Vol. 16 No. 7 - December 16, 2015


Mayor vows to veto parking permit plan

HOLMES BEACH – Mayor Bob Johnson declared at last week’s work session that he would veto any ordinance that would establish a resident only parking program.

“If this commission decides to pursue and adopt a resident only permit parking in right of way based ordinance, I shall, when presented with the ordinance, exercise my power as mayor to veto same,” Johnson said.

“It is not time to say, after all these years, this place is going to be exclusive to those few who are here now. I did not run for mayor to see this city become exclusionary.”

The issue began when the Island Congestion Committee (ICC) meeting advocated a permit program to be implemented in a test area where parking on the rights of way would be banned except for residents with permits. More...

Noise violations now a costly affair

ANNA MARIA – The new $500 fines for noise ordinance violations are now in effect.

Adopted on final reading by city commissioners during last week’s special meeting, Ordinance 15-801-1 also allows Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies to issue multiple citations for a single violation.

The ordinance applies to all city residents, city visitors and contractors.

“The owner, tenant, occupant, guest, property manager and agent of the property at which the violation occurs shall each be separately liable for any noise disturbance caused by the tenants, occupants, and/or guests and shall be deemed violators,” the ordinance states. More...

Business owners protest ban on holiday work

HOLMES BEACH – Two business owners asked city commissioners to reconsider the ban on construction work on city holidays.

“I understand the need for an ordinance that will ensure quiet enjoyment, but I believe its intent has been vastly over stepped,” Karen LaPensee, of LaPensee Plumbing and Pools said.

The issue came up at a City Commission meeting in November when Chair Judy Titsworth, speaking on behalf of her husband, a contractor, asked the city allow construction activities on city holidays such as the day after Thanksgiving. At the time, commissioners were not inclined to make any change in the ordinance. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryLawton Chiles Christmas for Kids resumes

Santa paid an early visit to the beach as the Lawton Chiles Christmas for Kids resumed after a one-year hiatus.

The annul event brings children from Head Start and other charitable agencies to the Sandbar restaurant gazebo each year for fun games, face-painting, balloons, lunch and a visit from Santa.

The Chiles Group organizes the event. Every child who attends gets a toy, clothes and a certificate for food. Owner Ed Chiles and his staff take donations to pay for the items, and they wrap presents and organize everything so no child is left out of the fun. More...

Front yard pools drained

HOLMES BEACH – Despite misgivings by some, city commissioners approved the first reading of an ordinance banning front yard pools last week.

At their last discussion in November, they agreed not to allow any exceptions to the ordinance. However, City Planner Bill Brisson said they might want to reconsider.

“I feel it should only be in R-2 because people were concerned about resort housing, ” Chair Judy Titsworth said. “And I do want to have a special exception

“I don’t know why this came up. The only problem was Seaside Gardens.” More...

Bridge Street Christmas Saturday

Taking place Saturday, Dec. 19, from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m., and sponsored in part by The Sun, the annual Christmas on Bridge Street celebration held in Bradenton Beach will include some things old, some things new and all things festive.

“We really want the focus to be on the entertainment this year and our artisan vendors of all ages,” said Bridge Street Merchants’ secretary and Sea-renity Spa owner Amanda Escobio.

The entertainment roster will include a new addition on the form of the Dickens Carolers, who currently perform at the Powel Crosley Estate in Bradenton. This troupe of professional actors will be in period costumes while singing and telling stories, with performances at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. More...

Peninsula Bay in planning stages

CORTEZ – Whiting Preston’s proposed Peninsula Bay general development plan has been reviewed by county staff and will be presented to Manatee County Commissioners at some point in the future.

If approved, the master-planned community would be located on 358-acres of agricultural property that surrounds the Sunny Shores community, between Cortez Road and Palma Sola Bay. The property is owned by Preston’s Pen Bay 1 LLC and is currently used as a flower farm.

The proposed development calls for the construction of 1,800 single-family homes and 150 multi-family residential units, including a bed and breakfast. The plans also call for a marina basin and dry boat storage, a boat ramp, a kayak launch, a navigation canal connecting to Palma Sola Bay, the construction of a 67-acre lake, walking trails and waterfront shopping and dining. More...


Concerns linger after lawsuit dismissal

ANNA MARIA – Larry Chatt and Jason Sato are glad the vacation rental ordinance lawsuit has been settled, but they and others still have concerns about the grandfathering provisions contained in the new ordinance.

The city and the plaintiffs reached a non-monetary joint settlement agreement on Dec. 8.

Adopted by the City Commission on Nov. 19, the new vacation rental registration ordinance takes effect April 1. The mandatory registration process begins in January. Last week, commissioners passed a resolution setting the first year registration fee at $695 per vacation rental. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryFly casting essentials

Whether you’re a beginning fly fisher or are a proficient caster it’s important to be aware of what are commonly known as the essentials of fly casting. In addition it’s important to know that there is no right or wrong casting style. Fly casting is governed by physics, and there are some essentials that every fly caster must master, no matter what his/her individual skills or styles. This is the difference between the art (style) and science (physics) of the cast.

Secondly, beginners should know that fly casting is a lifelong learning experience that you can practice at 9 or 90. Different people learn at a different pace. Some people pick up casting quickly and then plateau. Others start slowly, but when they finally get it they’ve got it. It can be compared to learning how to ride a bike. To become a good caster, you need to practice, but that practice will reward you with a lifetime of pleasure and provide the opportunity of the company of good friends. More...

real estate

Home sales taking it on the chin

Last week I talked about the one million dollar and over properties that are increasing every month on Anna Maria and other desirable areas around Manatee County. But a recent report by the National Association of Realtors paints a conflicting picture of the real estate market.

On Nov. 23, the NRA reported that in spite of the housing market being on track to having its best year since 2007, the sales of existing homes fell in October after a very good September. Existing homes sales fell 3.4 percent in October from September particularly in more of the upscale markets around the country.

The NRA is pointing to rising home prices and a lack of inventory leading to fewer sales. This is combined with the social issue of adult children continuing to live with their parents rather than going out on their own. This number has increased since the recession in spite of a better economy and is keeping a large portion of potential buyers out of the market. In March of this year, it was estimated that 31.5 percent of 18 to 34 year olds are still living with their parents, and suggests that this maybe a new normal, much like some European countries. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryThe Feast: casual and fine dining

What does it say to you when a restaurant provides a birds-eye-view into their kitchen? What it says to me is they have a level of confidence in what goes on behind closed doors that most cooks in their own homes don’t have. The Feast restaurant in Holmes Beach opened in October of 2009, and the confidence level is a direct result of the success and consistent following the restaurant has acquired.

Owners, chefs and brothers Christofer and Joseph Dale accrued years of experience and training working in many of the Island restaurants. They classify their restaurant as casual fine dining and have recently completed a total renovation that supports their dining concept. More...

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

High-income earners can still use a Roth IRA

Investment Corner

Have you ever known something was right for you and been told you couldn’t have it? It can be pretty frustrating. Many high-income earners, who would like to contribute directly to Roth accounts, cannot do so because of IRS income limits. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible for high-earners to reap the benefits associated with Roth accounts, such as tax-free growth, tax-free distributions and no required minimum distributions. They may be able to participate in Roth accounts by:

1. Converting an existing Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. Anyone can move the assets accumulated in a traditional IRA account to a Roth IRA account, regardless of income. The catch is you’ll owe current income tax on the amount converted. This may be a sound choice if: More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StorySaint Stephen’s Game Changers - everyone welcome

Anna Maria Island youth often start their education at the Little School by the Bay, Anna Maria Elementary School (AME), and then find their way onto the mainland for middle and high school. Those same kids typically cut their athletic teeth on the field and court at the Island’s community center. Many of these same kids continue their grade school education and sports experiences at Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School (SSES), blending in with students that have attended the private school since pre-school. From AME Dolphin to SSES Falcon, islanders are no strangers to Saint Stephen’s. This year, the school opens its gates to the Manatee and Sarasota County community for the fourth annual Game Changers event on Saturday, January 30, 2016.

When Scott Sauerbeck, former Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher, joined the SSES staff in 2012 he believed a school event to support the athletic program could be successful and beneficial not only for the Saint Stephen’s but also the surrounding community. After initial hesitation from the Head of School Jan Pullen, Sauerbeck partnered with the school’s head football coach, Tod Creneti, to make the event a reality and Game Changers was born. More...


Turtle ‘terrorist’ case closed, unsolved

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has closed the unsolved case of who ran over and killed three black skimmer chicks, a state species of special concern, and ran over five nests, each holding up to 100 eggs of loggerhead sea turtles, a federally threatened species.

The investigation was closed because of insufficient evidence to bring charges against the unidentified person of interest in the case, FWC spokesman Gary Morse said, adding that the state attorney’s office declined to prosecute the case.

Witnesses to the June 27 incident described a laughing couple in their late 20s in a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with a single headlight around 10:30 p.m. near the Holmes Beach/Bradenton Beach line, aiming at yellow-staked turtle nests and driving over them, running over three flightless baby birds in the process.

The crimes are violations of the U.S. Endangered Species Act and the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act, ranging from a first-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony, carrying penalties of $500 to $1,500 in fines with jail time of 60 days to five years. More...