VOL 14 No. 50
October 8, 2014
Gabrielle Zejavac, 8, Jade Naylor, 9, William Naylor, 7 and Zoran Zejavac, 7, with Boy Scout Pack 22 and Girl Scout Troop 792, cleaned up Bradenton Beach on Saturday as part of International Coastal Cleanup Day. Among the trash, Jade found a working timer on the beach.
CINDY LANE | SUN
Forfeiture proceedings to continue The forfeiture of office discussions will continue at the Oct. 16 meeting. BY JOE HENDRICKS SUN CORRESPONDENT
BRADENTON BEACH – The forfeiture of office proceedings initiated against Mayor Bill Shearon will continue, but at a slower pace than hoped for by Vice Mayor Jack Clarke.
INSIDE NEWS OPINION Sun survey outdoors Football Fever Art obituaries Sports
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By declining to act on six potential alternatives presented by Commissioner Janie Robertson, the commission committed itself to moving forward with the forfeiture process. Robertson’s suggestions ranged from dropping the matter completely, to asking the commission to provide the mayor with specific concerns, to pursuing a recall campaign that would
Sun sponsors candidate forums The Island Sun will hold forums for mayor and city commission seats in Anna Maria on Tuesday, Oct. 21 and Holmes Beach on Wednesday, Oct. 22. There will be meet and greets at 6:30 p.m. and the forums will begin at 7 p.m. Candidates will respond to questions submitted by residents in advance. E-mail your Anna Maria questions to email@example.com and in the subject line put “AM forum question.” E-mail your Holmes Beach questions to pcopeland@ amisun.com in the subject line put
“HB forum question.” In Anna Maria, incumbent Mayor SueLynn is being challenged by resident Daniel Murphy and incumbent Commissioners Chuck Webb and Nancy Yetter are being challenged by David Bouchard. In Holmes Beach Commissioner David Zaccagnino and resident Bob Johnson are vying for the mayor’s seat, and incumbent Commissioners Judy Titsworth and Marvin Grossman are being challenged by resident Andy Sheridan.
see forfeiture, page 48
BAYFEST BRINGS music,
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food and fun to Pine Avenue 13
Find Old Florida at The Studio 13
Anna Maria Island, Florida
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OCTOBER 8, 2014
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OCTOBER 8, 2014
City to seek declaratory judgement The moratorium discussion produced both answers and questions. BY JOE HENDRICKS SUN CORRESPONDENT
ANNA MARIA – Commissioners met again last week to continue discussing a building moratorium aimed at homes that contain four or more bedrooms. The moratorium is an attempt to prevent large homes from being operated as short-term rentals in city neighborhoods. During the Wed., Oct. 1 work session, the commission clarified the moratorium resolution enacted on Wednesday, Sept. 22. The resolution now temporarily prohibits both the acceptance of new building permit applications and the issuance of new building permits for homes with four bedrooms. The resolution also pertains to building plans that include rooms, such as dens and offices, that could be used as bedrooms. The commission supported Chuck Webb’s suggestion to pursue a declaratory judgment from a judge in order to better define city code as it pertains to allowed uses in residential areas zoned R-1 and R-2. In a related action, the commission authorized Webb to pursue a proposal for legal services and analysis from attorney David Levin. Levin would be asked to review city code in
joe hendricks | sun
Anna Maria Commissioners continue their discussions on a building moratorium enacted last month. an effort to help determine whether large rental homes can be classified as hotels being operated for commercial use in residential zones where commercial use is prohibited. Getting to the heart of the matter, Commissioner Doug Copeland said, “I think we all agree it’s the short-term rentals that are the problem. It’s not the size of the house; it’s how it’s used.” Copeland cited, as an example, a large home permanently occupied by a family that includes three or more children and an elderly family member, and requires four or more bedrooms for non-commercial use. Building Official Bob Welch said, “It boils down to use, and it goes back to the mistake of allowing these single family units to
be used as rentals.” Webb suggested deed restrictions as a potential means of controlling use that would not place restrictions on the number of bedrooms. Webb envisioned a scenario that involved a property owner stating in writing that the home would never be used for anything other than a permanent residence or a rental property with a six-month minimum rental. Dye agreed the idea had merit, but said the city would not have the enforcement rights on deed restricted properties; enforcement would fall upon the other homeowners living in the subdivision. Dye noted that deed restrictions might have to be applied to an entire subdivision, as op-
posed to a single property. Commissioner Dale Woodland questioned whether deed restrictions would conflict with state-legislated vacation rental laws. Dye said they might. Mayor SueLynn questioned whether deed restrictions voluntarily entered would comply with the vacation rental law, and Dye was asked to conduct additional research on deed restrictions. In regard to the moratorium, Dye said a reasonable time limit would have to be established, and he reminded commissioners that state laws limit the length of time a city has to respond to building permit requests. Dye also cautioned commissioners that further restrictions placed on property owners could subject the city to additional lawsuits based on Bert Harris Act protections pertaining to municipalities taking actions that negatively impact property values. The discussion also veered into a lengthy conversation about the effectiveness of the Living Area Ratios (LAR) passed by the commission in 2013 as a means of reducing square footage allowances and encouraging architectural diversity. After the meeting, Copeland and Webb commented on the progress made. “We defined the problem,” Copeland said. “So we could start moving ahead,” Webb added.
Chief issues elections sign warning Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer said the city has already had some thefts of political signs and urged candidates to display their signs properly or they will be removed and owners will be contacted by code enforcement. Tokajer warned citizens not to remove any political signs that do not belong to them unless the signs are improperly posted on their property. He said it is the responsibility of the police department and code enforcement to remove signs that are improperly displayed. “If a citizen removes a sign from property that is not theirs the citizen can be charged with theft and even trespassing for going on another property,” Tokajer said.
Community Center to hold open house The Anna Maria Island Community Center staff and board invites the community to see Phase 1 – the relocation of its administrative offices from the second floor to the first floor, formerly the fitness center space – on Monday, Oct. 27, from 5 to 6 p.m. at 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria. Future plans include expansion of the fitness center on the second floor, enhancement of the dance studio flooring, more openness and visibility in the building and provision of a new space for the children’s after school programs with windows and direct access to the outdoors.
Porch music Saturday The Florida Maritime Museum presents Music on the Porch on Saturday, Oct. 11, from 2-5 p.m. at 4415 119th St. W. in Cortez. Musicians are invited to join in the jam session. The event will coincide with Sea Monster Sprout’s Family Day, featuring fun sea monster activities for kids related to the Maritime Mythologies: Creatures of the Deep exhibit at the museum. Admission is free; donations are requested for select activities. RSVPs are appreciated. On Wednesday, Oct. 15, from 3-4 p.m., learn about the mythology surrounding the lakes, rivers and swamps of Florida in a free lecture on Myths and Creatures of the Florida Backwaters, including everything from serpents and swamp creatures to ghosts and superstitions, and some invasive species that are all too real. RSVPs are required. For more information, call 941-708-6120 or visit the Florida Maritime Museum or http://floridamaritimemuseum.org.
Crosswalks and the law The Holmes Beach Police Department has issued the following safety tip for pedestrians: A pedestrian in or about to enter a properly marked crosswalk has the right of way, and it is the responsibility of the driver of the vehicle to stop and wait until the pedestrian has safely crossed before proceeding.
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OCTOBER 8, 2014
Whitmore and Wonder square off
With less than 30 days to Election Day, the Whitmore-Wonder campaign is heating up. BY JOE HENDRICKS SUN CORRESPONDENT
BRADENTON – The claws came out during the Manatee Tiger Bay Club’s “Whitmore-Wonder Wrangle for the Top” luncheon Thursday, Oct. 2, at Pier 22 in Bradenton. The capacity crowd saw Carol Whitmore and Terri Wonder debate numerous topics related to the campaign for the at-large Manatee County Commission seat held by Whitmore and sought by Wonder. Whitmore, a Republican from Holmes Beach who formerly served as mayor, is seeking her third term as a county commissioner. Wonder, a Democrat, lives in Bradenton’s Bayshore Gardens neighborhood and is seeking her first term in office after seeing her public profile rise due her leadership in the opposition to the Long Bar Pointe development in 2013. Last year, Whitmore and three other commissioners approved Carlos Beruff’s mixed-use map amendment request for undeveloped land along El Conquistador Parkway. Whitmore gave her support only after Beruff pulled the plug on a marina that would have required a channel to be cut through the mangroves and into Sarasota Bay. Beruff later withdrew the approved
mixed-use request that allowed for a hotel and conference center, and received approval for a residential development instead. Whitmore was limited Whitmore in her ability to discuss Long Bar Pointe because Beruff has filed a lawsuit against the county. “They said they have a Bert Harris claim against us. If Manatee County loses the case, you will get a marina and you will get a channel built,” she cautioned. “I understand how fragile Sarasota Bay is and I have no intentions of ruining that. Ms. Wonder you can shake your head all you want, but that’s the facts,” Whitmore said, noting that her Cortez supporters include Karen Bell and John Banyas. “We were the ones that successfully rolled that back,” Wonder said of the marina request. “My opponent and three others had the opportunity to do the right thing and didn’t. They voted against the wishes of 6,700 people who signed petitions and against the wishes of many town elders from Cortez. Those elders, including Mary Fulford Green, objected to all of it, not just the marina,” Wonder said. Each candidate was given time to tout their virtues and critique their opponent before fielding questions. Whitmore stressed economic diversity and job creation, the importance of Port Manatee, and the role Tax Increment Financing will play in
developing southwest Manatee County. “I believe in government continuing to live within their means. I haven’t raised the millWonder age rate since 1996,” Whitmore said. Wonder mentioned her involvement with the Manatee County Fish and Game Association, the Sierra Club, and ManaSota 88. In 2008, she was hired to serve as an Army civilian on behalf of the U.S. Armed Forces “I did two long deployments in Iraq serving as a social scientist, risking my life for my country. The whole point of my program was to understand local populations, concerns and vulnerabilities, so I could advise commanders on how to solve problems without having to shoot at one another. I have served my country with great distinction, and it is with high hopes that I can serve Manatee County with similar distinction,” Wonder said. Whitmore and Wonder also tussled over a party affiliation dispute that led County Commissioner Robin DiSabatino to step down from the local Republican party’s executive committee after being photographed with Wonder at an animal cruelty prevention event. DiSabatino referred to Whitmore and fellow commissioners Betsy Benac and Vanessa Baugh as “mean girls” and said, “Oh my goodness, I got my picture taken with a Democrat who voted for me and helped me in an open primary.”
Pier still on schedule Despite the recent rainy weather, Duncan Seawall remains ahead of schedule with renovations to the Historic Bridge Street Pier, according to ZNS Engineering’s Karen Wilson. In the areas where new pilings are in place, workers have begun laying the framework for the pier decking. joe hendricks | sun
OCTOBER 8, 2014
Mayor cleared of hostile workforce claims The mayor hopes his differences with the Public Works Director can be resolved. BY JOE HENDRICKS SUN CORRESPONDENT
BRADENTON BEACH – Labor attorney Matthew Westerman said last week that hostile workplace complaints filed against Mayor Bill Shearon by Public Works Director Tom Woodard are, in his opinion, unsubstantiated. “I do not find that Mr. Woodard has been subjected to an illegal hostile work environment,” Westerman concluded in the report he submitted to the city last week. According to Westerman, it was not proved that Shearon engaged in retaliatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult severe enough to alter the conditions of Woodard’s employment, or create an abusive work environment. “In light of this legal standard, Shearon’s actions do not rise to the level of actionable harassment. I recommend that the city take no further action,” Westerman wrote. When asked about the ruling, Shearon said, “It is what it is.”
The mayor said he hopes Woodard can move forward with a clean slate and put this matter behind them. Woodard said, “Even though the outcome of the investigation into my claims that Mayor Shearon has created a hostile work environment did not come out as expected, I felt it necessary and am pleased that my allegations are now on record.” Vice Mayor Jack Clarke said, “Just because the claim was not upheld, that still doesn’t eliminate the fact that three people in that department have lodged workplace complaints. In my conversations with other city employees, I find this to be a pervasive feeling throughout the city workforce.”
Woodard’s written complaint alleged: • Shearon encouraged former city employee Pat O’Neil to submit a written complaint regarding a Public Works employee driving a city vehicle outside city limits. • Shearon requested Police Chief Sam Speciale to investigate allegations that Woodard violated the Public Records Act. • Shearon attempted to improperly
discipline Woodard for alleged performance issues. • Shearon micromanaged the Public Works Department. Westerman met with Woodard before interviewing Shearon and four city employees Woodard identified as witnesses. “Mr. Woodard believes these actions were taken against him because he requested a Public Works employee to take pictures of documents that reflected pay increases Shearon gave to two employees,” Westerman’s report states.
Westerman addressed each allegation, beginning with the use of a city vehicle. “I do not find that Shearon instigated or encouraged O’Neil’s complaint. He simply advised O’Neil to put his concerns in writing,” Westerman concluded. In regard to public records, Westerman wrote, “Martin (Tjet Martin) alleged Woodard deleted certain e-mails and records. Woodard vehemently denies the allegation. Shearon admits he requested Speciale to investigate Martin’s allegations. Speciale conducted his investigation and determined
the allegations have no merit. The fact that the complaint originated from Martin does not alone suggest that Shearon is responsible for instigating the complaint. I find it more reasonable to conclude that Martin acted solely in her own interest, especially given the fact that she is currently running for city commission.” Westerman’s report also addressed Shearon’s desire to discipline Woodard. “Shearon felt Woodard was not keeping him informed regarding the status of Public Works projects and activities. Shearon, Woodard and the city attorney met on Friday, Sept. 12 to discuss the mayor’s concerns. It was determined that Woodard had not violated city policy and disciplinary action was not warranted. As a result, Shearon and Woodard agreed to a plan to foster better communications between them. I do not find that Shearon acted improperly in addressing his performance and communication concerns,” Westerman wrote. Westerman then addressed the micromanagement claim. “Woodard asserts that the commissee mayor, page 9
The Anna Maria Island Sun newspaper Island Sun Plaza, 9801 Gulf Drive P.O. Box 1189 Anna Maria, FL 34216-1189 Phone: (941) 778-3986 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org | email@example.com | firstname.lastname@example.org
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OCTOBER 8, 2014
EDITORIAL Time to combine efforts
hroughout the modern history of Anna Maria, there have been efforts to combine the three cities into one. Let’s face it, three public works departments, three building department and two police departments represent a duplication of efforts for a seven-mile long spit of sand, but we’re not calling for consolidation of our three chartered cities into one. In the past five years, the Island has become deluged with tourists and visitors to the point where we occasionally get a police report about a fight that broke out over a parking spot. Two of the three cities have talked about enacting paid parking and the third has had elected officials talk about it as well. Police Chief Sam Speciale even brought a parking meter to a meeting several years ago. Holmes Beach and Anna Maria have been exploring paid parking, and both have discussed hiring a company to install and run paid parking devices. That talk led to some interesting questions such as if someone pays to park in Holmes Beach and then decides to shop in Anna Maria, does that person have to pay both cities to park? Would a parking receipt in Anna Maria be good for a parking spot in Holmes Beach? Before any of the cities agree on anything, we suggest they confer with each other to answer those questions. Better yet, why don’t they form a committee of elected officials from each city to discuss paid parking seriously? They might be able to save money if they all go in together to standardize paid parking on the whole Island. We know the majority of residents want to live in their present city and are willing to pay for personalized service that comes from their own police force or city hall. We’re not suggesting this be a first step toward consolidation although the sharp rise in property values every year forces many to sell their property and move to the mainland. Consolidating other services could save them money, but that a discussion for another day. All we’re saying is it would save problems in the future if they combined efforts and decided on how paid parking would work for all three cities without leaving visitors feeling they were being fleeced as they ante up for parking spaces up and down the Island.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Center says thanks One of the joys of living on an island or in a small town is knowing individuals who truly dedicate themselves to the betterment of the community. On Anna Maria, where does one turn to get help in accomplishing a task? Ed Moss! He and his family, friends and flock are always ready to pitch in when an individual or organization needs a helping hand. Pair Ed with the “just do it” spirit of Mike Coleman and we have an unstoppable force. For over a year, I have talked about moving the Anna Maria Island Community Center administrative offices to the first floor. Seeing no movement towards that end, Mike took action. A call to Ed and the muscles of Ed, Wayne Bronkema, the Coleman boys Nate, Shay and Jack along with some help installing new electrical outlets and phone jacks at a discounted rate from David Parrish and United Electric and we are moved. Now we want to show off our space
The Anna Maria Island Sun Staff Publishers Mike Field Maggie Field Editor/CEO Mike Field
and introduce you to our board members. We invite the community to see first-hand, Phase 1 - the relocation of our administrative offices from the second floor, to the first floor, formerly the fitness center space on Monday, Oct. 27 from 5 to 6 p.m. Future plans include expansion of the fitness center on the second floor, enhancement of the dance studio flooring, more openness and visibility in the building and provision of a new space for the children’s after school programs with windows and direct access to the outdoors. Dawn Stiles Executive Director
Preserve paradise Please help preserve paradise! Holmes Beach voters interested in preserving current height and residential density limits should vote "yes" on Holmes Beach Charter amendments 1 and 2. The only thing currently preventing greater development is the vote of a simple majority of city commission-
Layout Ricardo Fonseca
Outdoors editor Rusty Chinnis
Reporters Pat Copeland Cindy Lane Tom Vaught Joe Hendricks
Ad director Chantelle Lewin Ad assistant Chris Boniberger
Columnists Louise Bolger
Classified ads Bob Alexander
ers (three of five). By making these provisions a permanent part of the city charter, that risk is eliminated. Lisa Pierce Holmes Beach
I have a pitchfork I recently read a statement by Holmes Beach Commissioner David Zaccagnino that it's OK to raise property taxes because "I don't see people lining up with pitchforks," meaning no one is complaining or protesting. I for one am getting a pitchfork to show Commissioner Zaccagnino that I protest the increase. He indicated that he's been marking up current budget items to address, but it's too late at the 12th hour to change anything. Why didn't he share those ideas weeks ago? Now he says he'll look at better ways to do budget in 2015. What has he been doing the past 9 years? Until then I'll have my pitchfork. Dennis Schavey Holmes Beach
Graphics Elaine Stroili Ricardo Fonseca Web Jocelyn V. Greene Accounting John Reitz
Distribution Bob Alexander Keith Isner Tony McNulty Contributors Steve Borggren Tom Breiter Troy Morgan
OCTOBER 8, 2014
the sun survey
on the agenda
LAST WEEK’S QUESTION: What do you think of Anna Maria's building moratorium?
I like it but I don't think it will do anything but delay the inevitable.
Good idea. It will give the city a chance to stop big box rentals.
10005 Gulf Drive
1/9: Revenue Committee, 2 p.m. 1/9: City Commission work session, 6 p.m. For information, call 7086130.
Bradenton Beach 107 Gulf Drive N.
10/8: Planning and Zoning Board, 3 p.m. 10/9: City Commission/ Department head meeting, 1 p.m. 10/13: Scenic Waves, 3 p.m. 10/14: City Commission work session, 1 p.m. 10/15: Pier Team, 11 a.m. 10/16: City Commission meeting, noon.
Bad idea. It will hurt the home-building business.
THIS WEEK’S SURVEY The city of Anna Maria is developing a management plan for Gulf Front Park, and a coastal dune expert recommended removing all invasive exotics.
• Follow the expert’s • Remove all invaadvice and remove sives except Ausrtiall invasives inalian pines? cluding Australian • Do nothing and let pines? it remain as is?
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Results are printed on this page every week in the Anna Maria Island Sun.
HOW TO SEND US A LETTER TO THE EDITOR Got an opinion, a complaint or a compliment? Is there something you need to get off your chest? Send us a letter to the editor and have your say. There are several ways to make your opinion known. Visit our website at www.amisun.com and click on the “contact us” link at the top of the home page. Or, e-mail The Sun directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you prefer the old-fashioned way you can mail a letter to us at The Anna Maria Island Sun, Island Sun Plaza, P.O. Box 1189, Anna Maria, FL 34216. Letters should be kept to 300 words or less and should contain your name and the city in which you reside. Personal attacks and obscene language will not be printed. Letters also may be edited for length and content.
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For information, call 7781005.
Holmes Beach 5801 Marina Drive
10/14: City Commission meeting, 7 p.m. 10/16: Code Enforcement Board, 10 a.m. 10/16: City Commission work session, 7 p.m. For information, call 7085800.
10/15: Coalition of Barrier Island Elected Officials, Anna Maria City Hall, 2 p.m. 10/16: West Manatee Fire Commission, 6417 Third Ave. W., Bradenton, 6 p.m.
mark your calendar Note: Events are free unless indicated.
Should the city:
Wednesday Oct. 8
Einstein’s Circle discussion on “Freedom of Speech vs. Buying an Election,” The Studio at Gulf and Pine, 10101 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Program on Reverse Mortgages, Island Branch Library, 5701 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, 2 p.m. Teen movie, Island Branch Library, 5701 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, 5 p.m.
Thursday Oct. 9
Intro to Self Publishing, Island Branch Library, 5701 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, 2 p.m.
Friday Oct. 10
Forty Carrots program for babies and children to age 5, Island Branch Library, 5701 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, 10 a.m. Alzheimer’s caregiver’s group, Island Branch Library, 5701 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, 2 p.m. Sneak peak tour, Perico Preserve, north side of Palma Sola Causeway, east of Harbour Isle development, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Reserve to 941-748-4501, ext. 6042.
Saturday Oct. 11
Fall plant, antiques and crafts sale, Palma Sola
Botanical Park, 9800 17th Avenue Northwest, Bradenton, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Master Gardener tour, Riverview Pointe Preserve, end of 75th Street, Bradenton, 9 to 11 a.m. Reserve to 941-722-4524. Kayaking for first timers, Robinson Preserve, 99th Street Northwest and 17th Avenue Northwest, Bradenton, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Reserve to 941- 748-4501, ext. 6039. Origami class, Island Branch Library, 5701 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, 10 a.m. Star Wars Reads Day/movie, Island Branch Library, 5701 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, 2 p.m.
Tuesday Oct. 14
Children’s story time, Island Branch Library, 5701 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, 10 a.m. Memory screening, Island Branch Library, 5701 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, 2 p.m. Sneak peak tour, Perico Preserve, north side of Palma Sola Causeway, east of Harbour Isle development, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Reserve to 941-748-4501, ext. 6042
Wednesday Oct. 15
Lifelong Learning lecture series on “Exploring Alaska’s National Parks,” Island Branch Library, 5701 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, 2 p.m.
OCTOBER 8, 2014
Bumpy bridge caused by repairs BY CINDY LANE SUN STAFF WRITER | email@example.com
CORTEZ – The Cortez Road bridge will be bumpy until about mid-November, due to repairs that require portions of the bridge to be jacked up temporarily, according to the Florida Department of Transportation. Workers must install 12 new expansion bearings and remove the old ones, and must jack up, or lift, each span
while they’re doing it, said Brian Bollas, public involvement officer with engineering firm Parsons Brinkerhoff, adding that the section under repair will be raised an inch or so during the process. Each one takes about a week to complete, according to Ray Callahan, FDOT’s construction project manager. As of last week, four were completed, four were raised and four remained to be repaired. Meanwhile, DOT warns motorists to
slow down and drive cautiously, and signs are being installed on both sides of the bridge to alert drivers to the problem, Bollas said. Asphalt cannot be poured on the cracks to temporarily even them out until the repairs are completed because it would drip through and damage the machinery underneath, he said. The estimated completion date of mid-November depends on weather, according to FDOT.
joe hendricks | sun
Drivers should slow down on the Cortez Road bridge until repairs that are causing uneven pavement are completed.
Johnson leads in campaign contributions BY PAT COPELAND SUN STAFF WRITER | firstname.lastname@example.org
HOLMES BEACH – Mayoral candidate Bob Johnson is the clear leader in campaign contributions in the two reporting periods that ended Sept. 26. From Aug. 30 to Sept. 12 , Johnson took in $1,400 from seven individuals and from Sept. 13 to Sept. 26, he took in $2,074 from 28 individuals.
In the first reporting period, he spent $958 on campaign materials, ads and mailing labels. In the second reporting period, he spent $125 on refreshments for a campaign event. The other mayoral candidate, David Zaccagnino reported no activity in the first reporting period and a $100 contribution from an individual in the second reporting period. He spent $50 on photography.
Commissioner Marvin Grossman reported no activity in the first reporting period and took in $300 from three individuals in the second reporting period. He spent $19.97 on envelopes and labels. Commissioner Judy Titsworth took in $50 from one individual in the first reporting period and $430 from an individual and a developer and $13 in in kind services in the second. Between
the two reporting periods, she spent $96.20 on signs, stickers, labels and envelopes. Candidate Andy Sheridan received $134 in in kind design work from SteamDesigns in the first reporting period and $20 from an individual in the second reporting period. In the first reporting period, he spent $273 on stationary .
OCTOBER 8, 2014
Residents learn about charter changes The 18 proposed changes to the city charter will be on the Nov. 4 ballot. BY PAT COPELAND SUN STAFF WRITER | email@example.com
HOLMES BEACH – Interested residents came out last week to hear a presentation on the 18 proposed amendments to the city charter that will be on the Nov. 4 ballot. “This is an information exchange to help us become more aware of these charter amendments that will be on the ballot,” Bob Johnson, who chaired the Charter Review Commission, told the group. “This is about the city and the role the citizens have in the city. “The charter establishes the municipality and defines the city, its structure of government and the nature of that government. It is there to provide clear
information about the citizens’ powers and responsibilities.” He said the Charter Review Commission spent five months working on revisions to the charter with the help of the city staff members and the city attorney and their motto was, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” “Citizens hold powers and responsibilities via their vote, and that vote defines their community,” he explained. “A charter can only be changed by a vote of the citizens.” “We have tried to make the charter consistent with current law. The other thing we found was a huge vacuum about our city departments. We tried to put some structure and meaning into those descriptions.” He said they also added limitations on height and density, which can only be changed by a super majority of the city commission.
There are six non-substantive changes to the charter, which include fixing errors in grammar, making provisions consistent with state law and adding provisions to allow for modern technology. There are 12 substantive changes including:
• Clarifying the initiative and referendum process; • Filling the office of mayor when there is no candidate; • Requiring a super majority of the city commission to change the charter by ordinance; • Defining the scope and responsibilities, composition and structure, qualifications, selection and appointments of city department heads; • Adding the position of human resources analyst; • Limiting building height to 36 feet; • Limiting density to 5.8 units per acre in the R1AA and R1 zoning districts and 10 units per acre in all the other zoning districts. Voters can go to the city website, www. holmesbeachfl.org, to find a listing of all ballot questions, a question and answer card and a full mark up of the charter reflecting the proposed changes.
is responsible for the oversight of the city’s day-to-day operations. Resolution 14-812 prohibits the mayor from influencing city personnel on matters that
may come before the city commission, however, the mayor is not prohibited from generally supervising department heads,” Westerman concluded.
A charter can only be changed by a vote of the citizens.” Bob Johnson Charter Review Commission chair
mayor: Cleared of claims FROM PAGE 5
ion recently issued a resolution that prohibits the mayor from directing city personnel. Shearon contends that he has the
authority to supervise department heads. I disagree with Woodard’s assertion that the mayor cannot give directions to department heads. It is clear that the mayor
OCTOBER 8, 2014
Gulf Front Park plan meets resistance Consultant Robert Barron said the best terrain for the beach park is low prairie grass and the Australian pines and sea grapes should go. BY TOM VAUGHT SUN STAFF WRITER | firstname.lastname@example.org
ANNA MARIA â€“ Rob Barron, of Coastal Management and Consulting, presented his plan for restoring the beach terrain at Gulf Front Park last month. The city hired Barron after Commissioner Doug Copeland pushed for finding a plan to prevent the area from being overrun by exotic, invasive plants. Barron said his job is to improve areas that have been â€œbeat upâ€? by misuse. In assessing the park, Barron divided the park into areas by the adjacent street. He said the Oak Avenue portion is not too badly abused. He said it could be handled by hand-removal of weeds and taking down sea grapes. The Cedar section is in bad shape, he said. â€œIt is 40-percent infested with exotic, invasive plants and trees,â€? he said. â€œAustralian pines are bad there. In Sanibel after Hurricane Charlie, we spent extra days removing the fallen Australian
pines. Elm is being overrun by mother-inlaw tongues, an invasive plant. â€œWillow is moderately disturbed,â€? he said. â€œSea grapes are not native (to the dune system). â€œIn its natural state, the Island had grasslands except in the middle of the Island. There were no trees in the grasslands.â€? He said the area near Palmetto Avenue is nearly intact and healthy. They could clear the invasives by hand and it really looks like a native habitat. He spoke about the Australian pines near Palm Avenue. â€œThey offer no protection from storm surge,â€? he said. â€œThe trees are pretty and people like them, but they have to go.â€? Barron said there are five elements of coastal management that result in dune growth. 1. Remove exotics. Australian pines came late and spread among the grasslands. The Australian pines acidify the soil so other plants canâ€™t grow. Australian pines and sea grapes are identified as worst. 2. Increase pioneer dune support. After you clean out exotics, the best and cheapest replacement is sea oats. 3. Remedial pruning. Prune plants to 36 inches. Once they grow back, the root mass to leaves ratio is the same. But in a hurricane, the plant does not roll over.
4. Strand zone establishment. Come back and install plants that will stabilize dunes. Not needed here, maybe later. 5. Lighting control so no more light reaches turtle hatchlings after each trimming. Not a problem here. Barron estimated up to $38,000 to remove exotics and prune and $18,000 to replant the areas with dune grasses. When he was finished, Commissioner Nancy Yetter, who favors keeping Australian pines, expressed her displeasure. â€œWhen we spoke to you over Skype, I thought we agreed not to remove the Australian pines,â€? she said. â€œI think we wasted our money on this study.â€? Barron said he got that type of reaction whenever somebody was present who prefers to keep the pines. â€œYour reaction is something I expect to get,â€? he said. â€œWhat I am explaining here is rooted in science. The thing you have to do is decide what you want to do.â€? Yetter said she felt Barronâ€™s plan is too aggressive. The commission chair asked Barron how urgent the situation is with exotics growing in the area and Barron said the problem grows 25-30 percent a year. Copeland thanked Barron for his presentation and Barron said the problems in the park are not real bad. â€œYouâ€™ve got a nice piece of land there,â€? he said.
Rezone request withdrawn The applicants were seeking to change the zoning from medium density residential to commercial. BY PAT COPELAND SUN STAFF WRITER | email@example.com
HOLMES BEACH â€“ City commissioners received a request from Ross Built Construction to withdraw its application for a rezone at 214 54th St. In September, the contractor had asked for a continuance on the request to Dec. 9, however, on Friday, Oct. 3, the city received the request to withdraw all development applications on the property. The subject property is across the street from Island Lumber and contains two residential units and a CPA office. The property owners proposed demolishing the existing structure and building two office units on the first level and two residential units on the second level. The applicants, Ben and Kerenten-Haaf were seeking to change the zoning from medium density residential, R-2, to commercial, C-1 and to extend the cityâ€™s mixed use overlay to include the property. The applicant originally asked to rezone the property to C-3, but after stiff opposition from neighbors, they changed the request to C-1. In May, planning commissioners ruled the requests were not in compliance with the comprehensive plan. In addition, City Planner Bill Brisson called it â€˜an incompatible land use in a residential area.â€? Neighbors protested the application stating that it negatively affect the quality of life and property values, is commercial encroaching on residential and would increase traffic to the area.
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JUNE 25, 2014
City dock to be replaced
Beautification board members needed
Holmes Beach city commissioner approved a contract between Wood Dock and Seawall to replace the city dock at Marina and 63rd Street in the amount of $11,900. They also approved an addendum to the contract with Gator Grading and Paving regarding additional milling and paving work with respect to the 31st Street drainage improvements. The additional amount is $50,000, which Building Official Jon Betcher said is eligible for a 50 percent reimbursement from the Southwest Florida Water Managment District.
The city of Holmes Beach is currently seeking residents to serve on the Parks and Beautification Advisory Board. There is a need for one member and two alternates for two-year terms. The board recommends beautification projects around the city and meets at city hall at 5 p.m. the first Wednesday of each month from October to May.
Planning commission appointments made Holmes Beach city commissioners appointed Planning Commission alternate Don Ferguson to take the seat of Ed Kerr, who resigned for health reasons. They also appointed Alan Wurzbach as first alternate and David Lester as second alternate to the board.
H O L I S T I C
Building official agreement renewed Holmes Beach city commissioners renewed the agreement for the temporary loan of Building Official Jon Betcher from Manatee County last week. The temporary assignment is extended through Dec. 31 and beyond. In addition, Human Resources Analyst Mary Buonagura said the city continues to advertise for a permanent building official and will be interviewing candidates.
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