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Treasure Island considers vendor switch
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TREASURE ISLAND – City leaders moved forward July 1 on a proposal to transfer a pair of non-exclusive license agreements for beach vendors to Mark Hubbard of Hubbard’s Marina.

Anthony Hutto and Jon Quinn, who operate cabana rental businesses on the beach between 99th and 104th avenues in Treasure Island, have requested permission to sell their businesses and transfer the license agreements to Hubbard.

However, Hubbard wants to expand upon the cabana rental business to include a beach ferry service to Shell Key, along with the rental of kayaks, paddleboats, paddleboards, fishing equipment and bicycles. Hubbard said the ferry service would pick up once a day, around 9 a.m., and drop off each day about noon to 12:15 p.m.

“We are already running down to Shell Key (from John’s Pass),” said Hubbard. “It’s fairly common trip in the resort area that people really enjoy. I don’t think we would start any kind of a dolphin watch (cruise). We’ve had requests from the resorts and we have a vessel that’s really well designed for it. It’s already set up for beach landings.”

The city balked at his proposed upgrades and said it would allow only the rental of cabanas, chairs, umbrellas, kayaks and non-motorized bicycles. Food and beverage concessions, paddleboat rentals and the ferry service to Shell Key would not be permitted.

“Staff is not recommending the boat ferry service or the rental of any kind of fishing equipment because it is a highly used area,” said Recreation Director Cathy Hayduke. “I don’t think we need fishing lines out there with people swimming or boats approaching in that specific area.”

Commissioner Tim Ramsberger expressed concern about over-commercialization of the beaches.

“It’s a quantum leap from this license agreement to where you want to take it,” Ramsberger said. “I’m not in favor of diminishing the experience for the residents of what it’s like to walk up and down that beach. There’s got to be a good balance between how we’re treating our visitors as well as our residents.”

Commissioner Phil Collins echoed his sentiments.

“My concern is the fishing,” Collins said. “I can just picture little kids running around and getting involved in fishing lines. The other thing, with the boat coming in, I’m sure that’s going to raise confusion with people who are in the water.”

Hubbard also asked that the current 25 percent monthly fee to the city be reduced to 20 percent but city staff said no. Instead, staff suggested a first-year fee of $7,500 plus monthly sales tax, based on the idea that he would be selling more services than Hutto and Quinn.

Hubbard also asked for approval to use six sandwich boards to promote his business, two feather flags and a kiosk pop-up tent to store equipment on the beach during the day.

City leaders said OK to two sandwich boards but no feather flags, which are banned under the city sign ordinance. The kiosk pop-up tent was OK.

A final vote on the proposal is expected July 15.

In other action, commissioners:

• Moved forward on a resolution to approve the Fall Fly at TI kite festival behind the Bilmar Beach Resort. Organizer Joe Fala of Windworks Inc. plans the annual event Nov. 8-9, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. No vehicles will be permitted on the beach.

• Moved forward on a resolution to renew the city’s health care plan through the group health insurance pool PRM.

• Moved forward on a resolution to amend the employee manual to read pre-employment drug screenings be used only with job applicants in safety sensitive positions, such as operators of heavy equipment.

• City Manager Reid Silverboard reminded commissioners that budget workshop sessions would be held at City Hall July 16-18. The city’s proposed 2014-15 budget was expected to be posted on the city website by July 8.
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