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Editorial Letters – Week ending April 5, 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.

Fruitville Road diet

To: Mike Lasche, Town Attorney Maggie Mooney

Maggie Mooney-Portale is Town Counsel for Longboat Key. We discussed the “Fruitville Diet” at our Town Commission meeting today and agreed to take strong action in opposition. While we have an overlapping Commission meeting at the time of Sarasota City’s April 15 consideration of the Diet, at a minimum Maggie will attend the City meeting to represent our strong concerns. Although Maggie understands the problem and its history, I have told her you are a good resource for more background on the issue and the funding aspects.

Mike Lasche is a friend and longtime advocate for sensible traffic solutions, of which we all agree the “Fruitville Diet” is not one. Please feel free to use him as a resource for the April 15 meeting and beyond.

Ken Schneier

Commissioner, Longboat Key

 

Fruitville Road Diet

To: Town Manager Tom Harmer, Town Attorney Maggie Mooney

In preparation for our April 8, 2019 Special Town Commission Meeting to discuss how to organize our opposition to the City of Sarasota’s proposed reduction from 4 to 2 lanes of portions of Fruitville Road, I recall that Tom planned to contact Sarasota County regarding their position/input on this matter. Is anyone from Longboat Key reaching out to representatives of Lido Key and Bird Key, the Sarasota City Police and Fire Departments and the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office? Thanks.

Ken Schneier

Commissioner, Longboat Key

 

Fruitville Road diet

To: Town Commission

As a follow up to yesterday’s Fruitville Road discussion, attached are copies of the public records requests that I transmitted today to the City of Sarasota and the FDOT. I will keep the Commission appraised on any relevant information I receive responsive to these requests.

Maggie D. Mooney

Town Attorney

Longboat Key

 

Fruitville Road diet

To: Mike Lasche, Town Attorney Maggie Mooney

Maggie Mooney-Portale is Town Counsel for Longboat Key. We discussed the “Fruitville Diet” at our Town Commission meeting today and agreed to take strong action in opposition. While we have an overlapping Commission meeting at the time of Sarasota City’s April 15 consideration of the Diet, at a minimum Maggie will attend the City meeting to represent our strong concerns. Although Maggie understands the problem and its history, I have told her you are a good resource for more background on the issue and the funding aspects.

Mike Lasche is a friend and longtime advocate for sensible traffic solutions, of which we all agree the “Fruitville Diet” is not one. Please feel free to use him as a resource for the April 15 meeting and beyond.

Ken Schneier

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Fruitville Road diet

To: Commissioner Ken Schneier

Thank you. I will reach out to him.

Maggie Mooney

Town Attorney

Longboat Key

 

Fruitville Road diet

To: Commissioner Jack Daly

It was good to hear from you about Fruitville Road. As you probably know, the City Commission of Sarasota is planning to hear a request by its staff to apply for a grant from USDOT/FHWA to pay for the Fruitville Road Diet.

I always like to “hope for the best, but plan for the worst.”  I certainly hope that the Sarasota Commission rejects the request. But, if they don’t, I think we should be prepared.

I have been in contact with Dave Hutchinson of the MPO and L.K. Nandam of FDOT and am hearing conflicting things. I think it would be smart to clear this up so that we know how to act.

I have asked Hutchinson if Sarasota requests USDOT funding for this project, will it have to go through MPO Board approval? After 4-5 emails, he has not given a definite answer.

He said that Sarasota’s request to USDOT would have to go through FDOT. But L. K. Nandam says that any such funding request would not go through FDOT.

He also said that the Fruitville Road Diet is on the MPO Project Priorities list, which he uses to imply that it has already received MPO approval and may not have to go through MPO approval again. But, when asked repeatedly if a new funding request, from USDOT but through FDOT, triggers a need for MPO approval. Hutchinson gets vague.

Here are questions which I would like to ask you to help clear up.   I have tried but I think your status as an MPO Board member will allow you to get clearer answers than I have.

Did the MPO Board ever vote to put this project on the Project Priorities list?   If so, when and how?

Can the MPO Board remove an item from the Project Priorities list?

If Sarasota wants to take the new step of applying for USDOT funding for the Fruitville Road project, will that require MPO cooperation?

Thanks in advance for helping us “prepare for the worst.”

Mike Lasche

Bicycle/Pedestrian Advocates

Sarasota

 

Fruitville Road diet

To: Mike Lasche

The issues are a bit complicated. Our Town attorney has requested significant relevant information from the City of Sarasota, and the responses thereto will provide some clarification. —At the outset, for your information,  I recall that Sarasota’s  traffic  expert has concluded that  the proposed  road  diet might (while I am personally very skeptical), be  more traffic- flow efficient than with traffic light  controls at the intersections  —- . Here’s some partial answers to your questions. First; a project for that section of Fruitville is indeed included in the MPO’s 2019 (and also was in2018) priorities listing  under the non- descriptive, general caption of “Complete Streets”. It is placed considerably low on the priority list, with no funding provided, meaning that there are over 20 higher priority MPO projects to be funded before it would be. A normal funding MPO process presumably involves years, not months. Second; as the project is defined and approved by the City, the MPO priorities are reviewed annually. Third: I understand that this section of roadway is owned by the City, and accordingly may not be subject to FDOT jurisdiction. With respect to the potential federal funding you mentioned, at this point, it does not appear to be on the upcoming City Commission  meeting agenda. Presumably,  the project might be able to go forward as a City road, with City and/ or federal funding, outside the MPO/FDOT process. In any event, we all need to be proactive in opposition in any public proceedings involving specific road diet options, which is recommended by the City Staff for its Commission Approval on April 15th. I understand that the City will then be considering two options for this section of Fruitville, one with 3 roundabouts (diets), and one with an expanded 2 lanes in east and west directions (no diet). The latter obviously makes more sense, especially because it is a major evacuation route for Longboat, Bird and Lido Keys, and St Armand’s. This is certainly a fluid situation and a work in progress. Be assured that the Town is and will continue to be proactive on these issues, as evidenced by our Recent Commission decision to have a special meeting to focus on them on Monday, April 8th.

Jack Daly

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Longboat light pole height

To: Town Commission

I would like the Council to consider the height of the new poles we are going to be installing on Longboat Key.

We are spending a lot of money to beautify GOM and to place really tall poles on it defeats the purpose. Let’s look into decorative poles. Poles no taller than 25 feet and have all the information before proceeding. Even if it takes a little longer than anticipated to complete, getting it right is more important. It won’t be redone if it looks awful.

Lana McDonald

Longboat Key

 

Town of Longboat Key 2019 Legislative Report 9

To: Town Commission

Attached for your information is a copy of the most recent Legislative Report for the 2019 Legislative Session from your lobbyists at Ramba Consulting.

I know that many of you have received recent alerts from the Florida League of Cities regarding CS/CS/HB 693 Telecommunications and CS/HB 98 Short Term Rentals.

The Town’s lobbyists at Ramba Consulting are closely monitoring the Short Term Rental legislation for the Town (and several other local government clients with similar interests). They are aware of the importance of the Town’s ability to regulate short term rentals within the Town and the Town’s desire to preserve the grandfathered status currently provided for in Florida Statutes.

With respect to the Telecommunications legislation, the Town Manager and I are evaluating the latest amendments to the legislation and its impact on the Town’s prior exemption contained within Florida Statutes. While the legislation could change, at the present time, it appears that the Town’s existing exemption (adopted in 2017) remains in tact. We will continue to closely watch this legislation and any additional amendments.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me or the Town Manager.

Maggie D. Mooney

Town Attorney

Longboat Key

 

ACE agreement

To: Town Manager Tom Harmer

I apologize that I only got to review the Pre-Construction Agreement today and will share some structural thoughts here:

1. Should it be clearer whether this is an MOU or an enforceable agreement? Force majeure terms suggest a contract.

2. Re phasing, I think the agreement should focus on implementing the recent $11.3mm design document and make specific reference to it or incorporate it–mention a second phase only as a possible future option.

3. What is Ringling’s obligation to “oversee” selection of professionals–someone should be responsible for this or we agree to do it jointly.

4. I don’t understand references to “transfer” of the Center or any of its elements to the Town–they will always be owned by the Town.

5. The obligation to “enter into” an operating agreement for the Center should be a joint activity, not a Town activity, and should reference joint responsibility for programming. The heart of this agreement should be outlining the parties’ understanding of terms of the development and operating agreements to be negotiated next. Those terms are not clear here.

6. The agreement this one replaces had tight time deadlines; this has none. Should there be some time guidelines?

7. Why is Community Foundation of Sarasota now a named fundraiser?

I think this agreement is a key blueprint for our next steps and may need a little more work. Happy to help.

Ken Schneier

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

ACE Agreement

To: Commissioner Ken Schneier

Commissioner Schneier, thanks for the email. Good feedback- appreciate the comments in advance of the meeting.

FYI- I included some initial comments below in response to your comments/questions. Wanted to send some quick feedback since the meeting is tomorrow.

I will touch base with the department in the morning to make sure they are aware and can address when the item is presented. Depending on Commission action and requested changes the Agreement can always be brought back for final action if necessary.

1. Should it be clearer whether this is an MOU or an enforceable agreement? Force majeure terms suggest a contract.

We will coordinate with the Town Attorney’s Office on this question.

2. Re phasing, I think the agreement should focus on implementing the recent $11.3mm design document and make specific reference to it or incorporate it–mention a second phase only as a possible future option.

Phase 2 language was previously removed from the draft agreement, but the Phase 1 language was left in – clarifying should be a relatively minor adjustment.

3. What is Ringling’s obligation to “oversee” selection of professionals–someone should be responsible for this or we agree to do it jointly.

This was anticipated to part of the next agreement but some language could be added to the pre-construction agreement. The concept that has been discussed previously, Ringling and the Foundation would made the donation of the finished building to the Town. Ringling would hire the design and construction services, but the Town would participate and have clear approval authority in the design. When the building is completed the Town would accept the improvements.

4. I don’t understand references to “transfer” of the Center or any of its elements to the Town–they will always be owned by the Town.

I will verify but I think this relates to the concept of donating the completed building to the Town.

5. The obligation to “enter into” an operating agreement for the Center should be a joint activity, not a Town activity, and should reference joint responsibility for programming. The heart of this agreement should be outlining the parties’ understanding of terms of the development and operating agreements to be negotiated next. Those terms are not clear here.

Agree on the joint responsibility for entering into an operating agreement. Additional language could be added as necessary to clarify understanding.

6. The agreement this one replaces had tight time deadlines; this has none. Should there be some time guidelines?

As I understand it, the latest version of the Pre-Construction Agreement didn’t have specific timelines but required that the follow up agreements be completed before construction could begin. There was an overall term to the agreement. This agreement still requires that the agreements be completed prior to construction and has the ability to terminate with notice but the Town could easily add a term and/or specific timelines as desired.

7. Why is Community Foundation of Sarasota now a named fundraiser?

I will check the language and follow up with the department. I understand that the Longboat Key Foundation coordinates with and places their funds with the Community Foundation of Sarasota.

Tom Harmer

Town Manager

Longboat Key

 

ACE Agreement

To: Town Manager Tom Harmer

Thanks, Tom. We know the Ringling people are sharp, and I would like us to have as clear an understanding of our obligations to each other as possible at this stage. The draft circulated was good staff work but not a final product for an $11mm ($18mm?) deal.

Ken Schneier

Commissioner

Longboat Key

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