Vol. 16 No. 34 - June 22, 2016
City to impose moratorium on franchises
HOLMES BEACH – Franchises, or formula businesses, are on hold in the city after city commissioners agreed last week to impose a moratorium on them for up to eight months.
The issue began when commissioners learned that Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins were planning to open in the Anna Maria Island Centre, owned by the Benderson Development Company. This was followed by complaints from other business owners and residents about losing the Island's character and Old Florida ambiance.
Mayor Bob Johnson said the purpose of the moratorium is "to provide time to look at the inventory of the types of businesses in the city and determine a course of action. It gives us time to do analysis and investigation." More...
Mayors make last plea for tax distribution
ANNA MARIA – The four barrier island mayors remain hopeful for a more equitable distribution of the county's proposed half-cent sales tax.
Manatee County commissioners plan to vote on an ordinance to put the question on the November ballot, but had not done so by press time for this edition. As it currently reads, the tax would be distributed based on population, as provided in statute.
The island mayors' proposal would allocate 90 percent based on a population formula and 10 percent based on collections of the tourist bed tax.
At last week's meeting of barrier island elected officials, Longboat Key Mayor Jack Duncan stressed, "Somehow the county needs to appreciate what we do for business throughout the entire county. We get a lot of rhetoric from our county commissioners about how important the islands are, but now it's time to show it." More...
City reviewing beach concession site plan
HOLMES BEACH – Building Official Jim McGuinness told city commissioners that he is reviewing the conceptual plan from Manatee County to remodel and expand the concession at Manatee Public Beach.
"It's strictly a conceptual plan, and it's been sent to (City Attorney) Patty Petruff," McGuinness explained. "We are in the process of looking at the site plan stipulations for the public beach and weighing what they want to do against what was approved within that site plan."
Commissioner Jean Peelen asked if the patio has already been expanded to accommodate additional tables, and McGuinness replied, "They have received no permits from my department. I'm not aware of any expansion." More...
Pier funding source of discontent
ANNA MARIA – Anna Maria City Pier tenant and restaurant operator Mario Schoenfelder sent a scathing letter to city officials last week regarding commission decisions and comments made at the May 26 meeting in regard to funding the $2 million pier rehabilitation.
Before that May meeting, Schoenfelder presented the city with two offers: one for a $250,000 contribution and another for $500,000. Both offers stipulated that new leases be renegotiated, and the larger offer sought two rent-free years in exchange for providing the money up front. The commission majority rejected both offers.
Schoenfelder's June 16 open letter to the mayor and commissioners said, "I respect and accept the city's authority to choose a tenant as they please and to let the current lease expire in December of 2020. What I do not accept are false, untrue and insulting accusations that are intended to serve as reasons to deny my company a renewed lease." More...
Mayors discuss license plate cameras
ANNA MARIA – Anna Maria Mayor Dan Murphy and Holmes Beach Mayor Bob Johnson said they are in no hurry to install license plate recognition cameras on the Island.
At last week's meeting of barrier island elected officials, Longboat Key Police Chief Pete Cummings told the group that the town installed the cameras four years ago, and they are on 24 hours a day and capture images of license plates. He said if a vehicle is associated with any criminal charges, police are alerted.
Holmes Beach Commissioner Carol Soustek said, "The amount of people who come and go on our Island is huge, and they are not all angels. It's a deterrent; it's a tool. More...
Center rental program begins with AMI Accommodations
ANNA MARIA – Anna Maria Island Accommodations has finalized an agreement with the Center of AMI for a guest pass program for its renters.
As of July 1, The Center will be a part of the guest amenities package offered to those who stay at properties managed by AMI. It also will provide ongoing revenue for the Center.
In a press release from The Center, AMI co-owners Rob and Jamie Hinckle said, "We are pleased to be able to provide our guests with access to The Center and its programs during their stay. It provides a better guest experience while increasing incentives offered by property owners at no charge to either party." More...
SAM ponders future bridges
HOLMES BEACH – When a consultant told the Manatee County Commission a high, fixed-span bridge would be the best replacement for the Cortez Bridge in terms of accommodating lots of traffic, he caught the attention of Save Anna Maria (SAM) members who successfully stopped an unwanted fix-span replacement for an Island drawbridge 23 years ago.
Nancy Deal, a SAM board member, said members were going to meet soon to discuss strategy to fight the fixed span, because many people think it would be too large to serve the people and businesses in Cortez.
Deal said they would like to investigate alternatives to the fixed span, saying it's also a safety problem. More...
Commission passes on moratorium request
BRADENTON BEACH – If there's going to be a building moratorium in Bradenton Beach, it will be enacted by city voters rather than city commissioners.
During the Thursday, June 16, meeting, city commissioners voted 4-1 to deny the adoption of a citizen-initiated building moratorium ordinance. The denial was based in part on staff's recommendation that the ballot language presented by city resident Priscilla VonAhnen required further clarification and could be problematic if adopted as is.
The moratorium ordinance language called for a six-month moratorium on the acceptance, review and issuance of building permit applications for residential units in the R-1 and R-2 zone districts that request four or more bedrooms or rooms that could be used as sleeping areas. More...
Back to our roots
In light of global trends, the Chiles Group is going through a metamorphosis. These trends span continents, where we have decided to take charge and march on global sustainability. The Chiles Group is on the right track for responsibly serving guests with a commitment to sustainability. The good news is that most of the sustainability efforts are focused here at home.
The local fishing industry, largely fueled by mullet, is being turned on its head. Bottarga is starting to be produced here instead of being sent overseas for processing then sold at 10 times the price. This means a potential economic boon for local fishermen.
What about agriculture? Can we get produce from local farmers? How about dairy? It turns out, the answer is yes on almost all fronts. As more of these products are produced locally, it will give local restaurants an opportunity to support their community. More...
Protect yourself from the sun
If you spend time on the water during our Florida summers, you need to be aware of the damaging and painful effects of sun exposure. Be prepared, and you can spend the whole day in full sun and never have a problem. Those that are unaware of the potential risks can get in big trouble in as little as two hours.
There are basically two ways to protect yourself. You can cover up with clothing including long pants, long sleeved shirts, gloves, face protection and hats. You can also employ a good sunscreen and combination of protective clothing. In the past anglers had only hats, cotton clothing and greasy lotions that reflected the sun's harmful rays.
The harmful effects of sun exposure are one of the most important things for an angler to understand. Composed primarily of infrared, visible and ultraviolet light, sunlight is a blessing to anglers, but can be a curse to the uninformed. The ultraviolet light is potentially harmful and is the wavelength that causes sunburn. A form of radiation burn can result from exposure to this property of light. Symptoms of overexposure consist of red or reddish skin that is hot to the touch, general fatigue and mild dizziness. An excess can be life-threatening in extreme cases. More...
Beach houses started out as a way to live simply, stay close to nature and block out the stressful world. But beach houses, like so many other mid-century concepts, have evolved and not necessarily in a good way.
The architect Paul Rudolph developed a reputation for designing mid-century modernist residential homes, many in Sarasota and the surrounding area, featuring geometric forms and dynamic interiors influenced by the Bauhaus School of Design. In 1952 he designed and built a true beach house for Dr. Walter Walker on a piece of property on Sanibel Island. The Walker Guest House, as it is known, is unique in many ways, and its tiny house minimalist design is a teaching moment in what relaxed living really is.
The house is 576 square feet and measures 24 by 24, with a combination of screens and glass walls that can be covered with plywood panels operated on a counterweight system fitting together like a puzzle. Rudolph was a naval architect who used that experience in the Walker house design; he even uses boat cleats inside the house to tie off the wood panels when they were in the raised position. More...
Son joins Island Animal Clinic
If there's a special place in heaven for those of us who love and care for animals, then veterinarians will be first in line at the pearly gates. And it's equally special when caring for those animals becomes a generational legacy.
The Island Animal Clinic was purchased by Dr. William Bystrom in 1989 from retiring Dr. Henry Stevens. Prior to owning the Island Animal Clinic, Bystrom started the Palma Sola Animal Clinic at 6116 Manatee Ave. W. in Bradenton in 1984. He currently offers veterinary services in both locations.
Although Bystrom is not native to Anna Maria Island, coming from Nebraska, he found his way to Florida via Pass-a-Grille where his grandparents had a home. After receiving his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1979 from the University of Missouri, he worked for the Animal Medical Hospital and Animal Emergency Hospital in St. Petersburg for five years. He was introduced to Anna Maria by his godfather who lived there and decided this was the place for him. More...
Reverse mortgages worth another lookInvestment Corner
I have written about reverse mortgages over the years, at least twice here in the Sun. My advice was that reverse mortgages were expensive for the borrower, but in the case where a retired person or couple had run out of assets, using the equity in their home through a reverse mortgage wasn't the worst idea in the world.
I'm bringing the topic back one more time because some changes in federal guidelines have made the reverse mortgage a more attractive option for those who are over age 62, that own their home free and clear of another mortgage and who are concerned about the possibility of running low on retirement income during their lifetime
Space limitations don't' allow us to go into a full primer on reverse mortgages, but let's hit some of the highlights. More...
The Feast captures youth soccer championship
With summer break in full swing, the oldest elementary school age futbol players played one last game in the spring season at The Center on Mon., June 13. In the 8- to 10-year-old league championship game, which was delayed by Tropical Storm Colin, The Feast matched up against Team Blue Lagoon Landscape.
Blue Lagoon, coached by Tom Baugher, played with heart and passion for their team and substitute Coach Jessica Baugher. Competing with only six players in the entire game, Coach Baugher encouraged and praised her team through 40 minutes of play.
With Sam Leister in the goal to start for Blue Lagoon, the team could not stop the natural athletic talents of The Feast's Anthony Nguyen, who scored three minutes into the game after receiving a perfect through ball. More...
Wildlife adapts after Colin
The high winds and surf from Tropical Storm Colin took its toll on sea turtle nests, but the shorebirds, whose nests were reportedly wiped out by predators earlier, appear to be back again to try and hatch their eggs. Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring Director Suzi Fox had something positive to say about the beaches on Anna Maria Island.
"Thank God for renourishment," she said. "If we hadn't added sand to the shores. We would have lost houses."
Fox said there is one thing about renourished beaches that make them stronger. More...