Vol. 15 No. 46 - September 16, 2015


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryVacation rental trial pending

ANNA MARIA – The first of two lawsuits filed in opposition to the city’s vacation rental ordinance appears to be headed to trial in November.

This decision was reached during a hearing that took place Wednesday, Sept. 9 at the Manatee County Judicial Center, with Judge Gilbert Smith Jr. presiding.

Smith said he could reserve two days on his docket for a non-jury trial between Nov. 9 and Nov. 20 if the City Commission refrained from further amending the vacation rental ordinance. Smith noted that jury trials taking place during that period would take precedence and could push the trial back, but he does not think that will happen. Smith said further amendments to the ordinance would likely push the trial into late January. More...

Speed limit complaints keep rolling in

HOLMES BEACH – Residents continue to rally against a 25 mph speed limit that the city has imposed between Manatee Beach and the Island Branch Library without public notice or input.

Ellen Stohler said the decision to lower it was “made at a secret meeting by the mayor and police chief” with no public notice and no agenda, and it has had a major impact on the public. She said the city commission also should have been informed.

Commissioner Jean Peelen said the speed limit is one of “two big blunders in the way that we are operating” and were done “without announcement to affected or input from affected.” She said the second blunder is the lack of notification about a drainage project to residents on 85th Street. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryPier lease inked

BRADENTON BEACH – The Anna Maria Oyster Bar’s pier lease is a done deal.

On the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 9, Oyster Bar owner John Horne, Mayor Jack Clarke and others met inside the vacant restaurant space where Horne and Clarke put their signatures on the recently negotiated document that gives Horne and his partners the long term rights to three city-owned structures on the Historic Bridge Street Pier.

“I welcome the Anna Maria Oyster Bar’s return to the Island and look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with the city,” Clarke said later that afternoon. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryMoratorium looming?

BRADENTON BEACH – Thursday afternoon’s City Commission could determine whether Bradenton Beach joins Anna Maria and Holmes Beach in enacting building moratoriums on residential structures with four or more bedrooms.

Spurred by recent citizen request first made in late August and further motivated by a citizens advisory committee discussion that took place last week, the agenda packet for the Sept. 17 commission meeting, which begins at noon, includes a proposed ordinance calling for an eight-month building moratorium in residential zone districts.

Applicable to homes with four or more bedrooms or rooms that could be could be used as sleeping areas, the proposed moratorium ordinance language is based closely on a moratorium ordinance recently adopted by the Holmes Beach City Commission. More...

Number of bedrooms now set by ordinance

HOLMES BEACH – Commissioners approved the second reading of the ordinance governing the number of bedrooms in single-family homes and duplexes in the R-2, R-3 and R-4 zoning districts and establishing parking regulations for resort housing.

The ordinance calls for a maximum of four bedrooms in single-family homes and two per side in duplexes.

Chair Judy Titsworth questioned a section of the parking regulations that prohibits occupants of resort housing units from parking in the right of way.

The section states, “This prohibition applies to all resort housing units except to the extent that required parking spaces extending into the public right of way were permitted by the city and in existence prior to September 8, 2015.” More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story City revokes developer's building privileges

ANNA MARIA – City officials are involved multiple disputes with developer Shawn Kaleta, and on Friday Mayor Dan Murphy put his foot down.

“With the properties and problems we’ve had – occupying houses without a certificate of occupancy, doing electrical work without any type of permit, doing plumbing work with no permit – I’m unilaterally revoking his building privileges in the city of Anna Maria immediately and any affiliated businesses he’s associated with,” Murphy declared Friday afternoon

Murphy’s edict came at the end of a week that saw the City Commission on Thursday authorize City Attorney Becky Vose to file a lawsuit, if necessary, in order to recover $16,800 from Kaleta’s Beach to Bay Construction firm for damages done and repairs made to a stormwater infiltration system in the city-owned alley behind a row of residential structures on the 200 block of Magnolia Avenue. More...

Residents air budget complaints

HOLMES BEACH – Residents came to air a litany of complaints about the budget and millage rate at the first public hearing last week.

The $11.39 million budget was based on the new millage rate of 2.25, up from 1.75 in previous years. Treasurer Lori Hill said the millage is 39.25 percent over the rollback rate. The rollback rate is the millage rate that would have to be levied to generate the same amount of revenue as last year.

In July, Mayor Bob Johnson recommended a higher millage rate after he and Hill found a $650,000 deficit in the city’s budget, which if allowed to continue would have bankrupted the city. More...

Eight charter questions on ballot

BRADENTON BEACH – In the November election, city voters will determine the fate of eight proposed amendments to the city charter.

Ballot question one refers to the appointment of Charter Review Committee (CRC) members.

“The current city charter is silent on the appointment of a five member CRC. Should the city amend its charter providing for the mayor to nominate and the city commission to approve on an individual basis a five-member CRC with additional two alternatives?”

Approval would clarify the selection process and provide for alternatives in the event that a member steps down. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryIsland Time never forgets

BRADENTON BEACH – Island Time Bar & Grill continued a five year tradition on Saturday afternoon when hosting the annual We Will Never Forget fundraiser that salutes first responders and military personnel and memorializes the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

According to Island Time owner Bill Herlihy, some in attendance Saturday were in New York City or the Pentagon when the 9/11 attacks took place, including Navy veteran Bill Carey, who was in the Pentagon on that fateful day.

“In this age of negativity toward police and some first responders, it’s very important that we remember that day in 2001 and show our appreciation every day for the men and women who put their lives on the line,” Herlihy said. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryFifteen-year-old angler makes waves

CORTEZ – Chasten Whitfield entered her first fishing tournament in seventh grade because the kids made fun of her for being the only girl that fished.

But Chasten, now15 and a student at Manatee High School, had the last laugh.

“It was the Fire Charity Tournament at the Bradenton Yacht Club, and I got first place in the ladies division,” she recalled. “I fished with mom and dad and got a snook, a redfish and a flounder. Then I was on three TV shows and was in the paper.” More...

real estate

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Paradise on steroids

If getting away from it all sounds like just the right thing, but you don’t want to get too far away from it all, there’s an island in Manatee County that could be just what you’re looking for.

People who boat in and around Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island know Jewfish Key as a great spot to throw out an anchor and enjoy the afternoon, but most boaters have never stepped foot on the private island, which remains a bit of a mystery. Well the 38-acre island shrouded in Australian pines is less a mystery than just another one of Florida’s pieces of paradise. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

A bucket plan for your bucket list

Investment Corner

For most in retirement or beginning to prepare for retirement, there will be two types of income – guaranteed and investment. Guaranteed income includes Social Security or pensions earned during the working years. Investment income is generated by our savings which ends up invested in stocks, bonds or other productive investments. There are two primary ways to approach retirement income planning for the investment plan, which we’ll explore here.

Social Security and pension income sources are generally secure and may have inflation adjustments built in depending on the pension plan issuing the payments. Income from investments can range from dividend and interest payments to capital gains from price appreciation or even rental income from investment property. It is the investment income portion that requires the most planning to ensure the assets and income last for your entire retirement at a level which allows you a dignified existence, and hopefully the lifestyle you desire. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryGreen turtles nests on AMI

ANNA MARIA – Just when they thought that sea turtles had finished nesting for the year, a new, rare, nest was discovered by Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring volunteer Susan Anderson on Monday morning.

The green sea turtle nest, only the third since the start of turtle season on May 1, brings the Island’s total for the year up to 356, closing in on 2013’s record year of 369 nests; the others are loggerhead nests. Green turtles in Florida nest mostly on the southeast coast, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. More...