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Longboat Key Letters – Week ending November 24, 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.

Thanksgiving article

To: Editor

Thanks for your endearing personal article about a Thanksgiving with your family, the wonderful music you mention, and the odd assortment of tensions and resolutions. It was so heartwarming to run into this, as I made tea this morning and tucked into breakfast (My husband and I are here in the area – we are doing the toned down thing at home, after several years of banqueting with friends on this day).

I’m thankful, in part, since I’m an American living in Norway, married to a Norwegian. We get to this condo in Bradenton about twice each year, for a few weeks, rent it out in winter and generally plan to spend more time ‘someday.’ As an American in Norway (for 19 years), I know exactly how we (American women in Norway, ‘married in’ – we are thousands) feel when we . . . name it: don’t see an English newspaper for months on end, don’t see a local newspaper in English unless we arrive in the U.S., don’t hear English, don’t speak Norwegian (that takes about 5 years to accomplish), and miss desperately the easy-going personal-ness, friendliness, tolerance and happy-go-lucky nature of our dear homeland’s ordinary good citizen.

So I was so much more grateful to read your article than you can know: it reminded me of my mother – a soprano and a great ‘Mom’ of 4 and housewife, my father – a doctor, as wise as you in his advices to daughters, and of old boyfriends – never pleasing to ‘Dad’ of course, especially at that age. Super thanks!  Have a great Thanksgiving, and best wishes with your ongoing work.

June Edvenson

Asker, Norway

 

Stabilizing the north-end beach on Longboat Key

To: Commissioner Irwin Pastor

The beach meeting today was excellent and your questions were right on target.

Last year I gave several seminars about the importance to Greer to the protection of the north end.  My opinion is the same now as it was then.  Failure to protect Greer will put real estate and people at higher risk than need be.  Doing nothing may not have consequences but the probability of negative serious consequences will rise quite high should a breach of Greer occur on a permanent basis.  Flow from the Gulf into the channel is now restricted because of the protective orientation of Greer.  A large breach will bring water of higher velocity into the N shore road area and into Longboat Village shorelines.  These shorelines are not protected from high velocity flow.

As an atmospheric scientist and Lead Weather Forecaster for NOAA and an expert on severe storms, I can tell you there protecting Greer increases risk. These risks can be can be mitigated for a price far lower than the cost of dealing with a serious breach.  I think of the expenditure as insurance against multi-million dollar potential losses.  The investment will increase security of flooding on N. Shore Road to a large extent and that would be such a great thing for those of us who live there!

The presentation today was the first one I have heard that will actually mitigate the erosion issue on north Longboat Key.  While the groins will cost $2.3 million they will save many more millions in maintenance and restoration. To maintain the beach to specs the 8-year cost of sand alone is $12.6 million.  With the 5 groins the 8-year cost is $3.4 million.  So within 2 rehab cycles of 4 year each we will save almost $9 million on sand. That is a great return on investment.

Another way to think about it is even more powerful.  By spending $2.3 million to construct groins the town will save $5.1 million on sand every 4 years!  That means the sand saving will be amortize the groin cost in just 2 years!  One way or another we will have to buy sand but buying 75 percent less sand each year makes a lot of dollars and sense!

We have been dealing with this issue for more than a decade. Let’s move forward and get this done.  The beaches are the #1 reason people come here and our $6 billion tax base could be severely eroded if properties are not protected and the people who own them. As Maureen Merrigan said, protection is our prime concern but we should not underestimate the quality of life issues that bought us all to this beautiful place.

Thanks again for a great meeting and your comments!

Bob Bunting

CEO Waterstone Strategies Inc.

Atmospheric Scientist

 

Gulfstream & US 41 traffic gridlock

To: Commissioner Jack Daly

Your summary comment of the root cause of the traffic gridlock at the Steering Committee meeting was perfectly stated. As engineers, putting “on demand” traffic lights (for pedestrians) in a roundabout is counterproductive. FDOT is reluctant to provide the data that will show the roundabout design cannot handle the present capacity on day one. Dave Bullock’s request for FDOT to model the effects of pedestrians is also right on

Whatever help we can provide, please reach out.

Lou Costa

Longboat Key

 

What was scope of Town Charter vote in 1999?

To: Town Attorney Maggie Mooney-Portale

On the final ballot question, shall the 1999 Charter of Longboat Key be adopted, did that encompass revisions beyond the separate ones being voted upon?

Terry Gans

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

To: Mayor Terry Gans

Pursuant to your request, attached please find a copy of Ordinance 98-32 that placed four (4) referenda questions before the Town’s voters in the March 1998 election. As we discussed, I do not have the exhibits that accompany this Ordinance in my possession and will need to defer to the Town Clerk on production of those attachments, if they are desired.  I understand that those exhibits are rather large.   

Per Town practice and custom, I am copying the entire Commission on this transmittal. Accordingly, I would ask that everyone refrain from “replying all” to this email.

Maggie D. Mooney-Portale

Town Attorney

Longboat Key

 

So Many Thanks!

To: Town Manager Dave Bullock, Police Chief Pete Cumming, Fire Chief Paul Dezzi

Bernie, Brad and I are very thankful to live in a town where we can have a meeting with the town management about our concerns for our homes and our town.  Thanks for welcoming us and talking with us about our mutual concerns and opportunities.  We know LBK is a special place and part of the “Special” is all of you!  Thanks very much and we hope to work together to solve some thorny issues we have and also to help LBK thrive in the years ahead!

Bob Bunting

Longboat Key

 

So Many Thanks!

To: Bob Bunting

Thank you as well, agree!

Isaac Brownman

Director Public Works

Longboat Key

 

Mar Vista dock

To: Town Manager Dave Bullock, Town Commission

I have owned property in the Longbeach Village since the early 70’s and spend as much time as possible there.  Recently when I was paddling toward the town dock from Longboat Pass, it was clearly visible, that if the proposed addition to the Mar Vista dock was in place, there would be almost complete blockage of navigation between the shoreline and our perfect deepwater anchorage. Anyone attempting to travel from the intercoastal waterway or Longboat Key Pass to the southern Village shoreline or Bishop Bayou would be forced to maneuver through the anchored boats. I strongly believe that this dock extension would be a dire mistake and set a regrettable precedent. Thank you for your consideration and your service.

Jean Schaefer

Longboat Key

 

Mar Vista dock

To: Jean Schaefer

I understand that this matter will be heard by the Zoning Board of Adjustment this coming Thursday, Nov. 16 at 9:30 a.m. and that town staff has recommended that a variance not be granted. If you attend I expect you will have the opportunity to be heard.

Vice Mayor Zunz

Longboat Key

 

To: Vice Mayor Ed Zunz

Thank you, Mr. Zunz. I’ll make every effort to be there.

Jean Schaefer

Longboat Key

 

More pickleball could be future…

To: Town Commission

Thank you for including pickleball as an amenity in your Bayfront Park ribbon-cutting festivities and for asking me (and my colleagues) to put on a demonstration.

I’d like to pass along the following feedback.  Many people stopped by, many stayed to watch a complete game. The majority fell into two categories, those who were really interested and wanted to know where they could get lessons, and those who are already players.  Without exception, those people who already play wanted to know what I could do to help their playing situation on LBK. Some inquired why pickleball lines were not painted on the tennis courts, and some were frustrated with the signup system.  Most people want to play in the morning and with only one court the waiting time could be more than three hours. You spoke of possibly trying some “open time” on certain days/times.  Perhaps this would alleviate some of the frustration and could be tried on a trial basis.

The bigger issue, however, is that pickleball is growing rapidly and the supply (courts) is not meeting the demand (players).  The courts in surrounding cities and towns are also crowded and most island residents or visitors don’t want to leave the island anyway because of the long lines of traffic trying to get back on.  The USA Pickleball Association has just revamped the Places 2 Play database on their website and many players are now choosing their vacation spots based on access to pickleball. The Sundial Beach Resort on Sanibel island has embraced pickleball and now has 12 brand new, state-of-the-art courts and is hosting tournaments, bringing people from all over who are spending money in restaurants and shopping.

As the game grows, perhaps the LBK and Sarasota County planners will see the potential that its popularity brings and consider including additional courts in their future plans.

Toni Teasdale

USA Pickleball Ambassador/Bradenton and The Islands

 

To: Toni Teasdale, Town Commission, Kay Thayer

Thanks for your comments. Your points are well taken; I suggest that we should continue to include potential pickleball options in our recreational long range plans.

Jack Daly

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

To: Town Commission, Toni Teasdale

Good to hear! Great feedback for what we were talking about in the meeting.

Kay Thayer

Tennis Center Director

Longboat Key

 

Summary of 360 North Meeting with the Town of LBK

To: Town Manager Dave Bullock

Thanks to everyone who attended the meeting yesterday.  Our board of directors is very grateful we could all get together.  Here is a brief summary of the conversation.

Beach Security – water

The approach to protecting Greer by building more groins will be presented during a workshop at town hall on Monday, Nov 13, at 1 p.m.

360 North would like the solution implemented ASAP and as fully as possible. In the event an incremental approach is taken, that approach needs to fully protect 360 North from Gulf water and further erosion to the extent that can be done.  We all know all of Longboat Key is at risk during major hurricane strikes. Dave Bullock discussed that new groins would most likely be rock based and not PAGs. We all discussed how well the two PAGs are working in front of 360 but the erosion just north of the northernmost PAG is severe and no maintenance has been done since the groins were built. Dave indicated the plan is to restore the sand on roughly a 4-year timeframe. Bob B asked that there be maintenance done now since the tide, when high, is already into 360 North property and is killing the protective mangroves.  The town has stated before, in prior meetings, that maintenance to the 360 property line is routine and does not take any additional permitting so it can be done when needed.

Security – Beach Goers

Everyone was well aware of the major trespassing issues at 360 North given the popularity of Greer especially to the young underage kids who like to use it for privacy and carry their coolers though 360 North.  Last year there were 3 minor thefts including one where there was robbery after coming into the lower level of one of the units.  Many trespassers were drunk/strung out and were belligerent when asked to leave the property.  On peak days dozens of trespassers made life at 360 very difficult and the yard was used as toilet, trash bin, and worse.  As a result, Bob B asked to town to consider moving the parking area directly in front of 360 N to another location like Sunset Lane where there are two public access points and parking would not be required in front of any Condos.

Dave mentioned the staff could not change parking but the Commission could. Bob asked that consideration be made due to the obvious short cut people take though 360 N to make the trek to Greer easier and closer. It was suggested that the board interact with the board of Longbeach Condos to see if they would be open to the move. Bob mentioned that no one asked us before the entire length of 360 N property became approximately a dozen parking spaces and that at times it is so congested that owners and guests can not get into or out of the 360 N driveway.  The 360 N board hopes the town will consider some positive steps to limit the parking, trash and other issues on N Shore Rd in front of 360 N to improve the situation.

The directors asked the Town to help us manage a bad situation.  The board was understanding of the Towns need to patrol Greer using the ATV but asked that no mangroves on 360 property be cut and that any path to Greer made protected our property and was made in such a way that did not increase erosion.  Bob B suggested that beach maintenance especially north of the northern PAG would help our safety people (police/rescue etc.) use the ATV on the beach and it would help protect the mangroves which have had serious die back in the past year due to water intrusion.  360 N does not want any more die back to occur because the mangroves provide a buffer to not only the water coming into the yard but also from the public beach goers.

Bob asked everyone think of how they would feel if they faced the challenges the owners at 360 face.  It was agreed that town will take an action to minimize these effects and a “post and ropes” guiding the public beach goers westward of 360 N would be installed. ATV access would be enhanced by necessary maintenance and any path cutting would be north of the 360 N property post on the beach N of the northern groin which is now more than two feet out of the ground when just last year the post was barely visible.

360 N understands the request to park the ATV at the drive entry to 360 N so police can more easily get to Greer.  In light of the expected town help on the above 360 N will make every attempt to allow the ATV to use the end of the driveway at N Shore Rd doing busy beach periods.

Pat Zunz mentioned 360 N was not close to the beach edge but erosion over the years before groins were built have created a bad situation that should be remedied. She went on to ask the 360 board to consider a driveway gate and other measures to help control trespassers.  Board members confirmed 360 N is getting bids to do just that and Bob  discussed how the town could help by approving 360 N to top the white wall in front of 360 with stylish fencing to the height of the town fence just west of 360 N along N Shore Rd.

Paul Dezzi will call Bob with the width of the lane needed by the fire truck to pass into 360 N in case of fire.  Everyone at the town was quite enthusiastic that a driveway gate, fencing and landscape improvements will help the town and the residence at 360 N.  Bob pointed out that it will be an expense for the owner which number only 9 and that the owners would have to approve before installation could commence.  The town did not think there was any issues will town approval including at gate at the 360N private beach access.

Pete suggested he and Bob have regular conversations so that effective planning for the 2018 Beach Season (spring break and beyond) be accomplished well before the excitement starts and there was wide agreement on doing so.

The meeting was a “can do” meeting and much appreciated by the 360 boat and town management.

Bob Bunting

Longboat Key

 

Neighborhood Infrastructure Assessment

Neighborhood Infrastructure Assessment

To: Town Commission

I am contacting you regarding an apparent error in the calculations of the underground project assessment, and sending this by email in the interest of expediency.  Residents of Longboat Harbour are being charged a $423.30 fiber assessment in addition to the Gulf of Mexico Drive (GMD) assessment and the neighborhood “main feeder” assessment of $519.20.  As you can see on the following chart, among similar properties, Longboat Harbour (and Longboat Harbour Towers) are the only condominium residences with this additional charge.

Longboat Harbour is a gated community of 300 condominiums.  Our driveways are not public thoroughfares, notwithstanding the individual names that they have been given.  Our utilities – electric, communications and cable – are already underground, so there should be no additional property specific costs.  According to Resolution 2017-20, the neighborhood undergrounding project is supposed to include “the installation of underground fiber optics facilities in areas and neighborhoods of the town where such facilities are not otherwise available.”   Longboat Harbour already has these facilities.

I have copied the following map of neighborhood undergrounding from Magellan Advisors Broadband Infrastructure Assessment, released February 23, 2016.  You can see that Longboat Harbour has no blue neighborhood lines; in other words, at least according to your broadband experts, we are not part of the neighborhood underground project.

I know that our Board President Bob Winters has brought this to the commissioners in the past.  I also note that there is a public hearing on December 4, 2017 “to Impose and Provide for Collection of Non-Ad Valorem Assessment – Undergrounding Neighborhoods.”  The language of proposed Resolution 2017-20 is a matter of concern.

I only found one other community that appears to have the same erroneous charge (Longboat Harbour Towers), but this is still nearly 400 residences and I only looked at a small sample.  What if there are more?  It looks like a lot of thought went into the assessment methodology, but if there is a problem, surely it should be fixed before the resolution comes to a vote.  If, on the other hand, I’m the one with the problem, won’t you please enlighten me?  What am I missing?

Is it possible to get a response before December 4th, or is this upcoming meeting the appropriate place for our residents to make their concerns known?

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Maureen Mastroieni

Longboat Key

 

Longboat Harbour meeting successful

To: Town Commission

Staff met with the Board of Longboat Harbour condominiums.  After some discussion, we discovered there was a misunderstanding of the assessment amount.  The residents were under the impression that the annual assessment for their units was $422.96 per year for fiber rather than $68.40 per year.  Once we cleared this up and discussed the project in more detail I think their concerns have been addressed.

Dave Bullock

Town Manager

Longboat Key



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