Longboat Key Letters – Week ending February 3, 2017
Longboat Key News encourages Letters to the Editor on timely issues. Please email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to PO Box 8001, Longboat Key, FL 34228. We also print letters sent to Town Hall that address Longboat Key issues. We reserve the right to edit.
Our daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter are visiting us from Chicago. The five of us went to The Old Salty Dog for lunch one day. Granddaughter Maddie’s lunch was presented on a dark blue Frisbee. While the adults were conversing, Maddie wrote the following poem.
Maddie’s Florida Frisbee Experience
By Maddie Morgan, age 7
Blue as the sea and as white as the clouds,
It floats over here, it floats then and now.
It floats very far and finally it stops,
It stops at a boat and now quick now stop.
It stops and it thinks, it finally drowns.
It sinks to the bottom where sea shells are found.
My good friend Dean Congbalay suggested I send it to you as a possible item for your newspaper.
Otto Walter – a proud grandpa
Voters have already spoken
Thanks for your thorough and continuing coverage of the upcoming March 14 Colony referendum.
We believe that the voters of Longboat Key have already spoken on this issue broadly, rejecting by a wide margin in last August’s referendum to increase island density and traffic (then in the form of the proposed Floridays development on the North end of the Key).
We imagine it is rather apparent to any Longboat Key voter who regularly leaves his or her home that the only things our paradise has too much of are human load and traffic, and therefore that the only development proposals that should be considered are those that maintain – or decrease – Longboat Key’s current density.
We’re hopeful that Longboat Key voters once again will take the time to vote No on the March 14 referendum. And we hope that our representatives will formally adopt a philosophy that prohibits the consideration of any development that could result in additional traffic and density, in order to protect us from the need to repeatedly head to the ballot box to defeat an unending series of commercially motivated referenda.
Henry and Donna Rae Smith
My wife and I bought a condominium in Seapines 3 years ago. I enjoy being on Longboat Key multiple times per year both in season and out of season. My wife is in Longboat Key monthly with work in the Tampa area. In season it is typical for traffic to be backed up well beyond our condominium, which is 1/2 mile from the Anna Maria bridge.
One small suggestion would be to shift the allowed “noisy” construction hours from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. to either 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. or 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.
A second suggestion would be lengthening allowed “noisy” construction hours. This could result in shorter projects and fewer trips over all, not just shifting trips to lower peak driving times.
Perhaps this would make only a small difference, but any help with this worsening situation ought to be considered.
To: Mayor Terry Gans
My husband and I attended one of Chuck’s information sessions. We are owners at Seaplace but cannot vote. I have been coming to Longboat Key for over thirty years and used to go to the Colony. Longboat Key is in need of a five-star hotel and we fully support the proposal.
Especially nice is the fact that we will have our traffic issues paid for! This serious problem has long been overlooked because of the inability to pay for it.
Against Unicorp plan
You are being asked to vote on a Referendum on March 14 to allow Unicorp to add an additional 180 units to the existing 237 units that the former Colony had for a total of 417 units on Longboat Key. The former Colony resort was once a congenial place for visitors and owners from all over the world to come and play, relax and enjoy the ambiance of Longboat Key. Unicorp’s plan will not in any way duplicate what we once had at The Colony. Is Unicorp’s plan better for Longboat Key?
For the last seven years, drivers along the Gulf of Mexico still experience high volumes of traffic even though the Colony’s 237 unit resort has been closed. One day, those 237 units will be allowed to be built back onto the property… but wait, Unicorp is asking us to vote to allow an additional 180 units. Unicorp’s plan for the resort also includes a ballroom for events, i.e. parties, weddings, bar mitzvahs holding hundreds of people. At the proposed resort there will be owners of the condominiums, fractional owners, hotel guests, restaurant diners and people attending events at the ballroom. Of course, a resort of this size will bring about a large amount of cars of owners and guests as well as the delivery trucks, waste removal vehicles and employees of the resort. Longboat Key’s traffic problems will undoubtedly increase unless we vote ‘No!’
If Unicorp is allowed to add an additional 180 units to the Colony property, perhaps this will set a precedent for future development on Longboat Key. There is a reason why we had codes and restrictions in place for buildings on Longboat Key. Can you imagine if properties were not governed by a density limit and a building or buildings could be erected without regard to the size of the acreage? You and I have can control this issue. We must keep our density limit within reasonable bounds today and in the future when we vote ‘No.’
There are a number of buildings on Longboat Key from businesses, individual homes, condominium associations and resorts. There are a variety of condominium buildings on Longboat Key with different heights and various amounts of land between the buildings. In building a new resort on the Colony property there should be regard of the impact such new builds would have on the existing neighbors. Look at Unicorp’s proposed plan. You will see that the plan is for several 12-13 story buildings to be built (including 1-2 stories of parking) close to the beach and directly next to the existing condominium buildings to the north and south in a horseshoe type pattern from west to east. The interior property of the proposed resort would contain landscaping and pools for the visual enjoyment of people at the resort. But for owners of the existing condominium buildings to the north and south, this proposed plan of 417 units could cripple our property values, crush our views, and have us in shadows throughout the day and therefore, we all must vote ‘No!’
Everyone on Longboat Key and beyond will be affected by the size of Unicorp’s proposed redevelopment of the Colony. You can be a part of what the future holds for Longboat Key by preserving what brought you here and will keep you here for years and years to come.
When you receive your ballot in the mail or go to the polls on March 14 for the Referendum, vote ‘No!’
The Colony Redevelopment Matter
To: Commissioner George Spoll
We have been property owners and registered voters on Longboat Key since 1989. What originally attracted us was the laid-back, casual ambiance of the island along with low profile buildings, moderate traffic and the close proximity to all Sarasota has to offer. Over the years, Longboat Key has, unfortunately, become more like a city with high rises and traffic congestion which can make living here a challenge rather than a pleasure. A fact which has not gone unnoticed by guests and potential buyers.
We reside at the Players Club so we are eager to see The Colony replaced.
While Mr. Whittall offered an attractive plan it is not appropriate for Longboat Key. Not only does it look like a small high-rise city unto itself but the added density he is seeking will only add to the already intolerable seasonal traffic.
As a current custodian of Longboat Key, we ask you to preserve what is left of our island by enforcing the height limitations on buildings and not allowing any increases in density.
Charles and Judith S. Kahn
Land purchase by town unnecessary
To: Mayor Terry Gans
Needless to say, folks at the north end are aghast at the town’s plans to spend $2 million-plus taxpayer dollars on yet more unneeded, and mostly unwanted, land behind Publix for some sort of taxpayer supported town arts center that very few people will ever visit. As former commissioner said publicly, we already have enough public parks, and no one goes to them.
Do you remember the lack of community support for the concerts at Durante Park?
What peeves north end residents is that the town has no problem spending $4 million taxpayer dollars on unneeded land while the derelict gas station remains a public eyesore decade after decade, when the town obviously has millions to burn on unneeded land acquisitions elsewhere on the island.
Hurricane Matthew lends Colony more time
To: Planning and Zoning Director Alaina Ray
Carlton Fields and I represent the Colony Beach and Tennis Association, Inc. (“the Association”) in providing this notice pursuant to Florida Statutes 252.363(1)(b) of the Association’s intent to exercise the tolling and extension granted under Florida Statutes 252.363(1)(a). I also am authorized to represent that Unicorp National Developments, Inc. (“Unicorp”) joins in providing this notice. The Association owns approximately 15 acres at the Colony and Unicorp owns approximately three acres at the Colony.
As you know, on September 12, 2016, the Town Commission passed Town Resolution 2016-18 granting an extension of time through June 30, 2018, to redevelop or use the nonconforming uses at the Colony without being deemed to have abandoned the nonconformities in accordance with Town Code 158.138(B)(8)(a). A copy of Town Resolution 2016-18 is attached as Exhibit A hereto.
On October 3, 2016, Governor Scott signed Executive Order Number 16-230 (sometimes hereafter “the Hurricane Matthew executive order”), Section 1 of the Hurricane Matthew executive order declaring a state of emergency in “every county” within Florida. Section 13 of Executive Order number 16-230 provides that the Hurricane Matthew executive order would expire December 2, 2016. A copy of Executive Order Number 16-230 is attached as Exhibit B hereto.
Florida Statutes 252.363(1)(a) provides that “[t]he declaration of a state of emergency by the Governor tolls the period remaining to exercise the rights under a permit or other authorization for the duration of the emergency declaration. Further, the emergency declaration extends the period remaining to exercise the rights under a permit or other authorization for six months in addition to the tolled period.” A copy of Florida Statutes 252.363 is attached as Exhibit C hereto.
Thus, with the Hurricane Matthew executive order and Florida Statutes 252.363, the period remaining to exercise the rights under Town Resolution 2016-18 was tolled as of Oct. 3, 2016 and would remain tolled for 60 days through Nov. 2, 2016.
Given the Hurricane Matthew executive order and Florida Statues 252.363 and given a deadline of June 30, 2018, prior to the Hurricane Matthew executive order, the 60-day “tolling” would extend the deadline of June 30, 2018, through August 2018.
Because Florida Statutes 252.363(1)(a) further provides that “the emergency declaration extends the period remaining to exercise the rights under a permit or other authorization for six months in addition to the tolled period,” the six-month extension extends the deadline from Aug. 29, 2018, to “commence” the “work” or the “project” to Feb. 28, 2019.
I would note that the Attorney General has opined that the extension under Florida Statutes 252.363 “occurs as a matter of law in response to a written notification of intent to exercise the tolling and extension granted by the statute.” Florida AGO 2012-13, 2012 WL 1495312. A copy of the attorney general’s opinion is attached as Exhibit D hereto. If there is anything further than this notice necessary to memorialize and implement the extension in accordance with Executive Order 16-230, in combination with Florida Statutes 252.363, please advise.
I would also note that this written notification of intent to exercise the tolling and extension granted in Florida Statues 252.363(1)(b) which provides that “[w]hithin 90 days after the termination of the emergency declaration, the holder of the permit or other authorization shall notify the issuing authority of the intent to exercise the tolling and extension granted under paragraph (a).”
In closing the Association, Unicorp, and I would appreciate written confirmation of the fact that the present deadline in light of Executive Order 16-230 is Feb. 28, 2019. Thank you for your cooperation and professionalism.
Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, Tampa
To: Donald Hemke
This shall serve to confirm receipt of your letter dated Jan. 13, 2017 regarding a Notice of Extension that you filed pursuant to Florida Statutes 252.363 and Executive Order 16-230, for the property located at 1620 Gulf of Mexico Drive (the “Colony”). Specifically, you submitted the Notice of Extension in reference to the timeframe provided for in Town of Longboat Key Resolution 2016-18, which granted an “extension of time to develop the Colony property as a tourism use of 237 grandfathered tourism units” until June 30, 2018.
The town has evaluated your submittal, Florida Statutes 252.363 and confirmed that Governor Rick Scott issued Executive Order 16-230 on Oct. 3, 2016, in response to the potential threat from Hurricane Matthew. The Governor’s Executive Order established a State of Emergency for every county in Florida and expired 60 days after issuance.
As indicated in your letter, Florida Statutes 252.363(1)(a) provides that “the declaration of a state of emergency by the Governor tolls the period remaining to exercise the rights under a permit or other authorization for the duration of the emergency declaration. Further, the emergency declaration extends the period remaining to exercise the rights under a permit or other authorization for six months in addition to the tolled period.” The statute further specifies that the extension is applicable to building permits and development orders issued by local governments.
Florida Statutes 163.3164 defines a Development Order as “any order granting, denying, or granting with conditions an application for a development permit.” Further, a Development Permit is defined as “any building permit, zoning permit, subdivision approval, rezoning, certification, special exception, variance, or any other official action of local government having the effect of permitting the development of land.” The extension provided for in Florida Statutes 252.363 has been interpreted by the Florida Attorney General as becoming effective as a matter of law upon a timely submittal of a written notification of the intent to exercise the statutory tolling and extension provision.
Resolution 2016-18 is a development order and/or permit per Florida Statutes. The Notice of Extension that you have submitted on behalf of the Colony property has been timely received by the Town within 90 days of the termination of the Oct. 3, 2016 emergency declaration. Accordingly, this shall acknowledge and confirm that pursuant to Florida Statues 252.363 the deadline provided for in Resolution 2016-18 has been tolled and extended until Feb. 28, 2019.
Planning, Zoning and Building Director, Longboat Key
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