BRADENTON BEACH -- A second Sunday market is coming to Bradenton Beach in December as long as it receives the approval of the Department of Environmental Protection.
The Gulf Drive Cafe Market received the approval of the Bradenton Beach City Council last week despite objections from nearby condominium residents and leaders of the three-year-old Bridge Street Market that occurs at the same time.
The new market received a 60-day permit and will be able to continue once it proves that it can control the consumption of alcohol that is served at the Gulf Drive Cafe. Peter Barreda, owner of the cafe at 900 Gulf Drive, will be required to hire two police officers at $25 an hour to monitor alcohol.
“We’ve been talking about doing this for a couple of years,” Barreda said. “I know the Bridge Street Market is not in favor of it, but it’s just another thing we want to do out here.”
Barreda expects 20 to 30 vendors to join the market, which will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Sunday. Because his cafe is on the seaward side of an actual “line in the sand” called the coastal construction control line, Barreda will need to receive the approval of the state agency that monitors preservation of dunes and beaches said Sam Gilbert, Bradenton Beach’s building official.
“Everything that is seaward of the line, if it touches or impacts dirt and whether there’s a dune or not, the DEP is charged with issuing permits if a permit is required, or reviewing an application even for activity.”
Gilbert said the DEP’s field engineer for the area may determine Barreda is exempt from permitting based on the activities likely to occur at the market. “No permits are needed, typically, for portable things you can fold up and stick in a box and haul off,” he said.
Barreda decided to move forward with his market, after years of pondering the idea, because he has completed several improvements to the cafe including a tiki bar. He also was approached by Nancy Ambrose, who helped the Bridge Street Market get started and has been seeking a location for a second market ever since her plans for a Holmes Beach Sunday market were nixed by that town’s city council.
But Ambrose said she may not be involved in Barreda’s market because the cost of hiring police officers will consume so much of the weekly event’s budget. Ambrose also said she and her husband are planning to move to Sarasota because of the backlash she has received for trying to start a market in Holmes Beach, her hometown for the past 15 years.
“It’s been difficult. I guess I hit a nerve and people are just very angry,” Ambrose said. “I’ve definitely found out who my friends are and who they are not.”
Several objectors to the Gulf Drive Cafe Market turned out at last week’s city council meeting, some of them nearby residents concerned about increased traffic and noise on a Sunday and others representatives of the Bridge Street Merchants Association that sponsors the Bridge Street Sunday Market.
Among those who spoke out against the market was Jo Ann Meilner, president of the association, who said she’s “not happy about” the market because it goes against a newfound commitment among Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach and Anna Maria businesses and groups to avoid competitive scheduling.
“Through the chamber, the three cities on the island have been working together to support each other,” Meilner said. “We finally have come to a time when the cities and businesses of the island are working together to help each other, and this just seems like it pulls things apart. It seems like it’s more of a direct competition than a way to support our market.”
Barreda said he doesn’t see his market as a competitor to Bridge Street because it is far north of the original market. He also said most of the people he hears from are excited that yet another market is coming to the island.
“It seems like a lot of people want to make this into a bigger ordeal than it is,” Barreda said. “This is basically just another event out here on the beach.”
Christine Hawes, Herald business writer, can be reached at 941-745-7081.