Thursday, November 5, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
One of my favorite songs from the album "LARGO" released in the late 1990's, contains a cut called "SOMEONE GIVE ME A STONE". It is about this little guy, David, taking on this big guy, Goliath...well you know how it goes and you're smart enough to make your own conclusions and comparisons.
On Wednesday, November 4, 2009, I will once again read for pleasure, have food in the refrigerator, cook good meals, walk the beach, put the CD's in and sing along, often and really loud. We'll return to the Moose and dance the hours away, occasionally go to Karaoke and sing just because. I will continue to embarrass my daughter by dancing in the aisles of the Publix as the mood strikes and walk her to the bus in my nightwear (after all it is dark). I will welcome my new granddaughter, teach her life lessons and warn her of the good, the bad and the ugly.
I will add many new names to my list of good friends.
Thank you friends for being there for me.
Harry, I love you and I am so proud.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
The decision as to who we elect for a seat on the Anna Maria City Commission must not be influenced by people who have a financial stake in the decisions that are made by the City Commission. The commissioners should be people who represent the greater interests of the islanders who own businesses and property here and are free and separate of anyone who stand to gain financially. The proper choice is to find balance when there are conflicting interests – that is why they are there. We are clearly faced with this very situation. So, our choices should reflect the current need to find the candidate who will listen carefully, ask thoughtful questions and weigh the impact of construction footprints which tend to be somewhat permanent. This holds true for residential and commercial properties alike.
The crossroad we face at this time has happened before in other communities. An example of this is Bethany Beach, Delaware, which is a town similar in size and character to AMI. In fact, it is promoted as "The Quiet Resort." It has a main street for commercial businesses similar to Pine Ave. and is considered the most family friendly beach in Delaware. They have a Building and Planning office that gave a couple of developers a free hand over the past decade. Now, there is an effort to roll back some of the decisions because traffic chokes the roads, the beach looks like the Normandy Invasion in bathing suits and there is not a parking spot to be found. The century old boardwalk is now a concrete sidewalk and the town has smoke belching, ten foot pirates overlooking miniature golf less than twelve feet from a residence. This "progress" is hard to undo!
Of course, progress will happen. In fact it is happening all the time, but like the hands on a clock it should evolve over time and not feel the pressure of money.
Because we believe this is an important election and we need representatives with a balanced perspective, we are supporting Harry Stoltzfus. If you think this is an important time for AMI, then spend the time and meet with Harry, as we have, and you’ll be impressed by his thoughtfulness and his passion for AMI. You’ll also see that he is both a resident and a business owner, so he will bring real balance to the decisions made by the commission.
Bev & Joe Hospital
522 Pine Avenue
I consider Cathy Stoltzfus one of my best friends on Anna Maria Island! Harry and Cathy came to my house on Pine Ave and we had a conversation that was rocky. In the end we agreed to disagree. I have sat back and observed the Anna Maria Race closely. I personally am more in alignment with the candidates who are more progressive in their ideas for Anna Maria. However!!! I do not want to become a zealot who only listens to one side of the issues. Yes, I still favor other candidates as number one and two.
I would respect Harry as one with an open mind even though I know we would differ on many issues.
Brenda Boyd May
409 Pine Ave
Monday, October 26, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Since my wife and I arrived in Anna Maria in 1999, we have shared Anna Maria with family and friends. Like us, all were immediately smitten and several have since bought properties. My brother John and his wife Carol, 519 Spring Avenue; my niece Deb, her husband Tom and their young sons Aiden and Logan, 521 Magnolia and 4002 6th Avenue, Holmes Beach ; our sister-in-law Lena, 308 Spring; our friends Dave and Debbie Hollinger, 200 Spring and 214 Coconut; Colin and June Atkinson, their daughters Holly and Elyse, 802 Gladiolus, and friends Joe and Bev Hospital, 522 Pine Avenue. Anna Maria is a destination for all of them: a place where they wish to retire. With the exception of Joe and Bev, all rent their properties to help defray the costs of owning a piece of paradise. All those properties are available for weekly rentals. Most of their properties are managed by Mike and Susan Brinson with Island Accomodations at 315 Pine Avenue.
We have many neighbors living on the Island who own rental homes, some of which we have rented weekly and even nightly to house friends, family, and our employees.
To suggest I am in favor of minimum rentals is ludicrous.
You then present your finished plan to the City. If the City has questions about your plan, they refer your presentation to the City Planner, who again reviews it and advises whether or not it's in compliance.
It's a flawed process.
Why? Because no one is perfect. We are all prone to err.
If the City Planner errs while advising the developer, he will likely repeat that error while advising the City.
Anna Maria needs to change the planning/approval protocol now in place. We need to strengthen the system of checks and balances to decrease the likelihood of mistakes made in the planning side being automatically perpetuated on the approval side.
We need to reinstate the adversarial dynamic between developers and the City. We want our Planner concentrating on delivering the highest level of scrutiny to every site plan in his purview. And we need him to notify us immediately when any aspect of a site plan, or ordinances pertaining thereto are able to be interpreted more than one way.
We can achieve all of the above with one simple change.
By requiring developers to hire their own experts, not use ours. They hire their own architects and engineers. Let them hire their own Planner as well.
Our City Planner should not be put in the position of having to advise and consent. He needs to work for the City, and the City alone.
I am not impugning the integrity, the ethics, or the competence of our City Planner in any way. But he's been placed in an untenable position. That needs to change.
When Walmart applies for its building permits, most localities require impact studies to determine what if any changes need to be made in nearby corridors to accommodate the projected increase in traffic. Walmart pays for the studies and often pays for the required changes: things like turn lane additions, traffic lights or roundabouts, shoulder widening, etc. It's Walmart's way of mitigating the impact of their presence.
Has anyone attempted to calculate the long-term effect of more than tripling the number of office/retail spaces on Pine Avenue?
If we require someone who wants to stage a one day event to estimate their effect on our traffic, isn't it reasonable to suggest a developer who affects our traffic permanently do the same?
Would it make sense to call for a moratorium on permits on Pine until a traffic impact study is done?
All commentary is invited, but I'd especially like to hear from principals of Pine Avenue Restoration and the other candidates for City Commissioner regarding this issue.