Longboat Key Letters – Week ending January 26, 2018

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.

Colony editorial

To: Editor

Very well written piece, with much logic and common sense. No emotions can get us there. Mr. Whittall has spent over three years pursuing this with all his resources as a very successful developer and has presented plans that will make this a world class resort, with less traffic congestion and less density in terms of rooms. Your Editorial intelligently describes that inaction is not appropriate and will accomplish even less if the Town gets hung up on the text amendment.

Salvatore Zizza

Longboat Key


Barrier Island Traffic Study (BITS) – Proposed Working Group

To: City of Anna Maria Mayor, City of Holmes Beach Mayor, Town Manager Tom Harmer

This a heads-up, after my comments at a recent MPO Board meeting and discussions with FDOT personnel, that I intend, at tomorrow’s BITS meeting, to recommend to the Steering Committee and FDOT that FDOT form a small working group consisting of technical personnel from the barrier islands, which I believe will better achieve the traffic mitigation objectives of the BITS. I feel that the present Steering Committee may be too large and a bit un-wieldly to efficiently and continually conduct an effective planning oversight of the BITS as intended. Accordingly, I suggest that a smaller group of technical staff of one each from the barrier islands, reporting to the Steering Committee, would accomplish two things: 1. It would result in a more consistent laser- like BITS focus throughout the recommending phase of the study on traffic issues on the islands; and 2. By providing continuing local technical staff expertise and knowledge, it would supplement the FDOT and expert staff expertise dedicated to the BITS, thus enhancing more effective recommendations. I am asking for your support  at the meeting tomorrow, and will plan to be at the chapel early for any discussions.

Jack Daly

Commissioner, Longboat Key


February 5th Regular Town Commission Meeting and Colony

Commissioners, as you are aware, the applicant for the privately initiated text amendment that was heard on Monday at your workshop and scheduled for your February 5th Regular Meeting has withdrawn their request to the Town for the change.  As a result, their request for the amendment will be removed from the agenda.

Due to the anticipated the public interest in that specific agenda item the Commission directed that the Feb. 5 meeting be held at the Islandside Room (Longboat Key Club  Resort). Based on the removal of this item from the agenda we are planning to move the meeting back to the Commission Chambers at Town Hall. The other public hearing items on the agenda for Feb. 5 were originally advertised for Town Hall so it will not be necessary to re-advertise those items with a new location. Since the meeting is not until Feb. 5 we have some time to help get the word out on the location and that the request from the applicant has been withdrawn.

Thomas Harmer

Town Manager, Town of Longboat Key


Withdrawal of Unicorp Zoning Text Amendment

To: Planning and Zoning Director Allen Parsons

In accordance with our discussions, attached is a letter to you formally withdrawing the application I submitted on behalf of Unicorp National Developments, Inc. to the Town for a Zoning Text Amendment of §158.180(E). We will not proceed further with the text amendment. As noted in the attached letter, I will submit materials to you on Friday revising the PUD and Site Plan applications to reflect the reduction in units required by withdrawal of the text amendment.

Brenda Patten

Berlin Patten Ebling, PLLC



Text Amendment withdrawn for St. Regis

To: Town Commission

After much consideration in respect of the wishes of the community, we have decided to withdraw the text amendment.

We heard the community loud and clear. We clearly understand the trade off for our departures is the reduced density and we accept that.

We also resoundingly heard the community say they would like to see the development move forward but without the text amendment.  So we have decided to make changes to our plans that will be submitted today reflecting the 4.5 units per acre of residential.

We have now given the community everything they asked for and we pray that the plan will be approved at the Feb. 22 Planning and Zoning Board hearing and the Mar. 5 Commission.

We look forward to building a magnificent St. Regis Resort in Longboat Key and would hope to garner a 7-0 vote from both boards. I wish you all the best! See you soon.

Chuck Whittall




Razing the Colony Buildings

To: Town Commission

I have a question that I believe many others would also like to have answered. How is it that the Colony property has been allowed to sit there and become a health hazard and eyesore to those of us who live near it?  Why are we being punished and possibly incurring health problems? It seems to me that 8 years is way too long not to have had something done!  What happened to the town’s edict in October, 2017 that the structures be razed?  Why hasn’t this been enforced?  I don’t care if ownership has been held up in the courts. It’s unsafe and unhealthy! Can someone answer this for me and others who are wondering why it has taken so long?

I haven’t heard anyone mention Players Club as a neighbor to the Colony property. All we hear is that Ten Con and Aquarius are. Maybe a visit to our property would show that we too are neighbors. We look at the mess every day and have incurred problems from the Colony. Many people have said they want something done because the property is an eyesore. Can you please help us get something done!!

Elaine Meurer

Longboat Key


Colony Redevelopment Chamber Support

To: Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce President Gail Loefgren

First, I apologize but just to vent a bit, it is beyond me why the Chamber hasn’t been actively supporting the St Regis Resort Colony redevelopment density amendment proposal. Probably the biggest economic growth and brand enhancement opportunity for Longboat Key ever!

I understand that the Chamber is apolitical for good reason and the Board decided against getting involved. However, this isn’t a Left vs. Right political issue.  It is about attracting high end visitation to the benefit of real estate values and to support our struggling businesses year round, not to mention eliminate the Colony property blight sooner than later.

We have all watched island businesses fight the dwindling cash flow battle in the off season to keep the doors open and some can’t. Why not support them in this obvious year round business generating opportunity?

It was hopeful to see Michael Saunders address the Commission yesterday.

Looks like the density amendment won’t pass and the St Regis brand opportunity will fade into a beautiful LBK sunset.  No one is really trying to figure out how to make it happen other than Unicorp. Oh well too bad…a Motel 6 maybe? Sorry, I just don’t get it.

Bob Gault

Longboat Key


Pickle-ball facilities expansion

To: Parks and Recreation Director Mark Richardson

First I would like to say thank you to all of the Longboat Town personnel who were instrumental towards including the very fine “pickle ball” court  in our new Bayfront Park facility.  As we are all finding out, this court is becoming by far the most utilized  facility in our new Park.  My hat is off to those who had the foresight to include this court in our Bayfront Park.

Unfortunately, you and the commissioners may be thinking you opened up a real bag of worms as somewhat explained in the “Disorder on the court” article in the current Longboat Observer issue.  There is no question that pickle ball is becoming the new tennis.  It has become very popular with all age groups but surprising popular with our seniors.  Be forewarned that the demand for more pickle ball facilities will continue.

With this brief intro, I respectfully would like to repeat the suggestion I made to you during our conversation of a couple weeks back.  We briefly discussed the conversion of the two (2) tennis courts at Bayfront court to “dual purpose” courts.

Based upon my observation the Bayfront Park tennis courts are substantially under used.  Admittedly my observation was not performed with any intensity but merely observations I have made anytime I have been in or passing by the Bayfront Park.  From my observations I am confident that if we were to do a study we would find that the Bayfront  tennis courts are occupied at a very low percentage of their available playable time.

With this premise, I respectfully suggest the town seriously consider making the two (2) tennis courts “dual purpose” courts i.e. tennis and pickle ball. This is a very simple and inexpensive alteration to the courts. The conversion merely requires the addition of pickle ball court boundary lines being added to each of the tennis courts. The pickle ball boundary lines should be done in a low intensity color shade such as green or blue so there is no conflict with the white tennis lines.

I can appreciate that some hard core tennis player may initially object stating that this will distract the tennis play but frankly when done with proper shaded color selections any distraction will be minimal.

I should share with you that I play both tennis and pickle ball and have in fact played on a dual purpose( tennis / pickle ball) courts painted with the lines I have described.  I can assure you that  there is no distraction to the quality of play to either sport.  Incidentally, on these dual purpose courts the slight difference in the height of the net at the center (34” vs. 36”) can be very easily handled with the use of two different length center straps. These straps should be equipped with quick release snaps. Both of these Short straps are left right at the bottom and center area of the net.

In my opinion the addition of “dual purpose “ to our two (2) Bayfront tennis courts would be a most economical approach to providing substantial additional pickle ball facility. As importantly we will see higher utilization of our Bayfront Park facility.

I offer that I would be pleased to meet with you most anytime and explained this dual purpose court application in more detail. I assure you this approach will be a most economical and most welcomed by the pickle ball players.

I look forward to your comments.

Tom Diener

Longboat Key resident


More people, cars on LBK?

To: Editor

You must be deaf and dumb if you do not know that the residents of Longboat Key are tired of more and more building, which causes more and more congestion and slower traffic. It now takes me an hour to get from my home to Sarasota. It used to be that once you reached Sarasota the traffic flowed better. That, of course, has changed because Sarasota has allowed itself to be over-developed with hotels. The rumor that a rotary may be placed between Longboat Key and Sarasota on the Trail sounds like either a bad joke or a nightmare. I am an expert on rotaries having used them all my life in Massachusetts, but they take split-second decision-making and speed to get through them. These are not what elderly drivers or strangers in town will have as they cautiously try to decide which way they are supposed to turn.

One argument for a Colony development is that a high hotel with a ballroom will attract conventions. Over a hundred people trying to break into traffic on Longboat Key is a nightmare to contemplate. The citizens of Longboat have constantly shown that they do not want more hotels. So why are we being forced to have a new one. I’m sure the Colony can be just as attractive without a hotel in its midst.  This town should realize that this area is past allowing more development. The people in Sarasota are very angry at what has happened to their once pretty town. I always felt smug that on Longboat the citizens could voice their opinion. I spoke too soon. If this new development is passed, we owe it to legislators who have betrayed us.

Anne Arsenault

Longboat Key

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