that the owners had changed their menu to ensure that full-course meals were offered.

While some members of the public thought the commission should consider parking and seating requirements, Commission Chairperson John Quam pointed out that the code pertaining to special-use permits states that the commission only deal with the requirements for the permit, not other issues.

Those are issues for another day and another meeting, he said.

Oak-Tarpon paving dispute
An agreement to end the nearly year-long dispute over the allegedly poor paving job done on Oak and Tarpon avenues by APAC paving appears possible.

After rejecting a number of compromise solutions with APAC that would have required the city to pay $9,000 or more above the $33,000 contract price, commissioners agreed - somewhat reluctantly - to approve payment of an additional $3,000 to APAC. In return, APAC will replace 90 feet of 1-inch-deep asphalt on Oak Avenue to Gulf Drive with 1 1/2 inches of asphalt.

At the same time, Baskerville-Donovan Inc., the city's engineering firm, will supervise the project at no charge. APAC has also agreed to honor its three-year warranty, said Tom Wilcox of BDI.

If commissioners agree to the contract change order at a special meeting at 6:45 p.m. Sept. 9, the city will issue BDI a check to APAC for 90 percent of the original $33,000 contract. BDI will hold that amount in escrow until APAC completes all the agreed work and BDI approves the job. Any balance due APAC will be paid later upon BDI approval.

Hurricane Charley
Mayor SueLynn gave an overview of the city's hurricane preparations and evacuation Aug. 12 due to the threat of Hurricane Charley. She also thanked Rotten Ralph's Restaurant on South Bay Boulevard for providing food to Manatee County Sheriff's Office deputies who were on patrol during the evacuation in the city Aug. 12-13.

"It's nice to still have a city intact," said the mayor, at the same time noting that "if we were Punta Gorda or some other city down south, we would not be sitting in this building."

Waterfront Restaurant
Commissioners stumbled a little bit over a lease with the Waterfront Restaurant for parking spaces at the City Pier parking lot.

The commission had voted to approve the Waterfront's site plan July 28 and agreed to write a lease for enough parking spaces for the restaurant to meet code requirements, but Commissioners Dale Woodland and Carol Ann Magill said they now had "reservations" about leasing city property to a private company.

Woodland said he didn't want the city to be in a situation where it's giving "preferential treatment" to a business because others will come and ask for the same privilege.

Magill said approval of the site plan happened "so fast, and we wanted to get them approved."

She also noted that the city already has a lease with the City Pier Restaurant, but City Attorney Jim Dye said that lease only extends 100 feet south of the pier and the spaces needed by the Waterfront would not be affected by that lease.

Besides, said Quam, Waterfront customers are parking in the City Pier lot anyway. The lease doesn't change the way people now park to eat at the restaurant, it just satisfies the code requirement.

The Waterfront Restaurant was damaged in a March 17 fire that was later determined to be arson. Owners Jason and Leah Suzor submitted a site plan to the commission to rebuild the restaurant, but faced a lack of seven parking spaces to meet the city's code requirements.

Magill and Woodland agreed to a compromise solution offered by Quam and Commissioner Duke Miller for a one-year lease with the Waterfront with an automatic renewal unless either party serves a 90-day cancellation notice. During the coming year, Magill said she wants the commission to address parking at a number of locations in the city, not just the Waterfront.

The Waterfront will not be allowed to put up parking signs at the City Pier lot under the proposed lease agreement.

Quam placed the lease agreement on the Sept. 23 commission meeting agenda for a second reading.