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Editorial Letters – Week ending January 11, 2019

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.

Beckyball: a combination of tennis and Pickleball

To: Mayor George Spoll

Just left you a voicemail. Beckyball is a wonderful and free contribution to healthy living of the community. The ability to play on soft courts is especially appealing for LBK. The Federation is the ideal organization to spread the idea. The website www.Beckyball.net will be operational in a few days. We are holding a demonstration in the LBK tennis center on 1/19, an invitation is enclosed.

Yoram Ariely

Longboat Key

 

More on Beckyball

To: Town Commission

The game is played on soft and hard tennis courts without any change to the court beside 1 easily installed and removed line.

2 main benefits to Beckyball.

1. For older players with joint concerns who prefer to play on a soft court.

2.  Use of vacant tennis courts, hard or soft, for an enjoyable sports activity at no additional cost.

Beckyball is free. My contribution.

Hope you will like the game enough to help spread it around.

Will be very pleased to answer questions and provide more information.

Yoram Ariely

Longboat Key

 

Illegal Rentals

To: Vice Mayor Ed Zunz

Ed, seeing as there is a room tax on all short-term rentals, I do not see why the town has not informed suspect property owners (those repeatedly reported by neighboring residents), that to not pay the sales tax is tax evasion and perhaps subject to criminal prosecution.

Additionally, I do not see why the town isn’t requesting those texts receipts from the counties on a monthly basis, and prosecuting all those who are paying tax on short-term rentals on Longboat Key in violation of town codes.

The threat of tax evasion prosecution should help deter property owners from violating town rental codes.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Construction Site Repairs

To: Virginia Luke and Michael Riter

Wanted to let you know that the site contractor, Josh Graber, has worked through the requirements for modification of the manhole ring and cover (and elevation) with Town Staff.  Their intention is to begin this work on Friday or Monday. Heavy equipment will be in use for lifting the cover. As a result they will complete the asphalt patch after the manhole is addressed and the area around the manhole graded (so that the new asphalt is not damaged during the work on the manhole). Once this is complete we can move on to the landscape repairs.

John Shkor

Longboat Key

 

Construction Site Repairs

To: Virginia Luke

Thanks for your note. The site contractor was delayed through the holidays, and in dealing with the aftermath of the large rain event we experienced.  The landscaping repairs will follow the asphalt work, and the conclusion of work on the manhole.

The asphalt repairs are expected within the next week and we are in the process of addressing the manhole ring and cover questions (with the town and with the site contractor), I expect a firm timeline on that this week and will share more scheduling information as it becomes available.  I certainly understand and share your frustration, but believe that we will have things addressed as quickly as possible.

John Shkor

Longboat Key

 

Construction Site Repairs

To: John Shkor

You told me on December 19 the asphalt repair in front of my property on Hibuscus Way would be repaired in a timely manner. I think that time has passed.  Is it possible to get a date on when the repair will be completed so we can move forward on the other repairs you have promised me would be completed?

I also understand you need to do additional work on the concrete sewer connection housing, lower the height of the installation and install a smaller manhole cover to bring your sewer connection work up to code. This project is directly on the town easement in front of my home on Hibuscus Way. It was originally supposed to be a three-day job when we talked about it the beginning of August. There is a deep trench around it and no fencing.  My concern is someone falling into it and being seriously hurt.  I would like to know when this project will be completed.

As you know and we have talked about many times, I had my yard landscaped before your construction began.   Now my yard is in such disrepair and you promised it would be repaired to MY satisfaction. After many complaints about your construction equipment and trucks being parked in front of my house and tearing up my newly landscaped yard, I see you had someone do some patching in the grass.  It is such substandard work and looks absolutely horrendous.  I think you would not be happy if a landscaper repaired your yard in this manner.  I am attaching some photos of my property to show you how bad it looks.  There was also an incident when you had trucks lined up on Longboat Drive S and they decided it was okay to drive into my yard and create grooves.  The repair on it is also substandard! And now I have construction tape around the corner of my yard to keep them in line? Totally unacceptable to me. We talked about you putting some boulders along the property line and corner so your contractors would stay off of my property.  I have not heard back from you on that account.   

When your construction project started, I had my landscaper put in a tree barrier to protect me from some of the noise and inconvenience your project would create.  This project was quite costly for me and you have destroyed quite a bit of it!  I should not be the one to supervise your project. My home is going to be on the LBK’s Home and Garden tour soon. I need to understand when you will stand behind your promises and do the necessary repairs properly.

I truly would like to get this resolved so we can both move on.  I look forward to hearing back from you.

Virginia Luke

Longboat Key

 

Construction Site Repairs

To: Virginia Luke

Thanks for your note. The site contractor was delayed through the holidays, and in dealing with the aftermath of the large rain event we experienced.  The landscaping repairs will follow the asphalt work, and the conclusion of work on the manhole.

The asphalt repairs are expected within the next week and we are in the process of addressing the manhole ring and cover questions (with the town and with the site contractor), I expect a firm timeline on that this week and will share more scheduling information as it becomes available.  I certainly understand and share your frustration, but believe that we will have things addressed as quickly as possible.

John Shkor

Longboat Key

 

Shore Restaurant Site Meeting

To: Shore Restaurant Synergy

As you may already know, the 800 Broadway project is requesting revisions to the Site Plan design for the Shore Restaurant. The desire is to keep the architectural design, to be mindful of flow and safety for those accessing the restaurant. We also want to meet all required codes while also keeping the site appealing to those who live in the neighborhood and those who visit.

As a benefit to the residents but also in respect to the timeline and flow of construction we would like to go forward with the required variance meeting with the town to make a change to the right away/sidewalk/site/civil plans and increase green spaces in the landscaping.  We would however also propose to expedite this review and comment process by holding and conducting our own on-site meeting with the local residents and staff as well as the Mayor to propose our changes.

As you know, with the fire damage and other delays the project is facing time constraints to keep the completion schedule from slipping even further. It will not be possible to have a formal plan created in the short period of time prior to the next meeting but we would be able to prepare the proper documentation to go through the typical site plan review process following this proposed site meeting. We would like to start this ext. week in the attempt to expedite the process of continuing our site work and preparing the proper documentation with everyone involved from all sides in accord.

Joe Jannopoulo

Synergy Building Corp.

 

Shore Restaurant Site Meeting

To: Joe Jannopoulo

Thank you for your email and requests. We certainly understand the importance of timing with regard to opening. I want to be sure to clarify potential process options that you may seek. From our discussions, you may be seeking to revise your Site Plan approval (your email below references a variance meeting) by eliminating the public sidewalk and utilizing a portion of the Broadway St. r-o-w to provide additional space in front of the restaurant to modify the drop-off. Depending on what’s proposed for the Broadway St. public r-o-w, your application may also need to be accompanied by a Right-of-Way Discontinuation Request, which would involve consideration by the Planning & Zoning Board and the Town Commission.

I provided a link to you previously outlining the steps & meeting schedule that are applicable to the Site Plan process & which could also be utilized for a companion request to discontinue the public use of the portion of the Broadway r-o-w where additional site development is proposed. I can give you my assurance that staff will process any such requests expeditiously & timely.

I want to further emphasize the importance of coordinating and evaluating any proposed plan changes because, as you are aware, the site is constrained & a significant amount of attention during the project’s initial approval was put to minimizing impacts to stormwater issues in the area.  This includes ongoing obligations that were included as part of the Site Plan Development Order conditions.  Any proposed changes will need to demonstrate how stormwater management, along with other code requirements, may be affected.  I’m not sure what your email below is describing by not having a formal plan developed prior “to the next meeting” & then subsequently going through a “typical site plan review process following this proposed site meeting.” If what’s meant by that is an after the fact approval of a site plan amendment, I won’t be able to support that approach.

Thus far, our discussions have talked about potential options & concepts and have only involved hand-drawn sketches.  I recommend that your preferred concept be put into plan form, ideally with engineering impacts evaluated & that we get back together to talk about the process or combined process to pursue.

Please reach out to Donna when you’re ready to review a proposed plan & we’ll meet again ASAP with the Building Official, Engineering Director & myself to discuss & collaboratively consider options.

Allen Parsons

Director Planning, Zoning & Building Department

Town of Longboat Key

 

Fertilizer Regulations

To: Town Commission

just a quick follow-up on the staff actions over the past couple of months to update our fertilizer regulations outreach.  All commercial fertilizer companies have been reminded of the Town’s requirements and the Town’s website has been updated with certification information and best management practices.  Attached is the status update along with the updated website information.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Fertilizer Regulations

To: Town Commission

I asked Allen to review our existing fertilizer ordinance so he would be familiar with the existing requirement and, in light of the Red Tide event, make sure that the program meets the ordinance requirements and provides proactive public outreach.  See his note below regarding follow-up actions.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Fertilizer Regulations

To: Town Manager Tom Harmer

Status Update:

· Staff will be sending out a version of the attached letter to all identified commercial fertilization applicators in the Town/area informing them of the Town’s requirements for commercial fertilization applicators.

· Staff will be developing a Decal that can be placed on all applicators’ vehicles to identify their completion of certification requirements.

· Staff will be maintaining applicable records received electronically.

· Staff will be developing website information on the Fertilizer Management reqs. and contact information for applicable BMP training & certification.

· Following completion of website information development, we will coordinate on media, Town contacts & social media outreach.

Allen Parsons

Director Planning, Building & Zoning Department

Longboat Key

BITS Steering Committee Input

To: Florida Department of Transportation Tricia Labud

I offer the following input as a heads-up with respect to the recent BITS phase 2 draft report prior to the  next Steering Committee meeting. First; I recommend  amending the recommendations and related supporting comments on pg 42 of the draft report to reflect that the intersection of Gulf Drive and Cortez Rd be changed to consider a roundabout or other improvements, recognizing the FDOT- expressed and acknowledged right of way cost concerns. As noted , the present FDOT plan is for a high fixed span Cortez bridge replacement,( which was supported by Longboat Key), and which , especially when coupled with the BITS draft  recommendations for a third reversible lane on such bridges, necessarily requires the evaluation of  a reconfigured intersection such as a roundabout, notwithstanding right of way cost concerns. Without such amendment, I suggest the benefits of the bridge improvements and cited BITS recommendations would clearly not be optimized.— Second: I recommend expanding the long term recommendations to reflect at least three proposed elevated pedestrian walkways over the US 41 corridor from Tenth to Main streets and  to encompass an integrated walkway system all the way  on each side of US 41. This would enhance pedestrian mobility and minimize many of the street level pedestrian walkways associated with the numerous planned roundabouts for the corridor; thereby achieving the necessary balance of the Sarasota City pedestrian mobility objectives with the BITS automobile traffic mitigation objectives. Such elevated pedestrian walkways would be consistent with Sarasota’s recently approved Master Plan for The Bay Area.

Jack Daly

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

BITS Steering Committee Input

To: Commissioner Jack Daly

I did check and it shows that Tricia.Labud@dot.state.fl.us isn’t a valid email. Checking through our archive of emails, it appears it was a valid address. My assumption would be Tricia is either no longer with FDOT or they are having issues. I’m copying James and Isaac to see if they know if this is true or an alternate contact that perhaps would know.

I also sent a test email and the reply is that address is not valid. Thank you.

Jason Keen

IT Director

Longboat Key

 

Duplex ordinance

To: Town Commission

I have been made aware of the proposed change to Ordinance 2018-20 that would allow duplexes located in an area with single-family zoning to greatly expand in size. Due to the size of the lots and virtually no on-street parking this would take an already bad parking problem and make it worse. The proposed change would force people renting the properties to park in the street.

I own 800 and 784 St Judes Dr N.  784 is a single-family residence, 800 was a duplex that has been removed and will be replaced by a single-family home.

St Judes is very narrow and has no area to pull over so parking in the street causes a potentially  dangerous situation that could impede emergency vehicles should a fire truck or an ambulance need to pass. My wife and I are retired and quick access for such vehicles is important to us.

From a health and safety perspective alone this could be a potential for liability for the city. We have chosen Longboat Key for our retirement and have been very pleased with our choice, please do not allow this change to occur.

Dr. and Mrs. Gary Tost

Longboat Key

 

To: Dr. Gary Tost

I am replying to your email because I understand your issue and plan to make sure this does not happen the way you are concern. It is not intended to happen this way.

Jim Brown

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

IP Transit – Hurricane Electric Internet Services

To: Director Public Works Isaac Brownman

This tier 3 Internet transport company offers 100 Gigabit Internet attachment for $12,000/month, or $1.26 per household on Longboat. $5 a month per household would buy 500 Gigabit/month bandwidth. This is bandwidth which translates into five hundred million bits each and every second. I can’t imagine our island would need more speed, but imagine what $10/month would buy. Why are we all paying Comcast/Frontier $60/month for so much less? Perhaps we need to explore a truly fair priced Internet system for our community.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

More of the same?

To: Gene Jaleski

I know we have talked in the past, and we are likely to continue to have differing opinions on this, but my understanding is that the current two (2) Permeable Adjustable Groins (“PAG”) were to be installed in concert with a terminal groin that got challenged and never happened.  The permeability is a part of the design to meet state permitting requirements to allow some sand transfer to the north.  It was also always a consideration in the planning and design that interim sand placement would be required, albeit at a reduced frequency.  In addition, based upon discussions with our current coastal engineer, I also understand that the full functionality of the system would still need an intermediate groin between the terminal and current north groin to maximize effectiveness and minimize the erosional tendencies in that highly erosional zone.  It is just the nature of that point on Longboat with a reversal zone in that area.

As such and to minimize the concerns that arose with the terminal groin, we are proceeding with the current plan for up to three rock groins north and two rock groins south of the existing PAGs to reduce erosion rates. Again, the current PAGs are not stand-alone and are part of an incomplete system. All this is to minimize the erosive effects in this area.  A lot will hinge on FDEP requirements for same, for which we are in negotiation. A lot of this will be discussed at the upcoming January 22nd Town Commission workshop meeting.

Isaac Brownman

Director Public Works

Longboat Key

 

More of the same?

To: Vice Mayor Ed Zunz

The same experts have been repeatedly wrong in the past. What makes you think they’re going to be right now? Look at the picture again and see how wrong they have been, millions of dollars wrong.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

More of the same?

To: Gene Jaleski

I have been asking these same questions for years. The word back from our experts is always the same…that the groins are being properly maintained. I am only a layman on this subject and must defer to the professionals on these matters.   

Ed Zunz

Vice Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Commission Adoption of “Certificate of Built Conditions” Program

To: Town Manager Tom Harmer

The email below & Press Release attachment was sent to the Town’s email list of Stakeholder Group Leaders to assist in spreading the word regarding the Commission’s adoption of a new Certificate of Built Conditions program.  Additional information will also be available on the Town’s website.

Allen Parsons

Director Planning and Building Department

Longboat Key

 

Commission Adoption of “Certificate of Built Conditions” Program

To: Longboat Key Stakeholder Group Leaders

You may be hearing more about this through our local media, but we are reaching out to you to help us spread the word about additional efforts your Commission is taking to make your neighborhoods an even better place to live, and enjoy life on Longboat Key.

On January 7, 2019, the Town Commission adopted Ordinance 2018-19, establishing a new program that will allow owners of property that may be considered “nonconforming” due to density (i.e. containing more units on a given property than would otherwise be allowed by a site’s zoning district and/or containing structures that do not meet existing zoning district requirements), to potentially become certified as legally allowed to be rebuilt.

The Commission established this program called, “Certificate of Built Conditions,” to address potential influences that might impede  the reconstruction of many buildings and structures in the Town of Longboat Key, that were built prior to the adoption of Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Code changes that occurred in 1984. Many existing multifamily and tourism buildings within the Town that were built prior to 1984 are currently considered nonconforming. The program is provided at no cost for review, other than a small recording fee to have the certification recorded with each county’s (Manatee and Sarasota County) property records.

Residents or business owners who believe their properties may not conform to current regulations and would like to seek certification should contact the Planning, Zoning and Building Department (please see contact information below). A staff member will be able to discuss further the certification process and provide assistance with information that would be required to submit an application for review.

The Town Code is available at: https://library.municode.com/fl/longboat_key/codes/code of ordinances

These changes are associated with the Town of Longboat Key’s goals of enhancing the quality of life and fostering civic pride for its residents and visitors.

For more information, please visit http://www.longboatkey.org/

Allen Parsons

Director Planning, Zoning & Building Department

Town of Longboat Key

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