Longboat Key Letters – Week ending November 3, 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.

Lido Pavilion plan a huge giveaway

To: Editor

That figure of 200 seats is not a 25 percent increase. It is a 100 percent increase and doesn’t count seats in the cabanas or the tables in the splash pad area where they plan to have food and drink service. The pavilion currently uses about 90 seats. They are counting seats at picnic tables that Sarasota County dropped off one day in the lawn area adjacent to the patio that are not under the control of the existing licensee to arrive at a fake 150+ number. Also, the licensee doesn’t use or count the two large tables outside the women’s restroom as part of his service area which is also used as part of a seasonal Farmers Market every Thursday.

This is a huge giveaway of a public asset.

Dan Kriwitsky

Longboat Key


Undergrounding costs not fair for us…

To: Town Commission

This is an appeal of the assessment charges for the fiber assessment related to the “Neighborhood Underground Project” for the 300 residents of Longboat Harbour. This appeal is based on comparison of similar properties that are located on Gulf of Mexico Drive, already having existing underground utilities.

Longboat Harbour was built by the same developer as Windward Bay, immediately adjacent to Longboat Harbour. The assessment seems to be based on the fact that Longboat Harbour uses street names within the complex. Our electric, telephone and internet services are already underground. Our community consists of 14 residential buildings, located on one piece of property, in which the developer created street names following the Gulf of Mexico Drive numbering system.

Longboat Harbour uses the same numerical numbering system as if it was a Gulf of Mexico address. Our neighbor to the south, Sutton Place’s address is 4300 Gulf of Mexico Drive. Our first building’s address is 4310 Falmouth Drive, progressing to 4440 Exeter Drive, ending with our office at 4454 Gulf of Mexico Drive. Our neighbor to the north, Windward Bay, continues the numerical sequence, 4500-4880 Gulf of Mexico Drive. The town website indicates our neighbors, Windward Bay, located on the same side of Gulf of Mexico Drive, with existing underground utilities, have no fiber assessments, because their address is Gulf of Mexico Drive.

It seems we are being assessed for fiber simply based on developers use of street names rather than the fact that utilities are exactly like Windward Bay.

Similar associations, with a Gulf of Mexico addresses, have no projected charge for their fiber assessment. The 300 residents of Longboat Harbour have an additional charge of $423.30 per unit, or an additional aggregate assessment of $126,990 compared to our neighbors.

Our request is that you reevaluate Longboat Harbour to determine if we should be assessed as if we had a Gulf of Mexico Drive address and not be penalized due to the use of named streets within the Association property.

Bob Winter

Board President, Longboat Harbour


Faster FEMA assistance needed

To: FEMA Administrator Brock Long

We write to express our concern about the lack of available housing options in Florida following Hurricane Irma. It is critical that displaced Floridians in affected counties are provided with the ability to access rental housing.

Tens of thousands of homes in Florida were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Irma. Reports have indicated thousands of Floridians are waiting for housing units to arrive and be filled, and many are living in uninhabitable circumstances with collapsed ceilings and mold. These are not sustainable living conditions, and could lead to negative health consequences or personal injury. While we recognize manufactured housing may not be appropriate for every situation, it seems there are serious delays in direct leasing options as well. Thus, we urge you to work expeditiously with Florida communities to ensure that Floridians have safe and sustainable housing options in the coming months.

It is also our understanding that Florida residents have had issues with the FEMA help line in obtaining assistance.  Some reports state individuals calling FEMA’s help line have waited up to four hours before speaking with a representative.  Additionally, FEMA’s current estimates are approximately 45 days for a home inspection, a required step for Individual Assistance claims to be paid out. This means families face a long wait before receiving funding for housing needs, such as housing repair, replacement or construction.  The wait times for FEMA phone assistance and home inspections appear to be longer than those experienced by individuals during past major disasters. A March 2006 report conducted by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General found Hurricane Katrina applicants experienced an average wait time of ten minutes before speaking with an agent. The report also stated FEMA has historically completed home inspections within 10 days.

We recognize and appreciate the 4,000 inspectors in the field working tirelessly to help people in need of housing assistance. However, the current wait times must be improved. Therefore, we ask that you work with Florida communities to ensure that displaced storm victims have adequate housing options available to them while they rebuild and repair their homes, and address any outstanding issues with FEMA’s help line that have led to delays with assistance. Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Ryan Brown

Communications Director, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, (D-FL)


Sarasota/Manatee Barrier Islands Traffic Study

To: Town Clerk Trish Granger, Town Commission

Steering Committee Members/Interested Parties: The Sarasota/Manatee Barrier Islands Traffic Study is examining the feasibility of improving the overall infrastructure, including traffic operations and circulation, on the Sarasota/Manatee barrier islands as well as island-to-mainland connections.   Phase 1 of the traffic study is complete.  Phase 2 of the project is underway and includes observations, collection of traffic data, review of land use, parking studies, etc.

Steering Committee Meeting No. 2 is scheduled for 9:30 a.m., Thursday, November 9, 2017 at the Longboat Island Chapel, 6200 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key.  The meeting will include a review of the traffic evaluation findings for all the islands, identified congestion “hotspots” and the parking evaluation. Thank you.

Kris Cella

Public Involvement Task Manager

On behalf of Tricia M. Labud, P.E.

Florida Department of Transportation


Colony property mixed use not fair

To: Commissioner Jack Daly

I would like to provide additional information. Please let me know, thanks, Manfred

We wanted to redevelop the Colony property into a mixed-use (tourism and residential) back in 2008 ff and the town has blocked our related initial approach  (requested by influential and important Colony owners) as it was/is not allowable, therefore, we followed the rules, convinced the owners about it and walked away from this mixed-use consideration.

I checked our files in regard to the subcommittee meetings in 2007/8 and attach two documents. Please see esp. “Policy Paper Notes” at the 5-16-2008 doc and “Groups of Eligibility” at the 11-4-2008 doc.

There is also a very important wording included, “Intent Language”.

Hope that the new Director et al have time to consider all these relevant issues, i.e. that a mixed-use proposal for the Colony-property can’t be allowed as it was not allowed in the past.

Manfred Welfonder

MW Group-USA

Lic. Real Estate Corp.


Beware of Colony chatter…

To: Mayor Gans, Town Commission, and Planning and Zoning Board Members

An amended PUD/ODP application and site plan has been filed with the Town by Chuck Whittall/Unicorp for the property formerly known as the Colony.  The review process will be quasi-judicial.  Please refrain from substantive conversations outside the quasi-judicial hearings that will come before you.  If you have substantive conversations, please be prepared to disclose with whom the conversation occurred and the substance of that conversation.   The background of the application and the process going forward is as follows:

On July 24, 2017, an amended PUD/ODP application and site plan was submitted by Chuck Whittall/Unicorp (“Applicant”) to the Town for the redevelopment of the former Colony property located at 1620 Gulf of Mexico Drive. Since that time, the Town Staff has been reviewing and processing the Applicant’s submittal.  On October 3, 2017, a revised PUD/ODP application and site plan was submitted to the Town by the Applicant.  The revised application is currently under review by Town Staff.  Once the Town staff completes its review of the revised application and the application is deemed complete, the Applicant’s pending application will be scheduled for quasi-judicial  hearings before both the Town’s Planning and Zoning Board (“PZB”) and then the Town Commission.  The PZB will conduct a full quasi-judicial hearing and make a recommendation on the Applicant’s submittal to the Town Commission.  The Town Commission will then conduct its own quasi-judicial hearing.  The public is afforded an opportunity to appear and participate in both publicly noticed, quasi-judicial hearings.

During quasi-judicial public hearings, local government boards are tasked with determining whether an applicant’s request demonstrates through competent substantial evidence presented at the hearing, compliance with the applicable local government’s regulations.  Consequently, quasi-judicial decision making should be restricted to the record evidence presented at a publicly noticed hearing.  Any communications or evidence presented outside of the noticed quasi-judicial hearing is considered ex parte; and ex parte communications must be disclosed at the commencement of the proceeding.  Ex parte communication includes lobbying that may occur for or against the particular application.

As the Town Staff’s review of the Applicant’s submittal continues and to insure the Applicant is afforded due process when this PUD/ODP and site plan application comes before both the PZB and the Town Commission, I recommend that all members of the PZAB and Town Commission refrain from any substantive discussions outside of the quasi-judicial public hearing about the pending application.  This recommendation includes avoiding communications with individuals who may attempt to advocate for or against the application.  If you do engage in such substantive discussions outside of the quasi-judicial public hearing, you will be asked to disclose the communications you have had and you may be crossed examined on such communications before the public hearing.  For this reason, the best practice is to avoid such ex parte communications, thereby limiting the disclosure obligations.   

With the above recommendation in place, you still may receive unsolicited emails or letters regarding the Applicant’s PUD/ODP and site plan application.  If this occurs, please forward them to the Town Clerk (TClerk@longboatkey.org) so that they can be included in the record.  Should you wish to respond to those emails, I would suggest that you craft a standard responses along these lines:

“Thank you for your comments. They have been forwarded to the Town Clerk for inclusion in the record for the quasi-judicial hearing scheduled on [insert date], 2017. Please note that during the hearing the public will be provided with an opportunity to be heard.”

The above recommendations are being provided to you in an effort to address any questions you may have about the process before they become an issue.  Should any of you have any particular questions or concerns about the quasi-judicial process that you would like to discuss, please do not hesitate to call me directly.

Maggie D. Mooney-Portale

Town Attorney, Longboat Key


I did not open attachments

To: Town Clerk Trish Granger

As per Maggie’s 10/25/17 email, I am forwarding to you an Oct 16th email  I received concerning the Colony. I did not open the attachments. I advised the sender that I would not discuss the contents, based on the advice of our Town Attorney.

Jack Daly


Longboat Key


I did not open attachments

To: Town Clerk Trish Granger

Per Maggie’s email of 10/25/17, attached is an email I received on 10/16/17 regarding the Colony.  I had forwarded this to Maggie and asked the sender to refrain from making further contact so long as an application relating to the property is pending.  I did not open the attachments. Thanks.

Ken Schneier

Planning and Zoning Board, Longboat Key

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