The Holmes Beach Commission will discuss whether to implement a moratorium on chain, or “formula,” businesses in the city, nearly a month after plans for Baskin Robbins-Dunkin Donuts caused great worry among some island business owners and officials.
“Consider implementing a moratorium — pending consideration of the possible regulation of formula businesses,” reads the agenda item for the meeting to be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Holmes Beach City Hall, 5801 Marina Dr.
We have a precious, strange little island here and part of its attraction for everyone is that it’s ‘Old Florida.’ There’s not a McDonald’s on every corner, there’s not a Burger King on every corner, so it was really distressing to hear that, without any notice to us, that these stores are coming in.
Holmes Beach Commission Vice Chairwoman Jean Peelen
Holmes Beach Mayor Bob Johnson submitted a two-page document to facilitate the discussion on the moratorium on chain businesses. The documents contain the definition of a “formula retail” and what these businesses include.
In May, a vacant space nestled in a 60,000-square-foot plaza on East Bay Drive in Holmes Beach fueled concern among local business owners and officials. The plaza was built in 1986 and purchased in 1993 by Benderson Development Co., one of Manatee County’s biggest landowners. The empty store at 3302 E. Bay Drive is expected to be the next home of Baskin Robbins-Dunkin Donuts.
Holmes Beach Commission Vice Chairwoman Jean Peelen said officials will be deciding whether to pursue a moratorium at the meeting Tuesday.
“Since the announcement that Baskin Robbins and Dunkin Donuts and Smoothie King were all moving into the Benderson shopping center in Holmes Beach, we’ve been very concerned about the intrusion of what we call formula businesses — meaning national chains — coming in,” she said Monday. “We have a precious, strange little island here and part of its attraction for everyone is that it’s ‘Old Florida.’ There’s not a McDonald’s on every corner, there’s not a Burger King on every corner, so it was really distressing to hear that, without any notice to us, that these stores are coming in.”
According to Peelen, officials are searching for a way to preserve Anna Maria Island for what it is. One way to do so, she said, is by passing a moratorium.
“A moratorium is something that just says, ‘OK, everything stops right now for a bit,’” she added. “A moratorium would give us time to research, think, consult with other jurisdictions that have had this issue and decided what we can do legally about the intrusion of national chains.”
We urge the City to promptly issue the permits which have been applied for and to refrain from pursuing anti-competitive, protectionist actions.
Todd M. Mathes, director of development for Benderson Development Co., in a letter to Holmes Beach officials
The Holmes Beach City Clerk’s Office has not yet received a business tax receipt application from the business, Deputy City Clerk Lori Kee said Monday.
Todd M. Mathes, director of development for Benderson Development, wrote a June 3 letter to Mayor Johnson and commissioners.
“The City Council’s May 26, 2016, work session discussion regarding proposed legislation which would limit formula retail operations on the Island was clearly held in response to criticism directed only at Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin Robbins,” Mathes’ letter reads. “The Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin Robbins operator signed a lease with our company and all necessary City permits were applied for on April 21, 2016. We urge the City to promptly issue the permits which have been applied for and to refrain from pursuing anti-competitive, protectionist actions.”
Mathes did not respond to a request for comment Monday.
Judy Owens, who owns Cupcake Delights at 3324 East Bay Drive in the same plaza, told the Herald last month that franchises like Baskin Robbins-Dunkin Donuts change the landscape of the island.
“We need our Publix and our Walgreens and that kind of stuff, but when it comes to just that kind of franchise, I think it kind of hurts it,” she said at the time. “People come to the island because they want the uniqueness and the ‘Old Florida’ feel, and when you start popping those up all over then ... I think it’s just going to open the door for other franchises.”