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Longboat Key Letters – Week ending May 12, 2017

Longboat Key News encourages Letters to the Editor on timely issues. Please email to: letters@lbknews.com 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.

Don’t be swayed

To: Editor

A quick scan of the letters regarding the Colony redevelopment in your May 5 issue might lead one to believe that the sentiment on our island regarding the redevelopment of the Colony has shifted.  Whereas the redevelopment was defeated by an overwhelming 87 percent to 13 percent margin in the March 14 referendum, on May 5 there were nine letters in support of a Unicorp proposal to develop the site and just two in opposition.

Look a little closer.

It appears that all of the letters in support come from the residents of just two properties—those immediately adjacent to the Colony site. In addition to the letters in the May 5 issue, watch the online video record of the May 1 Commission meeting.  It appears that the only people advocating for Unicorp’s redevelopment of the property are those same two immediate neighbors.

How ironic.  The developer used to argue that the immediate neighbors were the only people opposed to their proposal.  Now it appears that the only people in favor of the proposal are those same immediate neighbors.

Why the turnaround?  Well, it’s well known that these properties signed an agreement with the developer. The agreement contains concessions that will improve the views from their units and also provides memberships in any club that is ultimately constructed on the site. In my opinion, these concessions do absolutely nothing for the rest of us on the island.

The agreement also requires that residents of the two properties actively support the redevelopment by writing letters to Commissioners and attending town meetings.

Ultimately, it is the Commission that will decide if additional tourist units can be built on the site and whether there is a need for an oversized conference center there.  I am hopeful that the Commissioners will not be swayed by this show of support from two properties representing just 23 registered voters.

Planning and Zoning Board Chair Bishop said it best in her response to one of those letters published in the May 5 edition:  “I am not sure of the benefit to the entire island of taller buildings.  The entire island will not receive membership in perpetuity to the Colony Resort.”

Thank you, Chairperson Bishop.  I hope that as your colleagues on the Planning and Zoning Board and the Commission consider the matter of the Colony in the coming months they take your words, as well as the sentiments of residents throughout the island, into account.

David Lapovsky

Longboat Key

 

Town Manager leaves big shoes to fill

To: Editor

It’s so disappointing to be losing Dave Bullock as Town Manager.  In our 25 years here, he has accomplished more than his predecessors. He’s thorough, knows how to get things done, and steps up to the plate in dealing with our neighboring towns. He puts in long hours and so obviously cares about Longboat Key. Big shoes to fill – fare thee well, Mr. Bullock.

The McKinnons

Longboat Key

 

Gulfstream roundabout

To: Editor

I have followed the discussions regarding the impact of the proposed roundabout at Gulfstream and Tamiami.

I am doubtful regarding the validity of the State’s analysis of the efficacy of the roundabouts. I would recommend that Sarasota and Longboat Key officials have the model assumptions reviewed by outside expertise.

My concern is that their model assumes smooth flow from all roads into the roundabout. It is well known that changing lanes on a multi-lane road creates a shock wave that slows traffic. Given the age and driving habits of much of the local population during the busy season, I suspect that there will be a number of hesitations as drivers merge into the roundabout. This will create shock waves that slow down all of the flows.

If I am correct then the roundabouts could become a detriment rather than an enhancement.

Gary Massel

Longboat Key

 

Amore Restaurant in Sarasota

I am so glad to hear that Amore Restaurant will continue here in Sarasota. It is one of my favorite restautants. Howard Rooks has done a fantastic job!

Tina Walsh

Longboat Key

 

Traffic problem an area problem; not a city problem

To: Editor

Looking at an aerial map of the barrier islands from the north tip of Anna Maria Island (AMI) to St. Armands Circle, the solution to the traffic problem is clear.  We need another bridge to reach the mainland and it needs to be on Longboat Key. All three cities on AMI only have a population of 8,500 while Longboat Key has around 7,100. AMI is seven miles long with two ways to reach the mainland while the Town of Longboat Key only has one way to reach the mainland via Ringling Bridge without using Cortez Bridge which is in another town. Save the money on all the traffic studies and build a new connector in the middle of the 2-mile-long island of Longboat Key. Simple solution. I am sure the response will be that Longboat does not want more traffic coming from AMI; but wait, as it is right now, Longboat residents and guests are using Cortez Bridge to access mainland and contributing to congestion on Bradenton Beach.

You will not be inviting more traffic onto Longboat Key. Instead, you will be solving the traffic problem by viewing the problem as a multi-city problem. I am sure over half the traffic headed over Cortez bridge is coming from Longboat. Shifting that traffic to a bridge on Longboat to the mainland would relieve the congestion on Cortez Bridge.

The following is a link to a connector project in Beaufort North Carolina that is similar and is nearing completion. It’s cost $64 million and will be complete this summer.  The distance of the bridges would be similar.

http://publicradioeast.org/post/construction-begins-spring-new-bridge-beaufort

Pool your funds and government resources together as four cities trying to solve an area problem.  Build a bridge in the middle of Longboat that ties into Florida Boulevard that runs directly into Business US41. Think as a group and your problem will be solved. Think as an isolated city and you create the problem.

Renae Farrah

Longboat Key

 

Town Hall meeting of May 1

To: Commissioner Randy Clair

I would like to thank you for the excellent job you did at the May 1 Town Hall meeting.

Your knowledge and insight on the maximum building height issue was appreciated by all of us who want to keep Longboat Key the place that our residents and visitors look forward to being at over the years.

I also personally appreciate your having forwarded my letter to you regarding the height issue to the Longboat Key News. I have heard from many of our fellow Longboat residents telling me that they were happy to have our thoughts, which they agree with, published for all of us to see.

Roy Nevans

Longboat Key

 

Information on Gulfstream and US 41

To: Joshua A. Jester

Thank you for visiting with the Town Commission last week to discuss the proposed roundabout at Gulf Stream and US 41 and for taking our input as you work on improvements to this intersection.  During the discussion, you agreed to send us some information on examples of multi-lane roundabouts with the complex turning movements similar to the proposed roundabout at Gulf Stream. Could you please send this information to me? Feel free to include links or others info that would help us understand how these facilities are working in other areas.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Dave Bullock

Town Manager

Longboat Key 

 

Requested information on Gulfstream and US 41

To: Town Manager Dave Bullock

Thanks for providing the opportunity to present before the Town Commission. We have identified some examples of multi-lane roundabouts and are in the process of verifying the traffic volumes. We want to make sure that the examples provided are similar in size and usage.  We expect to provide these locations by the end of the week. Let me know if you need anything else.

Joshua A. Jester E.I.

Project Development Eng Specialist I

Environmental Management Office

 

Requested information on Gulfstream and US 41

To: Town Manager Dave Bullock

We have identified several examples around the country of roundabouts with similar number of lanes and turning movements. Please see the attached Google Earth files. These are similar in size or larger but may not necessarily be similar in usage. We are still investigating that and will pass along other locations as we find them. We are aware that the Michigan roundabout was designed to accommodate 60,000 vehicles per day.

In addition to these roundabouts, we are also aware that Texas is in the process of constructing several multi-lane roundabouts throughout the state.

Joshua A. Jester E.I.

Project Development Eng Specialist I

Environmental Management Office

 

FDOT shares roundabout information

To: Town Commission

When FDOT presented information about the Gulfstream and US 41 roundabout information they agreed to provide examples of roundabouts with similar volumes and turning movements. Please see the attached file showing four roundabouts with multiple lanes. Joshua Jester states below that the Michigan roundabout is designed to handle 60,000 vehicles per day, which I believe, is the rough equivalent to Gulfstream and US 41.

Dave Bullock

Town Manager

Longboat Key  

 

Senate Bill 596 and House Bill 687, Advanced Wireless Infrastructure Deployment Act

To: Senator Bill Galvano

On behalf of the Town of Longboat Key, I want to express our appreciation for your work to understand the Town’s concerns with SB 596 and then to provide leadership that helped protect our community and our citizen’s investment in undergrounding utilities. The bill that passed, again with your efforts, provides the solution that allows technology to advance in harmony with the unique circumstances that are present for Longboat Key. Thank you for working with out representatives in achieving this win-win for your constituents.

We value your involvement and your hard work for us. It would be our pleasure if at some time you might attend a commission meeting so we can thank you in person.

Terry Gans

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Junk In – Junk Out

To: Town Commission

For years the Town of LBK has been considering how best to deal with properties deemed non-conforming as a result of ordinance changes in 1984. At a Town Commission – P & Z Board joint meeting in September 2015, the P & Z Department in conjunction with the University of Fla, presented a list of properties alleged to be non-conforming.  It was a list that I had been expressing concern about relative to accuracy during the preceding year, meeting with the P & Z Director on several occasions to discuss this.  I was constantly assured that the list would be updated and accurate prior to presentation at the joint meeting.  This did not occur.  Inaccuracies in the data continued.

Some glaring discrepancies and other possible data concerns include: Double counting, Mislabeling, Other acreage/unit errors, Exacerbation of existent inequities       – Combining properties split by GMD, Wrong addresses, Relevance, Placeable in existing zones, Incorrect inclusion as tourism, Now conforming due to rebuild

At the joint meeting it was emphasized to the Town that an accurate, consolidated list of subject properties would be necessary going forward.  Yet, over about a two-year span since then, little or nothing has apparently been done to remedy this situation.  There now appears to be some “scrambling”, such as where the list originated and that the data reflects “the Sarasota and Manatee Counties Property Records”, implying that it is therefore accurate.  Its origination is irrelevant.  Any contention that the list accurately reflects Sarasota and Manatee Property Records is misleading, since in many situations, it clearly does not.  I know, since I did follow-up research, thoroughly.  The above examples, which form but a fraction of the inaccuracies, are prime cases.  For further example, the P & Z list calls the property at 2251 GMD Benedict Estates and indicates that it contains 2 units, but it is actually now called Aria and has 16 units, of which the P & Z should be aware since they issued the building permits.  The same goes for what was once known and is still depicted as Shore Acres with 1 unit, but is now the Infinity with 11 units.  In all, I suspect that the unit count depicted by the inaccurate P & Z list is about 600 units over actual conditions.

The bottom line is that in spite of many efforts to work behind the scenes several years ago to rectify this situation, coupled with little choice but to eventually bring it public at the joint Commission – P & Z meeting two years ago, there has still been little or no apparent effort by the Town to provide accurate data to The Commission to assist them in their difficult task to move the Town forward in addressing the non-conforming property situation.  A concise and accurate list of subject properties is needed, and should have already been provided.  At this point an accurate non-conforming property list should be given high priority by the Town and The Commission with no more delays.

Phill Younger

Longboat Key

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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