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Longboat Key Letters – Week ending June 8, 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.

FWC Project at Bayfront Park

To: Town Commission

The Town is working with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to host an FWC pilot seawall/shoreline enhancement project at Bayfront Park.  See background information below- they plan to install the enhancements later this year and will be evaluating the benefits of the two different types over the term of the project (through June of 2021).

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or would like any additional information regarding this project.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

FWC Project at Bayfront Park

To: Town Manager Tom Harmer

Public Works is working as host with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to conduct a seawall enhancement and shoreline project at Bayfront Park. The project will entail the installation of 2 different types of seawall enhancements:  concrete panels with mangrove prop root relief (Reef Walls) and bagged oyster shell. After the enhancements are installed, FWC project staff will conduct surveys of fish and wildlife using both the enhanced shorelines and existing segments of unmodified seawall and mangrove shoreline.   

Installation of the enhancements is planned to occur between September and November 2018.  A baseline pre-installation survey will be conducted late August 2018, and the first post-installation survey will be conducted in December 2018 or January 2019.  Surveys will consist of species presence and density counts of invertebrates and fish at random sampling locations within 5 meters of the shoreline and any birds in the immediate vicinity.  Surveys will be conducted via snorkeling and the use of quadrats, Fyke nets, etc. Project staff will also take benthic samples for laboratory analysis of infauna.

FWC is finalizing permit applications to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). After the installation of the enhancements is complete, biological surveys will be conducted until June 2021. Our primary point with FWC for this project is:

Fara Ilami

Coastal Wildlife Conservation Initiative Coordinator

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

3377 East US Highway 90

Lake City, FL 32055

Office: 386-754-1668

fara.ilami@myfwc.com

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Isaac Brownman

Director Public Works

Longboat Key

 

FWC Project at Bayfront Park

To: Town Manager Tom Harmer

Great idea and very special for LBK to be chosen as host.

Ken Schneier

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Sign Regulation to Phase Out Visual Clutter

To: Commissioner Ed Zunz

Please make our island more attractive by adopting aesthetically pleasing real estate and business sign codes. The commercial sign clutter on GMD is unattractive.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Signs

To: Commissioner Ed Zunz

Let’s also respect the rights of the vast majority of residents who do not have their homes for sale and have to live month after month with unattractive sign clutter virtually in their front yards. If all signs were assigned a pleasing uniform size, color and shape, all real estate listings would be on an equal footing. Besides I believe in the age of realtor.com and Zillow, people house hunt on line and then use a GPS to get there. I believe insisting on attractive signs will improve home prices by presenting buyers with a more attractive community. Let’s face it, ragtag signage detracts from the beauty of our town.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Sign code

To: Gene Jaleski

Which is what the ordinance sent forward by the P&Z proposed – not 5 different sizes. But, the residents who want to sell also have the right for that to be known. You did not mind boats and trailers in a front yard when the Commission tried to tidy things up. Why is one sign an issue for you?

BJ Bishop

Chair Planning and Zoning Board

Longboat Key

 

Sign code

To: Planning and Zoning Board Chair BJ Bishop

Why is it invariably the business owners who are the focus of the town’s endeavors, and not the residents? I expect that residents would appreciate minimal sign pollution, and that real estate people want billboards in front of every listing. I want small attractive uniform tasteful signage, just like what is permitted in many other upscale communities.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Sign code

To: Planning and Zoning Board Chair BJ Bishop and Gene Jaleski

BJ and Gene, I agree with both of you as to your preference for fewer and smaller signs.  The recent “free speech” decision by the U. S. Supreme Court places no limitation on the maximum or minimum size of signs.  Aside from things such as pornography, it places no limit on the subject matter of signs.  Free speech requires that all subject matters be treated equally.  Thus, prohibition of real estate signs would be a violation of free speech.   The reason I voted against the sign ordinance today is my firm belief that allowing a larger sign for real estate matters and a smaller sign for all other subject matters is violative of the Supreme Court mandate.   

Ed Zunz

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Draft MPO 2018 Project Priorities

To: Commissioner Jack Daly

Thank you, Commissioner Daly.

David L. Hutchinson

Executive Director

Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization

 

Draft MPO 2018 Project Priorities

To: Executive Director MPO Dave Hutchinson

Thank you for the draft MPO 2018 Project Priorities List. Due to an all day Town Commission meeting on June 18th, Longboat Key will be unable to participate in the MPO Board meeting on that Date. Accordingly, with respect to The Barrier Island Traffic Study (BITS)  shown as Priority 18 on the draft, recognizing that the study is ongoing, The Longboat Key Commission has approved and  hereby requests,  that the following, short term, but low cost items be included on the BITS List for 2018. They are included in the  draft BITS recommendations, and I suggest could be implemented by FDOT quickly with immediate positive traffic mediation results during the upcoming peak season for the barrier islands, especially for Longboat Key. 1. Assigned pedestrian control officers at specified crosswalks on St Armand’s Circle during peak traffic flows. (This was implemented in the past, but improved  training of officers will provide even better results). 2. Similar pedestrian control near the Bridge St. Circle in Bradenton Beach, including the results of FDOT’s current analysis for additional short term and enhancements at the Circle. 3. Removal of some 10 previously identified parking spaces near the west leg off St Armand’s Circle towards Lido Beach. (This has been supported in the past but not yet  implemented). This timing could occur in conjunction with the opening of the planned new parking structure, later this year. 4. Identified Coquina/ Bradenton Beach Access, Parking and pedestrian management controls to assist with respect to ingress and egress and associated traffic flow congestion. — With respect to the long-term; our Commission also approved the following for inclusion in the priorities: — 1. An Additional flexible third lane on future relevant bridge replacements, specifically on the FDOT recently approved fixed span Cortez Bridge, and 2. Elevated pedestrian crossings at key intersections on the US 41 corridor from Ringling Blvd to Fruitville Rd.

Jack Daly

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

SWS Consensus Summary

To: Town Commission

As requested, see summary below from this morning’s workshop.  This is in addition to the certification program and the update existing conditions inventory that was discussed and staff is working on.

Tom Harmer

Town Manager

Longboat Key

 

6/4/18 TC SWS Consensus Summary

To: Town Manager Tom Harmer

Sharing the final Commission consensus notes that were taken at this morning’s Redevelopment Workshop.

Overall Intent for Addressing Non-Conforming Density Redevelopment: Preserve Density | Redevelopment to Be Conforming With Zone District Standards

Goals for Non-Conforming Redevelopment

Goal 1- No New Density Allowed

Goal 2- Any Redevelopment Would Use Best Efforts to Meet Zone Districts

Goal 3- Use and Structures, in any Redevelopment, would meet Zone District Standards

Options For Non-Conforming Redevelopment

Option 1: Redevelop to Existing Extents (+ FEMA) (i.e. no additional Cubic Content)

Option 2- Redevelop via Meeting Zone District Standards (allow additional Cubic Content)

Option 3- Redevelop Under New “Floating Zone District” (Details to be developed via PZB Review/Input) (allow additional Cubic Content)

Option 3 (i.e. New Floating Zone District) Goals:

Reduce Non-Conforming Height

Conform Redevelopment to Zone District Standards to the Greatest Extent Possible

Allow Development Flexibility (including building heights greater than allowed in underlying zone district):

When redevelopment may not meet zone district standards; due to site constraints, or market demonstration can be made.

Allen Parsons

Director Planning, Zoning & Building Department

Longboat Key

 

Sarasota Bay Estuary Program Follow-up- Seawall Ordinance Changes

To: Town Commission

FYI- at our 1st Reading of the seawall related ordinance, we mentioned that we were meeting with representatives of the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program. We did meet with them on May 15th and last week received the attached letter. They have indicated their support of the proposed changes to height and projection. They have asked that our ordinances not prohibit seawall enhancement projects seaward of the seawalls and they have indicated a desire to participate in future discussions related to long-term resiliency planning for the Town. We will mention our meeting with them at the hearing this afternoon.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Road cost

To: Gene Jaleski

Maintenance cost is not the issue. For a variety of reasons, including their policy of not allowing a gap in an existing state highway loop, the state would not allow LBK to take over GMD.   

Ed Zunz

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Road cost

To: Public Works Director Isaac Brownman

How much would it cost either island or the two county taxpayers to assume maintenance of GMD?

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Flooding concern at the roundabout

To: Commissioner Ed Zunz

As a former resident of Longboat Key now living at the Sarasota Bay Club I have a question. I’m reading a lot about the concern of many people about the construction of a roundabout at the junction of US 41 and the traffic from Longboat. Has the Town asked the DOT whether they intend to raise the level of the road to counteract not only the flooding in a heavy rain but also the flooding due to rising bay waters? Pipes won’t do the job when the Bay waters rise. Elevate the road four or more feet and the problem will be solved.

Bob Bernhard

Longboat Key

 

Flooding concern at roundabout

To: Robert Bernhard

I am not aware that the town has made any such request. We have made many requests for alternative means of better providing for traffic flow and pedestrian safety.   

Ed Zunz

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

June 4 Town Commission Meeting re Non-conforming Uses

To: Town Manager Tom Harmer, Planning and Zoning Director Allen Parsons, Town Attorney Maggie Mooney-Portale

Thanks to Allen and Staff for preparing the May 24 memo on quick turn-around and to Maggie for her legal insights.  A few advance thoughts to get the ball rolling on Monday:

Certifications: While I still don’t think many owners will avail themselves of this process to eliminate the stigma of non-conformity, it remains a very good idea to accomplish that purpose and, maybe more importantly, to record existing uses in detail in the event of a storm.  A few issues:  1. Has this process been used successfully anywhere else?  2.  What is the actual “legal” effect of a certification?  Could a property destroyed in a storm rebuild in accordance with a certification over objections from neighboring owners?  3.  As to a specific property, who would initiate the process, how elaborate (expensive) would it be, and who would pay for it?

Non-Conforming Properties Inventory:  This is also a very good idea and should be executed so as to coordinate with the certification process discussed above.  The two stages make perfect sense.

Taller and Shorter Buildings:  Counsel’s memo hammers home the Bert Harris Act point, which Staff seems to have addressed and eliminated with the language “inclusive of allowances to meet habitable floor elevation requirements” in the “taller buildings” section.  Eliminating the right to add a flood zone floor seems unnecessary and unwise.   Counsel’s lengthy citations from our redevelopment ordinance, however, underscores the more serious point of how unworkable the redevelopment section is and, maybe, why it has remained unused for 10 years.  More importantly, why would an owner rebuild a high-rise or a low-rise knowing it would remain a non-conforming use?  I think these remain the key questions for us.

Ken Schneier

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Visit Sarasota County’s April Tourism Statistics

To: Town Clerk Trish Granger

Greetings on this first week of June. The good news is that we are still seeing growth in visitation for the month of April, despite Easter falling in March this year. The downside is that the growth was not sufficient to drive increases in occupancy and average daily rate with the new hotel rooms. Here are the numbers.

For the fiscal year, October 1-April 30, visitation has increased 2.5% and visitor direct spending has grown 2.9%.  The positive news for the fiscal year is that visitation from Canada and the UK has rebounded to positive numbers.

In April 2018 we had visitation growth of 1.1% (132,900 visitors) and direct spending growth of 1.4% ($109,098,200).

Hotel occupancy fell -3.4% to 76% and the average hotel room rate fell -0.4% to $203.53.

Virginia J. Haley

President

Visit Sarasota County

 

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