Vol. 16 No. 44 - August 31, 2016
Commissioners discuss illegal rental advertising
HOLMES BEACH – Commissioners discussed whether their vacation rental ordinance sufficiently addresses owners or rental agents who advertise more occupancy than allowed.
Chair Judy Titsworth said commissioners agreed to consider the issue after Anna Maria city commissioners approved an ordinance addressing misleading advertising relating to lodging establishments.
"The chief said there is a good chance our vacation rental ordinance as written has penalties that address the illegal advertising," she said.
"The provisions in the city's ordinance are bare bones," City Attorney Steve Dye explained. "They could probably be looked at and strengthened a little bit.' More...
More Bert Harris settlements proposed
ANNA MARIA – City Attorney Becky Vose presented city commissioners with five more proposed Bert Harris claim settlement offers during the Thursday, Aug. 25, meeting.
She also provided an update on the 24 proposed settlements the commission authorized in late July.
Similar to the previous offers, the latest offers would provide the owners of the vacation rental properties in question with permanent occupancy limits of two persons per bedrooms, plus two additional persons.
The vacation rental ordinance the city of Anna Maria enacted earlier this year allows a maximum occupancy of eight persons per rental property. Properties granted the grandfathering provision are allowed two persons per bedroom for the next five years, but are then subject to the eight-person limit in 2021. More...
Residents give pro and con on R-1 rental change
HOLMES BEACH – Property owners in the R-1 zoning district continue to weigh in on a change in rental restrictions that is set to take effect in 2017.
In a 2007 ordinance, the city commission changed rental restrictions in the district from weekly to 30 days. Rental owners who could prove they were renting at the time were allowed to continue to rent for anther 10 years. However, at the end of 10 years, they would have to comply with the 30-day minimum.
The city recently received two e-mails – one pro and one con regarding the change. More...
All eyes on approaching storm
As of Tuesday, Tropical, Depression Nine was entering the Gulf of Mexico from the south and and was expected to strengthen into Tropical Storm Hermine.
The storm is forecast to go north and then east, crossing the state of Florida north of Tampa Bay.
That would mean heavy rainfall for the Island and some strong winds. Homes in areas prone to flooding would be affected and all three cities are offering sand bags to residents to fill and use.
The National Weather Service has not issued any warnings or alerts as of press time, but residents should keep in touch via television, radio or social media. More...
Bid approved for Grassy Point boardwalk
HOLMES BEACH – City commissioners authorized Mayor Bob Johnson to enter into a contract with Tampa Contracting Services (TCS) to construct the boardwalks at Grassy Point Preserve.
"I have worked with them in the past, and they are extremely qualified," City Engineer Lynn Burnett said.
TCS bid $72,695 for Phase I and $108,531 for Phase II. Phase I will begin where the current trail ends and proceed to a circular upland area. Phase II will be a path from the circular area to the water and the site of the future observation deck.
Burnett said the Southwest Water Management District has no objection to the company doing both phases at once, which would allow one mobilization. She said construction would begin Sept. 1. More...
Mayor's bayfront plan rejected
BRADENTON BEACH – Mayor Bill Shearon's hopes of creating a managed mooring field suffered another setback last week.
During the Tuesday, Aug. 23, workshop, Shearon presented the City Commission with his Bradenton Beach Bay Water Project Plan, which included a managed mooring field. The proposed plan called for the mayor and the Pier Team to take the lead on multiple pier and anchorage-related projects and combine them into a single all-encompassing plan.
Shearon's plan included:
• Replacing the existing day dock;
• Expanding the existing day dock;
• Adding new docks to the north side of the pier; More...
City not going to pot
Last week, the Anna Maria City Commission held its first formal reading on a recently proposed ordinance that would prevent marijuana dispensaries, grow houses and other marijuana-related industries from doing business in the city if medicinal marijuana is legalized by Florida voters in November.
A provision originally contained in the draft ordinance that would have provided lesser penalties for anyone caught in possession 20 grams of pot without a prescription was removed from the ordinance read at the Aug. 25 meeting.
"We didn't want to encourage people to come to Anna Maria and smoke pot, thinking they'd only get a ticket," said Commission Chair Doug Copeland. More...
Sign up now for bowling
BRADENTON – There is one pastime that compels Island residents to leave their homes for the mainland in the middle of summer – bowling.
It's time for the LaPensee Plumbing and Pools Bowling Tournament, sponsored in part by the Anna Maria Island Sun, to raise money for The Center of AMI, and this year the action takes place on Saturday, Sept. 10. The cost is $30 per person, and it includes shoes and three games of bowling at AMF Bradenton Lanes, 4208 Cortez Road W., Bradenton.
There will be snacks and refreshments available. After the tournament, the high and low game and series bowlers will get their awards at the bowling alley. There will also be raffle drawings. More...
This is one stuffed bus
HOLMES BEACH – Shoppers at the Public grocery store on East Bay Drive helped stuff the school bus Sunday to help restock the shelves of the Food Bank of Manatee.
The annual Stuff the Bus event raised 66,000 pounds of food in the form of canned goods and non-perishable food. This was not as much as the last Stuff the Bus event in Feb. 2014, but there was a reason for that, according to Cindy Sloan, Vice President Director of the Food Bank of Manatee. More...
You ain't nothing but a houndfish
The first run caught me off guard as line disappeared from my reel in a shower of spray, rooster tailing across the flat. After going over 50 yards into my backing, the houndfish danced across the surface in a series of spectacular leaps. I gained backing until I had my fly line in sight, only to have it disappear again as the aerialist ripped off another 20 yards of backing, making numerous jumps. It took me another 10 minutes to land and release the houndfish, giving me an unexpected appreciation of this underutilized species.
I was being introduced to this spectacular action by Steve Traves, of Anna Maria Outfitters. He had spotted a platoon of them a few weeks before and had some great action while wading. He was impressed with their aggressive nature, attracting and catching them on flies. At first I dismissed his enthusiasm when he excitedly told me he had found a new target. That all changed when that spirited opponent took my fly. On his first trips, the houndfish wouldn't commit to his flies, but eventually he discovered that tide stage was key. On his last trip, a hard outgoing tide had turned them on, providing numerous hook-ups. More...
Playboy and the sand
The Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles recently sold for $100 million. According to public records, it is the highest price ever paid for a Los Angeles residence. The mansion is 20,000 square feet with 29 rooms and a zoo with exotic birds and monkeys. Although we don't have any $100 million properties on Anna Maria Island we do have some very impressive numbers which just keep going up.
The last time I reviewed the million dollar and over properties, it reflected five months' worth of sales between Nov. 1, 2015, and March 31, 2016, so it was definitely time for an update. The following sales statistics represent sales between April 1, 2016 and June 30, 2016, as reported on the Manatee County Property Appraiser's website:
The village of Cortez closed four million dollar and over properties ranging from $1,450,000 to $1,048,000. This represents an important step forward for Cortez, which did not have any million and over sales during the five months previously analyzed. In addition, Cortez, as of this writing, has four properties listed between $1,590,000 and $1,100,000 and one listed at $990,000. The properties for sale in Cortez and the remainder of the cities below are obtained from realtor.com, which is generally a reflection of the multiple listing service. 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...
Redemption for Team Coldwell Banker on the football field
After experiencing a loss in their first game of the season against Team Mason Martin, Team Coldwell Banker, led by quarterback Charles Buky marched down the football field against Team Anna Maria CrossFit for its first victory Thursday night at the Island's community center. The one-two combination of Buky to Matt Morgan, who had a total of 130 receiving yards and three touchdowns, proved to be the right formula for Coldwell Banker.
Week two's first game of the night saw Anna Maria CrossFit with the ball. With Kate Serdy at center, quarterback Clay Spangler hit Alan Conley for a five-yard gain. Coldwell Banker's Mike Brusso got the go ahead to put the pressure on Spangler, forcing the quick pass to Conley out of bounds.
On third down, Morgan struck quick with the interception after Spangler's long pass down field. Buky took his first snap from center Robert Kaston, throwing the football 10 yards to James Ptak. More...
Turtle Talk Tuesdays extended
Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring is extending its 30-minute Turtle Talks program through the end of August on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. at CrossPointe Fellowship Church, 8605 Gulf Drive in Holmes Beach.
Using photos, videos and stories, volunteers will take you on a virtual tour of Anna Maria Island's nesting beaches and answer your questions.
Participants will learn the times and locations of upcoming nest excavations, done three days after hatchlings leave the nests. More...