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Longboat narrowly averts planning disaster

STEVE REID
Editor & Publisher
sreid@lbknews.com

The Gods protected Longboat Key when they recently imbued the Commission with the willingness to table the Planned Unit Development ordinance. It was certainly fatally flawed on so many levels and marred with the stench of unintended consequences.

What effect it might have had on the size and scale of redevelopment on Longboat Key is a question that was never answered. In short, it was a move to grant enormous rights in redevelopment that would forever increase the size and scale of properties on the island.

In some cases redevelopment to larger unit sizes makes sense where there is enough land to accommodate.

In many other circumstances it would lead to mid-rises up and down the Key to 65-foot or greater heights creating incompatibilities in many instances especially on the north end of the island.

We can all be relieved the Commission will reconsider its provisions and the ordinance’s consequences before moving forward. It was as if Athena breathed wisdom into our leaders.

We should strive toward perfecting the island and its redevelopment rules rather than simply rushing to encourage redevelopment.

In fact, it is the low density, the reduced size and scale of the island that makes Longboat unique and a tranquil oasis in a state that generally assumes the position of ladorsis when developers approach.

Longboat ought embrace the attitude of continual perfection. It should seek to not add any more dwelling units. It should not seek to do what is ordinary and pedestrian as in succumbing to development pressures.

We ought continually beautify our landscaping, improve our corridor — Gulf of Mexico Drive — replace our ugly streetlights with something signature and aesthetically compelling, do what we are doing and redevelop and improve our parks.

We should build only that which enhances the community — an arts and cultural center. We should underground the power lines, dredge our canals, build the greatest beach we can and allow the exclusivity of Longboat be predicated on providing a world-renowned atmosphere and experience.

After all, Longboat Key is inherently beautiful and the controlling of development is what creates and elevates our property values. We are in an enviable position on Longboat Key.

Longboat Key reminds me of what James Joyce said of the best artists — “The artist, like the God of the creation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails.”

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