Headline News From The Islander
Police are seeking information on an armed robbery suspect described as a male about 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing about 250 pounds.
A 30-year-old Holmes Beach man was walking home March 18 in the 11300 block of Cortez Road West, in Bradenton, at 11:40 p.m. when a vehicle passed him by.
The vehicle then made a U-turn and stopped in front of the victim. A masked man armed with a handgun exited the vehicle and pointed the gun at the victim, demanding all of his belongings.
The suspect then fled with the man’s belongings in an unknown-make sedan, dark in color, in an eastward direction.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office at 941-747-3011 or Crime Stoppers at 866-634-8477.
A Florida Department of Transportation press release said maintenance work on the Anna Maria Island Bridge on State Road 64/Manatee Avenue will begin the first week of April. A majority of the repair work will take place below the road service at the water level and below the water surface.
Some nighttime lane closures with a flagging operation should be expected, the release said.
The maintenance work will be conducted Monday through Friday. The project is expected to wrap up by the end of summer, the DOT said.
Motorists are advised to use caution when workers and flaggers are present.
A Lomita chef who killed his wife and boiled her body in his restaurant’s kitchen was sentenced March 22 to spend 15 years to life in prison, moments after he declared “I didn’t cook my wife” and that nobody misses her more than him.
David Viens, 49, convicted of second-degree murder in September for killing his 39-year-old wife, Dawn, was sentenced after he gave a rambling 45-minute presentation before a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to explain why his trial attorney poorly represented him and why he should get a another chance to testify in his own defense.
He did not take the stand during his trial based on his attorney’s advice. Viens referred to that decision as “retarded. “
“I loved my wife,” Viens said. “I didn’t cook my wife.”
Judge Rand Rubin rejected Viens’ attempt for a new trial and sentenced him to the state-mandated term for second-degree murder. Viens confessed to his daughter, his girlfriend and twice to detectives investigating the disappearance and murder of Dawn Viens, who was last seen Oct. 18, 2009. Her remains have never been found.
Viens claimed his wife died accidentally after he taped her mouth shut with duct tape because she was making too much noise as he was trying to sleep. His defense attorney, Fred McCurry, told jurors that Viens fell asleep and awakened to find his wife dead. Viens told his daughter he threw her body in the trash.
After Viens jumped from a Rancho Palos Verdes cliff on Feb. 23, 2011, when a Daily Breeze article called him a “person of interest” in his wife’s disappearance and death, Viens confessed to detectives in his hospital room that he wrapped duct tape over her mouth, awakened to find her dead and cooked her body in his kitchen at the Thyme Contemporary Cafe. He said he disposed of her remains in his grease trap and stashed her skull in his mother’s attic in Lomita. It was never found.
Viens, still in a wheelchair, said in court March 22 that he did not remember his confessions, including one that occurred after he underwent 12 hours of surgery to repair broken bones suffered in his jump. He said information about his condition should have been presented to the jury during his trial but was not. He vowed to appeal his conviction.
“I’m hallucinating,” he said. “I had no idea I had undergone two major surgeries.” I don’t remember meeting these guys except one time in my driveway. “
Prosecutors had sought a first-degree murder conviction against Viens, saying he killed his wife because she stole $300 from their restaurant. Dawn Viens, in fact, had been hiding money she received as tips while working in the Narbonne Avenue restaurant because she feared her husband was about to leave her.
A witness testified during his trial that Viens vowed to “kill the bitch” over the theft. She was never seen again. But McCurry, Viens attorney, argued that Viens killed his wife accidentally and did not intend the duct tape over her mouth to kill her. His argument succeeded in reducing the conviction to second-degree murder.
But that didn’t satisfy Viens, who said March 22 his attorney should have presented more evidence about his medical condition and allowed him to testify. During the trial, Viens stood from his wheelchair and objected when his attorney rested their case.
“His telling me not to testify was retarded,” Viens said. If he could have a new trial, Viens added, he would testify and take a lie detector test “to prove what really happened,” not stories that deputy District Attorney Deborah Brazil “sold” the judge and the jury.
“I think she’s afraid to face me in trial,” Viens said. “I would represent myself.”
Viens said Brazil painted an unfair picture of him for the jury, portraying him as a man who cooked his wife for four days.
“It never happened,” he said.
Friends reported Dawn Viens missing in November 2009. Viens told them she had walked away when he demanded she go into drug rehab. A friend, Karen Patterson, said she received text messages from her phone indicating she was safe, but Dawn Viens’ nickname was misspelled. Viens’ daughter testified during the trial that she placed at least one of the texts.
For months, David Viens — who served prison time for drug offenses in Florida and Vermont before coming to California — refused to post a missing person flier or conduct an interview. But in April 2010, he told the Daily Breeze that “I loved my wife” and believed she would return home after ski season. By that time, Viens had already taken on a new girlfriend, who moved into his house and into Dawn Viens’ hostess job at the eatery.
In August 2010, homicide detectives took over the case, saying they found blood spatter in the house Viens once shared with his wife. When that information was reported in the Daily Breeze, Viens purchased the newspaper, confessed to his girlfriend, drove to Point Vicente and jumped.
In court March 22, Viens said he “fell” from the cliff.
During her victim impact statement to the court, Dayna Papin, Dawn Viens’ sister, said she had loved her sister’s husband like a father, but did not feel sympathy for him. She doubted her family can find closure.
“As I sat here the last hour listening, I learned I will not have any peace for a very long time,” Papin said. “I think he’s made it pretty clear to all of us he is going to continue to fight for his freedom. “
Viens, who looked at her as she talked, quickly responded: “Nobody loved Dawn Marie Viens more than I did, or misses her more. I lied to police out of fear. My life’s been a mess ever since. I’m sorry Dayna.”
He then slammed his hand on the table in front of him.
Re-published by The Islander and NewsManatee.com news partner with permission.
Editor’s note: David and Dawn Viens resided in Holmes Beach and operated the Beach City Market and Grill in Bradenton Beach 2002-05 before a drug raid sent David Viens to jail and Dawn Viens moved from the community.
ITEMS FOR SALE
DOOR: FRENCH ENTRY, fiberglass, pre-hung, 60 x 80 inches, stained glass, excellent condition. New, $2,200. $600. 941-720-7519.
DINING ROOM SET: Queen Anne-style, four chairs cherry, oval. Extends to 72 inches, great condition, $200. 941-538-8622.
LA-Z-BOY: Like new, tan color, suede-like material, $99, assorted ottoman, $25. 941-779-9781.
GARTH BROOKS: SIX CDs, $50, dinette set, four chrome/cloth chairs, table, $60, peach swivel rocker, $20. 941-795-7598.
THREE OUTDOOR BENCHES: One assembled, two in boxes, $90/each, green picnic table, $100. 941-778-3390.
SKIL 10-INCH table saw on rollers, $45, two-wheel grinder, $25. 941-778-5665.
RECLINER: ROCKER, SWIVEL, beige fabric, like new, $100, file cabinet, four-drawer, $25. Chris, 941-778-4793.
TYPEWRITER TABLE WITH rollers, wood-grain finish, 17x27x26-inch high, $20. Chris, 941-778-4793.
COMPUTER: 2.5GHz DELL Dimension 4550, refurbished, $90. 941-756-6728.
LARGE WIRE NEWS paper basket for a bicycle. $18. Call 813-503-9364.
ANTIQUE COPPER POTS and bowls, collection $350. Burl-wood Top of Form
Bottom of Form
rocker, oak office chairs, collectibles. View at The Islander store, 5404 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.
FOR SALE: One legal two-drawer file. Various office supplies. Also selling antique wood office chairs, Haitian art, collectible art, some framed. Many local artists. Home decor. 5404 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.
AERIAL PHOTOS of Anna Maria Island. View and purchase online: www.jackelka.com
FREEBIE ITEMS FOR SALE
Individuals may place one free ad with up to three items, each priced $100 or less, 15 words or less. FREE, one week, must be submitted online. Email email@example.com, fax toll-free 1-866-362-9821. (limited time offer)
GLORIA DEI LUTHERAN Church: All are welcome to come and worship with us! Please call 941-778-1813 or visit us at: www.gloriadeilutheran.com for worship times. 6608 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.
THE HIVE: GIFTS and arts. Locally handmade and imported silver jewelry, Buddha art, artifacts, artistic T-shirts, cards, hot sauces, South African handmade arts, specialty candies, more. 119 B Bridge St., Bradenton Beach. http://thehivegiftsandarts.com/
GUITAR OR PIANO lessons! Buy one, get one free! 941-741-8832 or manateemusic.net. 941-741-8832.
ANTIQUE BUYER HERE until April 6. Furniture, bric-a-brac, jewelry, silver, anything old wanted. Diane, 941-778-1626.
HAITI $$$ DONATIONS to the Ministry of Presence Inc., www.ministryofpresence.org, urgently needed for local representatives to aid homeless children. Info: The Islander, 941-778-7978.
TERRY HAYES, REALTOR. Premier Sothebys. 941-302-3100. Terry.firstname.lastname@example.org. Discoverannamaria.com.
WANTED: YOUR OLD cell phone for recycling. Deliver to The Islander, 5404 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.
MANATEE SAFETY SIGNS exclusively for boaters. Available at the Islander, 5404 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach. 941-778-7978.
FISHING GEAR WANTED: The Privateers and The Islander are collecting new or used, repairable fishing poles and reels, nets, tackle, buckets, etc. to give to children. Donate your gear at The Islander newspaper office, 5404 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.
FREE GUN LOCK courtesy of Project Childsafe, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Holmes Beach Police Department. Pick up at The Islander office, 5404 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach. Don’t be sorry, be safe.
ROSER THRIFT SHOP: Open 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m.-noon Saturday. Donation drop-offs on Wednesdays only, 9 a.m.-11 a.m. 511 Pine Ave., Anna Maria. 941-779-2733.
NEW LOCATION: STEFF’S Stuff Antiques has moved to The Centre Shops on Longboat Key. 5380 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Unit 101. 941-383-1901.
MOVING SALE: 8:30 a.m.- 1 p.m. Friday March 29-30. 645 Key Royale Drive, Holmes Beach.
LOST & FOUND
LOST: WOMAN’S GOLD bracelet: Hurricane Hanks or on northbound trolley, Pine Ave and Hammock Road, Anna Maria. 416-509-7827.
LOST: MAUI JIM prescription sunglasses. Glasses are brown frames with brownish lenses. Reward! Please, call 406.570.2855.
LOST: SILVER BRACELET with hearts. Lost during St. Patrick’s Day parade. Special to me. 941-737-9173.
FOUND: NECKLACE, 67th Street, Holmes Beach. Call to identify, 941-730-7674.
FOUND: TWO WALLETS, Two Scoops area, Anna Maria. 920-915-4961.
LOST: MEN’S PLATINUM ring. Diamond initials on ring. Lost in Holmes Beach. 312-403-1216.
PARENTS NEEDED for loving homes to foster puppies and kittens until they are old enough for adoption. All food and medical provided. Julie, 941-720-1411.
WELL-MANNERED RESCUED dogs (and kittens!) are looking for great new homes or fosters. Please, call for information, 941-896-6701.
BOATS & BOATING
BIMINI BAY SAILING: Small sailboat rentals and instruction. Day. Week. Month. Sunfish, Laser, Windrider 17 and Precision 15. Call Brian at 941-685-1400.
AMI PONTOON BOAT rental: See: boatflorida.weebly.com or call 941-518-3868.
EIGHT-FOOT FIBERGLASS dinghy: Lapstrake, oars, anchor, dock lines, excellent condition. $350 or best offer. 941-795-1947.
POWER NOLES CUSTOM 11.5-foot fiberglass tunnel hull with bass seats. Very stable! Great for fishing-stand on the side without tipping, go in really shallow waters. Very fun boat for anyone who wants to get on the water! 2001 25-hp Mercury 2-stroke, plus a trolling motor with battery. Must see! $2,150 obo. Call Toni, 941-928-8735.
SALES ASSOCIATE: MOTIVATED, experienced real estate licensee for busy Island office. Please call Jesse or Robin at 941-778-7244.
KIDS FOR HIRE
LOCAL ISLAND STUDENT babysitter available. CPR and first aid-certified, early childhood development major. Emily, 941-567-9276.
RED CROSS-CERTIFIED babysitter and dog sitter. Reasonable rates for both. Call 941-527-5051.
BABIES AND PETS: Responsible, trustworthy, reliable, fun 17-year-old college student. Own transportation. 941-447-9658.
NICOLE AND HALLIE’S babysitting, pet sitting and pet walking. Red Cross certified, good with animals. Hallie, 941-773-6317, Nicole, 941-370-7981.
AREA TEEN AVAILABLE for babysitting. Evenings, weekends. Have car, CPR-certified, currently enrolled in child development courses, honor student volunteering at Blake Hospital. AMI or N.W. Bradenton. Brittany, 941-465-6748.
KIDS FOR HIRE ads are FREE for up to three weeks for Island youths under 16 looking for work. Ads must be placed in person at The Islander office, 5404 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.
ELDERLY CAREGIVER: LIGHT duties around home, appointments, hygiene care, experience in all phases. References. Call between 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. 941-545-7114.
TOASTED COMPUTER SERVICES. Your home and business specialist. On-site service, virus/spyware, cleanup, system setup, upgrades, diagnosis and repair, internet/wireless networking, custom system design. 941-224-1069.
I DON’T CUT corners, I clean corners. Professional, friendly cleaning service since 1999. 941-779-6638. Leave message.
ISLANDER HANDYMAN SERVICE: 23-year Island resident, references. The Flying Dutchman LLC. We do all repair, interior and exterior, carpentry and more. Peter, 941-447-6747.
CLEANING BY LAURA offers everything on your list from kitchen and bath cleaning to dusting and emptying wastebaskets. 941-539-6891.
U FLY I drive your car anywhere in the USA. Airport runs, anywhere. 941-746-5651, 941-545-6688.
ALL AROUND PAINTING: Quality work. Free estimates. Licensed, insured. Call native islander Jim Weaver, 813-727-1959.
ISLAND COMPUTER GUY, 37 years experience. On-site PC repairs, upgrades, buying assistance and training. Call Bill, 941-778-2535.
TRANSPORT SERVICE: LET me drive you to the airport or anywhere in Florida. Flat rates. Reasonable. Call Mike, 941-567-6634.
PRESSURE WASHING: RESIDENTIAL, commercial, resorts, roof, lanai, etc. Also windows, lawn services, also. 941-565-3935.
CLEANING RESIDENTAL, COMMERCIAL and resort. Love what we do, love to work. 941-756-4570.
ISLAND PET NANNY: Loving pet care. Longtime Island resident, background check, references. Karen Robinson, 941-730-5693.
COMPUTER SERVICES: I can fix it. Virus cleanup, system upgrade. Hardware, software and network repair. FBI virus cleaned and removed. Cell phone repair, support. Replace broken camera, screen, etc. Give islander Socko a call: 941-799-1169.
BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS JD’s Window Cleaning looking for storefront jobs in Holmes Beach. I make dirty windows sparkling clean. 941-920-3840.
ISLAND MERMAIDS CLEANING and Co.: 38-year Islanders. Rentals our specialty. 941-778-3046.
BEACH SERVICE air conditioning, heat, refrigeration. Commercial and residential service, repair and/or replacement. Serving Manatee County and the Island since 1987. For dependable, honest and personalized service, call William Eller, 941-795-7411. CAC184228.
ANYONE CAN TAKE a picture. A professional creates a portrait. I want to be at your wedding! www.jackelka.com. 941-778-2711.
RELAXING MASSAGE IN the convenience of your home or hotel. Massage by Nadia, more than 19 years on Anna Maria Island. Call today for an appointment, 941-518-8301. MA#0017550.MA#0017550.
LAWN & GARDEN
CONNIE’S LANDSCAPING INC. Residential and commercial. Full-service lawn maintenance, landscaping, cleanups, hauling and more! Insured. 941-778-5294.
ISLAND LAWN SPRINKLERS repairs and installations, watering the island for 15 years. Jeff, 941-778-2581.
JR’S LANDSCAPING AND MAINTENANCE Lawns, native plants, mulching, trimming, hauling, cleanups. Island resident 25 years. Call 941-807-1015.
STRAIGHT SHOT LANDSCAPE. Specializing in old Florida seashell driveways and scapes. Free estimates. Call Shark Mark, 941-301-6067.
SHELL DELIVERED AND spread. $45/yard. Hauling all kinds of gravel, mulch, top soil with free estimates. Call Larry at 941-795-7775, “shell phone” 941-720-0770.
NATURE’S DESIGN LANDSCAPING. Design and installation. Tropical landscape specialist. Residential and commercial. 30 years experience. 941-729-9381, 941-448-6336.
TOP NOTCH LAWN Care: Residential and commercial. For all your landscaping needs. 941-932-6600.
VAN-GO PAINTING residential/commercial, interior/exterior, pressure cleaning, wallpaper. Island references. Bill, 941-795-5100. www.vangopainting.net.
TILE -TILE -TILE. All variations of ceramic tile supplied and installed. Quality workmanship, prompt, reliable, many Island references. Call Neil, 941-726-3077.
CUSTOM REMODELING EXPERT. All phases of carpentry, repairs and painting. Insured. Meticulous, clean, sober and prompt. Paul Beauregard, 941-730-7479.
GRIFFIN’S HOME IMPROVEMENTS Inc. Handyman, fine woodwork, countertops, cabinets and wood flooring. Insured and licensed, 941-748-4711.
JERRY’S HOME REPAIR: Carpentry, handyman, light hauling, pressure washing. Jack of all trades. Call 941-778-6170 or 941-447-2198.
SOUTHBAY HOME REPAIRS: If it’s broken, stuck, loose, leaks, needs paint, etc. I’ll fix it. Affordable quality work. 941-720-2906.
THE FLYING DUTCHMAN LLC: Professional tile roof restoration. Call Peter for free estimate. 23-year Island resident, references, insured. 941-447-6747.
METRO DOOR & SUPPLY, INC.: Home, condo, office. Primary doors and glass inserts, custom prep/cut downs, sliding doors, windows, doors for commercial properties, fiberglass, aluminum, steel, vinyl. Installation available. Free estimates. 941-726-2280 or 941-722-7507.
SOUTHWEST HOME IMPROVEMENT: Michigan builder, quality work guaranteed. Affordable, timely, within budget. Call Mike, 1-616-204-8822.
CARL V. JOHNSON Jr., Building contractor. Free estimates and plans. New houses, porches, decks and renovations. Fair prices. Call 941-795-1947 or cell, 941-462-2792.
WEEKLY/MONTHLY/ANNUAL rentals: wide variety, changes daily. SunCoast Real Estate, 941-779-0202, or 1-800-732-6434. www.suncoastinc.com.
1BR/1BA GROUND FLOOR, Gulf to bay condo, heated pool, fishing pier. Over 55. $1,600/month, $1,100/month annual. 813-393-6002.
CUTE VACATION EFFICIENCY: Screened porch, near boat ramp, many other area amenities, cable, WiFi. 941-779-6638.
3BR/2BA: CANAL FURNISHED. Internet, May-June. 407-927-1304. email@example.com.
2BR/2BA CONDO: TURNKEY, remodeled, furnished on canal. New dock. Annual/monthly. 850-228-6820.
BRADENTON BEACH: SEASONAL 2BR/1BA. Steps to beach. No pets. $875/week. 941-778-4731.
ADORABLE GULFFRONT COTTAGE: 100 feet from Gulf. 2BR/1 large bath. Seasonal rental, three-day minimum. Call for further information, 863-660-3509 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
SANDPIPER 55-PLUS resort: AMI/Bradenton Beach. 2BR/1BA, furnished, carport, bay view. No smoking! $675/month, first, last and security deposit. Annual minimum, six months plus day. Available March 31. 941-545-8923.
ON-ISLAND SELF storage: Climate-controlled and non-climate units available starting at $65/month. Call Anna Maria Storage at 941-779-0820.
APRIL-MAY 2013 and October-May, 2014: 2BR/1BA ground floor duplex, Holmes Beach. 941-778-0275.
ANNUAL RENTAL: 2BR/2BA duplex. One block from beach. Background and credit check. No pets. $1,000/month. First, last and security. Available now. 813-672-1481.
WEST BRADENTON FURNISHED home: 2BR/2BA. ‘Beautiful.’ Four miles to beach, all amenities included, Fios, Netflix. Short or long-term, $1,400-$2,000/month. Call Paul for details, 941-737-3424.
SEASONAL OR WEEKLY cottage-style rentals. 1BR/1BA or 1BR/1BA with loft with pool. Walk to beach, shops or dining! 941-778-3426. Web site: www.spinnakerscottages.com.
DIRECT GULFFRONT: 146 feet on the beach. 3BR/4.5BA, office recreation room, spa, pool, outdoor kitchen and theater, elevator, turnkey furnished. $3,750,000. Suncoast Real Estate, 941-779-0202 or 941-720-0288.
DIRECT GULFFRONT CONDO: Bradenton Beach. Excellent investment rental income. www.flipkey.com/124227. $289,000. By owner, 941-962-8220.
WE’RE LOW, LISTINGS needed. Are you curious as to how much your home could be worth? Call us for a free professional consultation. Call Lynn at Edgewater Real Estate, 941-778-8104.
TRAILER FOR SALE: Move-in condition, 1BR, Bridge Street. Reduced, $39,000. Boat dock, $60/year on Intracoastal, furnished, land lease, $410/month. 941-896-5528.
2BR/1BA ISLAND HOME! Owner financing. 503 Bayview Drive, Holmes Beach. $290,000. Call 941-778-7980.
PLEASE CALL ME if you are interested in selling. I am looking to purchase a home close to the beach or on the beach. 941-779-6158. No Realtors.
FOR SALE BY owner. 2BR/2BA 1,600 sf Anna Maria canal home. 15,000-lb. boat lift. Terrific north end location, walk to beach, boat in your back yard. Call Steve at 813-245-0428.
PARADISE: 2BR/2BA IN 55-plus community, turnkey, Ellenton. Rent space includes 20-plus amenities. Pet friendly, five heated pools, marina. Two miles to I-75, 15 miles to Gulf! $23,500. Bob, 941-721-4890.
MOBILE HOME IN Paradise Bay, Sarasota Bay. 2BR/2BA furnished, lot J-15. Water paid, maintenance, $125/month. $155,000. 941-794-2556.
Anna Maria commissioners passed the first reading of an ordinance designed to limit the size of homes in the future.
The ordinance, which still has some revisions to come, will limit the living area of a residence in the hope it will alleviate future problems with over-sized rental houses, some that can accommodate more people than the small motels in the city.
The ordinance, which is still being debated, limits the air-conditioned space to 40 percent of the lot size, with a maximum of 33 percent of that area allowed on the second floor of living space.
City planner Alan Garrett explained that a property owner with a 5,000-square-foot lot would be able to build a 2,000 square foot home and 33 percent, or 660 square feet, of that area could be incorporated into a second floor of living space.
It effectively reduces the the top floor of a three-story home — two floors of living space over parking — to approximately 20 by 30 feet.
As long as the total LAR does not exceed 40 percent of the lot size, such a property would be in compliance, he said.
However, commissioners disagreed on whether decks and porches should be included in the 40 percent living area — air conditioned space — or designated as part of the total floor-area ratio, commonly called FAR, or whether they should incorporate a third sliding-scale measurement based on lot size.
Commissioners hope to halt the proliferation of box-shaped mega-homes in the city with the ordinance. The idea is for those building a new home, remodeling or rebuilding to maintain the cottage-like atmosphere desired by the commission.
Commissioners Chuck Webb and Nancy Yetter were not entirely convinced that adding 5 percent to the 40 percent LAR for porches and decks was needed, but agreed to do some homework before the March 28 meeting. They plan to review some houses that appear to have large areas of porch and deck space.
“How large is too large?” Webb asked.
Mayor SueLynn noted Holmes Beach just passed a LAR of 35 percent. A 40 percent LAR would still give someone a large home, she said.
Some members of the audience appeared to be disgruntled at the slow pace of the commission on determining the FAR-LAR ordinance.
An administrative moratorium remains in place until the commission can adopt the ordinance. The FAR-LAR limits, however, will not limit buildings to the 27-foot height that was originally discussed as the purpose for the moratorium.
Several property owners said they are in limbo, waiting on the new ordinance.
Robert Lewis, who owns a rental property in the city, said the first thing developers will do is look for loopholes in the ordinance.
Property owner John Cagnina said he has five vacant lots in the city and the proposed ordinance would take away value compared to what he could build under the present ordinance. He said the commission was “embracing a socialistic attitude” and that he could likely win a lawsuit if he chose that path.
Tom Turner, chair of the P&Z board, said everyone is presenting their pet peeve. He suggested the commission allow the P&Z to re-examine the LAR and FAR requirements.
But Commissioner Gene Aubry said the city has delayed too long. He’s tired of talking about a 40 percent or 45 percent living-area-to-lot-size ratio.
“Just adopt one and let’s get moving. We had a 45 percent ratio a month ago and now we’re down to 40. Let’s get moving,” he said.
But commissioners could not agree on the limits for porches, decks and overhangs.
Commission Chair John Quam suggested the P&Z look at preserving ground-floor homes along with discussion of porch and deck coverage. Garrett agreed, saying he wants at least one more work session before the second reading of the ordinance.
In other matters, Quam said it’s time for public comment to return to its original intent: public comment. He said he will not allow debate during comment time, and he will limit speakers to 3 minutes. People can always talk to staff during the day or contact a commissioner directly.
The P&Z board will meet April 2, while the second reading of the LAR ordinance is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, April 4. The commission next meets March 28 at Anna Maria City Hall, 10005 Gulf Drive.
With traffic already heavy on Anna Maria Island for tourist season, spring break the week of March 10-16 brought more vehicles to the island, especially with fairly decent weather, said Bradenton Beach Police Chief Sam Speciale.
Additionally, Manatee County is creating a nature preserve along Manatee Avenue near Perico Bay. Trucks are being loaded with fill from the project and a flagging operation is in place to halt traffic in both directions while the trucks exit the project, he noted.
A Bradenton police cruiser with lights flashing sits on the south side of Manatee Avenue at the project entrance and motorists always slow when they see a police cruiser flashing its lights.
“They don’t want people speeding through this area, so when drivers see a police car flashing, they slow down and ‘rubber neck’ to see what’s up. What’s up is nothing but a police cruiser with flashing lights,” Speciale said. “But it works.”
It just makes getting on and off Anna Maria Island via Manatee Avenue that much slower during spring break, the chief said.
A traffic problem in Bradenton Beach is launched each time the Cortez drawbridge goes up to allow boat traffic to pass.
“With the spring break crowd, people coming from Longboat Key and motorists going south to Cortez Road, raising the Cortez draw create incredible traffic backups. Remember, the only way off Longboat Key is by bridge, either going north or south. I’ve said it before, but everyone driving on the island needs to remain calm and we’ll get through this fine,” Speciale said.
Spring break for area public schools ended March 15 and most Florida public universities had spring break the same week.
With Easter on March 31 this year, Speciale said he expected some people would return north after that holiday.
“After the Easter holiday is traditionally a time when some people start heading back north. If Easter were in late April, many would stay through the month before leaving. With Easter coming early, I think traffic on the island will start to clear out this year after March,” the chief said.
Spring has sprung on Anna Maria Island as evidenced by the crowds gathering on the beach to enjoy the best the island has to offer of sun and sea.
Manatee County public schools and many Florida universities were on spring break March 11-15.
A look at Anna Maria Island spring break, day by day, March 11-15.
Monday, March 11
A sunny day with the temperature topping 72-plus degrees brought droves of beachgoers to the Manatee Public Beach and the Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe, 4000 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach. Many of the young people on the beach said they lived in either Manatee or Hillsborough counties.
Tuesday, March 12
Mother Nature didn’t cooperate for spring breakers or island businesses. A high of 59 and a cold wind from the north kept away all but the hardiest of beachgoers. Some headed to the Anna Maria City Pier Restaurant, while the Manatee Public Beach was nearly deserted.
Wednesday, March 13
Temperatures on Anna Maria Island were in the high 60s to low 70s — warm enough to bring spring breakers and visitors to the Manatee Public Beach. A cold wind from the northeast kept many people off the bay beaches in Anna Maria, while the Gulf of Mexico shoreline was better protected from the chilly breeze. On days like this, beachgoers hug the sea oats to stay out of the wind.
Thursday, March 14
Despite temperatures in the mid-to-upper 60s and a northeast wind that brought the wind chill temp to the mid-50s, beachgoers still headed to Manatee Public Beach and the Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe. The cold wind hit harder on the north end of the island.
The Sandbar Restaurant, 100 Spring Ave., Anna Maria, saw outdoor dining diminish, although some customers braved the chilly winds. Some hardy folks took advantage of the sunny skies to lounge nearby the restaurant or take in the sun at the outdoor bar.
Even with the wind, quite a few visitors took the walk to the end of the Anna Maria City Pier Restaurant, 100 Bay Blvd., Anna Maria, although the beaches on both sides of the pier were vacant.
Friday, March 15
An east wind kept the wind-chill factor on the Tampa Bay side of the island in the mid-50s, but at Manatee Public Beach and the AMI Beach Cafe, people found pleasant conditions and temps in the mid-60s. There was plenty of volleyball played on the beach on the final weekday of spring break. Many beachgoers said they were from Tampa.
Weekend, March 16-17
The weather cooperated on the weekend and the beaches were filled to capacity as far as one could see. Warm sun, almost no breeze, and temps in the high 70s showed off Anna Maria Island in all its sun-loving glory.
No one is sure how much money be awarded in the 2010 BP Deep Horizon oil spill litigation, but municipalities are already lining up to spend it.
It’s been estimated that Manatee County’s share of a yet-to-be-determined settlement could be $4 million-$19 million. States have a choice in how to disperse the money, and Florida has chosen to disburse the funds directly to the Gulf Coast counties impacted by the disaster.
Louisiana, meanwhile, opted to absorb its share of the BP settlement directly into state coffers.
Manatee County Natural Resources Department director Charlie Hunsicker has asked local municipalities to submit a list of projects that meet the criteria of how the spill impacted communities.
Hunsicker wants project proposals in place to be graded on the criteria and will create a priority list in which to disburse funds once they are received.
Bradenton Beach will submit at least five projects, according to building official Steve Gilbert, who updated commissioners at their March 7 capital improvement projects meeting.
“Congress has already appropriated monies from the RESTORE Act, but there is no money there until the lawsuit is settled,” said Gilbert. “In the meantime, Charlie wants to know about our proposed projects.”
Criteria to be eligible for RESTORE Act funding include dune restoration, environmental protection projects and beach nourishment.
Gilbert said the city’s best chance for funding is with the John Chappie Park, 1400 Gulf Drive N. He estimates an $80,000 cost to create a dune, walkover, and a boardwalk with kiosks along the path to educate visitors about sea turtles and other wildlife.
“John Chappie Park is probably our most ambitious project, and our most valuable,” he said. “We figured this is a good time as any to see if we can get it on the priority list. It’s perfect for an environmental display project.”
Katie Pierola Park, 2206 Gulf Drive N., also is a proposed project.
Gilbert said additional beach renourishment and the establishment of dunes and a chickee hut is part of the proposal, “but that’s not set in stone. It’s just an idea of something we want to do there.”
The estimated cost is $85,000.
Thirdly, Gilbert said the beach access at 11th Street North needs clarification. He said a 1993 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers map shows it as an access, “but it kind of meanders into private property.”
For $50,000 of RESTORE Act funding, Gilbert said signage, landscaping and a clear defining of the beach access would help keep people from straying on private property.
“That access isn’t even identified right now,” he said. “It’s a nice place to put in a grade level entrance and a dune walkover onto the beach.”
Gilbert said his fourth proposal is an overall restoration and enhancement of city beach accesses. He estimates the cost at $160,000.
“It would be to restore public beach access as far as identifying those accesses and maybe adding dune walkovers, as well as identifying parking spaces that might be available,” he said.
Commissioner Ric Gatehouse has previously suggested the city look seriously at the Cortez Beach parking situation. Gatehouse has proposed diagonal parking that would force traffic one way back onto Gulf Drive.
Gatehouse said he would like that project to be among the RESTORE Act proposals.
“My experience in life is when you don’t ask the questions, the answer is always no,” he said. “I’d hate to be here a year from now and ask why we didn’t ask for it when we had the chance.”
Gilbert was given a consensus to proceed with submitting five projects to Manatee County.
Former Holmes Beach resident Ronald Littlehale pleaded no contest and has been sentenced to eight years in the Florida Department of Corrections.
Littlehale was charged with numerous counts of unlawful solicitation of minors and transmission of pornography after his November 2011 arrest at his Holmes Beach residence.
Littlehale, 64, resided on the 7600 block Gulf Drive at the time of his arrest.
With his public defender at the jail, Littlehale waived his rights to stand trial.
After his plea, 12th Judicial Circuit Court Judge James S. Parker found Littlehale guilty on 13 counts of pornography-related charges, according to 12th circuit assistant state attorney Rebeccah Bragg.
The sentence will be credited for 329 days of jail time served, she said.
The Dec. 18, 2018, release date also will be adjusted by “gain time,” a tool used to encourage satisfactory inmate behavior and motivate work and DOC program participation, according to the department’s website.
He also must register as a sex offender upon his release from prison and pay $950 in court costs, according to Bragg, who attended the court proceedings earlier this month in the judge’s chambers.
Littlehale elected to attend court by video from the DeSoto County Jail, where he has been held since his arrest.
Littlehale is being held in the DOC Central Florida Reception Center in Orange County.
His arrest stemmed from a sting operation by the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office and a central Florida task force on Internet-related crimes. Authorities followed a tip that Littlehale “wanted to talk to young girls” in DeSoto County on the web, according to Bragg.
Littlehale spent nearly a year at the jail from the time of his arrest to his October sentencing.
“It really was the complexity of the case,” she said about the length of time it took to reach trial.
“We filed our discovery, and turned over hundreds of conversations and reports, and it took time” for Littlehale’s public defender, “to go over them with him to make sure he understood the charges against him,” she said.
Thirteen counts relating to unlawful solicitation of minors and transmission of pornography were filed by the state attorney at the 12th Circuit Desoto office after his Nov. 9 arrest in Holmes Beach.
At a Jan. 10 arraignment, Littlehale pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of transmission of harmful material to minors by an electronic device, two counts of obscene communication/soliciting a child for any unlawful sexual conduct by computer and one count of electronic transmission of pornography.
Nineteen additional counts of possession of child pornography were recommended by the Holmes Beach Police Department in January following a search of Littlehale’s home, according to HBPD Detective Sgt. Brian Hall.
Bragg said those charges would have to be addressed in Manatee County.
The recommended charges were sent by the HBPD to the 12th Circuit Manatee state attorney office after a crime lab in Tampa examined Littlehale’s computer and cell phone, according to Hall.
Assistant state attorney Pamela Buha said she was not aware of the HBPD’s recommended charges.
According to a Jan. 26 report, the HBPD alleges unlawful possession with the intent to promote 16 still images and three video images of child pornography.
If not, Holmes Beach residents can have them now.
Commissioners approved March 12 the final reading amending the city’s ordinance that prohibits farm animals in residential zones. The change allows up to four chickens per household.
Commission Chair Jean Peelen opened the floor to public comment, but there no objections to the amendment were heard.
There was, however, one objection from the dais. Commissioner David Zaccagnino moved to approve the second reading with Commissioner Marvin Grossman seconding the motion. Peelen and Commissioner Judy Titsworth voted for the amendment, while Commissioner Pat Morton had doubts and showed them by making a protest demonstration.
Morton pulled out a stuffed rooster from under his seat, complete with a crowing soundtrack. The unusual protest drew plenty of laughs, but didn’t convince his fellow commissioners to change their minds or their vote.
Morton voted against the amendment, saying, “I think we are opening up a can of worms here.”
The motion passed by a 4-1 vote, but there are some restrictions to raising chickens in Holmes Beach. Although Morton displayed a stuffed rooster at the dais, roosters are not allowed.
The ordinance prohibits the slaughtering of chickens and selling chicken products, including eggs. Chickens may not be kept within 10 feet of an adjacent property line and must be at least 25 feet away from a neighboring home.
Homeowners wishing to raise chickens are responsible for odors and must ensure the animals are well cared for and both the animal and its feed are free of pests.
In other matters, commissioners unanimously approved the reappointment of Dan Hardy and Sean Murphy to the police pension board.
Acting Holmes Beach Police Chief Dale Stephenson has served on the board for 25 years, but is stepping down in April. Stephenson said he commends those who sought to be appointed to the board, but said the pension process is complicated and now was not the time to lose the experience Hardy and Murphy provide.
Commissioner David Zaccagnino, commission liaison to the pension board, praised the board’s work and the pension plan.
“Our police pension comes out smelling like a rose despite the worst recession since the Great Depression,” he said. “Other cities have had to go into savings and put millions into pensions because those pension boards have not done a good job.
“Our pension program is 100 percent funded and it will remain that way with those two remaining on the board and David remaining as liaison,” said Stephenson. “It’s very important to keep that plan solvent and moving forward.”
Peelen said Holmes Beach is rich in qualified volunteers, praising current board members and others seeking to serve the city. Zaccagnino moved to reappoint Murphy and Hardy to the pension board, which was seconded by Morton. The motion passed 5-0.
Some members of the public whispered that the city of Holmes Beach violated its city charter by hiring a city manager, which is contradictory to the charter mandate.
Island papers reported Mary Buonagura — previously a volunteer, said to be assessing employees and writing job descriptions for workers at city hall — was hired to fill a newly created city position as a human resource specialist.
Holmes Beach Commission Chairperson Jean Peelen said the assessment was somewhat erroneous at the city’s March 12 meeting.
“What we have done is contract with someone from the outside for certain services,” said Peelen. “She is not a city employee and will not receive city benefits.”
Mayor Carmel Monti hired Buonagura in early March and sought the commission’s blessing March 7. He presented her contract to the commission March 12.
“We didn’t have a contract when we discussed this before,” he said. “Now we have one and I’m looking for the commission to sign off on this, so we can put her in place.”
Commissioner Judy Titsworth moved to execute the contract. Commissioner Marvin Grossman seconded the motion, which passed 5-0.
The contract refers to Buonagura as a “contractor” with duties, effective immediately, to review and update city employee job descriptions; update policy and procedure manuals; conduct work-flow studies; create tools to enhance communication between employees; and develop professional ethical standards.
Other duties include the development of organizational charts, establish a grievance procedure for city employees and “perform all other duties as assigned by the mayor,” according to the contract.
Buonagura reports directly to the mayor and has an office at city hall. Her six-month contract will expire Aug. 31, with the city reserving the right to terminate with cause. Her salary is $2,500 a month but she will not receive city benefits.
Monti praised Buonagura’s volunteer work for the city over the past few months, assisting him by interviewing city staff to improve efficiency.
After the meeting, Monti acknowledged the position was not in the city’s 2012-13 budget. But, he said his departments across the board are under budget, and since Buonagura will be assisting all departments, “her salary will be paid for with funds from every department.”
Monti said he reserves the right to create a position such as this one without having to undergo the typical process that calls for a request for proposal, and to undergo a bid process for the job.
“She’s not a department head,” he said. “If this was a department head position then we would have to go through that process, but I’m authorized to make this decision on my own.”
Monti said he sought and received the commission’s blessing, and got approval of Buonagura’s contract.
The contract for services comes amid some criticism of Monti, including a lack of response to inquiries.
The Islander also learned from an anonymous source that code enforcement clerk Jan Gorman, a longtime employee, offered the mayor her resignation March 15 with a termination date in May, but was allegedly told to collect her personal items and immediately leave city hall with a police escort.
The Islander also learned from its anonymous source the mayor may have imposed a gag order on employees. Monti did not return a phone inquiry at press time about Gorman or the alleged prohibition on speaking to the press.
A 19-year-old Bradenton man was arrested March 11 on felony drug charges after allegedly admitting he was on his way to sell a friend cocaine and marijuana.
According to the probable cause affidavit, a Holmes Beach police officer initiated a traffic stop at 4600 Gulf Drive. As the officer approached the vehicle, he observed Matthew Cammilleri in the passenger seat attempting to conceal a large Crown Royal bag.
The officer observed a large amount of marijuana sticking out of the Crown Royal bag.
According to the report, police recovered 42.3 grams of marijuana, .3 grams of cocaine, a digital scale and a marijuana grinder.
Cammilleri allegedly admitted that the drugs and paraphernalia were his, and that he was en route to a friend’s house to sell him the cocaine.
According to the report, Cammilleri said he is unemployed and sells the marijuana to make a living and was going to attempt to sell the drugs to his friend, so he could pay his rent.
Cammilleri was arrested for felony possession of cocaine with intent to sell, felony possession of marijuana with intent to sell and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
He was booked into the Manatee County jail and held on $9,500 bond. According to jail records, he posted bond March 12 and was released.
He was scheduled to be arraigned at 9 a.m. Friday, April 5, at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.
A small group of curiosity seekers, including young kids more interested in the police and a tractor on the beach, watch as a sandcastle is toppled and the beachfront returned to its natural, sandy slope. Lacking anyone to take responsibility, HBPD called out a city worker to rectify what can be a dangerous situation for late-night beach strollers and joggers. Islander Photos: Bonner Joy
Holmes Beach Police Officer Chip Frappier walks up the beach from the sandcastle to await public works employee Dave Benton on a front-end loader. Frappier said the beach attraction — which he learned had been present for two days — amounts to “dangerous excavation,” adding, “that’s against the law.”
The young Irish — known as the “Wee Ones,” roll in comfort in the parade wagons. Click Here for more photos Islander Photo: Bonner Joy
Facing complaints from a number of Anna Maria property owners and local builders that a hold on building permits is causing financial harm and confusion among homebuyers, city commissioners on Feb. 14 agreed to revisit the freeze put in place Feb. 7.
Commissioners first passed an administrative moratorium in January, while city attorney Jim Dye set about preparing a moratorium ordinance. At that time, they said building projects “in the pipeline” could be processed by building official Bob Welch.
However, commissioners changed their minds Feb. 7 after learning it would be difficult to differentiate which projects were in the pipeline.
Holmes Beach builder Greg Ross of Ross Built Construction Co. of Holmes Beach said at the Feb. 14 meeting that he has several projects under development and on hold in Anna Maria because of the administrative moratorium. His projects are nearly ready for permit submission, he said.
“How long is the administrative moratorium in effect?” Ross asked commissioners. “There’s a lot of confusion in the building community right now, and I would like clarification.”
Cathy Adams of Plant City attended the meeting with her husband, Bill, asking that the halt to building permits be lifted. The couple bought an older home in October, a teardown, and are planning to rebuild.
“We were 99.9 percent ready and just days away from submitting our plans when this went into effect. We’ve spent thousands of dollars and now we don’t know when we can build,” Cathy Adams said.
The city has changed the rules since October, leaving people who want to build or remodel in a quandary, Bill Adams said. He said it hurts honest builders and property owners who just want a nice home.
“It just doesn’t seem fair,” Bill Adams said.
Commissioner Dale Woodland agreed that the city should discuss lifting the temporary moratorium on building permits at the earliest opportunity.
“All this is doing is hurting the little guy,” Woodland said.
Woodland and Commission Chair John Quam voted Feb. 7 not to halt permitting while the moratorium was readied for a first reading and public hearing, but the motion to freeze permits passed 3-2.
Quam planned to put the moratorium issue on the Feb. 28 agenda, but commissioners agreed to move discussion to the Feb. 21 meeting.
In other business, commissioners agreed with Dye to continue to Feb. 28 a public hearing on an ordinance in which the city would swap easements with the Sandbar Restaurant.
Dye noted the original easement given the Sandbar in 2005 by the city was part of the restaurant’s site plan at that time. Any change to a site plan has to go through another site-plan process, he said.
Engineer Lynn Burnett, representing the Sandbar, said she believes the easement was recorded as a pedestrian walkway in the Manatee County plat book.
If the 2005 site plan recorded the easement as pedestrian, Burnett said there’s no need for another site plan that would say the same thing. Dye agreed, and Burnett will return to the Feb. 28 meeting with information on how the 2005 easement was recorded.
Commissioners also passed the second reading of an ordinance requiring that parking spaces for new homes be designated on building plans. The ordinance requires a designated parking space for each bedroom beyond three bedrooms. The ordinance also requires at least one space be under cover.
Commissioners also agreed to an offer by an anonymous donor through Commissioner Gene Aubry to pay for oak trees around the six vacant lots at the east end of Pine Avenue.
Aubry, who has made several designs for a park on the vacant property, said the city should retain an architect for the park plans.
Quam suggested the commission return to just two meetings per month instead of meeting every Thursday, as it now does.
Commissioner Chuck Webb said there are just too many serious issues before the commission to keep putting them off to a meeting in two weeks. He said the commission should meet weekly until the significant issues have been resolved, and other commissioners agreed.
The commission will continue to meet at 6 p.m. every Thursday until further notice.
The next meeting is 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, at Anna Maria City Hall, 10005 Gulf Drive.
Agenda items include the freeze on building permits, along with regulations on residential development, and priority items on the commission’s Tasks 2013 list.
Attorney Rich Rumrell of Rumrell Law, Rumrell, Bate & McCleod, P.A., St. Augustine, who represents unidentified Anna Maria property owners, has made another public records request of the city.
Mayor SueLynn said the records request of Feb. 1 would take staff several weeks to compile, and Rumrell submitted a second request Feb. 8, adding to his previous list, all permit applications for residential homes three stories or higher since Jan. 1, 2009, to the present.
He also requested permit applications for homes greater than 2,700 square feet, any documents since 2010 concerning police procedure for a noise complaint at a single-family residence, a vacation rental or a long-term rental.
Rumrell also requested any databases of vacation rental owners from 2010 to present and any databases of long-term rentals from 2010 to the present.
Rumrell has declined to identify his clients.
His public records requests began after the commission passed an administrative moratorium Jan. 31 — meaning city officials could not accept new permit requests — for the issuance of building permits for single-family home construction, while the commission finalizes and approves a construction moratorium ordinance.
Mayor SueLynn said staff members have been gathering documents already requested by Rumrell, and that after discussing the new request with the city attorney, staff will compile records for the second request.
Commissioners have discussed lowering the maximum height of new construction from 37 feet to 27 feet, and other possible limits.
Commissioners will not be enacting any new law enforcement procedures for noise complaints. Dye has said law enforcement procedures by Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies assigned to the Anna Maria substation are the duty of the mayor, not the commission.
SueLynn said the only new procedure for noise complaints is that a copy of a noise complaint that deputies respond to is given to the code enforcement officer for review. The city has an ordinance that limits loud noises after 10 p.m.
The mayor said she would research the number of times deputies were called on a noise complaint in 2012, but believes there were less than five complaints for the year.
Code enforcement officer Gerry Rathvon did not issue any citations in 2012 to any renter, manager or owner for violating the city’s noise ordinance.
The strained relationship between Bradenton Beach and the Center for Municipal Solutions came to an end Feb. 8 with notification the city will repeal its cellular communications tower ordinance.
CMS’s Lawrence “Rusty” Monroe and the city have been feuding for months over language in the ordinance drafted by Monroe and adopted May 5, 2011, under former Mayor Bob Bartelt’s administration.
As the city moved forward with discussions on installing a cellular communications tower near the public works facility last year, Commissioner Ric Gatehouse observed several issues in the ordinance he found objectionable.
The relationship between the city and Monroe became brittle and shattered at one point, with Monroe withdrawing — saying he would take his ordinance with him.
Monroe said the city had no rights to use his ordinance without agreeing to pay exclusive application review fees to his company, as per the original agreement outlined in his ordinance.
Gatehouse initially wanted the ordinance repealed, but settled on amending it to give the city more authority, and to prevent potential abuses from occurring to local businesses.
The two sides unexpectedly came together Jan. 24 with an announcement from city attorney Ricinda Perry that negotiations on a consulting contract with Monroe were ongoing.
However, on Feb. 4, Perry said negotiations had stalled because Monroe refused to budge on key factors important to protecting the city’s interest.
Those factors included Monroe not wanting a termination clause if he was found to be doing anything illegal and he refused to agree to the city’s standard insurance needs, according to Perry.
One of the major sticking points was that Monroe wanted the city to be financially liable for an applicant who pulled out of the review process, according to Perry.
Commissioners directed Perry Feb. 7 to try one more time to negotiate a deal, but said they could not protect the city’s best interests under Monroe’s terms.
In an email dated Feb. 8, Perry informed Monroe that the city “will not be engaging your firm for professional services.”
Monroe has insisted the city cannot use his ordinance without his services. Perry said the ordinance has too many legal issues.
She wrote the city “will be repealing its enactment immediately.”
Monroe responded Feb. 11 saying the action was regrettable and disagreed with Perry’s legal assessment.
However, he thanked the city for its decision to repeal the ordinance to protect what he called his intellectual property.
Building official Steve Gilbert confirmed that the city was going another direction Feb. 12.
“I’ve been directed to find some local ordinances that match up and fit our criteria,” he said.
Gilbert said he has looked over several thus far, “and it’s just a matter of finding the right fit for us.”
Perry predicted Feb. 7 that if negotiations failed with Monroe, it would take about two months for the city to write its own ordinance.
Gilbert said if everything went smoothly, “then two months would be pretty good. We are still going to have go back through a planning and zoning review, then it all has to come back to the commission again. So it’s going to be awhile.”
Holmes Beach Commissioner Jean Peelen may appeal a recent ruling by the12th Judicial Circuit Court that keeps alive a libel suit filed against her by business owner John F. Agnelli Jr.
Judge Diana Moreland denied Peelen’s motion to dismiss Agnelli’s amended complaint Feb. 7 and gave her 10 days to answer the suit.
The suit alleges statements that Peelen made in a Sept. 30 newsletter were false, published without reasonable care as to the truth or falsity and harmed Agnelli’s construction business.
Peelen is being represented by Jay Daigneault of Frazier, Hubbard, Brandt, Trask and Yacavone, LLP, of Dunedin, under the city’s Florida League of Cities’ insurance.
In the recent motion won by Agnelli, Daigneault argued that as a commissioner, Peelen is shielded by sovereign immunity granted to state and local officials.
The state law protects officials from being held personally liable for damages due to acts or omissions in the scope of employment, unless they’re made maliciously or in bad faith.
Moreland’s decision ruled against that argument, and Peelen said last week her attorneys were “considering if the ruling is appealable.”
Agnelli’s attorney, Peter Mackey, of Mackey Law Group, P.A., Bradenton, is looking at the case differently.
“Mr. Agnelli is going to go forward to trial,” said Mackey. “He’s been slandered in our opinion.”
Mackey added, however, that the case could reach a settlement first.
The lawsuit was filed Oct. 9, following distribution by Peelen of her newsletter in which she confused the identity of John F. Agnelli Jr. and his son, Frank Agnelli.
The newsletter pertaining to city issues was distributed from Peelen’s personal email account.
At the commission meeting the same day John F. Agnelli filed the suit, he criticized Peelen for a careless lack of regard for the truth. Peelen announced she had acknowledged her error to the email recipients and also apologized to Agnelli at the meeting.
But Agnelli responded that Peelen’s words will remain forever on the Internet.
Agnelli’s first complaint named Peelen as an individual, but alleged libel against her as a commissioner. In his amended complaint, Agnelli asserted that Peelen defamed him individually.
In one of the quickest actions of the Feb. 3 Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage meeting in Cortez, the resignation of Manatee County Clerk of Circuit Court R.B. “Chips” Shore from the FISH board of directors was unanimously approved.
Shore sent a letter Jan. 3 announcing his resignation from the board, but pledged to remain as a FISH member. He cited “inflammatory language and rhetoric used by FISH board members toward his office and the museum staff, in particular,” as reasons for his resignation.
A feud between FISH and the Florida Maritime Museum, 4415 119th St. W., in Cortez, has been brewing since early 2012 after an internal audit conducted by Shore’s office revealed a division of finances between FISH and the museum was required.
The museum is owned by Manatee County and Shore’s office provides management and operations.
The two entities have split some revenues in the past, but according to a Florida Communities Trust grant, which secured the purchase of the museum property, FISH was not allowed to use museum grounds for fundraising activities.
The two entities made several attempts to reconcile their differences, including a September meeting facilitated by someone hired by Shore’s office to bring the two organizations together. The success of that venture was short lived.
It’s not the first time Shore and museum staff have walked away from FISH in the past year, but the Feb. 3 acceptance of Shore’s resignation made the departure official.
FISH held off voting on Shore’s resignation at its Jan. 7 meeting in hopes he would change his mind. But FISH board member Turner Matthews said he spoke to Shore and confirmed he would not return to the board.
The board will hold its annual election meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, April 1, at Fisherman’s Hall, 4515 124th St. W., Cortez.
In addition to Shore’s seat, board members up for re-election are secretary Joe Kane, vice president Debra Ibasfalean and board members Karen Bell and Rick Stewart. There also are two vacant seats to fill from previous resignations.
Bell and Kane confirmed their intentions to run for re-election. Stewart’s re-election bid is tentative due to the board’s consideration of a paid position. Ibasfalean had not confirmed her intentions, as of press time for The Islander.
Also running for the board are newcomers Michael Northfield, Ryan Murphy and commercial fisher Chris Osgood.
FISH treasurer Jane von Hahmann said there are currently 185 dues-paying members eligible to vote in the April election.
She said everyone nominated thus far would be placed on a list and mailed to FISH members, including absentee ballot instructions.
“The slate of nominees is mailed out for absentee ballots,” said von Hahmann, although on the night of the election, nominations can come from the floor.
Absentee ballots must be received by March 25 to be counted.
Matthews raised concern about absentee and email votes, saying it is open to fraud. He motioned to disallow absentee balloting for FISH elections.
“If people care enough to vote, they should care enough to come in person,” he said.
Bell seconded the motion, noting only a small percentage of the membership come to meetings.
“How do the ones who never come to a meeting know who is a good board member and who is not?” she asked.
Kane objected to the motion, saying its paramount to voter suppression, but the board voted on the motion. Of 10 members present, the motion failed 6-4.
Matthews made a second motion to eliminate email votes, but the motion died for a lack of a second.
Anyone wishing to vote must become a FISH member seven days prior to the April 1 election.
Membership forms are available online at www.cortez-fish.org. For more information, call 941-254-4972 and leave a message and contact information.
Holmes Beach Mayor Carmel Monti presents a community service award to resident and Islander of the Year Pam Leckie for her tireless work at the Island Library and at the Roser Food Pantry during a Feb. 12 commission meeting. The city commission also designated Feb. 13, 2013, as Pam Leckie Day. Islander Photo: Kathy Prucnell