The residents of Anna Maria Island joined the rest of the country in feeling huge relief that the elections held on November 6 had finally come to pass. For weeks, as they were bombarded by coverage of the national elections, they also witnessed aggressive campaigns on the local level.
In Holmes Beach, the issue of large rental duplexes and their multiple impacts on neighboring residents spurred three challengers to run for the position of mayor and the two available seats on the city commission. City meetings leading up to the election sometimes erupted into angry confrontations involving members of the sitting commission, challengers, and various members of the public who were concerned about how to handle the proliferation of large duplexes without infringing on property rights.
The argument for supporting the challengers was that the incumbents had taken far too long to discourage the building of large rental duplexes, which many feel are ruining the character of the island. The argument in favor of the incumbents was that they were working skillfully within a lot of very demanding state-level requirements, and were in the process of achieving a lot, if only they could be allowed to continue. The implication was that the new people may have had good intentions, but their lack of experience and lack of connections would ultimately delay good solutions for these issues. There were additional concerns, by some, that the challengers might not respect the rights of developers and property owners as they try to limit further large rental properties from having such a great impact on others.
Continue reading “Anna Maria Island Political Results” »
Holmes Beach tried to enforce the ban on fireworks for this holiday weekend. Well not all, just illegal fireworks. So what is the difference?
Florida State law allows only hand-held and ground-based sparkler fireworks. It is illegal to set off fireworks that explode or are propelled into the air.
Many fireworks are brought in illicitly from neighboring states. The result is that a lot of illegal fireworks are lit, especially for July 4th weekend.
Enforcement of the law has been lax and many people flaunt it.
Continue reading “Are Fireworks Essential To Independence Day?” »
In another episode of the continuing non-reality show of “Let’s see what FEMA rules are today”, letters from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to the local island cities offices announced that buildings “having the lowest floor one foot or more below the base flood elevation will no longer be eligible for the CRS discount.”
The Community Rating System is a method of assessing cities’ overall exposure to flood damage loss. By installing adequate drainage systems and enforcing building codes to mitigate flood damage, communities can be eligible for a 5 – 45% discount for residents’ flood insurance premiums.
FEMA’s new edict beginning May 1st excludes specific properties “at high risk” and “not compliant” in the “Special Flood Hazard Area” from getting the community discount. A homeowner will discover if he is excluded when their flood insurance policy comes up for renewal – the policy will have a small zero in the CRS discount box.
Continue reading “FEMA Rules ReRule” »
City of Holmes Beach commissioners presented their first reading of a draft new ordinance related to building code and permitting in the city’s floodplain.
The 31-page ordinance is the result of FEMA, (We’re Here To Help You), having questions about code implementation and compliance with current standards.
On February 12th, the city commissioners put a moratorium on new building permits until a new regulations could be researched and analyzed. The March 25th meeting brought to light the draft reading.
The new regulations are expected to improve ranking with the National Flood Insurance Program system, which provides discounts for cities that participate in the government’s flood insurance program.
Continue reading “FEMA Rules On Floodplain Insurance” »
As if the housing market slowdown were not enough to challenge local contractors, now Holmes Beach City has stopped issuing all building permits.
The City of Holmes Beach Commissioners decided the building department stop granting “requests for construction, reconstruction, or improvement of buildings or structures within the flood hazard areas” beginning February 12th. All building is halted while compliance is being studied and codes compared with other communities.
Caught in this moratorium is a partly rebuilt 1950’s house. New walls, windows, and roof were constructed last month but work has now stopped. The city is considering that it may even have to be torn down again.
Continue reading “We’re Here To Help You” »