Politics & Government

Anna Maria Mayor Mayor SueLynn is out; two incumbent commissioners retain their seats

ANNA MARIA -- Anna Maria residents let their voices be heard Tuesday when it came to the five candidates on their Nov. 4 election ballots.

Newcomer Daniel Murphy beat incumbent Mayor SueLynn with 56.6 percent of votes.

Charles 'Chuck' Webb and Nancy Yetter were both able to narrowly retain their commission seats; Yetter with 28.6 percent of votes and Webb with 25.1 percent. David Bouchard trailed with 24 percent.

"I'm on a cloud. I really am," Murphy said. "I'm amazed and I'm humbled and I'm excited and I really am ready to get to work... I didn't expect to win and I didn't expect to win by such a large margin."

Murphy said he plans on trying to bring together residents and close what he describes as "factions."

"You have one that's composed of people who want growth and then another want no growth and then you have another that's kind of in the middle. I probably fall into that category," he said. "I want to close that division and create a synergy so that we can move forward and solve our problems."

Yetter said she feels the city will be in good hands with the new mayor.

"He's a very intelligent man and I think he will be a quick learner," she said. "We hate to see a mayor that worked really hard for us lose the election but we're very proud to have her replaced by someone who will do an equally good job."

Yetter said she was thrilled to retain her seat.

"I think it's a real vote of confidence from the residents here in the city. I appreciate their support and promise to always keep them at the front of all of my actions for the city," she said. "They are my main concerns and always will be."

According to Yetter, one of the commission's priorities will be to tackle the moratorium enacted on Sept. 22 that prohibits issuing building permits for new structures with four or more rooms that could be used as bedrooms. The move was a way for city officials to restrict short-term rentals, which critics say have eroded the quality of life in two residential zoning districts, R-1 and R-2.

"We'll try to get that settled as quickly as possible and as fairly as possible," Yetter said.

In a recent interview with the Herald, Commission Chairman Webb said Anna Maria is being turned into a "vacation rental ghetto."

"Vacation rentals are encroaching into our residential zones," he said. "We're taking steps to get that under control."

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