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The future of density limits on Longboat Key

STEVE REID
Editor & Publisher
sreid@lbknews.com

Some Longboat Key planning board members and some current town commissioners may get their secret dream of having the ability to add zoning density to Longboat Key without a public vote a reality.

 

Making dense decisions

I liken their desire to the spouse who met their lover (Longboat Key) and fell in love and while liking their marriage all the while started longing for someone else.

“She is so restrictive. I cannot do what I want. I wish this were a more open marriage.”

And those Commissioners lay in bed dreaming of when they are freed to control density themselves and not have to ask voters for permission. They see themselves as repressed by this silly exercise in land-use self-control.

The fact is after the current Commission played it neutral and asked a judge for a ruling on its Charter density cap provision in the face of a new State Law, HB535, they got the answer that the density cap is no longer legal.

To be fair, the Commission is trying to get a bill passed to keep the old system in place, but if that fails, just watch the landscape change. Any parcel, any piece of property can then simply request to increase the number of units. If it is not allowed, a Comprehensive Plan change and a code change are the only hurdles. Those are simple votes of the Commission.

It will be the end of an era as we enter the mistress and the matrix of a Brave New World on our Key. The process in place is a specific and unique set of rules that has forced a marriage between the voters and the landowners. If you want to add density, the community must approve. It has made for a strong island and has created the kind of Key and the kind of rules that regulate everything from setbacks to building height and hedges.

Absent the cap, we will become a community as strong as any sitting Town Commission. And that is a good definition of fear. And fear brings a singular response from truly exclusive property owners: fight or flight.

 

A strong move in the Police Department

We should all take a long drink and shoot our guns in the air to celebrate the promotion of Frank Rubino to the position of Deputy Chief in the Longboat Key Police Department.

He is a competent complement to Chief Pete Cumming. Cumming is the Clint Eastwood-firm-handshake-steady-leader who is eager to do a great job.

Now, in recognition of his alter ego, Cumming has promoted Rubino. Rubino is adept administratively, presents well in front of the Town Commission (an eternal plus in job preservation) and could make a strong future chief himself. It smells a bit like a succession plan about three or four years away – always a good thing.

We have a strong team in place.

 

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