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Holmes Beach wants to limit street parking

LONGBOAT KEY -- Officials Wednesday picked apart an issue many say has been crippling Anna Maria Island -- parking.

Inside a large room at Longboat Key Town Hall, Anna Maria Mayor Dan Murphy, Bradenton Beach Mayor William Shearon, Holmes Beach Mayor Bob Johnson and Longboat Key Mayor Jim Brown sat with a few other officials.

One solution moved forward for official comment.

Chairwoman Jaynie Christenson of the Holmes Beach Island Congestion Committee presented the draft of a resident parking permit application for the city of Holmes Beach. The proposal would allow Holmes Beach residents and property owners with a special parking decal to park on streets and rights of way in the city unless otherwise restricted.

"I live in a residential area in Holmes Beach by the elementary school and the proliferation of the rental units in our residential areas as well as the over-advertisement of the island has brought a lot of issues with parking in our residential areas," Christenson said, adding it's affected her personally as well as her neighbors and citywide.

The parking decals, listed as $10 each in the proposal, would only be valid in Holmes Beach city limits.

Christenson stressed the proposal is for the safety of residents, visitors, children, pedestrians and bicyclists.

"The first impact that I could see was no one's going to park in Holmes Beach and they're all going to come to Anna Maria," said Anna Maria Mayor Dan Murphy.

"That's good!" said Bradenton Beach Mayor Shearon jokingly as others in the room chuckled.

Shearon added all three cities on Anna Maria Island have "wholly different parking issues."

In Bradenton Beach, the mayor said the city is fortunate to have a lot of parking spaces on Coquina Beach.

"There again, in Bradenton Beach, our streets aren't really that long. A lot of the streets are shorter streets that are not, for lack of a better term, they're not full-width streets. They're narrowed down," he said.

Officials also touched upon the issue of vacation rentals.

"We're looking at tightening that up," said Murphy. "In the meantime, we've been working on an ordinance to regulate vacation rentals in terms of licensing and inspections."

Johnson spoke about a moratorium enacted Jan. 15 on granting construction permits for houses with four or more bedrooms.

"It will be in effect until we resolve some of the regulations that we want to do," Johnson said.

Amaris Castillo, law enforcement/island reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. Follow her on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.

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