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Holmes Beach and Manatee leaders meet in push to find beach parking solutions on Anna Maria Island

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Posted at 7:39 PM, Jun 07, 2021

HOLMES BEACH, Fla. — Holmes Beach and Manatee County leaders met on Monday to discuss more beach parking options on the island.

Last year, Holmes Beach closed more than 1,100 beach parking spots on residential streets. Mayor Judy Titsworth says it was due to residents' complaints of trespassing and trash left in yards by beach visitors.

"I’m sorry that it was under my years of being mayor that we finally had to put in a limit," said Titsworth.

Last month, Manatee County leaders sent Holmes Beach Mayor Judy Titsworth a letter asking her to reopen the spots.

"So that Manatee County residents who own and maintain the beaches on Anna Maria Island are able to access those beaches," said Kevin Van Ostenbridge, Manatee County commissioner.

In a heated discussion with county leaders on Monday, Titsworth expressed concerns about the amount of traffic coming onto the small island and the impact on its residential neighborhoods.

"You guys are looking at the big picture, I’m looking at the small picture. What are the solutions?" said Titsworth.

County leaders discussed possible alternative beach parking spots including the elementary school, the library, or nearby churches. They also talked about adding portable restrooms to those spots and keeping traffic lights green longer during busy times to improve the traffic flow off and on the island.

"We talked about ways that we could alleviate some of the impacts that tourism has on Holmes Beach and ways that we can help residents feel not so walked upon by visitors," said Van Ostenbridge.

Buy Titsworth says she will not reopen the street parking spots.

The group plans to meet again in a few weeks to follow up on the proposed parking solutions.

"We’ve both said out peace and now it's time for the real behind-the-scenes work to start, for us to work together to find ways to open up more parking spaces," said Van Ostenbridge.