Vol. 15 No. 32 - June 3, 2015


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryHistory made in ceremony

BRADENTON BEACH – Local history was made Monday afternoon when Jack Clarke was sworn in as mayor.

Clarke became the first Island resident and politician to replace a sitting mayor removed from office by city voters, which occurred during the May 19 recall election that ended Bill Shearon’s term as mayor six months early.

More than 40 witnesses and well-wishers gathered inside Bradenton Beach City Hall to watch attorney Stephen Perry swear Clarke in as the new mayor. Clarke will serve as mayor until the November city elections, when he and Shearon run against each other once again. More...

Lawsuit filed over vacation rental ordinance

Rental property owners and agents have reacted to the vacation rental ordinance with a lawsuit. Five rental owners and LLC corporations joined Island Real Estate and the Anna Maria Island Vacation Property Association in challenging the new vacation rental ordinance, claiming it singles out rental owners and managers from single-family homeowners, which is prohibited by state law.

The suit was filed on May 22 by Timothy J. and Ayne Kimberly Iafolla, who own property at 12108 Gulf Drive and 207 Coconut Avenue; Carol A. Roaldi, who owns property at 11 Palm Ave. and 220 Chilson Ave.; Salouh, LLC, which owns property at 106 Los Cedros Drive; Rysal Enterprises, LLC, which owns property at 812 North Shore Drive and is closing on two properties at 843 North Shore Drive and 113 Park Avenue; Seven Emeralds, LLC, located at 803 North Shore Drive and owns rentals at 780 Jacaranda Road, and 404 Alamanda Road.; Island Real Estate; and Anna Maria Island Vacation Property Association, a group of rental managers that banded together to protect their rights to do business. More...

Supporters want parking plan OK now

HOLMES BEACH – Once again parking came to the forefront when a congestion committee member and a city commissioner implored the board to implement the congestion committee’s parking plan.

“Another holiday weekend has come and gone and brought more traffic and parking congestion on the roads, especially for our own private citizens” Rene Ferguson pointed out. “We need relief now.

“The longer you continue to wait the more frustrated our residents are becoming. You directed the city attorney to write an ordinance two months ago. July 4 will be here in four weeks. Don’t let this community suffer any more that we already have.”

In April, commissioners instructed City Attorney Patricia Petruff to draft an ordinance to include two test areas for banning parking in the city’s rights of way, as recommended by the congestion committee. More...

Mayor appoints paid parking volunteer

ANNA MARIA – Mayor Dan Murphy is making use of volunteers to help make decisions on how best to implement change.

Dusty Crane, who served on the City Pier Park Committee, will be asked to come up with recommendations on paid parking. Her husband, Jonathon Crane, is the chair of the Planning and Zoning Committee.

The committee studied whether to keep the land or sell it and opted to keep it since it is adjacent to the Anna Maria City Pier entrance. They drew up plans for the park but recommended a bare bones look for the six city lots and left the city commission with a list of ideas that came from people they interviewed that could be implemented over time. The commission approved the plan unanimously. More...

Alvarez sentenced to time served

BRADENTON – Elissa Alvarez was freed from jail on Wednesday, May 27, after being sentenced to time served, $100 in court costs and $200 in costs to the Bradenton Beach Police Department in the “sex on the beach” case that occurred July 20, 2014, on Cortez Beach. She will also be classified as a sex offender and will have to register with the program whenever she moves.

After hearing testimony from witnesses and people who had children who saw the act, a jury found Alvarez, 20, and Jose Caballero, 40, guilty of having intercourse in front of children, including a three-year-old.

The conviction carried a penalty of up to 15 years in prison, but at a hearing to set a sentencing date Wednesday, Alvarez’ new attorney Greg Hagopian said she would accept the State Attorney’s office recommendation of time served and expenses. She was returned to the jail where she packed and went home. More...

Building dept. report presented

HOLMES BEACH – Mayor Bob Johnson and Building Official Jim McGuinness gave a progress report on the building department as requested several times recently by commissioners and constituents. Johnson displayed charts showing major construction activity over the last 10 years, as well as numbers of permits and inspections in the past year. He said from 2005 to 2011 the city averaged 34 major construction projects but since then the average has jumped to 52. At the same time, the number of permits and inspections has increased greatly.

“That change occurred at the same time there was instability in the department,” he pointed out. “Jim joined us 65 days ago, and I’d like him to report on what he has uncovered and the actions to take.” More...

Pool ordinance ready for first reading

HOLMES BEACH – With a title that takes up an entire page, the city’s pool ordinance is ready for first reading at the city commission meeting on Tuesday, June 9.

The ordinance is the result of a city-wide moratorium approved in March on swimming pools with less than 10-foot side and rear yard setbacks, with waterfront rear and side yards excluded. The debate later included the questions of whether pools are pervious or impervious surfaces and what types of pools to regulate.

The ordinance now includes all types of pools as well as hot tubs/spas and recreational water features; declares pools as impervious surfaces; and allows for a special exception for legally non-conforming lots in the R-2 and R-4 zoning districts that can’t meet an increased setback. More...

Board still debating one or two pool rule

HOLMES BEACH – With two on the fence and one absent, city commissioners made no decision on whether to allow one or two pools on duplex lots.

The issue has been under discussion since the board approved a moratorium on two pools on duplex lots to be effective from April 14 to July 31.

Two residents again spoke against allowing two pools. Marge Motzer said the current duplex lots that have units being identified and sold as single-family units are creating land, density and quality of life issues.

“It is a density issue because a pool is now being allowed on approximately 4,300 square feet instead of 7,500 square feet (the size of a single-family lot),” she said. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryBait shop in demand

BRADENTON BEACH – Due to popular demand and the desire to provide a continued public service, Wednesday morning’s Pier Team meeting is expected to include a discussion on the possibility of leasing the pier-based restaurant space, bait shop and concession stand as separate entities.

This could then result in future city commission discussion as the pier lease and request for proposal process moves forward.

Multiple parties have expressed interest in immediately leasing the bait shop and concession space vacated Sunday by former pier tenant and Cast-n-Cage restaurant owner Roland Pena. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryCoalition organizes to protect Florida’s forage fish

Local anglers know the importance of baitfish to their angling success. While they might not know the science behind the need for maintaining a healthy abundance, they know that every fish they seek in local waters depends on them. Many local guides rely on these forage fish for their daily catch as well.

The Florida Forage Fish Coalition is a group of concerned individuals and organizations that understands the importance of forage species such as anchovies, menhaden, sardines, herring, ballyhoo and pinfish to the health of the marine food chain. Their mission is to make the public and elected officials aware of the significance. Forage fish are critical food sources of species such as cobia, tarpon, snook, redfish, king mackerel, sailfish, and spotted sea trout. They are also important to marine wildlife (seabirds) and support jobs and recreational opportunities throughout Florida. The coalition points out that measures to protect these species are essential to preserve the legacy of Florida as the “Fishing Capital of the World.” More...

real estate

It was a very good month

I’m starting to have flashbacks to a time when real estate property values were appreciating weekly, when it was assumed your home would be worth 30 or 40 percent more next year and when many people made purchases in the heat of the moment. As much as I loved that time, I’m really hoping it’s not back to stay.

April did it again the gains were not as big as March but still impressive. The median value of single family homes in Manatee County increased 16.6 percent to $256,000 from April of last year. The average selling price in April increased 8.2 percent to $311,690 from April of last year, and the number of closed sales went up 7.6 percent to 539.

Condo and townhouse median sales were also up 9.8 percent to $145,000 compared to April of last year and the average sales price was up 14.6 percent to $196,405, closed sales were up 11.8 percent to 274. As stated, March was better with the median up 17.3 percent for single family and 21.2 percent for condos and townhomes; and the average up 10.6 percent for single family and 23.9 percent for condos and townhomes. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

“Robo-advisors” are here

Investment Corner

The latest fad in investment advice is the use of automated, computer-driven investment programs to keep your portfolio in balance through constant adjustment initiated by the system and not requiring any human action. The term used for these programs, which number in the dozens, is “robo-advisor,” a word play on the robotic nature of the system. These firms are heavy advertisers with point and click ads on the internet and in print publications.

I am all for a disciplined approach to investing and the robo-advisors would seem to provide that discipline. The question is whether this particular discipline is the right one for you. Let’s take a look at the differences between using a robo-advisor and one with more of a human touch. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story Island Real Estate’s Team Gardner captures first win

Team Gardner 16
Team Calvary 12

Never say quit has been the mantra for Team Gardner, sponsored by Island Real Estate, all season long in the eight to 10-year old youth basketball league at the Anna Maria Island Community Center.

At the start of the last regular season game of the season for both teams, Team Gardner found themselves without a win despite tough battles and positive spirits by the Island Real Estate crew.

With a full squad, Team Gardner pulled ahead early with a quick basket by Nicholas Yatros and four points from Jack Procter. Team Calvary’s Fiona Turner-Leathem added the next two points with a strong basket, taking the score to 6-2. More...


Anna Maria Island Sun News StoryCo-exist with the birds

A new sign at Manatee Public Beach Park in Holmes Beach explains how to co-exist with nesting shorebirds, the majority of which are black skimmers on Anna Maria Island.

• The black skimmer is found along the Gulf Coast and has solid black upperparts and white underparts, forehead and neck. Its bill is laterally compressed and razor sharp, orange at its base and black at its tip.

• The black skimmer hunts primarily by touch, flying just above the water as its longer lower mandible skims the surface until it meets with a fish and snaps its jaws shut. More...

AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper