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Date of Issue: September 08, 2005

Charter amendments appear destined for Nov. 8 ballot in Bradenton Beach

The "lucky 13" charter amendments have been tentatively approved for Bradenton Beach electors' consideration on the Nov. 8 generalo election.

City commissioners unanimously approved the proposed changes to the city's guiding document last week. A second public hearing and final determination on the matter is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sept. 15.

Still being worked on is an amendment that would clarify an existing provision in the charter that limits height of buildings in the city to no more than 29 feet above a federal or state guidelines for minimum elevation. City commissioners directed staff to clarify language to make sure that commercial, as well as residential, buildings are included in the height ban.

The 13 charter amendments are somewhat brief in their title and description. City Attorney Ricinda Perry advised, and commissioners agreed, that a more comprehensive description of the ballot questions would be mailed to all electors in the city in advance of election day.

The questions before voters are:

  • BALLOT 1: Clarifies when charter review committee formation would occur - every five years.
  • BALLOT 2: Requires residency within each of the city's four wards for city commissioners, and clarifies language to ensure that the mayor remains a city resident while serving in office.
  • BALLOT 3: Clarifies language establishing compensation for elected officials in the city.
  • BALLOT 4: Requires elected officials to maintain minimal continuing education standards.
  • BALLOT 5: Clarifies language that calls for elected officials to forfeit their office if they move from their elected ward or from the city.
  • BALLOT 6: Increases term limits for elected officials from three two-year terms to four.
  • BALLOT 7: Provides for 10 working days, rather than 10 calendar days, for verification of signatures on any citizen-initiated petition regarding ordinances, and calls for the supervisor of elections office, rather than the city clerk's office, to verify the signatures as being valid electors.
  • BALLOT 8: Provides for 10 working days, rather than 10 calendar days, for verification of signatures on any citizen-initiated charter amendments, and calls for the supervisor of elections office, rather than the city clerk's office, to verify the signatures as being valid electors.
  • BALLOT 9: Provides for 10 working days, rather than 10 calendar days, for notification of sufficiency on any petitions, and calls for a standardized form for any such petitions be provided by the city clerk's office.
  • BALLOT 10: Calls for no building height to be greater than 29 feet above the Federal Emergency Management Agency's established base-flood elevation standard, with some exceptions.
  • BALLOT 11: Establishes that a conforming lot is any existing platted lot of record of a size of 50 feet by 100 feet or 5,000 square feet.
  • BALLOT 12: Clarifies removal of appointed officials through forfeiture, vacation or expiration of term of office.
  • BALLOT 13: Establishes a number of technical changes to the city charter.

In a related matter, the city commission authorized City Attorney Ralf Brookes to draft language in concert with members of the local delegation to the Florida Legislature to extend the city boundaries 500 feet into the Gulf of Mexico and to the Intracoastal Waterway in Anna Maria Sound. The matter will come back to the city commission at a later date.

The boundary expansion would likely require a charter change at some point, since the city limits of Bradenton Beach are established within the charter.

The extension requires approval of the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate as well as gubernatorial approval. City limits currently are at the mean high-tide line. The request has been prompted by the city's stated desire to better manage nearshore waters.

And in another related matter, Brookes said that law students with the University of Florida would be surveying the city's fledgling but as-yet unapproved boat mooring field as well as researching other mooring fields in the state and would report back to the city at a special meeting Sept. 29. The student effort would be done at virtually no cost to the city.

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