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Longboat Key Letters – Week ending September 7, 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.

Taxpayer Money

To: Commissioner Ed Zunz

Ed, I have been told that the town has begun yet another sand placement at or near the north end groins. I have lived on the north end for over thirty years. I have never seen such accelerated beach erosion before the two groins were installed. The town is trucking in more expensive sacrificial sand onto the ravaged north end beach, yet retaining the groins that have proven to be an accelerator to north end erosion. Given the short life of the four recent sand replacements around the groins, since their inception, I estimate this current sand placement will be mostly gone by Christmas, just in time for winter storms. My previous evaluations of the negative impact the groins have had on north end beach erosion have been fairly accurate.

Why would the commission trust the advice of the beach engineering companies, who were so wrong about the affect of the groins on the north end beach profile, and erect more groins adjacent to a large fast moving inlet? What happened to the terminal groin that the commission originally championed? Why has no other Florida community chosen to build groins near inlets? Why have other Florida communities chosen to instead employ active continuous sand backpass/bypass to maintain beaches adjacent to inlets?

Why not try an inexpensive pilot project using SandSavers before experimenting with groins? SandSaver Link: http://www.sandsaver.com/about-sandsaver.htm

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Taxpayer Money

To: Gene Jaleski

Several times you have expressed your concerns on this subject, some of which I share. They have been passed on to our experts and I expect that our Town Manager will pass on the responses we have received.   

Ed Zunz

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Colony Beach Investors LLC v. LBK  2018 CA 3076 NC and  Jagid v. LBK

To: Town Commission

I am pleased to share good news.  The lawsuits filed earlier this summer by Colony Beach Investors LLC, Sheldon and Carol Rabin,  and  Mr. and Mrs. Jagid that challenged the Town’s Emergency Demolition Orders relating to the Colony property have been dismissed and this litigation is now concluded. Copies of the executed Orders of Dismissal are attached. Should you have any questions about this update, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Maggie D. Mooney

Town Attorney

Longboat Key

 

Emergency Hearing in Colony Beach Investors, LLC , et al v. LBK and Jagid, et al v. LBK and Court Order

To: Town Commission

The purpose of this email is to provide summarize yesterday’s  hearing in the above referenced cases challenging the Town’s Emergency Demolition Orders issued for certain structures on the Colony property.   Plaintiffs, Colony Beach Investors LLC, Sheldon and Carol Rabin, Lillian and Jonathan Jagid and Gordon and Sandra Bratter, et al challenged the Town’s Emergency Orders and filed 2 lawsuits in the Sarasota Circuit Court that sought emergency declaratory and injunctive relief to stop the demolition of the following buildings on the Colony site:  the Vagabond, Beachview, Beachcomber and Lanai. The 2 separately filed cases were joined by the Court.  Judge Hunter Carroll presided over the cases.

I am pleased to report that the Plaintiffs’ Motions for Injunctive Relief (filed in both cases) were denied by Judge Carroll yesterday evening at 9:45 pm following a 5 ½ hour hearing. A copy of the Order denying the Plaintiffs’ requests is attached.

The Plaintiffs called Sheldon Rabin (by phone), Andy Adams, Manfred Welfonder, and Engineer Jody Young as witnesses in support of the Plaintiffs’ request for injunctive relief.  Stan Dinwoodie (Building Official), Lou Gagliardi (Fire Marshal), Pete Cumming (Police Chief) and Larry Stritzel (Lighthouse Prop. Management, the Management Company for the Colony property) appeared as witnesses for the Town.

After hearing all evidence and testimony, the Court explained its reasoning for denying the Plaintiffs’ requested relief through its oral ruling.  The Court recognized that the burden of proof in the filed actions is on the Plaintiffs, and the Plaintiffs had to prove:  (1) a likelihood of success on the merits, (2) irreparable harm, (3) no adequate remedy at law, and (4) that the public interest will be served by stopping the demolition of those buildings.  The Court found that the Plaintiffs failed to meet their burden of proof because they did not satisfy elements 1 and 4, set forth above.  Specifically, the Court found that Section 150.21 of the Town Code provided adequate criteria and due process in the demolition proceedings.  The Court also found that the Town had properly exercised its police power authority in ordering the demolition to protect against “imminent dangers” from the site and the buildings.  The Court stated that its decision was based upon the following evidence presented at the hearing:

-the partial collapse of portions of 2 structures at issue,

-termite infestation,

-rodent and vermin infestation,

-the potential fire hazard from the site,

-evidence of trespassers on the site and in the buildings despite the fencing that was erected to prevent such access,

– the frequency the Town’s police reports detailing trespassing incidents,

-the lack of water, power and sewer on the property,

– firefighter safety concerns as firefighters have been ordered not to enter the structures out of concern for their safety, and

– the evidence of people slipping and falling on the site.

The Court specifically found that the Town was acting in the public interest in pursuing the Emergency Demolition Orders and that the public interest outweighed the Plaintiffs’ private interests which focused on preserving 4 particular buildings on the site.    

Stan Dinwoodie, Lou Gagliardi and Pete Cummings provided  critical witness testimony at today’s hearing.  They detailed their respective observations and professional opinions, and the various life and safety concerns the Town was addressing through the condemnation/demolition proceedings.  In addition to the witness testimony, there was a great deal of work and effort “behind the scenes” by other Town Staff leading up to the issuance of the demolition orders and hearing. Accordingly, I want to acknowledge everyone at Town Hall and particularly in the PZB Department for all of their efforts leading up to these proceedings.  It was a tremendous team effort to get to this point and Tom and Allen did a great job leading the team through this process.

Finally, I also want to thank the Town’s special counsel, Art Hardy and Martin Garcia of the Matthews Eastmoore law firm, for all of their hard work, litigation preparation, and advocacy on the Town’s behalf in these proceedings.  They had a limited period of time to prepare for yesterday’s emergency hearing, and Art and Martin skillfully flew into action. They did an outstanding job defending the Town’s fundamental policy objective of protecting the people and property within the Town of Longboat Key.

As with any litigation, the Plaintiffs will have the right to appeal the Court’s decision. It is unclear at this time whether they will choose to do so.  I will keep you posted on any developments in this regard.  In the meantime, Town Staff is preparing to move forward with engaging the services of qualified contractor(s) to perform the demolition work on the Colony site. Should any of you have any questions regarding this summary, or if you would wish to discuss yesterdays hearing in greater detail, please do not hesitate to call me.

Maggie D. Mooney-Portale

Town Attorney

Longboat Key

 

Sea Level Rise Consultants impressive

To: Town Commission

Bill,  Thanks for your kind note. I agree that this was a first rate presentation on a subject that is of extreme importance to LBK. We look forward to hearing their recommendations which are to follow.

Ed Zunz

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Sea Level Rise Consultants impressive

To: Commissioner Ed Zunz

I have seldom been so impressed by a group of consultants. As an EVP at a Research Foundation for 20 years,  it was my job to evaluate consultants,  and write evaluations of their approaches, and potential value to their clients.

When I first read how much LBK was paying to get an introductory study conducted on a subject of such importance to LBK, I thought,  “Boy I hope they have selected a really competent consultancy.

When I attended the Monday afternoon session with the APTIV consultants, and the crowd of LBK residents who shared my sense of the importance of this project, I was quite impressed. The consultants emphasis on a broad scope, the use of multiple measures, a transparent process and a request for feedback from residents, bodes very well for the value that we can expect LBK to get from these consultants and the town’s dialogue with them.

Kudos to Tom Harmer, Isaac Brownman, and the Commission for the progress to date, and the promise of more to come.

Bill Cook

Longboat Key

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