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Editorial Letters – Week ending March 20, 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.

Virus Emergency

To: Editor

I was disappointed to see the letter from Mr. Seidholz published in your issue of March 13th. I understand that politics are particularly polarized at present but Mr. Seidholz’s effusion simply throws mud at the Administration’s efforts without detailing a single failure or offering a constructive suggestion. A typical playground tantrum.

I would prefer to thank all levels of government and all medical professionals for doing their best in a very confused situation, and to local businesses for allowing most of our lives to continue relatively unscathed. I would particularly compliment Publix on Bay Isles and their employees for keeping us supplied with essentials in spite of the idiots trying daily to empty the shelves.

Philip Alsop

Longboat Key

 

Thank you to organizations

To: Editor

I wanted to thank those religious organizations, civic organizations and others who heeded the need to cancel or postpone public events in light of the Coronavirus outbreak.  To those organizations who are continuing to meet or hold events this is the time to cancel or postpone until this virus is under control.  Only through everyone’s efforts to minimize contact will we overcome this life-altering event.

BJ Webb Bishop

Longboat Key

 

Pedestrian Monitor Program canceled

To: Longboat Key Town Commission

I talked with FDOT and the City of Sarasota today about the Pedestrian Monitor Program this season at St. Armands Circle. With the State of Florida requirement for restaurants to reduce occupancy, bars and nightclubs required to close for the next 30 days, and the decision today to close public beaches in Sarasota County, the need for that program for the rest of the season is no longer necessary. All parties agreed to terminate the program immediately and plan for a similar program prior to next season.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Longboat hires special legal counsel for traffic concerns

To: Longboat Key Town Commission

The purpose of this email is to provide the Town Commission with information on a proposed special legal counsel to represent the Town on transportation matters. I intended to present on this matter at the Town Commission’s March 23, 2020 Special Meeting; however, after multiple discussions with the Town Manager over the past week, we agreed that this item should be delayed and presented in conjunction with a larger transportation discussion at a future Town Commission meeting.

Nevertheless, I wanted to forward the information I gathered for information purposes.  I contacted Tampa attorney, David Smolker with the law firm of Smolker, Bartlett, Loeb, Hinds & Thompson. Mr. Smolker and his law firm are available to represent the Town’s interests and serve as special counsel on transportation matters, including potential litigation.  Information on Mr. Smolker’s background and experience, and the terms of his engagement are attached.  Additional information on the firm is available at: https://www.sblfirm.com/ If you have any questions or concerns about the information I am forwarding, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Maggie D. Mooney

Town Attorney

Longboat Key

 

Fight the roundabout

To: Editor

Longboat Key must continue to fight against Sarasota’s idea of building a roundabout where cars from Lido Beach and Longboat Key meet in Sarasota on the Trail. It used to be that once the mainland was reached, the traffic calmed down. But with the over-development of Sarasota, Route 41 stops everybody now.

And we want to slow the traffic down even more? Somebody is confused. I dread this drive because it is so slow. Trying to get to an appointment or a concert or play is impossible unless you add about two hours to the time. And then you are never sure. I long ago gave up going to the Van Wezel because I could never get there on time. Don’t tell me to try Sunday afternoon because that is when I go to Florida Studio Theater which has no parking unless you get there hours in advance. At least they have a bar where I can eat lunch while I wait for the play.

This intersection where Sarasota has decided it needs a rotary is almost underwater now. If it rains, the moon is full, or the tide is high, it is under water and I’m afraid my little car will drown. What we need there is a traffic circle to speed up traffic once the road is elevated. I have previously suggested building a bridge to allow the through traffic to keep moving and have been told that the downtown businesses would never agree. I do believe that our new development on the Bay will include bridges over the highway so pedestrians can reach the Bay. What’s another bridge?

I recently heard that all this new road development is to improve walking and bicycle movement in downtown Sarasota and along Longboat Key’s exit route. Aren’t you forgetting something? Longboat Key is an older community. I cannot imagine anyone I know walking or riding their bicycle to Sarasota. That’s a scary thought to me. I know Sarasota wants to get rid of their excess of cars but wishing won’t make it so. Please put a traffic circle at our intersection so that cars can move more quickly. Otherewise, the traffic congestion Sarasota has now will extend its car-filled roads all the way to Longboat Key.

Anne Arsenault

Longboat Key

 

LBK Website Concern

To: Vice Mayor Ed Zunz
I am a resident on Longboat Key (LBK), and have some concerns regarding the new website. I read an email correspondence in the 3/13/20 Longboat Key News. I concur whole-heartedly that the new website requires some modifications.
I love the new visual aspect of the Town’s new website; however, the last two “simple” searches I tried sent me to articles that did not even come close to my search criteria (In the last search, I was looking for non-emergency Longboat Key police phone number).
Fortunately, I found your name quite easily, thus you are receiving this email.
I would ask that you receive more feedback from actual users, and try your own searches.  In addition, maybe the main page should have very important contact information imbedded, and not place the search feature so prominently, since the search feature really doesn’t work very well.
Terri Driver

Longboat Key

 

LBK Website concern

To: Terri Driver

Thanks for your interest. Some revisions of the new website are already in progress and your comments will be considered.

Ed Zunz

Vice Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Village Parking & Traffic Safety Status Update

To: Longboat Key Town Commission

See update on the staff’s efforts related to the Village Parking concerns. Earlier in the week Allen and I reached out to representatives of the neighborhood to discuss the rescheduling of the 3/23 agenda item and the status of current staff efforts. They were supportive of rescheduling the discussion under the current circumstances.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Village Parking & Traffic Safety Status Update

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

In lieu of the status update that was going to be provided as support to the Village Parking & Traffic Safety discussion at the Town Commission’s March 23, 2020, Special Meeting, attached, is an interim summary that can be provided. At this point, it is anticipated that the discussion for this item will be heard at the next scheduled Town Commission Regular Workshop.

Allen Parsons

Director Planning, Zoning & Building Department

Town of Longboat Key

 

Village Life & Safety Issues

To: Longboat Key Vice Mayor Ed Zunz

Thanks again for your public service, and for your leadership concerning the very dangerous life and safety issues caused by the out-of-control parking and traffic situation in the Village.  We very much appreciate your support of our Parking Committee’s Resident Permit Parking recommendation, and we look forward to the March 23 Workshop to provide additional feedback to, and hopefully witness action by, the Commission.

We hope that your fellow Commissioners acknowledge that, as our district’s representative, you know our district best, and therefore that they fully and enthusiastically get behind your leadership on this important issue.

We are confident that the life/safety data we (and the Town Police) have provided to you over the past year proves to the Commission, beyond any possible doubt, that an immediate adoption of Resident Permit Parking (and the other safety recommendations) is needed to avoid an imminent, inevitable and tragic pedestrian, bicyclist or motorist injury or death.

(Of course, if it would be helpful, our Committee and the Police Department could summarize that data – such as the over 1,000 speeders per day on Broadway, the sightline setbacks on Broadway, Russell, Lois and Poinsetta that are too-short-as-is and that are regularly and repeatedly violated by non-resident parkers, and the like.)

In our emails of today to the Commission, we thought it would be helpful to change subjects a bit to provide the Commissioners with a summary of the first-hand observations of the restaurants’ onsite lots made by members of our Committee at regular intervals over the last four weekends.

These observations consistently revealed that, even at the absolute height of the Village season – when many seasonal and year-round residents and their many seasonal guests and visitors are using street parking – and even at peak times for the restaurants, there are numerous empty parking stalls at each restaurant and a virtually empty under-building lot at Shore.  (Often, the on-site lots are half, or less, full.)  And, to date, we have never observed any valet stacking parking at either restaurant as was predicted by the restaurants.

(We thought it would be particularly helpful to make these observations over a four-weekend period when use of Village parking by residents and their guests and visitors is at its absolute highest, such as when residents host large events – like the annual high school reunion we host, large family reunions regularly hosted by us and other Village residents, and the like.)

And all of this was true even before Shore recently began to operate its Whitney Plaza spaces and even while we have never observed more than two vehicles in Mar Vista’s gravel lot marked “employee and construction parking only” in the former forest on GMD.

Of course, this proves definitively, and once-and-for-all, that the onsite lots at the restaurants plus Shore’s under-building lot can accommodate all of the restaurants’ patrons (and perhaps some employees as well), and that the restaurants’ offsite lots can accommodate all of the restaurants’ employees.

We commend the restaurants for the steps they have taken to make this so, and for their concession – on the record – that patrons and employees will not stop parking on Village streets and fully utilize the various restaurant lots until Resident Permit Parking is enacted.

Therefore, we hope it will be clear to your fellow Commissioners that there is absolutely no need for the restaurants to use our formerly quiet and safe — but still historic and residential — streets as commercial parking lots (even if that was anything other than a very bad and dangerous idea in any event).

By promptly enacting our Committee’s Resident Permit Parking proposal (and the other recommended safety steps), the Commission can quite easily – and dramatically – resolve the life and safety dangers caused in our community by the inappropriate expansion of all three restaurants, while simultaneously restoring our quality of life and providing a nod to the restaurants for their successful steps to accommodate all their patron and employee parking in commercial spaces.

Thanks again for your very special support of our Committee’s hard work and your special interest in life, safety and quality-of-life issues facing the Village.

Henry and Donna Rae Smith

Longboat Key

 

Village Life & Safety Issues

To: Henry Smith

​As you have likely become aware, like most all upcoming events that could draw significant people, the Pandemic crisis has caused the March 23 workshop to be postponed.  In the meantime government edicts will likely cause all restaurant activity to abate.  Hopefully these policies will protect everyone’s well-being.

Ed Zunz

Vice Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Village Life & Safety issues

To: Vice Mayor Ed Zunz

We heard that, Ed, thanks!  Please be safe, and we’ll stand-by for any rescheduling date for the hearing (live or online, etc.).

Henry Smith

Longboat Key

 

Food trucks should turn around in restaurant parking lots

To: Longboat Key Commission

I am writing to follow up my email of February 16. My wife and I have owned the house at Russell Street in the village for 10 years.

Thank you all for your ongoing attention to the parking issue, which is of fundamental importance to those of us who own homes and live in the village. I am hoping to have the opportunity to address you all in person at the workshop scheduled for March 23. I also intend to submit a further written submission at that time in support of the proposal to institute a Resident Parking Permit system in the village.  I do not intend to go into detail on that issue in this email, because this email is for a different, but related purpose.

The primary purpose of this email is to ask the Town to support us by stopping the food trucks that serve the restaurants from using Bayside Drive, Russell Street and Lois Street to loop back to Broadway on their way out of the village. This phenomenon has become very prevalent since The Shore commenced operations and it is totally unnecessary, very intrusive to our residential area, extremely dangerous and needs to be stopped immediately.  These food trucks deliver to the restaurants and could easily use the restaurant properties to turn around and exit the village via Broadway without looping through our residential neighborhood on their way out of the village. They are large trucks which take up most of these roads, especially with the ongoing parking problem on Russell Street. The intersection at Russell Street and Lois Avenue is a T-intersection which is already often compromised by parked cars along the top of the T, which should also be prohibited, in my view. This is not a safe route for such trucks.

This occurs on a daily basis. It is irresponsible of the restaurants and irresponsible of these food truck companies to allow this to continue to occur. Please do whatever is necessary to stop it as soon as possible.

Thank you for your attention to this issue. I would appreciate hearing what the Town will do regarding this issue. I appreciate that the Town has many issues on its plate at present, but surely this problem must be capable of a solution in short order.

Stephen Garrod and Patricia MacDonald

Longboat Key

 

1,000 Signatures against roundabout

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

We are pleased to report that, in just a week, we have over 1,000 electronic signatures on a petition against the proposed roundabout at 41 and Gulfstream. Seventy-four percent of those going to the site signed it which is far above average for these kind of petitions.  We will be sending the petition to the Governor, Fl. Traffic Commission, DOT officials, Sarasota County and City Commissioners.

We will keep the petition open for another two weeks at Change.org.

http://chng.it/CFd8W46B. “No Sarasota Roundabout at SR41 (Tamiami Trail) and Gulfstream Ave.”

We respectfully ask for continued support to ask FDOT to find a different, safe and efficient solution to improving this critical high volume intersection serving Sarasota and our barrier islands.

Lynn Larson and Bob Gault

Longboat Key

 

Coronavirus update

To: Longboat Key Town Commission

This afternoon the Town received a copy of the Governor’s Executive Order (20-68) regarding updated direction related to the Coronavirus Response. His Executive Order is attached.  I have also attached the latest update from Sarasota County.

I have highlighted the Governor’s direction below:

Bars, Pubs, Nightclubs:

  • If they derive over 50% of gross revenue from alcohol sales – suspend all alcohol sales for 30 days effective 5 p.m. March 17th.

Beaches:

  • No gatherings of over 10 people
  • Maintain distance of 6 feet from other groups

Restaurants:

  • Must immediately reduce occupancy to 50% of current building occupancy to increase social distance of at least 6’ between tables.
  • No parties over 10 people to be seated.

Staff screening prohibits any employee from entering the restaurant premises if they meet any of the following:

  • Anyone who has tested positive until 2 consecutive negative tests separated by 24 hours,
  • Any person showing symptoms of respiratory infection, cough, fever, shortness of breath, or sore throat,
  • Any person who has been in contact with anyone know to be infected with COVID-19, who has not yet tested negative within the past 14 days,
  • Any person who traveled through any airport within the past 14 days,
  • Any person who traveled on a cruise ship within the past 14 days.

We have been advised that both counties are currently keeping their public beaches open with the restrictions noted in the Governor’s Executive Order. We continue to coordinate with both Counties and the local public health officials on the overall response and all are working to notify the public of the latest actions.

In addition to the latest State direction, the Town has also implemented a modified inspection program for building inspections in certain interior confined spaces in existing occupied buildings. This would include interior A/C change outs, water heater change outs, window replacements, indoor access door replacements, and interior alterations.  All building permits for these improvements will continue to processed as usual and urgent repairs will be allowed to be installed, and utilized subject to subsequent inspection by the Town Inspectors, when deemed safe. If necessary, permits will be extended at no cost. We will continue to update the Commission and the public as additional information becomes available.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Correspondence to Governor DeSantis Requesting Exemption to FS 286.011 due to COVID-19 Concerns

To: Longboat Key Town Commission

The Town has joined in with other municipalities requesting the Governor to provide some relief to “in person” quorum requirements for public meetings.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Correspondence to Governor DeSantis Requesting Exemption to FS 286.011 due to COVID-19 Concerns

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

This is a great idea. The March 3 Weiss Serota letter was right on point and I’m happy to see we joined in to request the ability to act telephonically.

Ken Schneier

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Transfers

To: Longboat Key Town Commission

The Charter authorizes the Town Manager to transfer up to certain amount (increased to $20,000 in March of 2018 as part of the Charter Revision) among programs within or between departments of the same fund through the fiscal year. In accordance with the Charter, the Manager is required to give notice of such transfers to the Town Commission.  As we are closing out FY19 as part of the audit process the Finance Director has compiled a list of transfers (3) that occurred between October 1, 2018 and September 30, 2019.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Town’s precautions associated with the Coronavirus

To: Longboat Key Town Commission

I wanted to provide an update on the Town’s precautions associated with the Coronavirus (COVID 19).

Our Fire Chief/Emergency Manager Paul Dezzi has been coordinating our preparations and response to the threat of COVID 19.  The Chief and I have been participating in regular conference calls with the Sarasota County Public Health Officer and Sarasota County Emergency Management.  We are also receiving regular updates from Manatee County. We will continue to share updates from the Counties as we receive them.

I met with our staff today to review our actions to date and to review planned events over the next 30 days.

There are several large public events that were scheduled to occur over the next 30 days on the island.  All those scheduled events have now been cancelled.

The Garden Club has cancelled the March 20th Dinner and a Movie at Bayfront Park.

The Town is cancelling the March 24th Artists Reception at Town Hall.

The Chamber has cancelled the March 28th Savor the Sounds Concert at the Town Center Green.

Two events at the Tennis Center (April 3rd Celebration of Life and the End of Season Party).

For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 in Florida, please feel free to visit the Florida Department of Health’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage.

We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as they become available.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Town of Longboat Key – new 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 in my honest opinion, 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

 

Town of Longboat Key – new website

To: Debra Williams

Thanks for your comments. I am passing them along to Tom Harmer and to Jason Keen in IT along with the note that this is one of your areas of expertise.

Ken Schneier

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

New town website

To: Longboat Key Commissioner Ken Schneier

Commissioners Schneier, thanks for copying me on the email. Our IT Director is in communication with Debra.  I followed up with Jason this afternoon and asked that he reach back out to her and invite her in to meet with him to go over her feedback on the website.  With her experience I think that will be helpful for the Town.
Debra, thanks for reaching out. If you haven’t already, you should be hearing from Jason to set up an opportunity to meet and go over your feedback – I would be happy to meet with you as well.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

This Weekend’s Park-Out

To: Gene Jaleski, Village residents

Hello Friends and Neighbors! I noticed when putting out our three vehicles this morning that the employees are already starting to fill-up Broadway.  If you’re able, please don’t forget the Saturday and Sunday park-outs to show the Town Police (especially) the scope of the parking problem caused by the improperly checked commercial expansion. Thanks!

Henry Smith

Longboat Key

 

This Weekend’s Park-Out

To: Gene Jaleski

Update as of 1 p.m.:  I see that the Town Police have ticketed the two Mar Vista employees who parked at the Town Pier/Boat Ramp early this morning, and I believe are ticketing the many parkers violating the white setback lines on Broadway from Whitney’s to Shore.  Thanks to you all for calling those in to 941-316-1201 and please keep making those calls.  I think the more calls from many different callers – anonymous is fine, says the Chief — insisting that the Town enforce the existing rules will make it much easier to prove that we need the new rules we’re asking for.

(And thanks in advance for participating in the park-outs every weekend until the Commission takes action to solve this problem before someone gets hurt or killed.  On my bike just now, I almost got killed by a speeder going 37 past the electronic speed sign!)

Henry Smith

Longboat Key

 

This Weekend’s Park-Out

To: Henry Smith, Longboat Key Police Chief Pete Cumming

The number of violations, both parking and speeding, are overwhelming the ability of a part-time police officer, parked at the end of Broadway. Just because the police are not here and don’t ticket cars doesn’t mean that the violations aren’t continuing and continuing to grow in number. The citations the police do report are a drop in the bucket of those that should be issued I believe.

We are being overwhelmed by the restaurant tourist traffic and having a police vehicle parked at the end of Broadway, now and then, does nothing to control speeding up and down Russell up Broadway and on all of the streets in the village. The number of parking violations continue to grow on Russell, Cedar, Poinsettia.

The town has allowed the streets of the village to be turned into single-lane roads, where villagers sometimes have to wait several minutes while some elderly restaurant patron tries to get into a parking space too small for his car, and finally has to give up.

The town continues to ignore the blatant safety problems caused by the restaurant parking on streets too narrow for even two cars much less three cars wide.

The town does not seem to appreciate the huge amount of inconvenience to residence being caused by excessive expansion of the restaurants and resulting traffic congestion.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Meeting Minutes

To: Village residents

The following are the minutes of our Feb 26 Parking Committee meeting, attended by: Henry, Mad, Bob, Jill, Joe, Becky, Cindy, Pete, Carla.  Decisions: the full press should continue with:

– Everyone’s sending emails to the commissioners. Our 1st one (to be sent soon) is below.  You all have great ideas for letters. You are welcome to use any words or notions in the document attached (our latest version). The last edition of LBK News printed Steve/Pat Garrod’s, Terry Kolodzieski’s, Susan Uderman’s, and more.

– Please ask to meet with commissioners one on one. We met with Jack Daly yesterday (Thursday) and he had read the document and had a number of questions.  He is inclined to take an incremental approach. But:  he is not opposed to our recommendation’s becoming  the end result We just don’t know why he thinks waiting is the way to go?  But we think we made some progress. He is hung up on thinking it is a seasonal issue still.  Mike Haycock is next (he requested to meet with Pete only).

– We have made the changes you recommended to our traffic calming pitch  (dropped tax district, refocus on RPP being the priority, added all our names, added blurb from comprehensive plan, added RPP chart).  Please critique this attached pitch.  Thanks.

– Park-in both Sat and Sun from now on.

– Meeting is scheduled with Allen Parsons et al scheduled for March 4, Wednesday, 11 a.m., town hall. Please attend if you can.

– We reviewed the Broadway plan to narrow the street (as a traffic calming attempt) by removing parking and adding bike lanes with some sort of segmented median as alternative to stop signs and speed tables as we see in Sarasota.  Thank you Jen and Greg.

-Tomorrow begins the weekly park-in.

Carla & Pete Rowan

Longboat Key

 

Village residents’ letter to commission

To: Mayor George Spoll, Vice Mayor Ed Zunz, Commissioners Randy Clair, Jack Daly, Mike Haycock, Irwin Pastor, Ken Schneier and Town Manager Tom Harmer

The residents of the historic Longbeach Village have experienced an increase of on-street parking and traffic which has decreased safety and quality of life as a result of unintended consequences due to the expanded capacity of the two commercial properties within our residential neighborhood. Plus, the addition of parking spaces on the south side of Broadway in 2014, as well as the recently opened Whitney’s, has allowed both beach and Whitney’s parking to expand into the neighborhood’s streets from the west. We are now have 8 village residential block-fronts completely filled with parking every single day. This creates the following problems:

– Too much traffic and visitor parking on very narrow Village streets creates significant risk of injury or death.

– Too little parking for residents are available by their homes as the legal spots are taken up by restaurants customers, employees, and beach goers.

– Health aids and resident’s guests are forced to park several blocks away.

– Service vehicles are often unable to park near the house they need to service.

– Restaurant employees are required to park on the village streets even when the restaurant on-site lot is empty as the on-site lot is reserved for valet parking. This results in cars in front of our homes for the entire employee shift while there is room on the on-site lot for much of this time period.

– Many strangers roaming the neighborhood. Unfortunately, the dramatic increase of people brought in by commercialism has resulted in negative human interactions, posing a significant safety risk and is degrading the character of this formerly quiet, historic residential community.

– Mail carrier cannot access resident mailboxes without exiting mail van or parking it in roadway, creating significant safety risk

– There has been a dramatic increase in traffic in the village. Recent report from police dept had 1,450 cars per day on Broadway and 710 of them are speeding. Per day.

– Enforcement of current codes is overwhelming for our Police department. Residents are forced to call the Longboat police to report parking violations, which of course cannot be instantaneously corrected even where they present significant safety risks.

– Loss of peace and quiet due to the noise of slamming car doors and lock beeps, increased trash, tipsy customers yelling good night, speeding delivery trucks, and sounds of speeding vehicles after 10 p.m.

-A growing number of Village streets have the look of parking lots! Property values are threatened.

Could you please help with a parking ordinance that limits parking in our village?

Pete & Carla Rowan

Longboat Key

 

Manatee County and Longboat Key Joint Meeting canceled

To: Longboat Key Town Commission

I talked with County Administrator Cheri Coryea about the upcoming Joint Meeting with the Manatee County Commission on March 26th.  They are postponing their work sessions for the rest of the month and have reached out to discuss cancel the Joint Meeting.  I have discussed with the Mayor and have notified the County that we will support the postponement of the Joint Meeting. I received confirmation this afternoon from Manatee County that the meeting has been cancelled. I will work with the County Administrator on rescheduling the meeting for a future date.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

To: Longboat Key Town Commission
I realize that this has been a long week of troubling headlines and news relating to COVID-19.  For this reason, I am pleased to pass on a little bit of positive news.  Earlier this evening the Town Manager and I were informed by your lobbyists at Ramba Consulting that the final Legislative budget was printed today and the budget includes funding for both of the Town’s submitted projects : (1) the Town’s 5G Smart City funding ($1,500,000), and (2) Sea Level Rise Study ($142,000).  It is anticipated that the budget will be voted on later this week by the Legislature before being forwarded to the Governor for his approval. If you should have any questions about this update, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Maggie D. Mooney
Town Attorney

Longboat Key

 

North end Groin Project and Greer Island

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 renouishment, no one on LBK wants Greer Island or the Jewfish sandbar to get bigger.  Most would actually prefer they be much smaller.

Here are 2 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 Groin Project and Greer Island

To: Commissioner 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 LBK to address. Thank you for your attention to this matter and your service to the community.

Maureen Merrigan

Longboat Key

 

North end Groin Project and Greer Island

​To: Maureen Merrigan

I share your frustration with the negative direction of the sandbar situation over the past four years. You are understandably tired of the town’s repeated assurances that we have used and continue to use our best efforts to obtain all of the necessary permits for this work, but that is the unfortunate situation we are in.  I spoke to the Town Manager today about our pending requests for permits for at least some preliminary work and he has been in touch with both state and federal authorities in this regard within the past week.  Thus, over the near term, any sand to be added between the two existing groins would come from the very sand bar in question. Very soon we will have the results of the public voting referendums concerning the new groins.  If she has not already done so, I am certain that our Town Clerk will provide copies of your email to all seven commissioners, as well as to the two new commissioners elect.

Ed Zunz

Vice Mayor

Longboat Key

 

North end Groin Project and Greer Island

To: Vice Mayor Ed Zunz

Thank you Ed for the follow-up and information. We really appreciate your advocacy on this issue (water flow, dock access and budget). Have a great weekend.

Maureen Merrigan

Longboat Key

 

Appropriation requests

To: Longboat Key Town Commission

I realize that this has been a long week of troubling headlines and news relating to COVID-19.  For this reason, I am pleased to pass on a little bit of positive news.  Earlier this evening the Town Manager and I were informed by your lobbyists at Ramba Consulting that the final Legislative budget was printed today and the budget includes funding for both of the Town’s submitted projects : (1) the Town’s 5G Smart City funding ($1,500,000), and (2) Sea Level Rise Study ($142,000).  It is anticipated that the budget will be voted on later this week by the Legislature before being forwarded to the Governor for his approval. If you should have any questions about this update, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Maggie D. Mooney

Town Attorney

Longboat Key

Fruitville Road narrowing

To: Sarasota Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch

I interpreted this as “narrow road width,” since that’s what it says.

If you’d like to like to clarify I will do so in the picture caption that ran with my column. That’s the only place Fruitville Road was mentioned.

Carrie Seidman

Columnist

Sarasota Herald-Tribune

 

Fruitville Road narrowing

To: Sarasota Herald Columnist Carrie Seidman

I completely understand how this is confusing. I am sure our staff can add some text to make it more clear that the idea is to widen the sidewalks, add shade, and increase ADA compliance among other improvements, by narrowing the lane widths and/or narrowing medians (I think) which narrows the road but not decreasing the number of lanes.

I have copied the City Manager Tom Barwin, Coleen McGue, and Staff (along with LBK Manager who asked me about this at a recent Meeting) on this email to correct my interpretation and/or add information.

Thanks Carrie. I do so appreciate your thoughtful writing. We are so very lucky to have you in our community!

Jen Ahearn-Koch

Mayor

City of Sarasota

 

Fruitville Road narrowing

To: Carrie Seidman and Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch

Thank you for the opportunity to clarify this important distinction. It was not staff’s intention to go against City Commission direction regarding the future design of Fruitville Road, but rather following Commission direction from a meeting earlier this year where we were directed to continue investigating how to make the sidewalks on Fruitville Rd wider to allow for ADA accessibility. As many of the buildings along that corridor are directly up against the sidewalk, the new design might show narrower vehicle travel lanes but the concept has not been finalized yet.

The road diet option with roundabouts is not being proposed by staff at this time. I will share that we have received comments requesting this option at these most recent and previous workshops, and we continue to receive those comments electronically. Any comments regarding any of the projects are part of the public record and will be documented in the final plan.

I hope this helps to clarify the confusion regarding the Fruitville Rd project as proposed in Sarasota in Motion. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have additional questions or would like more information.

Colleen McGue

Chief Transportation Planner

City of Sarasota

 

Fruitville Road narrowing

To: Sarasota Transportation Planner Colleen McGue

Thank you for the clarification. Might I suggest you make this distinction clear in the materials regarding the plan given to the media and the public? Apparently there are many interpretations to “Narrow road width,” so something that explains more fully that that does not mean losing car or bicycles lanes would be helpful.

Carrie Seidman

Columnist

Sarasota Herald-Tribune

 

Fruitville Road narrowing

To: Sarasota Herald Columnist Carrie Seidman

We will be refining the concepts for each project as we draft the final plan, which we are working on now. We will be using the feedback we’ve received from the Open House meetings, as well as any online feedback we receive through our project website or emails we receive from members of the public to our project email address.

We expect the draft of the final plan to be published in June, following the City Commission CIP workshop in May.

Colleen McGue

Chief Transportation Planner

City of Sarasota

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