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Parrot Cove Marina and Neighbors in a Conundrum


BRADENTON -- Mr. Bob Gertz, owner and operator of the Parrot Cove Marina, wants to add 6 berths to his 30-berth marina, start to allow live-a-board residents and divide the property into two parts, so that he can remain in his home when retirement calls; trouble is, his neighbors say they are already overwhelmed with the overflow that comes along with this pint-size marina.

The streets are small northeast of the Village of Cortez, where the water hits Palma Sola Bay, leaving little room for the long boat trailers and trucks that are often parked on the shoulders of them. Many are positioned there after the launching of a vessel from the boat ramp at Parrot Cove Marina.

The marina's history dates back over 60 years, which makes every stipulation that applies to ordinances a tickler; as it is grandfathered in.

Gertz told the Manatee Planning Commission at Thursday's meeting that he wants to add 6 more slips, and allow up to 10 of the slip-residents to live aboard their vessel. He also wants to divide his property into two parts -- dividing the marina into two distinctive parts as well. 

Neighboring residents say, "No." "The division of property, why take one problem and make it two? asked resident, Ted Rice.

Susan Knowles said that Gertz didn't apply any of the stipulations the county placed on the property in its 2004 final site plan approval.

Knowles says the additional slips, the parking and the live-a-boards are not in compliance, and that the garbage trucks and mail truck can't get through because of the trailers and vehicles parked roadside.

Sharon French and her husband Gene live directly across the street from the marina, and say they have complained to Code Enforcement over many issues. "We have squealed and squealed and still our wheel gets no grease," says French. 

But in the mix of what truly complicated the issue at Thursday's meeting was the boat ramp -- and who or what right anyone has to it.

Residents clearly want to see the property get in better shape, don't want any more traffic or parking that will come with the extra berths, and for attention to be directed to Code Enforcement; but all say, they want the boat ramp to stay. 

One of the options presented by City of Holmes Beach Commissioner David Zaccagnino was that both sides get together and discuss their differences. 

Zaccagnino said, "I know Mr. Gertz. I suggested he fill in the boat ramp. That would eliminate the parking problem, but Mr. Gertz said he wanted to be a good neighbor." adding that the ramp was being used by neighbors and that there should be a way to make it all work.

Manatee County's Planning Division Manager, Bob Schmitt, said that this is one of those things where everything isn't going to come out perfect in the end; that it is the old trying to fit the new.

Commissioners were most fearful of the splitting of the property into two pieces. Commissioners Conerly and Bower, who voted not to recommend the project as presented, also felt the community benefit was in doubt. 

Whether to strike the property split or not, in the motion, was put to rest when County Attorney Bill Clague reminded members that their vote was only a recommendation to the BOCC, and the issue could be dealt with then; giving more time for the residents to come to an agreement.

Motion to recommend: 5-2, Conerly and Bower dissent. 


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