Villagers accuse Town of clear cut foliage destruction

Editor & Publisher

Longboat Key Villagers are upset again at the Town of Longboat Key. This time, several residents say the town destroyed and degraded roadside vegetation.

In a letter signed and sent to the Town Manager by 21 Longbeach Village residents, “Concern and dismay over the destruction carried out by the Public Works Department over the last several weeks in Longbeach Village,” was expressed.

The letter explained that one of the attractions of the Village for both residents and visitors is the lush, canopied streets and alleys. They said that much of this vegetation has been planted and nurtured by the residents over a period of years. But in the Nov. 24 memo to Town Manager Dave Bullock, residents say that many of the most beautiful trees and plantings have been destroyed.

“We invite anyone interested to tour the village and view the aftermath. It is obvious and very sad,” wrote the 21 property owners.

According to the residents, the Longboat Key Public Works Department, which is responsible for town road clearing, was contacted. They say the initial response from the town was that it was the town’s “right” to clear any right-of-way.

But for the residents, they were confused since the areas cleared they say were not impeding public safety and therefore it was pointless to remove the intentional beautification.

“This week we stood by and helplessly watched a lot of hard work cut down and loaded into a trash truck for no reason other than our governing body ‘having the right to do it,’” wrote residents.

The residents say they are searching for a credible explanation for what prompted this “trimming.”

According to Bullock, the town continuously trims the right-of-ways throughout the community and all of the trimming was done by hand and none done by machine.  He said the town does have a stick to measure the height of the fire trucks, and the town occasionally clears limbs to allow their passage. In the case of the most recent cutting in the Village, Bullock said the town simply cut vegetation to the width of the road and “trimmed up the right-of-way.”

Bullock said no trees were cut down because if there were “you would see stumps where they previously existed.”

The residents want a credible explanation they say and have asked if all parts of the town including the Bay Isles canopy will be trimmed similarly.

“If not, why has Longbeach Village been singled out for this treatment?” asked residents in the Village.

The letter writers (see letters to editor) indicated that in the future they wished to be apprised of town plans that will significantly alter their village.

Last week, several village residents were upset when the town painted the curb of the north side of Broadway bright yellow and painted white parking boxes in white on the south side of the road.  The villagers thought that only ‘No Parking’ signs would be erected on the north side and called the painting “garish and unsightly.”

Bullock said the town contractor will soon paint Lois Avenue and Poinsettia Drive yellow on the curb where parking is not allowed.


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