Van Ostenbridge Opposes Holmes Beach Parking Garage Prohibition

Commissioner Kevin Van Ostenbridge
Commissioner Kevin Van Ostenbridge
Joe Hendricks
HOLMES BEACH — Manatee County Commission Chairman Kevin Van Ostenbridge suggested the city of Holmes Beach could suffer financial consequences if the city commission enacts a prohibition on parking garages. Van Ostenbridge also suggested it was no accident that Gov. Ron DeSantis recently vetoed the city’s $2 million appropriation request for state-funded stormwater and resiliency projects.

The potential parking garage prohibition was discussed during the Holmes Beach City Commission workshop on Tuesday, June 14. During public comment, Van Ostenbridge shared his views on that potential city commission action. The following day, Holmes Beach Mayor Judy Titsworth issued her response in a video posted on the city’s YouTube channel. Click the video below that begins with Van Ostenbridge’s workshop comments and ends with the mayor's response. 

When contacted later in the week, Titsworth said the allowed uses contained in the city’s codes and regulations do not include paid parking and multi-story parking structures as allowable uses. As a result, the city planner currently interprets those uses as non-permitted according to city code. Titsworth said she requested the workshop discussion to get more clarification on these matters. She said no date has been set yet as to when the city planner will bring forward a proposed draft ordinance pertaining to parking garages for the commission to consider.

When contacted, Van Ostenbridge said he was disappointed and surprised when he learned a parking garage prohibition was going to be a workshop discussion topic. He said he was under the impression that Titsworth and the city would allow him time over the summer to develop a proposal for a parking garage at or near the county-owned Manatee Public Beach in Holmes Beach.

Ongoing Debate

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city of Holmes Beach reduced the number of on-street parking spaces available to the public—an effort that resulted in parking permits being issued to city residents and property owners in certain areas.

During his very first county commission meeting in November 2020, Van Ostenbridge suggested the county might withhold future beach renourishment funds sought by the city of Holmes Beach if the city’s street-side parking allowances were not restored to pre-COVID levels. Since then, Van Ostenbridge, County Administrator Scott Hopes, Titsworth, Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer, and others have engaged in multiple discussions and email exchanges regarding beach and public parking in Holmes Beach.

In February, State Senator Jim Boyd and state representatives Will Robinson Jr. and Tommy Gregory sent Titsworth a letter asking her and the city to reexamine their on-street parking reductions. Written on Florida Senate letterhead, that letter can be viewed here

Reader Comments
Paul Finer
JUN 26, 2022  •  Bottom like of a visit by BOCC Chairman telling Government what to do is that there are big plans for development that require multi level parking garages. Goodbye old Manatee County
Katie pierola
JUN 23, 2022  •  Let’s not forget Ed chiles with tourist development council wante rid perk parks for parking he for got bb has a charter to change the parks it has to go to vote of the people perhaps hb could do the same referendum!!!
Paul reed
JUN 22, 2022  •  Leave AMI alone. stop the 5 million that's 5 million to be spent on kingfish boat ramp and cutting 61 trees down there. After 27 years on AMI we are ready to leave. Just too many people in a small space.
David Levin
JUN 20, 2022  •  Just corporate welfare for developers. They pretend to be republicans, but it's just halloween cosplay. I will say this, Little Kevy does looks like Lord Varys the eunuch from Game of Thrones -- meme coming soon! Buck gets ten Kathy and Ray work for developers in some way, shape or form.
Kathy T.
JUN 20, 2022  •  I have to agree with Ray, we have to keep up and expand on the growing population and their rights as beach goers. Whether tourists or residents. Also the parking garages are no different than huge rental condominiums that are given permission to build. Just a suggestion but instead of just the builder making a profit, maybe a certain percentage of the profit should go for beach preservation to even be allowed to build parking garages. Something to discuss that would benefit the land as well as the people.
Carol Ann Felts
JUN 19, 2022  •  Regardless of how we try to stretch it, the islands can only handle so many people and so much traffic before we ruin what people want to go there for in the first place. The island cities incorporated to protect their communities and the citizens that live there, with decent respect for their guests as given back, and the dependency on funds from that and other sources to maintain their surroundings for all. Statesmanship is reaching an honorable compromise, and solutions, not denying the inevitable or inflicting further conflict that is unproductive.
JUN 19, 2022  •  The island is as big as the island is. They can put 5 parking garages out there and as quickly as the county approves building out east, there will still never be enough parking. Seems like an excercise in futility that will only ruin the quality of the island. Trying to think of any other area island/keys that are home to public parking garages.... nope, can't think of any. There just might be a reason for that.
Katie Pierola
JUN 19, 2022  •  Here we go again, commissioner Van Ostenbridge threatens city of of Holmes Beach for appropriations from the state for storm water issue. He still wants the parking garage. His job as district 3 commissioner is to help them. The 3 cities should be getting 1% more of the resort tax for infrastructure. Tourist development get 3% and don’t need it. Their marketing tool is AMI beach . If they only get 2% maybe that would slow down the traffic + parking. Please Island mayors fight for that extra penny! The Fl legislators need to hold Fl’s shoreline as gospel.
Russell Owens
JUN 19, 2022  •  The Island has about as much population and build up as it can stand. What are the environmental problems with putting such a large heavy building on what is mostly a sandbar? The best solution to this problem is a shuttle for all day users with a garage on the mainland.
Arthur Dent
JUN 19, 2022  •  Anyone who is against children visiting the beach on a sunny Florida afternoon is simply immoral. The rest of the discussion is simply noise meant to distract you from the real issue. Families should be able to use Public beaches. That is all. There is nothing more to it.
David Daniels
JUN 19, 2022  •  Hooray for Mayor Titsworth! You go girl...and keep going on a path toward a Manatee County district 3 run to unseat a pompous, arrogant, uncivil, and uncaring Commissioner. When a person writes VanOstenbridge - his reply is always a few copied and pasted words that mean he doesn't give a crap what his constituents say. It's not like he gets so many letters that he doesn't have time. Give me a break. He needs to go!!
JUN 19, 2022  •  REAP what you SOW manatee County....The chair is a LOSER..he's got a take over spirit and the chair title went to his head...then we have a ethics complaints individual whose lips keep lying...then we have a drunk individual whose dui investigation is taking 2 months to figure out when wifey helped and aided her drunk husband and was ALLOWED to take him home when other normal citizens would be in jail with a bond and an attorney...then we have preacher boy who should have just stuck with being a preacher or saving prostitutes and writing bad checks...HOPES will continue to be hopeless...Maybe there will be some investigations from OUTSIDE AGENCIES..something positive needs to happen in our county.
JUN 19, 2022  •  Citizens should be made aware that this grandstanding done by KVO all started because the Mayor would not endorse any candidate for County Commissioner in 2020. He came into his new role as Commissioner with a chip on his shoulder from the start not for the reasons of helping to govern the citizens. Just look at any motion he made in 2020. Unfortunately for him he has no mind of his own and is just directed by those that he owes for the campaign financing. It is pretty sad because if he’d really step back and think about it he could have been making a difference instead of silencing those that want to debate.
David Levin
JUN 19, 2022  •  Obviously benefits the developer who put him up to it the most. Wants to pour concrete all over paradise.
Rick Lewis
JUN 19, 2022  •  Small Man Syndrome refers to a condition where a man feels inadequate because of his short height and may try to overcompensate it with overly aggressive behaviour. The syndrome is often referred to as Napoleon Complex in reference to the famous military leader
JUN 19, 2022  •  It is obvious that a parking garage at the County Owned Holmes beach property would be beneficial to mainland Manatee County citizens. I have lived in Holmes Beach three different times over many years and yes the island has changed as has Manatee County. We need to accept that change is not necessarily good or bad it just is and you have to adapt and adjust for the times you live in. Limiting beach access by preventing a parking garage option on county owned land seems quite selfish and mean spirited to me. On a different note, how about the County Commission addressing the parking debacle at Coquina Beach. Approximately 1/3 of the puclic parking spaces are not usable due to, what I am told, is the bankruptcy of the contractor that was was working on the site. This has gone on for about a year and no one is saying anything about thisj.