Longboat Key Letters – Week ending June 22, 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.

Beach crossings not successful

To: Editor

The beach crossings along Gulf of Mexico Drive have not proven consistently successful. Many drivers fail to slow for the yellow flashing lights indicating a pedestrian wants to cross to the other side. Several solutions have been proposed, all of them expensive. Here’s an inexpensive one that should be given consideration.

Drivers aren’t used to stopping for yellow lights, flashing or not. They’re conditioned to stop for red lights. A relatively inexpensive experiment would be to replace the existing yellow lights with red ones, but before doing so establish a monitoring system, either human or electronic, to determine the relative proportions of approaching cars that stop at pre-determined sites when approaching the flashing yellow light versus those that stop. Then change the colors to red and continue monitoring. Any effectiveness is easily measured using simple statistical methods.

Stephen Spotte

Longboat Key


Issues regarding Ordinance 2016-32 leads to “blocked emails”

To: Town Commission

In the Winter of 2016, the Planning and Zoning Board, under the leadership of Jim Brown, chairman, passed legislation dealing with non-conformities. The legislation passed 7-0.  By the time the legislation moved to the Commission Mr. Brown had been elected to serve as a Commissioner and was seated at the Commission. Through the discussion regarding this legislation, known as 2016-32, the Commission on a motion by Mr. Brown voted to table the legislation.  From June, 2016 to the present time that legislation has remained tabled.

In the Spring of 2018 a series of work sessions were held at the Commission level to discuss non-conformities.  After three sessions the Commission identified issues that they wished to have amended in the previous passed legislation.  At no time, during any of these meetings, or at any other time in the past two years, did any member of the Commission state that emergency legislation on this issue had to be brought forward immediately.

Staff indicated to Commission at the June, 2018 work session they would make language suggestions to the Planning and Zoning Board and bring that up at P&Z’s meeting in September 2018.

The Commission held a workshop on a series of issues yesterday.  One issue was the status of the updating of the zoning code that was halted in October 2017.  The update was not on specific language in the zoning code, but if the format and scope of the zoning code was what the Commission believed appropriate, before the consultant continued the work on the Town’s rewritten zoning code.

In the midst of this general conversation, Mr. Pastor stated that he believed emergency legislation needed to be passed, and he referred to 2016-32 as acceptable to him, prior to the Summer with the threat of hurricanes.  The Mayor ruled that this conversation was out of order.  The conversation continued, despite the Mayor’s ruling and Mr. Pastor indicated that the Commission has been diligently working on 2016-32 and it had gone forward with a first reading and vote.  That was incorrect and both the Clerk and the Town Attorney corrected that statement.

At that point I spoke to the Commission about throwing incomplete legislation on the table — that if it was not a problem during the Summer, Fall, Winter of 2016, 2017 or the Spring of 2018 it was poor legislative planning to throw something out now without the public input or complete deliberation.  I did state that my home jurisdiction of Loudoun County VA had redrafted their Comprehensive Plan beginning in November, 2017 and it was now in front of the public on my recent visit home – a point I made to show that much work could have been completed if the Commission wished to amend  2016-32.

Mr. Brown, who did not attend the meeting, took umbrage at my remarks and sent the following email only to me:

“The commission tabled 2016-32 because it is flawed and requires changes to conform to the needs and desires of the community. The fact that the work has been delayed isn’t the commission’s fault! It is the fault of the transition between Alanea Ray and Allen. This is why the commission has the final approval.”

Then, Mr. Brown – on a private email sent me the following regarding town business:

“If you’d stop trying to make the commission look bad and read what I wrote you’d see that I said nothing about agreeing with Irwin or anyone else. I said the ordinance was tabled because it was flawed and it wasn’t the commission’s fault that it hasn’t been corrected yet. Apparently you were so anxious to send a flawed ordinance to the commission you forgot to do your job.”

So, once again, let me state what has been stated at three separate meetings:  Jim Brown, Chair of the Planning and Zoning Board led the discussion and the passage of 2016-32.  It was a 7-0 vote.  He was than re-elected to rejoin the Commission and after voting for the legislation, he asked that the legislation be tabled.  It has been tabled for over 2 years. His private email to me was inaccurate.  I am very sad that Mr. Brown believes the six members of Planning and Zoning who worked with him for the two years he was on the Board were “anxious to send a flawed ordinance to the Commission”.  I believe the members of planning and zoning who are still active in government today worked diligently with Mr. Brown and the Commission to bring forward the best legislation possible.

Mr. Brown has blocked my emails from his public account as a Commissioner.  Hopefully, the Town Manager can provide my responses to his private emails about Town business to him.

Alaina Ray left the Town in October 2017. One year and four months after Mr. Brown’s motion to table the legislation he had earlier voted in favor of at the Planning and Zoning Board.

The Planning and Zoning Board have had seven strong members since Mr. Brown left in March 2016.  We would have been happy to make whatever amendments were suggested by the Commission, but to bring this back as emergency legislation because it is hurricane season is not good legislative practice.  I am as concerned about hurricanes and the prospect of not having a viable building code as anyone, but that is not the environment that brings good legislation to the table.  If this is a crisis why was nothing done in the last two years or at least the 1 year 4 months that Ms. Ray was still here?

The Planning and Zoning Board and Town staff have indicated a willingness to meet in August to move forward non-conforming language that addresses the myriad of issues that such a bill could resolve.

BJ Webb Bishop


Planning and Zoning Board


To: Town Commission

The Commission tabled 2016-32 and never moved it forward. This is 2018 and still no action. Those are the facts.

BJ Webb Bishop


Planning and Zoning Board


Ordinance is flawed…

To: Planning and Zoning Board Chair BJ Bishop

The commission tabled 2016-32 because it is flawed and requires changes to conform to the needs and desires of the community. The fact that the work has been delayed isn’t the commission’s fault! It is the fault of the transition between Alaina Ray and Allen (Parsons). This is why the commission has the final approval.

Jim Brown


Longboat Key


Reaction to Pastor’s remarks

To: Commissioner Jim Brown

This was in response to stupid remarks made at yesterday’s commission meeting by Irwin Pastor. If you had been there you would have understood the message. He wanted to implement 2016-32 on an emergency resolution yesterday. Don’t respond if you don’t know what took place.

BJ Webb Bishop


Planning and Zoning Board


No lecture needed…

To: Planning and Zoning Board Chair BJ Bishop

Excuse me, Mrs. Bishop…I watched the whole meeting and I’m fully aware of what transpired. I don’t need to be lectured!

Jim Brown


Longboat Key


“Good to know…”

To: Commissioner Jim Brown

Neither do I. Good to know you agree with Pastor. Mr. Spoll thought I had been helpful yesterday. Now that I know you disagree and want the emergency resolution of 2016-32 brought back as Irwin does I will act accordingly. By the way I think bringing back a code that most commission members believe needs amending for emergency purpose is poor legislative work and not in town’s best interest.

BJ Webb Bishop


Planning and Zoning Board


Planning Issues

To: Planning and Zoning Chair BJ Bishop

Without getting into the fray, I want to again reiterate my consistent view that 2016-32 is not flawed, and remains to date, as I see it , the best available response to our nonconformity issues. I agreed to table it during our deliberations, solely because we were constantly bumping into Colony issues, and it made sense to delay its approval until those issues were resolved. As I expressed at the workshop, I remain confident, God forbid, should we be faced with a significant emergency situation during this hurricane season , that 2016-32 is on the shelf which can be quickly and timely tailored and implemented as an immediate appropriate interim emergency response thereto, all in the best interests of our residents.

Jack Daly


Longboat Key


Failure Notice

To: Planning and Zoning Chair BJ Webb

Emails sent to the Commission have been blocked on your account.  I.T. is checking problem but perhaps this was intentional so I will communicate with the Commission and hopefully Tom Harmer can get commission mail to you from me.

Trish Granger

Town Clerk

Longboat Key


Sarasota County Taxes

To: Finance Director Susan Smith

Regarding our recent discussions about Sarasota County tax payments by Longboat Key versus our return of benefits, I received this response from the county tax collector’s office to my recent inquiry.  If LBK’s 2017 Sarasota County taxable value was $4 billion+ (per our budget booklet), and the County’s total 2017 taxable value was $52 billion+, then LBK’s share of the county’s taxable base was 7.66%.  As we discussed regarding the Tourist Development Tax, LBK’s share of the county population is only 1.34%.

While I know we have a special sharing arrangement for the TDT to alleviate this discrepancy,  I’m not sure how our other sharing with the county is computed.  Clearly, it is to our advantage to share based on taxable value (and taxes paid) as opposed to population.  I also haven’t attempted this analysis for our Manatee County portion, but it is likely similar. Let’s discuss further at your convenience.  Thanks.

Ken Schneier


Longboat Key


To: Commissioner Ken Schneier

The 2017 final certified values for real property in Sarasota County (excluding tangible personal property and centrally assessed railroads) are as follows:

Just value            $ 74,690,974,800

Assessed value    $ 62,216,404,854

Taxable value      $ 52,881,453,316

The 2018 tax roll will be submitted to the Florida Department of Revenue on July 1.  Please contact me if you have any questions.

Brian Loughrey, CFE

Administrative Director

Sarasota County Property Appraiser


FDOT Legal Advertisement to be Published in Your District

To: Town Clerk Trish Shinkle

The Florida Department of Transportation has received an unsolicited proposal relating to Florida Statutes 337.251 regarding the lease of property for joint public-private development.  Please find attached a Notice from the Florida Department of Transportation regarding a Request for Proposals for the purpose of developing and operating regional stormwater capacity.  The advertisement will be published in Naples Daily News and the Sarasota Herald Tribune.

Zachary Burch

Government Affairs & Communications Manager

Florida Department of Transportation


Fix Our Flooding!

To: Mayor George Spoll

Please provide me with more details on our city’s sea level rise plans

I am a brand new full-time resident and very, very concerned. Thanks.

Cathy Maddox

Longboat Key


Aggressive Confrontation by LBK employee at Bayfront Park

To: Town Manager Tom Harmer, Public Works Director Isaac Brownman

Shortly before 1 p.m. on Monday, June 17, 2018, LBK employee, Frank S. aggressively confronted me in the general area of the two-story pavilion. He described my behavior as suspicious. I described his behavior as weird. I had just returned from swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. Frank apparently spotted me using a hose on the north side of the pavilion to rinse off with.

Instead of the two of us exchanging a few pleasantries, the conversation immediately became tense and confrontational. He had driven by and stared at me before I left for the swim. Truly, the stare made me uncomfortable. I thought he might have made a pass at me. If you do not want me to use the hose, please improve your communication method. I hope to use the park in the future without confrontation.

David S. Fraser

Longboat Key


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