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Editorial Letters – Week ending March 13, 2020

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 Longboat Key Town Hall that address Longboat Key issues as well as Sarasota City Hall that address Sarasota issues. We reserve the right to edit.

Town Center

To: Editor

Ok it’s time to put the pedal to the metal. I attended the town meeting Wednesday March 9 at Temple Beth Israel of which about 25 others showed. The meeting was extremely informative and promising. The 3 D architectural drawings brought life to this parcel of vacant land with some great ideas on how we should move forward. The best idea and the most cost effective was to put the new Sarasota public library which hopefully will be installed on the Island on the site. The library could be a center piece of the art and cultural center with meeting rooms along with all its other amenities. Also a small coffee shop would be an extra and  a great place for islanders to gather after events of all types. Another idea that was well received was to move the old recreation center from Bayfront Park to the  new A and C site .By doing this more parking spots could be added and more pickle ball courts could be installed in Bayfront Park. Something that appears to be really needed at the Park .I hope these ideas are considered and eventually the Art and Cultural center becomes a reality and not just a long-term plan.
Matt Costello

Longboat Key

 

Leadership
To: Editor

“Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.”

Publilius Syrus

With all the turmoil surrounding us now, where is our fearless and narcissist President?

Leadership is easy when no problems arise…when everything is calm. It is when waves form that the leader must use skills and influence to successfully lead the crew through rough times. Challenging circumstances is where those directing others rise to the occasion. Time to prove that you are as good as you say you are Mr. Trump!

Donn Seidholz

Omaha

 

eBikes

To: Editor

In the March 6, 2020 paper there is an article quoting Russ Tilton about electric bikes.  He hedged the question about where a person is able to ride an ebike.

The Gulf of Mexico Drive bike lane is governed by FDOT and Florida Law. At present it is against the law to use a motorized vehicle in the bike lane.

  1. 316.1995 – Driving upon Sidewalk or Bicycle Path

(1) Except as provided in s. 316.008, s. 316.212(8), or s. 316.2128, a person may not drive any vehicle other than by human power upon a bicycle path, sidewalk, or sidewalk area, except upon a permanent or duly authorized temporary driveway.

Since you can pedal an electric bike, we would guess that it is legal to pedal but not use the electric assist in the bike. The article was correct that ebikes are allowed on the Legacy trail since it is locally run. There is a speed limit on the Legacy trail.

Howard Tessler and Aaron Kleiner

Longboat Key Bicycle Association

 

Village parking
To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

Mr. Harmer, I have been a fortunate and happy resident of Longboat Key for 9 years, and while I do not live in the Village, I appreciate and enjoy its charming, tranquil presence and its historical nature, I cannot begin to imagine the disappointment and anger of the residents due to the traffic situation the two new restaurants have caused.

It seems to me that it would be helpful if, as a gesture of goodwill and to be good neighbors, the Mar Vista and The Shore restaurants could partner in purchasing or renting jitneys to offer complimentary shuttle service to and from the restaurants from off-site parking areas. Thank you for your efforts to keep us safe and happy, and for helping to preserve the feelings of “paradise” we all are privileged to enjoy.

Debby Hamburg

Longboat Key

 

Herald-Tribune e-Edition Article

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

I read the article in the Sarasota paper about the “Sarasota in Motion” meeting the city of Sarasota had this week. I was shocked to read that the Sarasota staff appears to be reintroducing the idea of narrowing Fruitville road again even though the Sarasota Commission rejected it last year. The Sarasota citizens quoted in the article have the same issue we do with the Sarasota City staff – they seem to disregard the needs of the car commuters (of which there are many) for the needs of the bikes and pedestrians (of which there are few).I thought we made some head way with Sarasota staff with our constant feedback when they disrupted the lives of our citizens for 4 months this summer. Now I wonder. Please add this item to our next Commission meeting Traffic agenda item for further discussion.

Mike Haycock

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Herald-Tribune e-Edition Article

To: Longboat Key Commissioner Mike Haycock

FYI- I was at the Sarasota County Council of Governments meeting today and the City of Sarasota Mayor was there.  During the meeting I brought up the comment in today’s Herald Tribune and she stated that she was not aware, had not seen the article, and didn’t believe that the Commission’s position has changed since they voted the concept down previously.  She indicated that she would look into it. We can make sure that is included in our traffic discussion at the March 23rd Commission Meeting.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

New Town website

To: Longboat Key Commissioner Ken Schneier

I recently went to the new Longboat Key town website to check some upcoming Planning & Zoning meeting dates.  I was rather disappointed in the lack of content, clarity, and organization.  I would expect that a newly redesigned website would present easy navigation and easy to find content, but imho, that is not the case.

I have attached a few screenshots for clarification:

Districts and elections – this page is located under the tab town government -> town commission districts…

As you can see, this page has no relevant content, just “We’re sorry. The document you are trying to view could not be found. Please search our site”

P&Z all – this page is located under the tab town government -> Planning and Zoning -> All upcoming:

I would expect to see, as on the previous website, ALL upcoming planning and zoning meetings that are scheduled, not just those that have a confirmed agenda

Calendar all – I was looking for the town calendar, one that contains all the upcoming events for the commission, boards, etc.  I searched for “Calendar”, then selected all “departments” all “content”.  What was returned was a single entry for Online Permitting and Inspections?

I also could not find a “contact us” tab anywhere on the site, or an easy to find directory that contains contact info for town departments, employees, and commission and board members.

It appears that the new website rollout was not properly tested and verified.   As I was unable to locate any contact information on the website (other than a single phone number), I am sending this email to you so that you can forward to the appropriate person(s).
Debra Williams

Longboat Key

 

Terms for Commissioner-elect BJ Bishop

To: BJ Bishop
Your first term will be a 2-year term for the at-large seat (section b). District 1 is a 3-year term.  You will be eligible to run for two additional terms in 2022 and 2025 (section e).
Charter language below:
(b)  Commencing with the March 2020 general election and continuing thereafter, commissioners from odd-numbered districts shall be elected to hold office for a three (3) year term beginning on the date of the certification of the election. Commencing with the March 2020 general election one at large commissioner shall be elected at the March 2020 general election for a two (2) year term beginning on the date of certification of that election. At the conclusion of that at-large commissioner’s two (2) year term, commencing with the March 2022 general election and continuing every three (3) years thereafter, a commissioner elected to that at-large seat shall be elected to hold office for a three (3) year term beginning on the date of certification of the election.
(e) Notwithstanding the consecutive term limits provided herein, due to the transition in commission seat term lengths from two (2) year to three (3) year terms of office and the staggering of elections for commission seats, commissioners that were elected during the March 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 general elections, may serve a maximum of eight (8) consecutive years as a commissioner as measured from the date of their certification of the election for their initial term of office or their swearing into the office, as applicable, as long as the consecutive terms do not exceed a maximum of eight (8) years in office.

Trish Granger

Town Clerk

Town of Longboat Key

 

Sarasota Motion workshop

To: Longboat Key Town Commission

There is an interesting article in the Herald Tribune this morning about the Sarasota in Motion workshop held by the City of Sarasota. I urge you to read it. One of the most alarming statements, “This is not multi-modal unless it includes driving. I suspect this abandonment of vehicular mobility is part of staff’s permissive approach to development.  If you do not have to worry about traffic, you don’t have to worry about the traffic impacts of development.”

This column, combined with the story in Monday’s Herald Tribune about the City contemplating two more towers on the Quay property – an 18 story residential tower and a second tower that would create 300+ units on top of the Ritz Carlton residential units already being built will create a traffic volume not considered in their roundabout projects.

There is a great need for us to be able to make the City understand whatever they do on the 41 and Gulfstream, Fruitville area has serious impact on the residents of Longboat, Lido, St. Armands and Bird Key.  I remain concerned that none of those concerns are factoring into their plans.

BJ Bishop

Longboat Key

 

Lands End dock

To: Vice Mayor Ed Zunz

The entrance to the cove is now close to closing off entirely near Lands End dock and halting all water flow – as you are aware this is a concern the entire neighborhood has raised with the Town starting with a series of meetings beginning in 2016.  Please see the picture below taken Sunday (low tide) from bridge looking east to the LandsEnd dock.  Every neighbor on the north side of North Shore road has now lost boat access to their docks (lost value on home and property).  What used to be navigable water in front of the homes on North Shore continues to fill in with vegetation from sand drifting south from the backside of the ever expanding Greer Island.   The land mass has increased in size so much on Greer, that people are starting to “camp” overnight in the woods.  The size of the Jewfish sand bar, another source of frustration for Longboat Key residents, has also increased significantly.

Neighbors are very grateful the Town appears to be doing all it can now to re-open access to the cove quickly  –  but we should continue to consider the source of the problem while we are planning for the groin project.

The land growth of Greer “Beer Can” Island and the blocking of boat access and water views, is a result of putting more and more sand on the north end of Longboat Key without a means to better contain it OR a plan to address the inevitable consequences of that sand drift.

While we certainly value our beach and support beach re-nouishment, no one on LBK wants Greer Island or the Jewfish sandbar to get bigger.  Most would actually prefer they be much smaller.

Here are two areas that I believe require additional commissioner oversight and direction:

It is imperative that our Town be extremely thoughtful and conduct a high level of due diligence regarding the consultants’ recommendation to add a full level of sand to the 2-3 northern most groins. I believe this will be the first time the Town’s history to ever putting a mass of sand that close to the strong tidal flow of Longboat Pass (and still without a terminal groin).  Investing in sand to completely fill between the northern most groins, that do not front or protect any residential property directly, will instantly and significantly expand the width and size of Greer.  All options should be considered, when determining methods to best maintain a beach that protect properties at Northshore, Longbeach, and Broadway without expanding the size of Greer island and increasing the risk of larger sand drifts.

The Town must set aside, in its beach re-nourishment budget, funds to address the unintended drift of sand from our beach re-nourishment projects.  Should sand from this project move and block dock access for canal 1A, Lands End, Jewfish and other residential docks on the north end of the Key, or fill in water-front property as we are seeing now, the Town should be prepared to address this in a much more proactive way, without relying on emergency requests or funding.  The funding coming from Manatee county for sand on Greer might be a logical first source.

Ed- would you mind forwarding this to our Commissioner at Large, BJ Bishop, as I do not have her town email.

Maureen Merrigan

Longboat Key

 

North End – Beer Can Island

To: Vice Mayor Ed Zunz

Just a few days ago we were made aware of the commission meeting to review the canal study.  Given the short notice, we may not be able to have a representative attend from North Shore Rd.

While we understand the commission will be looking primarily at boat access and the depth of various canals, we wanted to re-emphasize that due to the movement of sand at Greer (Beer Can) Island, much of it from beach re-nourishment projects, we remain very concerned that the water on the south east side of the island is becoming landlocked.

This would of course impact the many fish and bird species in the area as well as have a significant impact on the enjoyment of this beautiful section of our island (e.g. kayaking, fishing, low draft boat access).  The study that was commissioned by the town reconfirms what many of us suspected, that this area has lost much of its water access from drifting sand and it remains a priority for Longboat Key to address. Thank you for your attention to this matter and your service to the community.

Maureen Merrigan

Longboat Key

 

Town Center site
To: Sara Cullen

Thanks for your comments about the long term potential Town Center activities. As you know, the Commission recently decided to consider and obtain additional public input with respect to improving the existing open field facility and a proposed Artistic, Cultural and Educational (ACE) building, as well as a possible Replacement of the outdated Recreation Center now at Bayfront Park; all at the former Amore site. In addition, as you well know and appreciate, our residents are enjoying the two additional dedicated Pickleball courts at Bayfront as we speak. While Town staff will continue to evaluate the ongoing Pickleball activity at Bayfront during both the current winter and summer seasons, your continued input will certainly be appreciated as well.

Jack Daly

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Town Center site

To: Longboat Key Commissioner Jack Daly

Thank you Jack for your kind words. Bayfront Park continues to be a well loved and used park. With just 60 parking spaces for basketball, tennis, pickleball, the dog park, recreation classes in the rec. building, kayak rental, fishing, the playground, beach access, shuffleboard, picnic pavilions with grilling and walking pathways it is of particular importance to plan carefully and well for the last undeveloped 5 acre parcel of land owned by the township.
The former Amore restaurant site needs a great deal of input and an all encompassing plan that will address the needs of Longboat for years to come. That plan should also include Bayfront Park, Durante Park and the Tennis Center. They are all intertwined, and to understand one without thinking of the other would be short sighted. I am looking forward to a great new beginning that finds relevant solutions to the needs of the community as a whole.
Sara Cullen
Longboat Key

Delay groin S1

To: Longboat Key Mayor George Spoll

I met you recently in the south guard shack for the Key Club’s Harbourside residences. I came in to discuss the remote opener I had, with Mike, and you were sitting there.

I introduced myself, mentioned appreciation for your time on our behalf, and also mentioned the topic of a traffic suggestion, namely a tunnel under Sarasota Bay.

You mentioned the effect on property owners.

This note is not about the tunnel concept, although a tunnel, if it could be approved, would answer all of the traffic issues and pay for itself over time with a toll charge.

My topic is the two rock groins planned for the area in front of (groin 1), and to the south of  the Longbeach Condominium complex, (groin 2), including the Coquina and Periwinkle Buildings.

I and my family have been owners in the Periwinkle building since 1976. I have previously been active regarding the erosion issue on the north end having previously written to the Commissioners, meeting with Mr. Linkogle, and in letters to the Observer.

Like you, with your suggestion to the city of Sarasota where you suggest some patience with respect to the roundabout whereby it may be wise to delay and reconsider the roundabout entirely.

I also suggest a delay in building one of the rock groins (#1) to await the benefits found by building groin 2, which is the most southerly groin near the Broadway beach access.

While initially saving money, delaying the groin near the Coquina building seawall would allow for actual experience of groin 2, before putting the sure to be unsightly groin directly in front of approximately… 80% of the 88 association owners.

Like you, I plead for patience first, before building that groin, which can’t be reversed, and which has a very good chance of not contributing to an improvement in erosion as

Recognized by the current beach consultants.

Below is my most recent communication to the commission of May 14, 2019. I visit my condo regularly, with a visit coming up March 15th to the 20th. If you have time, I’d love to have you over to discuss my thoughts, and hear yours. If not possible, thank you for any consideration possible. Let me know of any comments you may have and thank you again for your efforts on behalf of all Longboat Key stakeholders. PS: I do not knowingly represent the BOD at the Longbeach Association of Owners.

David Baughman

Longboat Key

 

Delay groin S1

To: Longboat Key Public Works Project Manager James Linkogle

Thank you for the information below. I have tried to reply in highlight (italics). Can you pass my comments on to the Commissioners?

 

‘To: David Baughman

In response to your request for information regarding design details and other related elements associated with the North End project, here are a couple of comments compiled in correspondence with our Coastal Engineering Consultant, Dr. Al Browder of Olsen and Associates, generally categorized as follows:

1) Status of modeling efforts for North End project

2) The possibility of moving sand from one portion of the beach to another

3) Comments regarding a ‘wait-and-see’ approach for the northern groins vs. the southern groins

1) Modeling efforts

All modeling necessary for the application of the current permit is in place to support the application process. To be very clear, the Town is not positioned to conduct any additional modeling. I do not believe that I requested new modeling. Modeling of the alongshore sediment transport potential for the north end shoreline was conducted for the sediment budget update, the report of which was turned in in late February 2019.  For the permit application we developed an excerpt from that modeling, specific to the two southern groins (as well as the northern 3).  This is found in Attachment #21 of the permit application itself (see attached PDF).  There are also a couple of presentations in which we talked about the erosional processes that the modeling shows, and what we expect the shoreline response to be.

Furthermore, the modeling Olsen conducted is what is called alongshore sediment transport modeling.  It is not full Delft3D inlet hydraulics/morphological modeling like CPE/APTIM did several years ago.  Early on Olsen agreed with Town Staff that we wouldn’t spend that kind of money, and in our opinion it doesn’t clearly speak to the processes we are interested in for the layout of the structures (hence the reason Olsen did the UNIBEST alongshore transport modeling, which is a model also built by Delft). Respectfully, I have previously said that it should involve more than just the least costly methods used to make judgements where 88 property owners are concerned.

The attached JPG image is from the 2017 presentation to the Commission.  The graphic is intended to convey the expected shoreline condition (beach width, essentially), after 2-4 years following construction.  The intent of the structures, being permeable to some degree but not as loose as the PAGS, is to slow the erosion rate down along the North End to a point where a renourishment interval of roughly 8 years can be achieved to potentially maintain a traversable, recreational and environmentally conducive habitat.

The attached PDF is Attachment #21 from the permit application.  Page 8 of the attachment, figure 21-5, is the primary product from the UNIBEST modeling, it shows the erosional and accretional gradients.  The text associated with the graphic explains the results (perhaps not a very simple explanation, but it isn’t a simple process out there).

2) Moving sand from one area to another on Longboat Key’s beaches:

We agree it is something that is potentially permittable. It would, however, be necessary to convince the FDEP that it was a net beneficial idea, meaning it didn’t have any significant adverse impacts to the excavated area.  Recognize first that this process does not add any additional sand to the littoral system. I propose that the potential benefit makes this worth at least giving it a try before constructing a permanent and a non-reversible structure, where so many owners quality of beach use and property values are concerned.

In that regard, the volume of sand necessary to make a significant impact should be considered.  Given how prior projects have performed, it would be necessary to move a significant volume of sand.  For example, the 2016 Longboat Pass project was 30,000 cy (approx.).  Thus 30,000cy of sand would need to be removed from, where?  Whitney Beach? 30,000 cy in those 25-yard off-road dump trucks is 1,200 round trips.  It will leave a noticeably deflated beach area.

For what gain?  If nothing is done to check the erosional gradient that exists along and adjacent to that wall, you are throwing money in the ocean.  We reference the performance of the 2016 Longboat Pass nourishment (and the 2018 interim fill, and the 2011 Cashman project).

Another complicating factor will be the fact that you remove sand from one area (presumably down closer to Whitney Beach), and create a deficit there (you create a hole, essentially).  The shoreline will immediately move to heal itself in that area, thus the draw of sand from adjacent beaches will be exacerbated. We contend, and previous consultants have so stated, that much of the sand we are talking about, originated from our beach area. Returning it made sense then, and makes sense now, of course with study and precision.

Furthermore, there should be no expectation at all that 100% of the sand that got moved and placed would simply end up back at Whitney Beach.  Some of it will, for sure.  My point exactly, our sand does move south to whitney beach to some extent, the S2 groin would stop that and build beach back north towards the seawall.

In our Coastal Engineer’s and my opinion, you’d be messing up one segment of the beach in order to not fix another segment of the beach for any reasonable length of time, because the extreme erosional gradient around that seawall has not been checked.

3) A Wait-and-see option for the 2 southern groins

It should be recognized, however, that the construction of the northern three groins will not achieve any shoreline improvement for the beach in front of the seawall nor in front of the Periwinkle building.  This is a really important point to grasp.  With a transport reversal occurring in the middle of the project area and the presence of the seawall and the existing PAGs, the two project segments DO NOT cast any significant improvement effects to one another.  Building them both together does provide some mutual benefit in that it reduces the erosional gradient across the PAG cell, but that’s about it.  Without structurally stabilizing the southern segment, the severe erosion rate will continue along the wall and the beach immediately south thereof. My original proposal was to delay construction of the S1 groin only, and to review the effectiveness of the S2 groin on the beach between it and the seawall. This makes the most sense while also restricting the effect on the views of approximately 80% of the 88 total units in Longbeach. My 43 years of being in the Periwinkle building as an owner, or as the owners son, has given me a unique knowledge of the beach there and its propensity to change not only in size, but also in the wave tendencies from south to north and vice versa. I have given you pictures of the beach and you have acquired some on your own, that show essentially that the beach has always been considered small, now more so due to the allowance of the sea grape plants. The pdf discussion in section 21, page nine, seems to recognize the variable nature of the modeling information, which I hope gives credence to the concept of delaying the S1 groin only so long as it takes to gauge the success of the S2 groin particularly in view of the dramatic effect on the Longbeach community.  Something that won’t be reversible once installed.  The S2 groin is the key and is preferable as a means to stabilize the beach going both north and south, assuming that the modeling is accurate with respect to the line where wave and the bottom splits the sand movement.

In this scenario, where would the sand come from to feed the Coquina/Periwinkle area and fix the erosion problem you are waiting to see get fixed?  Either the sand has to come from that volume of sand placed in the northern 3-groin project, which won’t happen for the reasons stated above, or you have to place additional sand (presumably unstabilized in this scenario).  Note also that:

  1. a)there’s not enough sand to be placed in the northern area to cover the northern area and the southern area in that scenario,
  2. b)the majority of the sand placed along the northern segment will not migrate southward, and you don’t want it to since it is intended to protect the northern segment shoreline,
  3. c)If you placed the southern segment’s sand, but don’t build the structures, you will simply see a near-repeat of the 2016 project because the severe erosional gradient along the seawall and just south thereof is not addressed. This is where we differentiate in our views. If I may say, my view is based on 43 years of living there. The other view is based on computer estimates and one, out of many, studies by one, out of many, consultants. Because there are many owners who’s values and quality of property use, at least partially, hinge on the S1 groin, it seems like a natural option to delay that groin to be sure that it is needed. If there is any possibility that the S1 groin is not needed, or that infrequent and relatively cheap sand can be relocated from nearby to the area between groin S2 and the seawall, I propose that the Commissioners give that a chance. Then, if the beach does not respond favorably, build the groin, and nothing has been lost, while the Commissioners have acted with their usual wisdom and diplomacy.

James Linkogle

Public Works Project Manager

Town of Longboat Key’

 

Request for groin design, Longbeach Condominiums

To: Public Works Project Manager James Linkogle

Thank you and Isaac for meeting with Bob Appel and I last Friday regarding the proposed two southerly rock groins and their location in front of the Longbeach Condominiums. Bob is the Coastal Chair for the Association, I am a volunteer resident.

We discussed several of the points made during the meeting and I have followed up on the ones that received comment.

First, we have confirmed that moving accreted sand from a southerly location, back to its original location/placement, on our beach, would require a state permit, and that they would want to see a lot of justification before issuing such a permit, but it could be done, and isn’t against a law if done with the permit.

Secondly, we will await the modeling that Olsen has done to show the expected benefit of the rock groin to be placed south and adjacent to the current sea wall at the Coquina building. As you may recall, I have asked that this groin be delayed until after the three new northerly groins nearer the inlet be finished and functioning, in order to determine if the southerly rock groin near Coquina, and perhaps the one near the Broadway street access, are even needed.

The modeling results will help us evaluate the potential for meaningful success. If the benefits are relatively small, by delaying, the city would save the expense too. We are asking for the same approach that the Commissioners would like from

Sarasota regarding the new roundabout. Wait for the results of the other changes, turn lane etc… before committing to the roundabout and its potential impact on traffic and evacuations.

Given the rarity of installing such groins, that will have dramatic effect on the recreational value of the private residences, the property value impact, and the environmental and visual degradation, I wanted to encourage patience before taking the risk of there being minimal positive impact as is suggested by the history of that small area of beach and its success in regulating itself. I have personally been a continuous user of that beach since 1976. When do you think you will be sending modeling visuals?

David Baughman

Longboat Key

 

New Radio System

To: Longboat Key Town Commission

Commissioners, FYI. See note from Chief Dezzi. Both Counties have been working together for more than five years to upgrade the public safety radio system. I was fortunate to be involved in this project when it first started on the Sarasota County side.  It was great to see support of a regional approach back then and now to see the improvements to the system come on line for the Town and the region.

The Town has also been at the table participating in the planning and implementation of the project.  This system serves both the police and fire departments.  As you can see by the Fire Chief’s comments there are some immediate benefits to the new system to our public safety responders and ultimately the residents and visitors that we serve.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

New Radio System

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

As you are aware, for more than five years both Manatee and Sarasota County have been working on a new public safety radio system.  Today at 6 a.m. all the hard work came to fruition with the new system being placed into operation.

The Town has been working with both counties on this project to ensure that we will have interoperability during an emergency for all public safety responders.

Last month I had the opportunity to test the new system throughout Longboat Key including those area where we had no or limited communication.  Areas such as Beer Can Beach, L’Ambiance, Water Club, Town Hall, Public Safety Complex, Grand Bay, Longboat Key Club all were among those evaluated resulting in a positive outcome.

Today I was able to speak with Manatee County Emergency Communication Center without any need for a patch, something that we could not do with the old system.  This new feature, alone was a safety concern for public safety and has now been resolved.

I cannot tell you how delighted I am that we have this new system as it will make our emergency scenes safer because we will be able to communicate with firefighters while inside buildings, something that we did not have with the old system.

We will continue to evaluate the system and provide feedback to the radio managers in an effort to enhance our communications and safety while on an emergency scene as well as work with them on future operational needs that will enhance all first responders throughout Manatee and Sarasota.

I know the public may not realize the importance of this project but I can tell you as one that has been operating on this radio system for over 35 years this is exceptional and I personally appreciate all the efforts that made today safer for our firefighters and first responders.

Thank you for your support as we moved this project forward and understanding the need for upgrading our department with new portable and mobile radios. Thank you!

Paul B. Dezzi

Fire Chief

 

Longboat Key Fire Rescue

“No Sarasota Roundabout At US 41 (Tamiami Trail) and Gulf Stream” Petition

To: Commissioner Jack Daly

Please see the attached email below. The online petition is asking for signatures to support blocking the roundabout at Gulfstream and US 41. Thank you.

Lynn Larson

Longboat Key

“No Sarasota Roundabout At US 41 (Tamiami Trail) and Gulf Stream” Petition
To: Longboat Key businesses and residents

Please read this short petition.  If you agree, please pass this petition link on to others. Traffic back ups at this high volume intersection are bad for property values, businesses, and tourism not to mention the quality of life on Longboat, Lido, St Armand’s and Bird Keys.
When signatures are in place we will pass on to the Governor, Fl. Traffic Commission, FDOT officials, Sarasota County and City Commissioners, etc.
We feel the proposed high volume roundabout risks making a very bad situation even worse and doesn’t address traffic growth. There are other viable solutions to direct the $26 million toward. Thanks!
Bob Gault
Longboat Key

 

“No Sarasota Roundabout At US 41 (Tamiami Trail) and Gulf Stream” Petition

To: Lynn Larson, Bob Gault

In support of the petition and comments, I offer just a few comments you may want to consider. The estimated costs of the roundabout is $6 million and about $3 million for drainage improvements — FDOT does in fact have a study supporting its position that the proposed roundabout improves traffic flow; however your petition can accurately and simply point out that its study does not take into account any consideration whatsoever of the points you make that the preponderance of drivers during peak season are visitors, tourists, older residents, that will not be familiar with or able to adapt to a roundabout configuration. Also, perhaps more Importantly, you can note that the Town has commissioned a traffic expert that does not agree with FDOT’s study. Good luck in appreciation of your efforts.

Jack Daly
Commissioner

Longboat Key

Grand Re-opening of Paul N. Thorpe, Jr. Park
To: City of Sarasota Commission, City Hall

Kudos to the city for celebrating the Grand Re-Opening of Paul N. Thorpe, Jr. Park and the Lemon Avenue Streetscape!

The streetscape that features beautiful wall art on The Mark has a lovely flow, but it’s the park that has turned out to be a masterpiece!

It promises to be enjoyed by thousands coming from the surrounding neighborhoods as well as from the weekly Farmers Market.

And to think that only a few years ago the existence of its centerpiece, the fountain, was questionable. How fortunate are we that it was preserved.

Thank you for incorporating key features in the park such as the winding pergola with colorful bougainvillea adorning its up lighted posts and wonderful (very comfortable) swings for All ages. It was delightful to see how they were being enjoyed the evening of the ceremony.

Mayor Ahearn-Koch, a special thanks to you for expressing the city’s appreciation to Nancy Goodheart Matthews for her beautiful ceramic artwork that adorns the fountain and the walking area around it. Interesting fact is that playing off of her name, the city’s public art committee held a Celebration of Art at the fountain on February 4, 2005 honoring the adoption of the artwork by Sam and Renee Hamad and the renaming of the fountain Good Heart Place (See plaque on fountain wall). Lots of history here.

Once again, thanks to everyone involved with the planning of the Grand Opening ceremony with special mention of sponsorship from Jon F. Swift Construction, Kolter Urban, LLC, Brick’s Smoked Meats and the Sarasota Farmers market. Your efforts and contributions were appreciated by all who attended this well planned ceremony.

Barbara Campo

Sarasota

 

Latest roundabout drafts

To: Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin

This is still a work in progress but this will give you a good idea of what the videos will look like.

Alexandrea Davis Shaw

City Engineer

City of Sarasota

 

Latest roundabout drafts

To: Sarasota City Engineer Alexandrea Davis Shaw

Currently we have divided the video into two components. The first and longer video is titled “Educational” below.
The educational video describes specifically how to navigate the roundabout at 10th and 14th.

The “Driver’s View Experience” is much shorter and shows the 4 easy steps for driving the roundabout all from the drivers perspective.

Educational

https://vimeo.com/kimleyhorn/review/395852129/b669e3a850

Driver’s View Experience

https://vimeo.com/kimleyhorn/review/391550513/0e3fa58fe5

We will need to add some transition language to the open and close of the videos to combine them together.

Our thought right now is to give people the choice to pick one or the other based on what they are interested in instead of making them watch both together.

Note: Were re-rendering the animations for the drivers view experience so that the timing fits the narrative better and the current rendering errors (flickers) are gone. The updated animations will finish rendering over the weekend.

Look forward to reviewing these with you in the morning. Please review these before our call if at all possible.

John Barden
Kimley-Horn

Denver, CO

Latest roundabout drafts

To: Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin and Sarasota Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown

Thanks for these videos. This is a good start. I have some suggestions below, including some corrections/mistakes (Education of Roundabout) but these are well done.

“Education of Roundabout”

Important: at 55 seconds, you can see that the streets incorrectly identified…  “Imperial” and “14th” need to be switched. Imperial is on the West side of US 41 and 14th is on the East side of US 41.

Grammatically, throughout the video, the voice says “Here’s the … two options “ it should be “Here are the two options…” The options are plural.

There is a “creepy/soft” voice that denotes the time of the video every 5-10 seconds, please make sure it is deleted in the final version.

I think it would be a good idea to mention the option of changing lanes if one needs to or entered the incorrect lane. Is it allowed?

At the start of the video it shows a visual of the 14th street Roundabout looking to North to South, then the video switches to a driving simulation from south to north. This is confusing and I would suggest sticking with one of the two. Perhaps that is the origin of the mis-labeled streets (14th and Imperial!).

It would be a good idea to mention that the speed limits are slower both approaching the roundabout and while in the roundabout, and to always drive with caution and keep an eye out for pedestrians. The main focus of these roundabouts is to get people to SLOW DOWN and the sooner we can get people on board the safer it will be.

Also, what about including the HAWK signal information … and addressing the (confusing) light signals with flashing yellow, red, flashing red, etc. these need to be included as well.

“Driver’s View Experience”

  • Again, at minute .20 they say “… with practice there’s four easy steps” Correction “There ARE four easy steps.” Plural.
  • There is a “creepy/soft” voice that denotes the time of the video every 5 seconds, please make sure it is deleted in the final version.
  • at 1.51 the video addresses the Hawk cross walk but the other video does not. This video has a “flashing” white median on the left that is a mistake I think and is distracting. Also, the HAWK light signals are not obvious at all and I am viewing this on an IPad.
  • at 2:33 it says “once in the roundabout, give the gas a tap, once in the roundabout don’t stop” … I would caution this statement and recommend to add “proceed slowly with caution to pedestrians” (It mentions the Hawk signals later but to be on the safe side).

In addition, I would still like to look into an interactive, Virtual App for the mobile device, (cell phone) that could act as the “steering wheel” so people could use the phone as a simulator to driving the roundabout before getting in the car. I have been suggesting this for about two years now and would love it if we could schedule a meeting with FDOT, the City Staff, and Larry Thompson or Dr. Shelly from Booker High School to try to develop this in coordination with the many talented students we have in our area. Looking into the future, residents and visitors might like to simulate the drive from the Airport through to the south Trail as we are working to have more roundabouts in addition the 14th, 10th, Fruitville roundabouts. When designed in a series, it is important to understand how they all work together and education is key to understanding, accepting, and safely navigating them.

Jen Ahearn-Koch

Mayor

City of Sarasota

 

Marina Jack
To: Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin

I’d like a briefing on the agreement we have with them to use the number of spots they use and the location from staff’s perspective as soon as possible.
Hagen Brody
Commissioner

City of Sarasota

 

Marina Jack
To: Sarasota Commissioner Hagen Brody
I will ask Mark Lyon’s to give you a call regarding this matter.
Tom Barwin

City Manager

City of Sarasota

 

Marina Jack

To: Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin

Thank you. No rush.

Hagen Brody

Commissioner

City of Sarasota

 

Sarasota in Motion

To: Sarasota Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch, Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin

I just left the third and final Sarasota in Motion Community Workshop. I attend both the 2nd and 3rd workshops. I was happy the City invited the community of be a part of the conversation. Unfortunately, things went a little sideways at the end of the meeting. We were given the presentation and then it was time for Q & A. We were told that we could only ask questions on an individual basis and not have a group conversation. Meaning that we had to ask our questions one-on-one. Many were not happy with that situation. We were at a community workshop because the City asked for our feedback. Here is a direct quote from the email I received.  “We invite you to participate in this third phase by attending one of two “Realizing the Vision” Open House meetings next week on Tuesday, March 10, 2020 to review and provide feedback on the Sarasota in Motion draft project list.”  Why wouldn’t we have conversation with the entire group who took there own time to attend the workshop? Once again, to the citizens of our community it looks like the City is just giving us lip service. If the City wants open communication with honest dialogue, then actually give us that opportunity? Thank you for your time!

Flo Entler

Sarasota

 

Sarasota in Motion

To: Flo Entler

Thank you for attending today’s public workshop. As you know, the City’s transportation planning team wanted to gain as much citizen feedback as possible throughout the process.  This is evident from the thousands of responses we’ve received to date from public meetings, surveys, our interactive map, and other forms of reaching out to the community. By using the one-on- one approach, it gives the attendee the opportunity to ask more questions and get more answers over the same period of time.  By having questions asked before the entire group, and only having one question asked at a time, it greatly limits the attendee’s opportunity to have all their questions answered.  In some instances, attendees may not even have a chance to ask their question. I suggest that this approach actually provides greater communication and honest dialogue with the citizens.

I have to disagree with you that the City is just providing lip service.  If you look at the recommendations that were presented today, they reflect the projects that the citizens wanted the most.  This is reflected in the scores that each project received with the most desired projects scoring the highest.

I hope this answers your questions and concerns.  If you have any other questions, feel free to contact our transportation staff in Planning.

Steven Cover

Planning Director

City of Sarasota

 

Sarasota in Motion

To: Sarasota Planning Director Steve Cover

Thank you for getting back to me. I did not see you at the meeting this afternoon so maybe you were unaware that there was plenty of time for open discussion. The presentation ended at 12 with the meeting ending at 1 pm so we had a full hour for open conversation; enough time for all to ask their questions. One-on-one conversation eliminates the transparency that is essential to community-based efforts. I feel group communication allows for the free flow of ideas by many, sparking thoughts and potentially new solutions. Eliminating the group Q&A created a chilling affect in the room.  Many citizens in the room were not happy. I appreciate your time.

Flo Entler

Sarasota

 

Sarasota in Motion

To: Flo Entler

Thank you Florence Entler for your feedback. I am also partial to a group discussion after a presentation.

Jen Ahearn-Koch

Mayor

City of Sarasota

 

Follow up
To: Sarasota Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch
Did you get a chance to read my e-mail concerning Marina Jack valet parking?  Could you please tell me what your thoughts are about this matter?  This is very important to me.  Thank you!
Don McEachern
Sarasota

 

Follow up

To: Don McEachern

Thanks for your email about parking at Marina Jacks, or lack the of.

I have copied the City Manager and pertinent City Staff on this email as they can follow up with documentation and details to supplement the information but it is my understanding that when the lease agreement was extended by the City Commission, at the time (about ten years ago), that a percentage of the available parking be blocked off for Marina Jack (but also open to the public to valet for $1). The terms were set by a previous Commission and executed accordingly.

I am not saying that I agree with this, I am just saying that there is a legal document stipulating the terms and this was signed and implemented by a previous Commission.

I have also copied the City Attorney on this matter so he can clarify this accordingly.

I look forward to their supplemental information and options or suggestions they may have. I do believe the lease comes up for renewal in the next ten years.

Jen Ahearn-Koch

Mayor

City of Sarasota

 

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