Growing pains for popular Holmes Beach

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HOLMES BEACH, FLA. - Anna Maria Island has always been a popular destination, but in recent years the popularity of the small barrier island has grown and the City of Holmes Beach is feeling the growing pains.

“We just don’t have enough room for everybody that comes out and it is not going to change because we don’t have any place to put anybody,” Carol Soustek told ABC7.

She is the chair of the Traffic and Congestion committee and a Holmes Beach resident, and she understands the parking challenges well.

“We want everybody to come. It is just like you have a house and you have so much room in your when you invite too many guest, you can't push anymore in your house,” Soustek says.

If you follow the rules, parking on the streets of Holmes Beach is perfectly legal, and many take advantage of it to use one of the 45 beach access points in the city.

“I don’t think there should be parking on the residential streets,” said resident Rosanna Rice.

Rice lives a block from the beach and says there are always cars parked in front of her house. It is not the parking that she has issues with but the actions of some of the beach goers cause for her family.

“People coming out to their cars to mix drinks because they can't do that at the beach, we've seen that.” said Rice. “We of course pick up trash daily. We've even had a dirty diaper in our yard and we are the ones who have to clean that up.”

Rice has even seen at least one person using the bathroom in her yard and said her husband confronted a man who was walking in their backyard on Thursday.

“I don't know what the guy was doing in the backyard the other day, I have a feeling maybe that is what he is doing and that is why he took off running.”

“The residents safety is involved. There lifestyle is all messed up. We've got to restore it back. It is beyond control,” said Soustek.

Her committee is considering eliminating street parking on residential areas of Holmes Beach but because the city and county took state funds for beach re-nourishment projects, they are required to provide a certain number of parking spaces along the beach.

“If we close off some of the residential areas we will in turn be still be searching to find existing parking lots that will open their doors.”

The people who chose not to follow the parking rules will get tickets.

"Last holiday weekend in three days we had 210 violations," she says. "I would expect by listening to my guys on the radio right now that we will have at least that many violations during this holiday weekend.”