Longboat Key Letters – Week ending May 26, 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.

Quick update on Undergrounding

To: Town Commission

· Our contractors have completed the field survey work for the entire Town.

· Our Project Manager (CDM Smith) and FPL are still doing some field data collection but the survey contractors are finished.

· Phase 1 (Country Club Shores) and Phase 2 (North end to Dream Island Road) surveys have been submitted to FPL.

· FPL has sent the Town Project Manager their preliminary plans this week (ahead of schedule).

· Fieldwork is underway to ground truth the preliminary plans. Our Project Manager will turn this around as quickly as they can.

· Meetings are being set with the communications carriers now that we have reliable data.

· Project cost estimates will be updated based on this information

So far, we are a little ahead of schedule and hope to keep it that way.  This is a long and complex project so it is good to get the early work done ahead of anticipated schedule.

Dave Bullock

Town Manager

Longboat Key 


City employees’ salaries

To: Vice Mayor Ed Zunz

While the town is hiring a new town manager and utilities manager, why not review the economics of the town attorney position?

I believe the time has come in the maturing of our town, when we need a dedicated full-time town attorney.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key


To: Gene Jaleski

I will check the last analysis made of this alternative.

Ed Zunz

Vice Mayor

Longboat Key


Charter review

To: Town Clerk Trish Granger

Could you suggest to the charter review committee that they discuss adding to section 22, the idea that the commission can only grant a waiver for referendum signature requirement when the request is for 10 units or less?

Jim Brown


Longboat Key


Charter review

To: Commissioner Jim Brown

Will be happy to present on Wednesday.

Trish Granger

Town Clerk

Longboat Key


Sarasota/Manatee Barrier Islands Traffic Study 

To: Town Commission

This is a reminder that the first Barrier Islands Steering Committee will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, May 23, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Longboat Key Town Hall, 501 Bay Isles Road.  At this meeting we will present the scope of work for the study and take input on the study elements from the Steering Committee.

Kris Cella, Cella Molnar & Associates, Inc.

Public Involvement Task Manager 

On behalf of

Tricia M. Labud, P.E.

Traffic Studies/Analysis Specialist

Florida Department of Transportation


Traffic Solutions

To: Bradenton Beach Mayor William Shearon

My name is Dick Berntsen and I have a condo in Bradenton Beach and so am acutely aware of the traffic problems that we all experience on the Island. I wanted to inquire as to whether a tunnel from some point on the Island to the mainland has ever been considered? I recently saw an article about Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla) developing a tunnel system for Los Angeles because of the nightmare traffic that they deal with. His intent is to use a boring machine that is much quicker and more economical than traditional boring methods. Could solve the unsightly bridge problem and also be more economical. Just a thought! Thanks for reading.

Dick Berntsen

Bradenton Beach


Traffic Solutions

Dick Bernsten

I appreciate your inquiring. A tunnel has been a discussion topic that has not been pursued. I have asked Dave Hutchinson Executive Director of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) to assist in responding to your inquiry. Thanks for your interest in traffic solutions.

William Shearon


Bradenton Beach 


Colony redevelopment project

To: Mayor Terry Gans

I was surprised to learn late Monday that at that morning’s Budget Workshop there was an extended discussion regarding the Colony redevelopment project. As you know, Preserve Longboat represents the interests of the many on the Island who are very concerned about the height and density of the proposed project.  As there had been no public notice that a presentation was to be made and that a discussion regarding the height of the project would take place, we and other members of the public were not in attendance and were not able to be heard in this matter.

I was able to view the video of the full 33 minutes of discussion. Mr. Whittall is requesting that the Commission consider changing the zoning code and comprehensive plan so that Unicorp can build eight 80-foot buildings in a T-6 zone that currently restricts height to 50 feet above base flood elevation. As I understand it, he was asking that the Commission give him an indication as to whether you would consider modifying the law so that he could do so. As several of you pointed out, it would be improper to give such an opinion without adequate discussion and an opportunity for the public to be heard on the matter.

In my opinion, there is a fairly straightforward answer. Unicorp should submit the plans under the existing code. If Mr. Whittall wants the town to consider changing the law so that properties of 15 acres or more are permitted to build eight buildings that are 80 feet above FEMA elevation, there is a process for that and he is free to attempt to do so with proper hearings held in front of the public. There is no reason to subvert that process simply because of the arbitrary June 26 date that Unicorp has set for making a submittal to the town.

It is interesting to me that Mr. Whittall recently wrote to the Colony owners saying his new project would require “No variances or referendums.”  It seems to me that his first, unscheduled, appearance in front of the Commission after that email was to ask if you would consider changing our Town’s zoning laws to suit Unicorp’s needs.

If Unicorp insists on submitting plans by June 26, I trust that you will make certain that they will adhere to the code in place at the time of submission. We all want to see something done with the Colony site, but please make sure that it is done with proper notice and public participation. Thank you for your consideration.

David Lapovsky


Preserve Longboat, Inc. 


To: David Lapovsky

Two important misstatements or misconceptions in your email.

The matter was raised by Mr. Whittall in the “public to be heard” portion of the regularly scheduled workshop in the afternoon, not the morning budget meeting. Any one may raise any non-agenda item during that time.

The discussion was over whether to give an indication of willingness to even consider thinking about what he might suggest. As there was no consensus on the part the Commission to give such an indication, the matter became moot.

Terry Gans


Longboat Key


To: Mayor Terry Gans

Thank you for the timely reply to my email. I apologize for my misstatement regarding which of the two Monday meetings the discussion regarding the Colony took place.

I am aware that anyone can speak at the “public to be heard” portion. I was merely expressing my surprise that a half-hour discussion on a non-agenda item was permitted. I appreciate your efforts on behalf of our Town.

David Lapovsky

Longboat Key


To: David Lapovsky

It can happen.

Terry Gans


Longboat Key








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