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Home Construction Halted In Anna Maria

The city of Anna Maria has issued a moratorium on all new home construction and some remodeling building permits.

The moratorium is in response to citizen complaints that the residential character of their neighborhood is being harmed by the construction of large “mega” homes intended to be used for vacation rentals.

The homes are typically 3 stories high, and use the ground level as a parking garage and the upper two levels as living areas.  Many of the homes feature four to six bedrooms to accommodate one or more seasonal vacation families who travel to Anna Maria Island to enjoy the beaches and other amenities that the island has to offer.

Residents have also complained about the number of cars that are often parked at these homes, loud noises late a night caused by vacation partiers, and an abundance of trash – vacationers typically leave on Saturday, filling dumpsters and trash bins which go uncollected until the normal Tuesday trash pickup on the island.

Anna Maria commissioner SueLynn said she was concerned about the recent purchase of an existing 4-bedroom home on 3 lots that was bulldozed to make room for what officials fear will be three, 2,000 square foot homes each with 5 to 6 bedrooms.  “That’s 18 bedrooms….” (where there used to be four) said Commission Chair Chuck Webb.

“Unlike Holmes Beach, we don’t want to see these popping up all over the place,” SueLynn said as she proposed the moratorium.

The city of Holmes Beach located in the middle of Anna Maria Island is considering similar legislation to restrict the construction of vacation rental properties.

The city issued the moratorium to give officials more time to consider changes in the permitting process.  Among the changes being considered is a requirement to disclose whether a proposed home will be used for single family occupancy or for vacation rental; and a licensing procedure for homes wanting to be used for vacation rentals.

The mega homes are attractive to investors who hope to take advantage of the increase in vacation travelers to Anna Maria Island.  The homes sell for $600,000 to $700,000 and can produce annual rental income of $65,000 or more.

Anna Maria Island is a barrier island located on Florida’s west coast near Bradenton and about 15 miles north of Sarasota.  The island features some of the most beautiful beaches in the country.  In 2011, Siesta Key Beach, 20 miles south of Anna Maria was named the most beautiful beach in the United States.

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