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Big garage project, threats to island towns prompt Home Rule protest

Written by on Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Defenders of Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach, Anna Maria rally this Saturday.

By Arianna Lockman

Original Air Date: Apr. 10, 2024

Host: Home rule is under attack – particularly on Anna Maria Island. A protest this Saturday reacts to a big public construction project, and the possible dismantling of not one, but three beachside towns. Aria Lockman has that story.

Arianna Lockman: Save Florida Home Rule will be hosting a rally on Saturday, April 13 in order to protest the efforts of the Manatee County Commission. Some commissioners want the county or City of Bradenton to take control of the towns of Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach, and Anna Maria Island. These small beach towns have maintained local control by running their own affairs through elected officials. 

The takeover attempt follows a flurry of “pre-emption” laws passed by the Florida State Legislature. These laws prohibit cities and counties from setting their own rules for subjects including minimum wage, zoning and real estate development, tree preservation, renewable energy, and — most recently — vacation rentals.

In neighboring Sarasota County, over the last few years Siesta Key residents have rallied around the idea of incorporating a Town of Siesta Key. Many feel that Sarasota County is trying to force big hotels on the quaint beach community. The State Legislature blocked the incorporation effort last year.

Meanwhile, on the Manatee County barrier islands, the issue that prompted this protest is a big parking garage the county wants to impose on Bradenton Beach. Arguing that parking is needed to accommodate the needs of less privileged county residents who live far from the beaches, the county commission mobilized help from the state legislature to push through the garage project, overriding the town’s comprehensive plan.   

Save Florida Home Rule is a nonpartisan working group. They seek to maintain local control within Florida cities, specifically Anna Maria Island.

The protest will be on Manatee Public Beach at 3:00 pm on Saturday, April 13. The meeting point is a white tent North of the entrance.

Those who seek to maintain local control for the towns of Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach, and Anna Maria Island are encouraged to attend. More information can be found at the Save Florida Home Rule Facebook page.


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