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Longboat Key Letters – Week ending September 14, 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.

Lido Pavilion issues

To: Sarasota City Commission

Are there compliance enforcement clauses in the lease?

Currently there are two public picnic tables on the Pavilion patio. At the Wednesday meeting the developers claimed there were none inside the patio area and the only picnic tables were on the grassy sandy areas. Are at least two patio tables going to be saved? What about the drinking water fountain?

There are nesting turtles fewer than 100 feet from the edge of the new development area. Music. Lights? Money and a degraded environment more important than our wildlife habitats? Are the shower areas going to be affected?

Wheelchairs:

Someone mentioned wheelchairs in the 200 seat area. This is not a static situation. 200 seats means 200 people moving around, children running around, plus servers serving food, drunk people, general public milling about— some with dogs on leashes. People don’t sit at tables with chairs tucked in like when it’s empty.

Is the public going to foot the lifeguard bill for the private pool?

What are the senior swimming rates? Any provision for seniors who swim for $2 now?

The lease is stealing from the public and the stated conditional use is degrading and deplorable.

Karen Williams

Sarasota

 

Lido Pavilion: vote no

To: Editor

Sarasota City Commissioners … vote No, No, No.

Tony McCormack

Sarasota

 

Lido Beach Pavilion

To: Editor

Today we need leadership and vision more than ever.

Unfortunately in Sarasota government we see so many areas that there is lack of vision and doing the right thing. Our community is paying a price and not moving forward or upward in stature.

Just hope a bad decision on Lido Beach Pavilion (approving the daiquiri deck agreement) is not another step in the wrong direction.   

Ben Maibach

Sarasota

 

Why roundabouts?

To: Sarasota City Commission

Why are traffic lights at the intersections of U.S. 41, Gulfstream and Fruitville being replaced by roundabouts in Sarasota? Because they are more efficient and safer than red light intersections.  The installation of roundabouts has proceeded at a brisk pace throughout the industrialized countries of the world and are being built throughout the United States and now in Sarasota.

Why roundabouts?  Research conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway administration provides us with the following facts:

• Roundabouts increase intersection capacity and reduce traffic delays. There is a 30% to 50% increase in intersection traffic capacity.

• Roundabouts provide a 90% reduction in fatal crashes; 75% reduction in injury crashes, 30% to 40% reduction in pedestrian crashes and a 10% reduction in bicycle crashes.

• Roundabouts move traffic safely and efficiently through an intersection because of slower speeds, fewer conflict points and easy decision making.

• Roundabouts reduce pollution and fuel use and are have less noise due to fewer stops and starts.

• Roundabouts improve traffic flow for intersections that handle a high number of left turns and reduce need for storage lanes.

• Roundabouts have no signal equipment to install and repair, with average savings of $5,000 per intersection per year and operate during hurricanes even with a loss of electrical power.

• Roundabouts enhance the movement and response times of emergency service vehicles (EMS and Fire) and meet the shared goal of reducing vehicle and pedestrian fatalities and injuries.

Sources: Roundabouts: An Informational Guide, FHWA Publication No. FHWA-RD-00-067, available at http://tfhrc.gov: Roundabouts & First Responders, Saving Lives Together, FHWA-SA 14-098, available at https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/intersection/innovative/roundabouts/responder/responderbrochure.pdf

AARP endorses the use of roundabouts for older Americans in their driver safety programs because they have been deemed a “proven safety counter-measure by the U.S. Department of Transportation.”

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is an independent, nonprofit scientific and educational organization dedicated to reducing the losses — deaths, injuries and property damage — from crashes on the nation’s roads.  They also endorse the use of roundabouts for the reduction of deaths, injuries and property damage.  http://www.iihs.org/iihs/sr/statusreport/article/48/2/3

Roundabouts will:

• Provide relief to traffic congestion by increasing intersection capacity and reduce traffic delays for those driving to and from the barrier islands.

• Improved pedestrian safety and connectivity between downtown Sarasota and the Bay Front, the Rosemary District and the Cultural District.

Roger Barry, Emeritus Professor of Urban Planning

School of Planning College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning

University of Cincinnati

 

Why the cunning and the ignorant like Trump

To: Columnist Peter O’Connor

The economy has been on an upward swing since 2010. The Tax and Jobs Act is a scam for keeping more money for him and his ilk plus wealthy politicians e.g.Vern Buchanan and his little boy. It is a boon for those who already have great wealth, but creates no jobs!

His policies on tariffs is damaging our economy. He is making materials too costly for U.S. small manufacturing and assembly businesses. Companies have to raise their prices, limit their products and eliminate employees (jobs).

He is relaxing regulations on auto emissions and environmental reviews thereby damaging our environment and negatively affecting the health and welfare of the citizens in our country including people who voted for him.

He fights for his own beliefs based on his ignorance of the facts and outdated information. He calls people that try to correct him, liars. He labels accurate information, fake news.

His new immigration policy ‘locks up children’ because they are brown skin and poor. He rejects asylum for immigrants who fear for their lives due to gang or cartel attacks on themselves, their homes and their children! He denigrates them and the countries that they come from.

He supports racism, misogyny, violence and ridicule of people with disabilities. He does this through his numerous comments and actions, especially at his rallies. This all demonstrates his own insecurity. Truth and principle are foreign to his egocentric mind.

Your comparison of him to FDR is inaccurate and insulting. The forces that opposed Roosevelt’s New Deal programs which created jobs and spurred the economy, and whom FDR fought against, were the remaining wealthy elite who are similar to the forces that approve of trump’s policies today. So, the case today is the very reverse of that opposition against FDR.

Larry Szynkowski

Sarasota

 

TDC comment

To: Sarasota County Tourist Development Council

Being an active owner/operator of  CB’s Saltwater Outfitters  on  Siesta Key for  42  years,  I am strongly  urging our Sarasota County to  continue our funds  for Tourist Development  especially now with poor tourism because of Red Tide activity and  the strong negative media coverage that we have received. As you are aware, many guests have cancelled their reservations and are continuing to do so.

The accommodations are in trouble and so are all the businesses on our Sarasota Islands.

Please help! We need to spread the positive word that we are open for business and you need funds to do so.

Aledia Tush

CB’s Saltwater Outfitters

FIN Island Company

 

Turtle season update- code enforcement

To: Town Commission

Commissioners,  FYI- see below an update on Turtle Season code enforcement activity:

As of September 12, 2018, for the 2018 sea turtle nesting season, Code Enforcement has opened 56 cases for noncompliance with lighting restrictions, 24 cases for obstructions on the beach, and 12 cases for persons on the public beach between the hours of 11 p.m. – 5 a.m.

In addition, Code Enforcement has issued 4 civil citations for noncompliance with lighting restrictions during the 2018 nesting season. The Town has also partnered with the Sea to Shore Alliance as part of their nests program in order to assist properties in achieving compliance.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Longboat Key

 

Coyote Sightings- FWC

To: Town Commission

Commissioners, FYI- as you are aware on August 30th the Town hosted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Coyote workshop.    

We had good public participation and the FWC staff highlighted a number of things the public should be aware of and tips in the event they encounter a coyote on the Key.  Their presentation and recommendations will be posted on our website. There were diverse public opinions at and after the workshop regarding how the Town should respond to these sightings.

The Police Department is coordinating our response.  They have been collaborating with the FWC, County Animal Control, and have also talked with trappers. They are currently researching other local governments in Southwest Florida that also are experience coyotes in their communities. I have asked the Police Department to provide an update on this issue at your Regular Workshop on September 24th.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Longboat Key

 

North End- Groin Discussion

To: Vice Mayor Ed Zunz

Vice Mayor Zunz, as requested, I shared some feedback from our coastal engineer with Mr. Jaleski regarding his concern about not putting in a terminal groin. In addition, I have also shared the email from Dr. Bodge with Mr. Jaleski as it goes into more detail on the multiple groin approach. I have copied the rest of the Commission so they have the response from Olsen Associates as well.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Longboat Key

 

North End- Groin Discussion

To: Gene Jaleski

Gene, hope all is well. FYI, based on some of the concerns that you have raised previously and from my discussions with some of the Commissioners, I asked our Coastal Engineer to provide some background information on the concern that we do not have and are not planning to install a terminal groin on the north end of the Key at Longboat Pass.

I also asked him to specifically response to the comment that we are the only pass in the State that has a terminal groin on just one side of a pass and unless we add a terminal groin on our side we will never accomplish what needs to be done. See his feedback below.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Longboat Key

  

North End- Groin Discussion

To: Town Manager Tom Harmer

I recall talking to Isaac about this question back in June (and I am aware of the source of the question):

This discussion about pairing terminal groins is not correct. First off, we are not building a terminal groin. Secondly,  there is no reason such structures should match. These are not jetties, they are not intended to meet some design criteria for controlling tidal flow and maintaining the navigational channel. The needs of the beach on AMI are what they are, as are the needs on LBK. AMI does not want sand to make it around their structure to the Pass shoreline. Things are different on the south side of the Pass.

The comment about only inlet in the State that has only one terminal groin structure simply isn’t correct:

Nassau Sound

Ft .George Inlet (has a revetment only on one side that works somewhat like a terminal groin)

Big Hickory Pass

Big Carlos Pass

Blind Pass

Redfish Pass (has some groins on the north side, but not really a terminal groin…)

Stump Pass

Passe-a-Grille

Pensacola Pass

(there might be more…)

In all these cases…the story is the same…the controlling navigational interests didn’t build jetties to control the hydrodynamics (to “jet” the tidal flow and scour the navigation channel).  Instead, interests on one side of the inlet built a structure to protect that shoreline, while the other shoreline entity did not.  In many cases, the side without the structure is an undeveloped island (State Park for example)….no reason to build such a structure.

Recall, too, that the Town moved to build a terminal groin several years ago and the permit was challenged because interests for the undeveloped side didn’t want it.  What we are doing now in our permit application is a compromise from that.

Al Browder

Olsen Engineering

 

The sand looks yellow

To: Town Manager Tom Harmer

Tom…the sand looks like it’s yellow. That doesn’t seem right.

Jim Brown

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

To: Commissioner Jim Brown

Commissioner Brown, thanks for the email.  I am on my way down to the site to meet with the project manager.  Will look at and discuss sand quality when I am there.

Tom Harmer

Town Manager

Longboat Key

 

North End- Groin Discussion

To: Town Commission

Commissioners, FYI- after the Commission’s last discussion regarding the Groin Project on the north end of the Key I reached out to Kevin Bodge for some background information and feedback. As some of the Commissioners may remember, he was personally involved in a peer review role previously before Olsen Associates was hired by the Town in the Coastal Engineering role.  We talked through the current plans and as a follow-up I asked him to respond to several questions. They included:

1. Are your Peer Review recommendations back in 2012 consistent with the current proposed solution?

2. Does the 4-groin solution (with a potential 5th groin added later) provide reasonable protection to the private properties and the end of North Shore and facing the Lagoon area?

3. Should the Town be considering additional height or length to the currently proposed groins, especially if we are only looking at 4 groins initially?

My notes and his response to those questions are listed below. I thought it might be helpful to share his feedback.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Longboat Key

 

North End- Groin Discussion

To: Town Manager Tom Harmer

My apologies for later reply; I am returning from brief vacation and catching up from some overseas work assignments.

My answers to your questions follow.

I will also add that (1) I agree with all of Al’s observations below, and (2) I agree with all of your summary of our July 25th conversation.

1. Are your Peer Review recommendations back in 2012 consistent with the current proposed solution?

Yes. And more particularly, yes, in the context of prevailing existing conditions since those 2012 recommendations. My 2012 recommendations included several items.  First, a northern-most groin (then called ‘terminal groin’) should be moved southward from its originally proposed location to just north of R43.  Indeed, this is consistent with the current proposal (wherein the northernmost groin is a little bit further north than my 2012 sketch, because of the benefit provided by two intermediate groins).  In 2012, I also recommended that the two PAG’s be shifted further southward to provide benefit at and south of North Shore Road. This was not done.  As a result, the two ‘south-end’ groins are included the current plan. I also observed that erosion would be expected between the two PAG’s and the north-end groin and opined that it may be ‘manageable,’ but I also subsequently noted that this erosion could breach the island between the Gulf and the lagoon.  Indeed, erosion observed since 2012, north of the PAG’s has shown strong erosion in this area – erosion which, as I opined in 2012, cannot be reasonably mitigated by one long north-end groin. Hence, the current plan shows three reasonable-length groins north of the PAG’s, spaced about 400 feet. In 2012, I recommended low, permeable rock groins throughout. And, the current plan will construct low, permeable rock groins.  (Earlier in 2012, I recommended construction of permeable rock groins instead of concrete PAG’s; but this was not adopted.). Finally, my 2012 recommendations noted, more than once, that the optimum plan to adopt – particularly regarding the groin(s) north of the PAG’s – is wholly a function of the beach management objectives, and specifically a function of the importance of preserving the north end of Greer Island.  That is, the value of constructing the northernmost groin is tied to the value given preserving, in some form, the current general morphology of the inlet-facing shoreline of Greer Island.  The message is the same in 2018 with the current plan.        

2. Does the 4-groin solution (with a potential 5th groin added later) provide reasonable protection to the private properties and the end of North Shore and facing the Lagoon area?

Yes.  I believe that the ultimate erosion of Greer Island north of a four-groin plan (i.e., sans the northernmost groin), will be sufficiently north of the interior-facing developed property to leave reasonable protection, at least in the near- to mid-timeframe.  I expect that the entire lagoon area will change substantially (with or without any actions) as Greer Island transforms shape.

3. Should the town be considering additional height or length to the currently proposed groins, especially if we are only looking a 4 groins initially?

No. The height, length, and general structural considerations (including permeability) are appropriate as is.  To the extent that any adjustments may be deemed beneficial in the future after monitoring performance (possible, but not presently anticipated), the plan’s rock groin designs can be readily and economically tweaked.

Kevin R. Bodge

Olsen Associates, Inc.

 

North End- Groin Discussion

To: Kevin Bodge

Kevin, thanks for the call this morning. Appreciate the history lesson and discussion regarding the current initiative to permit the 5-groin solution on the north end of the Key.  You mentioned your 2011/2012 peer review of the proposed PAG and Terminal Groin project and recommendations to the Town at that time. As we discussed, I have received some questions from Commissioners concerned that the recommendations back then may be inconsistent with the current initiative to permit and construct the 4-5 groins.  You mentioned that you went back and reviewed the files and your previous review from 2011/2012 and are aware of the current proposed solution and believe that the current plans are very much supported by the prior review.

We also discussed, at the request of Manatee County, the concept of permitting all 5 groins and suspending the construction of the 5th(northern most) groin to a future date.  You indicated that the absence of the 5th groin should not pose a danger/threat to the North Shore and Lagoon facing properties and any transition to that areas would occur slowly and could be addressed with further action by the Town is desired.  You indicated that the 3rd groin was intended to keep the status quo of Greer Island and if the Town wasn’t as concerned with maintaining the existing configuration the initial 4 groin plan should accomplish the primary objective of projecting the Town’s assets and private property in that area.

We also discussed the existing proposed rock groins and whether or not we should be considering longer or higher structures than what is currently proposed.  You were clear that there would be no benefit to making they higher or longer at this time and that could potentially have a negative effect and that the groins could be adjusted later after time for some evaluation of their performance.

I tried to highlight a couple of the main points we discussed.  Can you confirm and/or clarify if my understanding is correct.

1. Are your Peer Review recommendations back in 2012 consistent with the current proposed solution?

2. Does the 4 groin solution (with a potential 5th groin added later) provide reasonable protection to the private properties and the end of North Shore and facing the Lagoon area?

3. Should the town be considering additional height or length to the currently proposed groins, especially if we are only looking a 4 groins initially?

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

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

Vice Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Taxpayer Money

To: Vice Mayor 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

 

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