Von Hahmann calls for Coquina Beach discussions
Manatee County Commissioner Jane von Hahmann, whose district includes
Bradenton Beach and Coquina Beach, has called for an
in-depth discussion of Coquina Beach following reports
of a planned beach party at Coquina last Friday that
would have involved hundreds of area youths.
The beach party was eventually canceled by organizers after a
meeting with local law enforcement and county officials.
But Von Hahmann is concerned that as
Manatee County’s population, particularly
in the east county area, continues to expand, use of Coquina Beach and other
county facilities on Anna Maria Island will increase proportionally, along with
accompanying concerns for the public safety.
She noted there have been several
recent incidents at Coquina Beach involving large,
unpermitted parties, police confrontations and reports from some families
visiting the beach on holidays that they did not feel "comfortable" during their stay because of
need a large discussion about Coquina Beach with Bradenton Beach and county officials," she
said. Areas to discuss include increased security, non-permitted parties and "over-use" of
She suggested that Bradenton Beach Mayor
John Chappie, Police Chief Sam Speciale, the Manatee
County Sheriff’s Office
and other county department heads involved with Coquina Beach and public safety
attend such a meeting.
The issue of establishing paid parking as
a security measure at Coquina Beach, Manatee Public
Beach in Holmes Beach and Bayfront Park in Anna Maria could also be discussed,
she added. All three are county-run facilities.
Von Hahmann would like to have a meeting
first with involved officials before taking the issue
to the county commission. She’s discussed such a meeting with
Chappie, but no date has yet been set.
could not be reached for comment about organizing a
Whitmore calls for discussion on parking
Mayor Carol Whitmore isn’t
waiting for anyone to invite the city to a meeting to discuss problems at Manatee
County public facilities on Anna Maria Island.
She's sent a letter to
city commissioners, Chappie, Anna Maria Mayor SueLynn
and County Commission Chairman Joe McClash saying it’s time to
"start thinking about closing the parking lots [at the public beach]
when full ...."
The mayor said that during
the past few months, she’s seen a "tremendous increase in vehicular
traffic on the Barrier Islands on weekends," and has never seen such
traffic jams in the more than 30 years she’s lived on the Island.
usage times at the public beach, she noted, cars are
parking outside the beach along the state right of way and "anywhere else that can be used for
"Everyone has the right to use our
beaches and we encourage it," she continued, but with the "tremendous
amount of growth in Manatee County, our 7-mile stretch of beach is finally
starting to feel the stress of growth. We need to start this discussion soon."
Whitmore added that discussion of
a "possible proposal" by the county to charge for the use of
the Manatee Public Beach was on the commission’s June 13 agenda.