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Editorial Letters – Week ending December 21, 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.

Slowing Traffic?

To: Editor

Every time I read about the ideas the city of Sarasota has for traffic from Lido Beach and Longboat Key, I become enraged. We who drive to the city face nothing but impediments.

St. Armands Circle is quite slow, as it must be since cars can park on the inside of the circle where passengers open their doors into the traffic. That is insane. But the traffic is so slow that no one seems to get hurt. I have driven in roundabouts or circles or whatever you call them all my life in different locations. They are by nature dangerous but they are usually a way to facilitate traffic. You go faster with the easement.

Not in Sarasota. Here we have the elderly and the tourist who do not understand roundabouts. Instead of sliding easily into traffic, I have learned to come to a full stop while the car ahead of me tries to decide who has the right of way. Not quite sure, the driver edges in from Longboat Key only to find a car right in front of him going to Lido. So I have to spend my time trying to decide what all the lost drivers will do next. It’s a game of chance because there are so many factors to consider.

Now I hear that Sarasota thinks that “raised crosswalks” will help slow traffic even more. So now I have to consider another bump to slow me down. Between bumps, tourists, the elderly, and decisions about traffic lanes, my mind is becoming more confused. This will make no one safe.

Then I drive to the busiest intersection in Sarasota. Extra lanes for turning left have been a help to regular drivers, but you have to watch out for the new driver in town because he’s not sure which lane he wants to be in. But a rotary at this intersection will be a disaster. It will slow everyone down, and the traffic here is very heavy. We will all sit and wait for hours.

Then I understand The Bay will be installing overhead walkways a few blocks away so a tourist can cross over to The Bay.  So shortly after turning left, I will have to drive under overhead walkways.

Are you guys really serious? Or do you just hate those of us driving into your city? You certainly will be making life more difficult for drivers.

Anne G. Arsenault

Longboat Key

 

Buttonwood flooding

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

The torrential rains on Thursday, December 20th created flooding situations island wide.  We experienced the usual flooding on Buttonwood Drive at high tide on the east end of the street and the west end.  The difference was as high tide receded the east end of the street near the boat basin cleared as it usually does, but the property at the west end by 500 and 550 Buttonwood Drive did not drain and the drains adjacent to those properties did not function at all. Basically all the water which used to stand on those two lots flowed to the one drain and there was a fair amount of sheeting of water off Gulf of Mexico Drive adding to the serious flooding problem at the west end of the street. These two lots used to be several feet lower than the street and now with the fill, they are higher than the street and all that water is dumped directly onto the street instead of remaining on the marshy lots that existed there before.

We attempted to clear the drains and while the top of the grates had all the debris removed from them by hand by us, the water failed to move because of all the silt from 500 and 550 Buttonwood that has built up in those drains in the last year.

We were assured that 500 and 550 Buttonwood development would not make the flooding situation on our road any worse.  That is not the case.  Since that site was stripped clear we have had consistent flooding problems that did not exist at this level before.

The Town certainly needs to blast those drain lines out so that the water can flow freely through those grates as soon as possible.  Most of us are not able to leave the neighborhood or return due to the flooding to our entrance area.

We would appreciate the Town’s immediate attention to this serious issue. It would also help if the developer at 500 and 550 Buttonwood maintained the silt fence which is down in numerous areas surrounding his site.

BJ Webb Bishop

Longboat Key

 

Buttonwood flooding

To: BJ Bishop

BJ, thanks for the email. As you stated, we did have some heavy rains and some localized street flooding earlier today.

Sorry to hear about the issues that arose at the entrance to your subdivision. I talked with Isaac this afternoon. He said he sent his staff out to investigate what occurred and the conditions out at the entrance to Buttonwood and was waiting to back.  I asked him to update you, Allen, and I in the morning on their findings and planned follow up. Allen was copied so he should also be following up on the silt fence, etc.

Tom Harmer

Town Manager, Longboat Key

 

Buttonwood flooding

To: Town Manager Tom Harmer, BJ Bishop

Thanks BJ. Sorry too to hear about these issues. We are following up with the contractor on the silt fence.

Allen Parsons

Director Planning and Zoning, Longboat Key

 

Village WaStop Valves

To: Town Manager Tom Harmer

The first three (3) WaStop Valves have been installed by Public Works in the Village.  These three are located at the eastern end of the Broadway outfall where there are three pipes exiting the storm system into the bay (see attached photos).  The WaStop valves replaced existing Tide Flex valves that were not performing at this location.  We will be installing more WaStop valves since a lot of the Village system is interconnected.  Work needs to be done at low tide and into storm boxes where space allows for the installs.  We will keep you posted on additional installations over the coming weeks.

Isaac Brownman

Director Public Works

Longboat Key

 

Village WaStop Valves

To: Town Commission

As you are the staff has been pilot testing a new type of stormwater valve to help restrict bay waters from backing into the system. The Commission approved funding in this years budget to install the valves starting in the Village area. The first three valves have now been installed. See update below.

Tom Harmer

Town Manager

Longboat Key

 

Bond Sale Results- Undergrounding

To: Town Commission

The Bond Sale for the Undergrounding Projects was completed yesterday.  Our Finance Director Sue Smith and I monitored the sale with our Financial Advisor.  The initial opening was for residents and retail investors and then it was opened up to institutional investors mid-day yesterday.

As you are aware, there were two different bonds issues.  One for GMD and one for Neighborhoods.  The Neighborhood Bond Issue had two series 2018A- tax exempt and 2018B- taxable.

I have listed the results from the sale below:

 

GMD- Series 2018

                Net Interest Costs- 3.854897%

                Total Interest Costs- 3.910693%

Combined Neighborhoods- Series 2018A&B

                Total Interest Costs- 4.008001%

Series 2018A (Tax Exempt)

                Total Interest Costs- 3.990067%

Series 2018B (Taxable)

                Total Interest Costs- 4.595094%

Relatively speaking, the Bond Market was weak yesterday.  Even though the market has been a bit up and down recently, we are very pleased with the results.  These are very favorable results and well under the original max interest rate estimates.  Our positive credit rating again helped secure very favorable rates for this borrow.

While there was general interest from Longboat Key Residents, some may have backed off when they found out what the interest rate was.  Based on the preliminary order information we have been provided- we did receive $1,350,000 in total orders from residents for both bonds combined.  They also tracked orders from Florida residents- we received a total of $835,000 in orders from Florida residents for both bonds combined.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager, Town of Longboat Key

 

Publix Plastic Bags

To: Commissioner Ed Zunz

Ed, the checkout people at Publix tell me that fewer than 10 percent all the customers bring their own cloth bags. Clearly Publix is not succeeding in reducing plastic. Please have the commission discuss plastic in our environment and pass some sort of a resolution encouraging Publix to introduced this sort of container into their check out.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

Publix Plastic Bags

To: Gene Jaleski

The town has tried to persuade Publix in this direction, but has been unable to persuade them.

Ed Zunz

Commissioner, Longboat Key

 

Shore Restaurant Follow-up

To: Town Commission

Commissioners, FYI. An update on the concern that the Town received about the lighting at the new Shore Restaurant.

See below, the staff did meet with the neighbors and the contractor is looking at a revised lighting plan for the project.

Part of the current concern is likely also related to additional lights on the site required by the insurer after the fire. That additional lighting will be removed as the construction is completed.

Tom Harmer

Town Manager, Longboat Key

 

Shore Restaurant Follow-up

To: Karen Feeney, Gene Jaleski, Stephen Garrod

Thanks for meeting on-site with Stan, the contractor & myself this morning & sharing your concerns.  These concerns have been conveyed to the contractor & they are working on revised site lighting plans that depict reduced overall lighting.  We’ll follow-up & contact you when we’ve received & had a chance to review their revised lighting plans to share them with you.

Allen Parsons

Director Planning, Zoning, Longboat Key

 

Shore Restaurant Follow-up

To: Town Manager Tom Harmer

Tom- FYI- As a follow-up to Ms. Feeney’s concerns expressed to commissioners about the site lighting at the Shore Restaurant, the Building Official & I had a meeting on-site this morning with Ms. Feeney, Gene Jaleski & Stephen Garrod.  We had a productive meeting that included the contractor & anticipate receiving plans for reduced lighting at the site.  We will be following-up with the neighbors to review the plans following receipt & review. Part of the concerns with site lighting have to do with increased lighting during construction, following the fire, that has been required by the insurer of the construction.That additional site lighting will be removed upon completion of the construction.

Allen Parsons

Director Planning and Zoning, Longboat Key

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