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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Scenic highway committee talking signs

The Bradenton Beach Scenic Highway Committee Corridor Management Entity has recommended to the city commission that it schedule a joint worksession with the CME to discuss a draft sign ordinance prepared by the CME. The draft will be forwarded to the commission for review prior to the worksession.

The committee originally was just looking at regulation of vacation and rental signs along the Gulf Drive corridor, but decided to prepare a draft ordinance to cover signage throughout the city for commission review and discussion. The draft is based in part on a sign ordinance first drawn up by former Building Official Bob Welch.

While acknowledging that CME's main focus is on the scenic highway corridor, CME member Bill Shearon said the draft is only for discussion purposes and to get public input.

"This is only a recommendation for a meeting," noted CME Chairperson Judy Giovanelli at the May 19 CME meeting. The commission could choose not to schedule a joint worksession, or defer the request.

But Commissioner Lisa Marie Phillips wants to know why the CME was even discussing a "sign ordinance" and a "stormwater utility revenue source."

In a May 18 letter to Mayor John Chappie, commission liaison to the CME, Phillips said she did not recall the commission asking the CME "to undertake those issues.

"There must be some bad information circulating out of those meetings," Phillips said, because she's already received three letters "voicing opposition to proposed signage issues," issues with which she is currently unfamiliar.

She also questioned whether or not Chappie should be discussing issues with the CME that are "truly commission issues," and could be "voted on by you and the commission."

Phillips said she wanted these issues "discussed as soon as possible" and wants an opinion from the city attorney "on the legalities of this situation."

That's exactly why the CME is forwarding its draft ordinance to the commission and asking for a joint worksession, said CME member Bob Herrington of the Sarasota-Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization.

He noted the CME had only "talked about a drainage project" for the corridor, and Philips' letter shows that "some people don't fully understand what we are doing. This is only a recommendation."

On another issue, Shearon said he was shocked to see the recycling bins purchased by the city contained advertising for Ace Hardware/Crowder Brothers. He found it hard to believe that the commission would not allow a small sign at a proposed trolley stop for the donor business, but would allow advertising on the bins.

"I don't think the commission would have approved the bid if they had known of the advertising," noted Shearer. It certainly didn't come up when Crowder Bros. was awarded the contract as the low bidder. As far as he's concerned, Crowder Bros. should supply new bins without advertising.

The CME also learned that the Florida Department of Transportation has approved the bicycle paths along Gulf Drive. Mike Sozaboski of the Manatee County Parks and Recreation Department said a pre-construction meeting with DOT officials was scheduled for June 7, the same day the grant application for the project is due.

He also said the preliminary design for the multi-use path from Seventh Street South through Coquina Beach to the Longboat Pass Bridge is due to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection by June 11. Engineers from Wilson-Miller will conduct a site visit to Coquina on May 27 as part of their preparations for the design.

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