Klaus Philipsen, a member of the Urban Land Institute, at a reception Monday at the CrossPointe Fellowship Church for the Urban Land Institute panel, which will offer advice on how to maintain an Old Florida lifestyle in the future.GRANT JEFFERIES/Bradenton HeraldGJEFFERIES@BRADENTON.COM |Buy Photo
HOLMES BEACH -- About 50 Anna Maria Island residents met Monday night with experts conducting a week-long study on the 7-mile barrier island.
At CrossPointe Fellowship Church in Holmes Beach, the public mingled with panelists from the Urban Land Institute, a nonprofit education-and-research organization. ULI panelists aim to address the pressures facing AMI as an Old Florida family oriented beach community. Issues affecting the island include the proliferation of houses-turned-vacation rentals, traffic congestion and limited parking outside public beaches.
County commissioners voted to fund the $130,000 study months ago through Manatee County beach concession revenues.
Alex Rose, ULI panel chairman and senior vice president of development for Continental Development Corp., a El Segundo, Calif.-based real estate development company, said ULI members represent all sectors of the land-use profession.
Rose said the process, which included an island tour Monday morning, will have panelists interviewing up to 100 stakeholders Tuesday, including residents, island officials and business owners.
"My congratulations to all three cities for actually coming together and collaborating. ... and recognizing that you have some shared interests and some individual city interests. That is not the usual situation ULI finds itself it," Rose said. "Typically when we do these assignments, they're for a single municipality or organization, so it's a huge credit to your leadership, to your communities, to the organizing committee, to let us coalesce around such issues and land on a solution of asking us here to help you out."
Holmes Beach resident Donna Harris, 62, and her husband, Brian Northan, 56, said they attended out of concern for the island.
"I'm glad we're doing it because we have changed a lot in the 22 years we've been here," Harris said. "We have some problems we need to deal with."
Northan said at least two panelists are experts in transporation.
"I know we have some issues with that on the island so maybe they can come up with some good, possible solutions," he said.
Bradenton Beach Vice Mayor Jack Clarke said he looks forward to his interview with panelists.
"I have high hopes that we'll be able to develop from this study a long-range plan for the complete island," he said.
Bradenton Beach Mayor William Shearon stood with his guide dog, Reese. He said he met with the panelists for tour.
"All of them are very in-depth and true professionals," he said. "They know how to ask the right questions to get the right information."
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