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Date of Issue: January 05, 2006

Island elected officials wish for 2006 success

Anna Maria Island elected officials are starting off 2006 with a fresh look and hope for the coming year.

In Holmes Beach, Mayor Carol Whitmore hopes the city this year will start the consolidation process with Bradenton Beach and, hopefully, Anna Maria.

She'd also like to get drainage and dredging projects moving forward within the first three months of the year and move forward with the newly formed Florida League of Mayors in order to lobby issues concerning cities in Tallahassee.

Commissioner David Zaccagnino would like to see the commission begin work on revising the comprehensive plan, ensure no more parking is added to the Kingfish Boat Ramp, complete the traffic-calming measures for the Marina Drive-Gulf Drive intersection, get more trees and public parks, have the city win the Florida lottery and have world peace.

Commissioner Roger Lutz wants to see construction of the Key Royale Bridge begin, a review of the city's building and zoning codes and for the commission to finish the Sunrise boat basin and T-end canal ordinances.

Anna Maria Mayor SueLynn wants the commission to write a comprehensive plan and accompanying codes that protect the city's quality of life and support development that sustains the city's character. She'd also like the commission to allow the citizens to vote on the issue of studying consolidation.

The mayor also wants developers to stop constructing "cookie-cutter" homes that stretch the legal limits of size, overshadow adjacent properties, infringe on privacy and block sunshine and breezes.

Newly elected Anna Maria City Commissioner Christine Tollette wants the commission to revisit the consolidation issue and at least participate in a feasibility study with Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach, manage growth and begin work on the revised comprehensive plan and foster a healthy relationship between residents and businesses.

Commissioner Linda Cramer would like to see better planning in the city, completion of the comprehensive plan revisions and wants the commission to have more talks on joining the consolidation feasibility study with the other two Island cities.

Commissioner Duke Miller said his wish for 2006 is to finish the comprehensive plan and have it sent to Tallahassee by November.

Commission Chairman John Quam said his No. 1 goal is approval of a new comprehensive plan for the city. He'd also like to see completion of the Gladiolus-North Shore Drive drainage project, a more effective budget process and a review of the city's sign ordinance. The commission should also discuss parking in the commercial and retail-office-residential districts.

A major issue facing the city will be the application for the city's first-ever personal wireless services facility (cell tower), expected from Verizon early this year.

For Bradenton Beach, 2006 could well be the year that planning projects come to fruition.

Mayor John Chappie said that the past four years of planning and budgeting of capital improvement projects should start construction in the next 12 months. Bike lanes and streetscaping from Cortez Road to Fifth Street South should start this year, he said, and the engineering and design work on similar projects along Gulf Drive throughout the rest of the city is planned.

A multi-use trail along the Gulf of Mexico from Cortez Beach to the Longboat Pass Bridge is also scheduled to get started in 2006, he said, in cooperation with Manatee County.

Rehabilitation of the city pier restaurant is also scheduled to start this year - "that's a biggie," Chappie said - and the city's designation as a Waterfronts Florida community should start to see some progress.

Bradenton Beach Vice Mayor Lisa Maria Phillips had a simple wish for 2006: Creation of kayak launching locations within the city. She envisioned the low-impact ecotourism spots at the north end of the city adjacent to Herb Dolan North Park as the first site for the ramps, followed later by similar facilities near the city pier off Bridge Street.

Commissioner Janie Robertson wished the process to complete the city's comprehensive plan would be finalized in 2006. The final plan, she said, "should reflect the spirit of our vision plan - a comprehensive plan that promotes the welfare of our citizens, commercial establishments and visitors."

Commissioner Bill Shearon had three wishes for the year: Being able to eat at the city pier restaurant, physically being able to walk on the new sidewalks in the city after having the facilities planned for two years, and evolution of the mooring field adjacent to the city pier.

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