Anna Maria mayor proposes 4 parking jam options

rdymond@bradenton.comSeptember 25, 2013 

ANNA MARIA -- No more parking in the rights-of-way of Anna Maria city streets by anyone at anytime.

Free resident-only parking in the rights-of-way of city streets will be by permit.

Free resident parking in the city rights-of-way is also available by paid annual pass for anyone who does not have a property permit to park in the rights-of-way.

And, a daily paid parking permit will be available for designated rights-of-way along with the preceding two options.

These four ideas were proposed Tuesday by Mayor SueLynn to help Anna Maria control its parking congestion.

The mayor offered the options at a special city commission meeting about parking at Anna Maria City Hall.

No vote was taken and more workshops and public discussions will follow, SueLynn said.

The reaction of the five commissioners, including Eugene Aubry, Doug Copeland, Chuck Webb, Dale Woodland and Nancy Yetter, spanned the gamut of strongly held beliefs on controlling traffic into the island city.

Aubry was the most opposed to anything that would discourage tourism. He said Anna Maria is a tourist destination by virtue of its beautiful beaches, like it or not, and to not welcome visitors is like, "throwing a party and not going to Publix to get the fixins."

Yetter, her voice filled with emotion, said: "Our duty is to the people who live here. Call it elitism if you like. I don't care about elitism when you have people picnicking in our rights-of-way. I think we should stop it while we have the power to do it and I am tired of sitting here looking like a do-nothing commissioner."

Copeland, Webb and Woodland, all said something needs to be done. Aubry did offer a solution. He said the city should have beach nourishment sand pumped in so the surf is 2,000 yards out allowing cars to park on the beach as they do in Daytona.

"What are you smoking?" Anna Maria resident Bob Gee yelled from the audience.

Webb said communities that still have beach parking have been grandfathered in and the state no longer allows it.

Of the 30 or so people at the meeting, only Mary-Helen Gee, Tom Turner, Joe Paulk and Mike Coleman spoke during public comment.

Gee and Turner urged the commissioners to go with option 1. Paulk, while not selecting an option, agreed with Yetter action is required and Coleman cautioned everyone a slow course was the best course.

Gee's speech in favor of option 1 seemed to affect the commissioners.

She told of a recent beach day when a truck and cars pulled up in the right-of-way of her Palm Avenue house and 22 people unloaded beach gear. The Gees are among hundreds of residents whose houses are on the city's dozen or so beach-access streets.

"They first brought out a giant gas grill, which we came out and explained was not allowed," Gee said. "They stayed from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. They drank and they ate. Now, what do you think they did when the call of nature came upon them? Well, I saw man and his son from their group use a corner of my yard for that. And they left us their food litter. And, they want to use our garden hose to clean up.

"I do not want to close our beaches to tourists," Gee said. "I think everyone should have a beach experience. But there are just too many coming. We are beaches without bathrooms or a lifeguard. It doesn't make sense to me."

Bradenton Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service