Vol. 15 No. 21 - March 18, 2015


Community Center fitness facility plan takes heat

HOLMES BEACH – City commissioners had harsh words for the Island Community Center’s plan to build a state of the art fitness center on the second floor of the Center.

“I was very sorry to hear the way the Community Center is going, by using the whole second floor as a gym,” Commissioner Jean Peelen said at last week’s city commission meeting. “We have two gyms on this Island that are struggling to exist. Why in the world we would encourage a Community Center to go into competition with them?

“And it troubles me, particularly in light of a companion movement I hear is happening there, to allow the rental houses to use the Community Center for an annual fee. The direction is toward it becoming a spa for the resort houses, and that’s very concerning. I don’t understand why the board thinks that’s a good idea.” More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryCommission closes in on global settlement

BRADENTON BEACH – Friday the 13th was a day of grand compromise inside city hall.

During a special commission meeting that began at 9 a.m., residents, attorneys, and elected officials spent three hours hammering out the details of the global settlement introduced by Mayor Bill Shearon and attorney Chuck Johnson on March 5.

Barring unforeseen complications, the settlement, when finalized, will end four lawsuits; end the forfeiture of office proceedings against Shearon; end a long-running parking dispute involving the BeachHouse restaurant and an adjacent city property; and end a public records lawsuit.

After two hours of public negotiations, Johnson, City Attorney Ricinda Perry, and Ed Chiles’ attorney, Robert Lincoln, requested a 20 minute recess to craft the basic framework of the settlement agreement. More...

Commission continues rental reg discussion

HOLMES BEACH – City Planner Bill Brisson presented various options to the city commission to alleviate the adverse impacts of resort housing, but stressed that he needs additional data before making any recommendations.

Regarding the first – limiting the maximum occupancy level of resort housing – Brisson said the city’s comprehensive plan limits it to two persons per bedroom with a maximum of six.

However, City Attorney Patricia Petruff pointed out that the comp plan states “six or two per bedroom, whichever is greater,” so there could be 12 people in a six bedroom house and that it only applies to zoning districts R-2 and R-3.

“When we issue rental licenses, we could list the maximum occupancy, but it would be very difficult to enforce,” she said. “I want to think about that and discuss it with the new building official.” More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Tourist season in high gear

The beach may seem less crowded than it was this time last year due to the 2014 beach renourishment that enlarged the beach, but there’s no mistake - Anna Maria Island is packed at the traditional height of the tourist season.

While the occasional late-night laughter or loud music is heard from open car windows, the Island is not overrun with the type of spring breakers that made other Florida beach communities infamous.

Most AMI breakers know what they’re getting – laid-back, sunny beach time, sans drinking contests and balcony jumping, although an airplane pulling a “Swimsuit Contest at Hooters” banner flew over the Gulf last week. More...

Proposed pool setback comes under fire

HOLMES BEACH – The proposed moratorium on swimming pools with less than 10-foot side and rear yard setbacks had residents riled at two work sessions last week.

Philip Gale of 79th Street told commissioners that he bought the house next door to keep it from becoming a large, short term rental. He said the properties in that block are small and “by this action you are reducing our property values by removing the ability to have a pool therefore reducing our future and present value.”

Gale said he has talked to a neighbors, friends and family and plans to turn in a petition opposing any change in the setback. He said an additional 5-foot setback would not reduce noise or aid with drainage. More...

City moves forward on rental ordinance

ANNA MARIA – Despite a warning letter from an attorney representing vacation rental professionals saying they would sue the city if it passes a vacation rental ordinance, the city commission worked to finalized the proposed law without commenting on the warning.

The ordinance represents one of the commission’s two ways of dealing with the trend toward rentals and away from single-family residences. The ordinance could recognize that short-term rentals are legal and it features ways for the city to control the rentals, instead of doing away with them.

City Attorney Becky Vose, who was attending her first city work session, said she wants to look at the ordinance because it is a regulatory ordinance, not a land use law. She said she feels she can make it work. More...

Congestion committee wants action on proposal

HOLMES BEACH – Congestion committee members implored city commissioners to move ahead on their proposal to eliminate street and right of way parking in residential zones R-1 through R-4, except for residents, property owners and renters that obtain decals from the city.

In January the proposal was taken off the agenda while the city worked with Manatee County to make sure there is enough parking to qualify for beach renourishment.

“This was first brought to you almost a year ago,” Chair Jayne Christenson told the board. “The committee has jumped through every hoop and hurdle you’ve asked. More...

Surveyors count record number of manatees

Warm, clear, sunny days between some of the coldest days of the year assisted biologists in counting a record high number of manatees during this year’s statewide aerial survey.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reported a preliminary count of 6,063 manatees statewide in the February count. A team of 20 observers from 11 organizations counted 3,333 manatees on Florida’s east coast and 2,730 on the west coast. This year’s synoptic survey count exceeded the previous high count for 2010 by almost 1,000 animals. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryTour of Homes features Island style of living

ANNA MARIA – Tour five Island homes featuring unique beach living at its best at the Island Community’s Center’s 22nd annual Tour of Homes on Saturday, March 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The tour includes the homes of Maureen and Bill Shuman, 105 49th Street; Liz and Bob Lang, 5601 Flotilla Drive; and Janet Schaffer, 5803 Imperiore Street, all in Holmes Beach; and Barbara and Asa Cole, 218 Archer Way; and Brian Wien, 228 Willow Avenue, both in Anna Maria.

Tickets for the tour are available for $20 at various Island locations, and a free shuttle to the homes will be stationed at CrossPointe Fellowship, 8605 Gulf Drive, at the border of Holmes Beach and Anna Maria. Restrooms will be available at the Holmes Beach city field at 5801 Marina Drive and at CrossPointe Fellowship. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StorySave the day

I met Captain Rob Gilbert at the 59th Street boat ramp on a foggy and cool morning last week. Gilbert was headed to Port Manatee to scout for the upcoming Salty Fly Tournament, and invited me along. He will be fishing Lee Janik, owner of Clutch Fly Rod Company, and was starting to develop a plan of action. Although the day didn’t look like a good day for fishing or scouting, the weather guessers had promised that the fog would lift and that the winds would be light. Fortunately, Gilbert brought his 25-foot Shearwater LTZ powered with a 250 HP Mercury. It was a chilly, but smooth and fast ride, one I particularly appreciated on the ride back when the wind switched to the northwest and blew 15 to 20 knots. More...

real estate

Cortez – more than a fishing village

One of the wonderful things about Manatee County is its diversity of communities. Northwest Bradenton is home to subdivisions, many of them high end. The eastern part of the county has exploded with the creation of Lakewood Ranch and other planned communities. Central Manatee has a plethora of condos and single family homes, and of course, the western edge of Manatee is focused on Anna Maria Island with its own unique diversity. But there is one area of Manatee County that is sometimes overlooked when it comes to housing.

Cortez is best known as the iconic fishing village on the south side of Cortez Road, but while not as colorful as the old fishing village, the north side is also one of a kind, especially if you’re a boater and want to keep your boat near your home. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Non-traded funds

Investment Corner

It’s no secret that the stock and bond markets have done very well over the last six years. As bull markets go, this one is getting a bit on the old side, I believe the fourth longest running uptrend for stocks. Old age doesn’t kill rising markets, but eventually some external event does, and I believe it is time to become more risk conscious because the current trend won’t last forever.

Of course, most investments carry some form of risk, so I’m not referring to eliminating it all, just reducing it. A large part of risk comes from the fluctuation in asset prices and how we are tempted to react to those changes. When assets are traded on an exchange each day they are subject to the emotional decisions made by investors who may be feeling extreme fear such as in the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

Most companies did not see their sales and profits decline by 50 percent during the crisis, but for many their share prices sure did. It was irrational to assume that large, well capitalized companies were worth half of their previous value, but that’s how the emotional pricing works in the heat of battle. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Underdogs take the titles: Youth flag football season comes to an end

After eight weeks of regular season play through the rain and cold winds of winter, youth flag football at the Anna Maria Island Community Center came to an end Friday night with three battles for the championship. In each match up, the number three seed team in the playoffs played against the first seed team. As no one could have predicted, in each game the underdog was the victor – the Super Bowl Champions. These outcomes are prime examples of parity in the leagues, where any team could come out the winner.

8-to-10-Year-Old League

#1 Buccaneers 28
#3 Bears40 More...