AMI Parking Still an Issue

I get it. Anna Maria Island can get really crowded, especially on a beautiful day in top tourist season.

For those of us who live on the island, it can be a pain. It had to be a lot of trouble for people who drive out here and then have to find someplace to park.

What to do about that, charge for parking?

Here is a good editorial from the Bradenton Herald.  Click here. See if you can add something positive to the discussion.

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Artist Jake Fernandez Still in Solitary

Jake Fernandez, whose large-scale (12 feet by eight feet) work, Myakka Fork, graces the main wall at the Studio at Gulf and Pine in Anna Maria, is beginning his third day in solitary confinement at the Maitland Museum Of Art and History.

He may be isolated, but he is not out of our sight. You can check his live webcam at http://www.jakefernandezart.com/.

Fernandez is attempting to ascertain the effects of sensory deprivation on his artistic sensibility.

We will see how he does; he gets out Sunday afternoon at 4:00 pm.

Beach Renourishment Completed

I guess I won’t be able to play racquetball with Kile any more. He was an engineer on the Great Lakes Dock and Dredge project that spent the best part of four months pumping sand from a borrow area off the north point of Anna Maria Island onto the existing sand in Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach.

So Kile is gone, and the sand remains. He was a nice guy and a great racquetball player, younger, faster and better than I. I’ll miss him (but not that much in terms of competition; he could always beat me). At least the sand remains.

And the project is done in time for nesting plovers and terns, and didn’t start until after the turtle nesting season was done.

Here’s the Islander ARTICLE.

Flood Insurance Reset Becomes Law

Not that this is likely to be the final post about flood insurance and how it affects values of properties on Anna Maria Island (and lots of other places nationwide), but this article from the Florida Association of Realtors is the best wrap-up I have seen.

Get beyond the self-congratulatory part where Realtors are so happy for one another and read the nuts and bolts.

Read it here.

Two Big News Items for AMI

It’s been a busy news cycle for folks interested in Anna Maria Island. Today, I’m posting both flood insurance and rental limitation updates.

First, the State of Florida is still tweaking legislation that would allow private insurers to offer flood insurance, at what they believe would be lower rates than those offered by the National Flood Insurance Program through insurance agencies. Naturally, time will be required to see if A) the legislation passes, and B) if it passes, will it work!

Here’s the Flood Story.

As you’re probably aware, limitation of vacation rentals has been a big item for both owners of homes or condos near so-called, ‘noisy, rude, trash and traffic generating party houses,’ and the owners of the ‘party houses’ who feel that their rights will be violated if they are not allowed to rent them.

This is particularly true of Holmes Beach and Anna Maria, with different backgrounds, but similar current desires. In Holmes Beach, a zone was created (R2) for properties to be rented for as short a time as one week; all other zones are to be rented for one month or more. That came to pass in 2007. In Anna Maria, there have never been any limitations passed by the city commission; one may rent by the hour (theoretically). Bradenton Beach allows rentals of ‘whatever length,’ and does not seem bothered by any of the turmoil generated by short-term renters in the other two cities.

At this time, it appears that the two houses of the Florida Legislature, which don’t agree on much, have two versions of a bill which it is believed will limit the limitation of short-term rentals to one week.

.What is it ‘they’ say? Half a loaf is better than no loaf. Looks like compromise at work here. Read the story.

Emeril Comes to the Bistro

There’s a nice synchrony going here with our favorite restaurant, the Beach Bistro, and Emeril Lagasse, celebrity chef. Of course, Emeril jets around eating at all kinds of high-end places, and getting great publicity in the process.

This time, it will be on the telly. Set your recorders to see what happens.

Here’s the story: Emeril at the Bistro

Vacation Rental Restrictions Still an Issue

My good friend, Judy Ward, lives right next to a big vacation rental property. She bought before the rental was built, and it causes her to lose sleep in several ways, not least due to noise.

My boss, Larry Chatt, runs a company that has many, many vacation rentals. And he fears that if the Florida Legislature gives local communities too much control over rental restrictions, particularly regarding vacation rental time frames, that many, many owners will be adversely affected, as will the booming economy of Anna Maria Island.

Here’s Zac Anderson’s story in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, which does a good job presenting the issue. He lays it out for both sides.

Check it out here: Vacation Rental Issue Heats Up

Plover Season Starts on AMI

Snowy plovers, the migrants that nest on the north end of Anna Maria Island, are critically endangered. The Manatee Audubon Society and local Turtle Watch take great care to protect the nests of the cute little birds, and people on and near the beach should heed the warnings,.

A recent article in the Sarasota Herald Tribune chronicles the recent fate of birds nesting on the sands of Siesta Key, less than 20 miles from our shores. Here’s a graphic that shows recent nesting habits and results.  chart

Also, here’s a nice story. Just change the name of the island and the people involved and you’ve got it!

Protecting Snowy Plovers

Flood Bill Waits for the President

Good news!

Flood insurance will become more affordable, and still not as much of a liability to the taxpayers of America, according to an article in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune today. Both House and Senate have passed legislation ‘fixing’ the problem.

This is certain to have a salutary effect on sales here on Anna Maria Island.

Now the President must sign the bill before it becomes law.

Here’s the long story:  Fixing  Flood Insurance

Realtor Report from Credit Suisse for February

I participate in a couple of national surveys of Realtor activity, and one of them is from Credit Suisse, a pretty large bank that keeps track of the marketplace.

Their measurements include Realtor opinions on sales traffic, for which they say, “Our traffic index slipped to 36 in February, which indicates buyer traffic was well below expectations and is significantly lower than the 65 level we saw in February 2013. We expect this to translate to an underwhelming 2014 spring selling season.” The number, 50, is average, and above average includes scores above that amount.

They also look at price changes. Nationally, for the month, they say, “Home prices rose further in February as tight supplies more than offset weak demand, but the current pace of price appreciation is unlikely to continue without a pickup on the demand side.”

Remember, these are national trends.

They further break things down to more local markets, including a focus on Sarasota. Regarding sales traffic: “Our Buyer Traffic Index moved up to 33 in February from 23 in January, but still indicates traffic is below expectations. Concerns around a potential increase in flood insurance rates had a significant impact on the market, but higher interest rates were also reducing interest from some buyers.”

Real Estate is extremely local. If you’d like more trends on Anna Maria Island, just ask!