MANATEE -- Manatee County commissioners Tuesday OK'd $130,000 for a study of three Anna Maria Island cities.
The study will be done by a team of experts from the Urban Land Institute, an independent global nonprofit that specializes in land-use and real estate development issues.
The cities are Anna Maria, Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach.
The island cities lately have been buffeted by great waves of tourists, traffic and parking problems, and many more properties that are being rented to vacationers rather than occupied by their owners.
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The money for the study, which likely will take place during the upcoming tourist season, comes from a surplus generated by the county's beach concessionaire, officials said.
"It's an outside perspective on what's taking place on the island," said Anna Maria Mayor SueLynn after the commission meeting.
"We need to have somebody look at us from afar, and see things from a different perspective," she said.
Bradenton Beach Mayor Bill Shearon said he was "very happy" about the commission's unanimous vote, and very pleased that his city will get expert help he said it needs so badly.
"It's for the whole island, three cities," he said. "They will do an evaluation of all the issues and make recommendations."
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.