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Editorial Letters – Week ending October 2, 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.

Unconditional Surrender statue

To: Sarasota City Commission

I have been reading comments, both for and against, the Unconditional Surrender statue since it was first offered to Sarasota by its creator. I had very little interest in this discussion in the beginning because I thought the question, was it art or was it not art made no sense. There was no question in my mind that it was Art and the value of most Art is in the eye of the beholder, right? There are people willing to spend millions on a Picasso that I would not give you a nickel for to hang on my wall. So the question always was, is this gift good enough to be displayed in a public space?

Our elected employees in charge of such decisions accepted this gift and the conditions attached to it and there it has been for 10 years.

We are now told that this “comic art” statue has to be temporarily relocated so the question of where it should be put comes up again. This time we have had 10 years of experience living with “Unconditional Surrender” and some arguments are being raised that are now based on factual information.  It is to these arguments I direct my attention.

It is true that while the statue has no direct connection with Sarasota there is no denying it is a tourist attraction and an icon of sorts that reminds many of us of our victory in WW2.

I think the comment made by Mr. Wurzbacfh that Vern Buchanan is pandering to veterans who support the Unconditional Surrender statue is way out of order. I know neither of these people but after looking up the meaning of pandering I would feel very insulted over his remark. He sounds like a politician who now days take positions that cannot be challenged or disagreed with.

On the other hand, Darsana’s letter makes a couple of valid points, one being the issue of traffic. Keeping this statute in the worst possible place does nothing to alleviate the traffic problem that exists at that point. Aside from the statue itself drivers cannot help being distracted by the tourist milling around the statute. The other involving sexual assault is a stretch. Although we will never know whether the spontaneous hugging and kissing that took place all over the world at that moment of celebrating the end of the war was sexually motivated. I can understand if the person being hugged was surprised and uncomfortable, but what I saw of it in Chicago it was a mutual celebration. None of it would I call assault.

Today getting into a packed elevator in Chicago is closer to being assaulted then being hugged with a couple of hundred people around you during a spontaneous celebration.

If I had a vote I would not put the statue back where it presently is but I would try and find a touristy place to put it.

Don Hase

Sarasota

 

Unconditional Surrender statue

To: Editor

Please let the statue remain.  It is a part of history and a great photo op for locals as well as tourists.

Betty Allen

Sarasota

 

Parking regulations ordinance

To: Longboat Key Town Commission

As mentioned in today’s workshop, attached for your review and consideration is a copy of the Memorandum (dated March 16, 2020) our firm prepared on parking regulations.  The Memorandum summarizes certain applicable cases and constitutional challenges to local government parking regulations. To overcome potential legal challenges, the Town’s adopted parking regulations has to promote the regulations stated objectives. Depending on direction from the Town Commission, there may need to be clarified objectives and additional legislative findings to substantiate additional modifications to draft Ordinance 2020-09. As always, I am available to discuss individual questions with you.

Maggie Mooney

Town Attorney

Longboat Key

 

Lightning Rods

To: Longboat Key Commission

What I said was that the Preventor 2005 has never had a documented failure.  These other manufacturers use an electronically triggered air terminal.  These ESE air terminals with a triggering device have been documented to have failures.  This is why the Lightning Preventor of America ESE product uses the geometric shape theory.  When lightning hits an electronically triggered ESE device, there is no way to tell if it is still operational.  The Key West Adventure ride as you can see at base of pole has an improperly installed grounding connection as it has a loop in top that creates a U or V pocket which is against all standards.

To protect a structure, you must bond and ground and equalize all ground potentials of the structure you are protecting.  You cannot bond or ground a wood structure, therefore there is going to be difference of potential between the lightning system and the structure, creating upward propagation  of streamers that compete with the lightning system.  This is the reason for this type of failure, which can also occur with a conventional system.

This is why we do not promote or market open air protection.  Lightning Protection systems are designed to protect structures, not open air areas.   

Again, this is not the forum to discuss the merits or technological efficacy of either system.  What she does not bring to the table is the hundreds of thousands of failures of the conventional Faraday system that has received a UL Master Label.   No system is perfect and the designs and technologies are there to minimize damage, or lower the risk that a structure will be struck. Period.

If the commissioners would like pictures of conventional failures, I would be happy to provide many.  Most of which are local here in Florida.

The decision of which technology to use should be the owners.  The onus to research the technologies is on the individual and should not be mandated by government or local officials.

This issue is about the height restrictions, not the performance or theories of all lightning protection systems available.

John Barber

WTS

 

Lightning Rods

To: Longboat Key Commission

In many instances the ESE device is less expensive. Every building or structure is different. On a 1,500 or 2,000 sq foot house, it would be more expensive. On a 4,000 sq ft house with multiple roof angles, cupolas, projections, etc., which requires many more rods of conventional, then it would be less expensive. On the home in question, on Halyard lane, a conventional system would be about the same costs.  This could differ from company to company.  This is not as much about costs as it is choice or options available.

John Barber

WTS

 

Lightning Rods

To: Town Commission

John Barber’s quote in an email response to ESE failures stated,  “…we do not promote or market open air protection.  Lightning Protection systems are designed to protect structures, not open air areas.”   

However, he submitted the attached pamphlet on the Preventor 2005A when requesting amendment to the height code:  It prominently states:

“One unit protects structure and surrounding area” and

“Patented design provides a hemispherical zone of protection for open areas and structures”

This advertising was forbidden by the court injunction issued against the manufacturer. The client Barber represents thinks his system protects four neighboring homes (see attached). These devices do not meet the recognized lightning safety standards and were falsely advertised to Longboat Key.  Do not put residents at risk for not researching their purchases.  Rely on the lightning experts and the Florida Building Code to maximize safety.

Lynn Cook

Longboat Key

 

No private ownership of public streets

To: Longboat Key Commission

The only suggestion I make in response to the concerns of residents in the area requesting to close off parking to the public, is remember, there is are differentiating factors to consider between public assets and private assets.  There is no private residential ownership of public streets maintained and owned with public resources.

Jura C. Zibas

Longboat Key

 

Residential Parking Permit

To: Longboat Key Commission

No one is suggesting there should be private ownership of public streets, however, remember per Florida law, while the public has a right to lawfully traverse on a public street (Vehicles under movement), they do not have a right to park a vehicle on a public street. Town governments have a duty and police powers to regulate parking. This stands to reason, otherwise, there could never be any “no parking” areas on a public street.

Residential Parking Permit programs have been affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court as lawful and reasonable. However, the Court did not say, “all the local residents get permits too”.

Secondly, the suggestion made by Mrs. Zibas that only the residents of the Village would have use of the public recreation area is simply without merit. The public has full access to the recreation area within the boundaries of the recreation area and subject use and hours per Town code. What the public does not have, is the right to encroach that use onto a residential zone. Parking for the recreation area/park within the boundaries of the area is reasonable and a permitted use. What is not reasonable, is parking for the recreation area, outside the boundaries of the park, into a single-family residential zone.

The facts are public parking for the recreation area is not disputed nor would be part of the RPP. Any assertion that the recreational area would be privatized is therefore not supported by the facts. Aligning the uses with the zoning, permitted uses under zoning code, and Town code is perfectly reasonable and the right thing to do.

James Lince

Longboat Key

 

All residents parking

To: Longboat Key Commission

I am in receipt of the latest proposal from Mrs. Zibas that all residents of Longboat Key be allowed to park in the single family residential zoned streets of the Village neighborhood by permit because there is a very small recreation area/park in the neighborhood.

I disagree. Does any reasonable person really believe a residential zoned neighborhood is a free for all for public parking for commercial uses, employee parking, and now whatever all the thousands of residents of area decide they want to descend on our residential neighborhood as their own personal playground all under the guise that there are two commercial parcels and a recreation/bay access parcel? Parking for the recreation area should be contained within the boundaries, just like any other park or access point on Longboat Key.

With that thinking, all beach front properties should be opened to parking by all the residents of Longboat Key as they are nearby public beach access points. In fact, to Mrs. Zibas point, I propose that the Player’s Club parking lot is opened for public parking as the public asset of the beach is being blocked by the complex. Of course, all would call this proposal outrageous, and rightly so. Well, this is exactly what Mrs. Zibas is proposing for my neighborhood.

Seriously, let’s stop singling out this one residential neighborhood as “the exception” for unlimited public use and do the right thing.

James Lince

Longboat Key

 

Resident Parking Permits

To: Longboat Key Town Commission

The attached presentation and pdf is for record, review and consideration for the September 29th meeting, specifically Proposed Ordinance 2020-09 “Amending Chapter 74, Parking Schedules, Providing for Residents’ Parking Permit Program for Longbeach Village”. Regrettably, I am unable to attend the meeting.

Please enter into the public record. Thank you for your service, time and consideration to this important matter. Any questions or comments please feel free to contact me by telephone or email.

James Lince

Longboat Key

 

Ordinance 2020-05 ESE failures

To: Longboat Key Commission

During the town committee meetings on Ordinance 2020-05, Mr. Barber who is attempting to amend the height code has asserted there have been no failures of ESE lightning protection devices.  I would like to make you aware of some very public failures.

Attached are three articles documenting ESE failures at Adventure Island waterpark in Tampa (June, 2011), Malaysia (March, 2012) and Bohemia (June, 2011).  By the way, Adventure Island was ruled negligent in the death of the lifeguard.

Lynn Cook

Longboat Key

 

Parking situation in Village

To: Longboat Key Commission

My name is Robert Lopez and I live at Broadway St in Longboat Key. First let me thank you for your service to the community and for your commitment to all the residents of Longboat Key. It is greatly appreciated.

As we all know and have acknowledged, there is a major problem with the parking situation in the Village. Throughout all of the studies that the town has done I think there is no other conclusion but to say it is at a breaking point. The overwhelming number of cars driving through the neighborhood looking for parking, whether it be for restaurant parking, boat trailer parking, or the overflow from the beach, it has taken over the whole neighborhood. The Police monitoring box has recorded up to 10,000 cars sometimes in a week, and that was not even in “season”. For the residents of the Village to have to put up with this surge of cars and people is not right. Along with all the cars being parked comes a large number of people just wandering the streets at all hours of the day and night. Leaving trash, making noise and sometimes changing clothes in the street. Now that Anna Maria and Holmes beach have cut out a large number of public parking spots, it seems that they have found our neighborhood and use it as a parking lot. When people go to the beach, go on their boats, or report for work, it is an all-day event. Vehicles are parked for the entire day limiting homeowners from using the street for parking.  Some restaurant employees still refuse to park in their restaurant supplied parking lot. This now makes it unsafe and unusable for the many service people whom try to park at a residence to service a home. Landscapers, trash collectors, delivery people all have to find somewhere else to park. The mail person has to double park and exit their truck in order to deliver the mail. This is not a safe situation. The Police dept. has done a great job of trying to enforce the law, but just look at the number of tickets for illegally parked cars that have been written just adding to the adverse parking situation.

  Over the past 2 years or so, the community has provided proof through pictures, letters to all the commissioners, surveys of all the Village residents and researched the legality of the RPP law. We have submitted all of our findings to the Town Commission and it all leads to the same conclusion… “the need for RPP in the village”. Over 98% of the village residents have agreed that this is the only way to proceed. This will help restore some of the safety issues, health issues, and bring back some normalcy to the Village.

There is an argument that people won’t be able to access the boat ramp and the docks. That is just false! There will be over 25 parking spots available to anyone who wants to use them. Like anywhere else, when those spots are taken, that’s it. It happens now at the beach access west of GMD, Bayfront park and all the other beach accesses located on LBK. For the Village to absorb all of the additional cars and trucks and trailers is unacceptable. As far as “kayaks colorfully lining the sandy beach along Bayside Dr.”, that is inaccurate. Almost all of the kayaks and small row boats and power boats on the shore are derelict and abandoned.  Look at the pictures of the boats that I have included. People who live on the sailboats out in the harbor use these boats. Most are not sea worthy and are an eyesore. They are illegally stored on public land and should be removed.

In closing I just want to remind everyone what a past Mayor has said, “the Town has been dealing with issue for over 20 years”. So after 2 decades the time is now to pass RPP and restore our safety, health and our expectation of a peaceful way of life!

Robert Lopez

Longboat Key

 

Lightning Rod Protection Systems

To: Longboat Key Commission

During the town committee meetings on Ordinance 2020-05, Mr. Barber who is attempting to amend the height code has asserted there have been no failures of ESE lightning protection devices.  I would like to make you aware of some very public failures.

Attached are three articles documenting ESE failures at Adventure Island waterpark in Tampa (June 2011), Malaysia (March, 2012) and Bohemia (June, 2011).  By the way, Adventure Island was ruled negligent in the death of the lifeguard.

Lynn Cook

Longboat Key

 

Lightning Rod Protection Systems

To: Longboat Key Commission

John Barber desperately pleaded with the commission at the June 30th meeting to give homeowners who could not afford the shorter conventional lightning protection systems the right to choose the less expensive ESE device.  At that time he said the cost of conventional LPSs was a third more to possibly double the cost of ESE systems.  He said a “special exception of up to six feet” was therefore necessary for financially strapped homeowners.

However, in his email to the commission on Sept 28th he said, “In most cases on a residence the ESE systems are more expensive or similar in costs, not cheaper, than conventional systems.”

Therefore, a 12-inch allowance for installation of air terminals proposed at the June 30th draft of Ordinance 2020-05 is adequate for lightning protection without undue financial burden on homeowners.

Lynn Cook

Longboat Key

 

Village Residents Parking Permits

To: Longboat Key Commission

To add to the collection of RPP letters, I am writing this one in an effort to answer questions asked by all those who have not followed the Village residents’ proposal of establishing permit parking in the residential neighborhood, commonly known as The Village.

Through the past 18 months or more, a multitude of testimony has been entered into the town records regarding the overflow of public parking on the very narrow Village streets.  The history of the proposal and process toward Village Resident-Only Permit Parking (RPP) is available to all for review within the library of recorded Commission Meetings.  I believe answers to virtually every question on this subject to date are contained in those videos.

The RPP Ordinance (now in draft form) will be discussed publicly at the September 29, 1 p.m., Commission  Workshop.

The Commission has before it a great deal of new data to consider, including a recent document and letters authored by Jura Zibas, who asks “is there another solution?” She is not alone in asking that question.  To me, it appears the author has researched town records to detail the public owned Town Dock, the Bay accesses, the streets within the Village neighborhood boundaries, and other Longboat Key public asset parcels, as well. Two basic concerns seem to be her focus throughout the document:

1) loss of public access to those town owned parcels

2) loss of Public Parking ‘use’ on residential Village streets

For the benefit of newcomers to this issue, I’d like to respond to both of these challenges to establishing Village RPP, even though both have been studied at length by the Commission:

#1).  Access to public owned amenities within the Village (dock, ramp, Bay accesses) and throughout the town of Longboat Key, will remain unchanged.  Village RPP will not deny anyone access.  Parking is and always has been, however, limited: there will never be enough to meet demand.  Like all Longboat Key public amenities, parking will continue to be accessible on a first come/first served basis for everyone.

#2). Limiting public parking on the Village streets…   This focal point of Ms. Zibas’ (and others’) and her questioning of it, is the expected reaction commonly heard when RPP programs are established. Understandable.  When public parking overruns a residential neighborhood, those who have been doing the parking will object. But there comes a time when the neighborhood must protect itself. In the mid 1970’s, this exact issue worked its way through the local and state courts of Virginia and into the United States Supreme Court. The legality of local governments to limit parking on public streets in favor of one group over others, given certain criteria, was ruled lawful.  That was more than 40 years ago (October 1977) and such residential districts exist in hundreds of towns and cities nationwide.

Note:  Parking is restricted (no parking) on many of the very narrow streets in the Village. That will remain so.  Safe passage on other streets may require more such restrictions in the future.  25 parking spaces will remain open to the public on a first come/first served basis just as it is at all public parking areas on Longboat Key.  The rest of available parking within the Village will be limited for use by those vehicles displaying parking permits.

Living with RPP has consequences for everyone involved:  all will have to adjust.  Residents will have to learn how to use their guest permits for service providers, repairmen, and visitors.  Reservations will become a must for ALL restaurant patrons: general public and Village residents alike. Those seeking parking for the town amenities will have to hustle to secure it, or find other ways to access the bay at mid island or one mile north to Bradenton Beach.

Comment:  Villagers are proud to be a sector of the greater Longboat Key Community.  We sought other solutions to the out-of-control overflow parking on our streets. But, as one of our very active, highly respected, area- wide community leaders of nearly 40 years on Longboat Key has finally concluded:  “I see no… other… way”.   The answer to Ms. Zibas is no, there is no other solution than Permit Parking for Village Residents only. And, to respond to another question:  asking that permits be available to all Longboat Key residents cannot possibility be a solution.  The Village residents sincerely hope that the whole of the Longboat Key community will understand the need for RPP in our neighborhood.

Carla Rowan

Longboat Key

 

Congrats to Michele Williamson!

To: Longboat Key Building Inspector Michele Williamson

Congratulations again Michele on passing your 4th exam leading to the highly distinguished certification of “Residential One and Two Family Dwelling (Combination) Inspector” (aka “One and Two Family Dwelling”)!

This certification is limited to persons who inspect each building discipline (Building, Plumbing, Mechanical and Electrical) for compliance with governing codes. It requires significant experience just to be able to apply & then it requires passing rigorous exams in:  Residential Building Inspector, Residential Plumbing Inspector, Residential Mechanical Inspector, and Residential Electrical Inspector & the Florida Principles & Practices exam. This is a huge accomplishment & we’re all proud of you!

Allen Parsons

Director Planning, Zoning & Building Department

Town of Longboat Key

 

Lightning Protection Systems

To: Longboat Key Commission

I would like to clarify comments I made regarding the applicant’s representative’s ability to install UL certified lightning protection systems (LPS). It is correct that he can install lightning protection systems.  What he cannot do is obtain UL certified installation certificates for Early Streamer Emission LPSs.

These are the cheaper, taller devices for which he wants to alter the height code. The question never was, “Who can “pull a permit” but rather, “Will my LPS protect me”. Early Streamer Emission LPSs can not earn the Master certification certificate even if installed by a UL Listed Installer.

In UL’s own words:

Lightning protection systems must meet current requirements and be installed correctly to provide optimal protection. UL examines lightning protection system components and completed installations for compliance with UL’s internationally recognized Standards for lightning protection systems, or other recognized national standards. UL Master Label® Certificates are issued for structures that fully comply with the selected standard.

If one requests UL installation inspection of an ESE system, one merely gets an “Engineering Inspection Report “ not UL Installation certification. The Engineering Inspection Report only documents that the ESE LPS

meets its own manufacturer’s installation guidelines (Heary Bros HBP-21) that state:

“Because of the lack of a complete understanding of the interaction between lightning and ground based objects and the lightning attachment process, the number and placement of air terminals set forth in this Manufacturer’s Standard is based solely on Heary Bros.’ experience and its air terminals and the configuration of those terminals have not been scientifically proven or guaranteed to have a measurable zone of protection.

The argument given to the committee is that ESE technology is cheaper. It seems you get what you pay for. There is no problem if an owner wants to install this cheaper, non-proven technology without independent validity testing or any other LPS. Just abide by the zoning code. The problem is having a commercial interest rewrite a height code specifically tailored to two of Longboat’s 21 building code zones against residents stated wishes.

Lynn Cook

Longboat Key

 

Stamps needed for mail-in ballots

To: Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections

Attached is information included in the Sarasota County mail-in ballot packet.

Please note the prominent display of notice that two “Forever” stamps are required.

Why do you think the Sarasota County Supervisor included a warning about the need for two Forever stamps in the ballot packed, not once but twice?

Please remedy this egregious error that may disqualify thousands of votes.

Since there are many more undereducated and impoverished Republican voters than Democratic voters in Manatee County, who are you harming the most by your omission about possible required postage errors?

Please send an immediate warning to all under informed Manatee voters about your oversight.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

PowerPoint Presentation on Resident Parking Permit

To: Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier

Thanks for your public service to our wonderful and unique paradise.

We reviewed the PowerPoint submission delivered to the Town on the eve of the upcoming 9/29 Workshop by Jura Ziba.

This very polished submission comes from a name we don’t recognize from the extended, extensive, thoughtful, and open discussions on the RPP issue between the Commission and all interested constituencies over a period extending more than a year.

Of course, every LBK citizen should be encouraged to submit his or her comments on a new rule already approved by the Commission at any time and in any form – informal or very polished – but of course there is no reason why the Jura Ziba thoughts could not have been submitted before Resident-Only Parking for the Village was approved by the Commission and before staff produced an ordinance reflecting the Commission’s decision.

However, if the Jura Ziba comments had been raised during our year-long process, we would have responded by noting the following:

-The phenomenon of non-Villager cars consuming virtually 100% of lawful street parking in the Village (especially during the season and in peak times) would create a significant problem for residents even if every single resident had adequate personal driveway space for the resident’s own vehicles and those of the resident’s visitors and service providers – a fact which is not true.  As was adequately and repeatedly documented to the Commission during the year-long consideration process, non-Villager parking in the Village choked-off use of any lawful street parking to many Villagers, many visitors to Villagers, the USPS mail carrier, delivery vehicles, service providers to Villagers, and the like.  The statement in the submission that “Residents do not have parking issues” is false — and has been proven so repeatedly during this careful process.

-Despite the implication of the submission, of course all of the “town assets” that are accessed by vehicle have “restricted public and taxpayer access.”  Village residents regularly attempt to utilize other “town assets” (beach access up and down the Key, the Key’s parks, the Key’s recreational facilities, etc.) and are subject to the same first-come/first-served parking restrictions as every other member of the public and every other taxpayer.  (Villagers do not unsafely choke off parking in residential neighborhoods to access these facilities.)  This position in the submission is entirely without merit.

-The submission asks if “this is a seasonal issue that hurts year-round residents?”  As was proven to the Commission repeatedly during the year-long and careful process, the life, safety and quality of life issues created by the lack of a Resident-Only Parking program are year-round issues for Villagers and visitors to the Village.

-The submission asks if “this is really about restricting the restaurants?”  Once again, because the submitter was not a participant in the year-long consideration process, the submitter is unaware that, thanks to the extraordinary and much appreciated efforts of all three restaurants, the RPP rule already approved by the Commission will not in any way “restrict the restaurants.”  In fact, the submitter would have learned during the process that the Parking Committee repeatedly documented the fact that, even at peak times, spots always remained available at the restaurants’ on-site lots, even without utilization by the restaurants of their very civic-minded off-site parking arrangements.

-The submission asks “why is the process so cumbersome?”  Again, if the submitter had participated in the year-long process, the submitter would have found the opposite to be true.  That is, although the process was thoughtful, deliberate, patient, and in compliance with law, it was by no means “cumbersome” and of course was open to all, at all times.

-The central energy of the submission is directed to the fact that – as has always been the case – the Town itself (as opposed to our many Bay-side residential communities) has not felt compelled to provide expansive “Bay access” to citizens and visitors, anywhere on the Key.  Whether this is a good, bad or indifferent thing can of course be debated, but in no material way impacts or calls into question the Commission’s prior decision to enact RPP for the Village to protect life, safety and quality of life.  A careful reader of the submission could easily come to the conclusion that it was written by a non-Village resident (or spokesperson for a non-Village resident) who enjoys using the little dock and/or boat ramp at the end of Linley Street and is unwilling to arrive at that location in time to access the available public parking (as Villagers do when they wish to access other “Town assets” up and down the Key).  Of course, this “tail” should never be permitted to wag the “dog” of life, safety and quality of life for all of those who reside in or visit the Village.

-The submission cites “newspaper articles” as references for many of its argumentative leaps – many of which have  no logical basis (such as the suggestion that when COVID-related closures of beach parking are lifted, the life, safety and quality of life issues in the Village caused by the continual parking crush will magically resolve).  Of course, during the year-long process leading to the Commission’s adoption of RPP – much of it well before COVID — real-time observations showed that the life, safety and quality of life issues were persistent and significant.

-The submission notes that “ability to walk to the restaurants is a perk of living in the Village and the con is that other people have to drive to the restaurants.”  Of course this is true, just as Key residents who live close to the parks, recreation areas and beach access points have that as a “perk” of their locations because they can walk to those amenities and Villagers must drive to them.  However, because it has been demonstrated repeatedly that each of the restaurants, as required by law, has adequate on-site parking for those who must drive to dine – even at peak times and in season – this is a distinction without any difference whatsoever.

-The submission asks rhetorically “Do homeowners have a responsibility to accept the traffic caused by the restaurant sites that existed when they purchased their homes?”  Again, if the submitter had participated in the year-long process, the submitter would know that virtually no Village residents purchased their homes when the current three restaurants existed at all, but rather purchased their homes when Moore’s and Mar Vista (or ultimately just the not-yet-expanded Mar Vista) imposed a tiny fraction of the life/safety/quality of life load on the Village that is now imposed by the three wonderful restaurants (each with its own adequate on-site parking, plus additional and unused off-site parking).

-The submitter’s question “Have you considered how this will impact the bank property and Whitney Plaza’s ability to attract commercial tenants?” barely justifies a response.  The suggestion that the Commission had a duty to consider the entirely speculative, and certainly entirely marginal, impact on distant and long, long-vacant commercial properties on a critical life/safety/quality of life rule desperately needed by a residential neighborhood is without merit.

To summarize, the submitter wishes to re-open an already closed and complete – and “text-book” thoughtful and professional – process that included in a comprehensive consideration of the perspectives of all constituencies and issues and concluded with the enactment of an impressively sensible solution.

The submitter’s bottom-line argument seems to be that Village parking should remain open to all – despite the well-documented life/safety/quality of life concerns – so more non-Villagers can park in the Village to use the little boat ramp and dock.  This is a question the answer to which is so clear that it is hardly worth asking.

If the submitter wishes the Town to consider creating additional “Bay access” points on the Key, the submitter should raise that issue and pursue it through the same process used by the Village Parking Committee to seek the resolution it achieved to the Village’s critical life/safety/quality of life issues – rather than attempting to up-end an already-completed process through the use of a polished submission full of shiny objects that potentially could distract the Commission and endanger — or cost — human lives.

We look forward to the Commission’s prompt adoption and implementation of an ordinance reflecting its already-reached decision. Thanks again for your public service, and for the opportunity to submit these thoughts.

Henry and Donna Rae Smith

Longboat Key

 

PowerPoint Presentation on Resident Parking Permit

To: Henry and Donna Rae Smith

Thank you for your comprehensive response to the letter submitted by Jura Ziba in connection with the Resident Only Parking Program to be discussed at Tuesday’s Town Commission Workshop.  After more than a year of deliberations and actions to try to resolve the parking dilemma in the Village, the Commission decided in June that it was time to consider a ROPP and asked Staff to draft an ordinance for our review.  Tuesday’s public hearing will be the first opportunity for the Commission and the public to discuss this specific and important proposed change to our law.  All views are welcome and will be considered as we move to resolve this issue promptly.

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Parking Fines

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer, Police Chief Pete Cumming, Deputy Police Chief Frank Rubino

Request:

I request an exception for the residents and guests of Lyons Lane be added to the Amendment to Chapter 72 Parking Fines as outlined in Ordinance 2020-12.

Background:

As some of you are aware Lyons Lane is impassable during times of monthly tidal flooding.  As a result, the residents and guests of Lyons Lane must park cars elsewhere on the Island when they cannot, or anticipate they cannot, traverse Lyons Lane.  Most areas of the island have parking restrictions that prevent parking and overnight parking.  The punitive fines recommended by the town commission on 9/14/20 do not appear to be meant for the Lyons Lane parking situation.

The public works department is looking into options to mitigate the flooding.  However, the solution is not yet identified on the 5-year Capital Improvement Plan as presented on 9/14/20, so there is no estimated resolution date.

Action Required:

As a result of the unique situation of Lyons Lane tidal flooding, I respectfully request that you add to the Ordinance language necessary to exclude residents and guests of Lyons Lane from parking fines. I am happy to review the revised language proposed by the town.  I look forward to your response to this request.

Blythe Jeffers

Longboat Key

 

Parking Fines

To: Longboat Key Commission

As you consider our request to allow Lyons Lane residents and guest to have parking fines waived due to the inaccessible infrastructure of our street and driveways, I wanted to share with you photos of the flooding on Lyons lane last week and this morning.  I thought the pictures would help you understand our situation.

I have heard that most people associate the flooding with rain, so I wanted to share the photos of flooding associated with the Bay waters flowing over the road, so you will understand that this is bay water not fresh rain water and it is not a temporary thunderstorm situation.

The flooding restricts access to and from our homes therefore adversely affecting the safety and welfare of the residents.

Photo from last week’s high tide. The water on the right across from the white mailbox is the bay. This shows clearly that the bay is flooding the street with saltwater

Today 90 minutes after high tide, so the waters had receded.  This photo shows 3 inches of water at one of the ditches the town cut in June allowing water to flow between the street and the bay.

Thank you for your help making sure we are able to park our cars overnight and during the day when our road is not safe to traverse.

Blythe Jeffers

Longboat Key

 

Village response to parking

To: Longboat Key Commission, staff

The following is the Village Parking Committee response to Jura Zibas’ document

concerning ‘Is There Another Solution?’

Parking problems and safety issues have increased dramatically in recent years and have been discussed for as long as 33 years according to the newspaper from 1987, when it was previously determined by safety officials and the town commission, it was safer to have no public parking on Broadway from Palm to Poinsetta on both sides.

The Village residents, Town Staff, Commission, and restaurants have all continually sought other solutions.  Many ideas have been tried and all have agreed the steps and other alternatives are inadequate for the problems.  Residents-Only Permit Parking (RPP) is the only answer for relief of the increasing problems and this critical situation.

There is to be no elimination of access to town assets and the bay with RPP.  The ordinance, as written, allows for open public parking:

11 spaces on Broadway near the dock east of Lois

9 spaces on Lois between the Linley dock and Broadway

5 spaces on public land next to the Linley dock

A few spaces onsite at the access at the end of Magnolia

RPP is not about restricting the restaurants.  It is about restoring expected customary residential life and safety in a residential district.  By code restaurants must provide adequate parking onsite.

Residents bought here knowing there were two restaurants at the east end of Broadway; restaurant activity and seating capacity have, however, increased beyond the tipping point.  The restaurants have recognized the issues and worked with the town to obtain additional parking.  RPP will not impede their progress in those initiatives.

Beachgoers have discovered the painted lines on Broadway and noticed restaurant employees and patrons parking on the unpainted side streets and joined in the fray.  Closures on Anna Maria have pushed them into the residential Village.  Each time this has happened, the numbers of visitors remains higher, even when parking is reopened.

Issues include blocked service vehicle access, safety issues, quality of life issues, and property values.

Problems are now year-round and greater than ever before, as confirmed by the counts from the traffic monitoring boxes placed by police department.

We do not believe RPP is more cumbersome when compared to past required police enforcement, inability of resident’s guests and service providers to access homes, and, as cited by the former mayor, time spent by Town Staff and Commission on interim parking measures over the past twenty years.

The number of bay accesses in the residential village accentuates the need for parking limitations.  The residential Village streets are not part of a zoned “park use.”  The public spaces for all amenities are available on a first-come first-serve basis, the same as any public parking area within the town.

The author mentions the kayaks lining the Bayside Drive beach.  One or two colorful kayaks may begin as scenic, too many of them can become problematic.  Boats and kayaks are often left there indefinitely, or abandoned, but that is beyond the scope of RPP.

Bay access point characterization clarification:

899 Broadway – No change – Adjacent public parking

800 Russell Street – No impact with RPP – Historically this area was not used by persons driving to the access to launch a watercraft and subsequently parking nearby on the street.  It had historically been a walkable launch area use only.  There will still be public parking less than 100 yards away on Broadway.

755 Magnolia Road – No change – There will continue to be onsite parking.

6800 Longboat Drive South – No impact with RPP – Historically this area was not suitable for launching watercraft.  The Art Center was not town owned and parking was not allowed for public use.  Only since the Art Center was sold and the developer cleared the Australian pine/invasive species was it practical to even launch a kayak there.  Since then, cars still do not park on the adjacent streets to go kayaking.

755 Linley Street – No change – Adjacent parking spaces onsite and on Lois

6930 Bayside Drive – No change – Parking has not been allowed on Bayside Drive.  Short walk to public parking.

The author suggests potentially other parking be added on Broadway and Palm due to sidewalks.  Parking spaces there certainly do not help the author or others have closer “Bay or Dock Access,” than the 25 spaces already nearer the bay.  The spaces the author suggests would only diminish the safety for pedestrians and restaurant patrons, by blocking sightlines on the narrow Palm Drive for sidewalks and cars exiting the parking lots.  The dangers on Broadway, of blocked sightlines, with thousands of cars a day, has been discussed throughout this year-long process and since 1987.  It was already shown to be a hazard to drivers and pedestrians alike, with many near misses experienced by drivers since spaces were mistakenly placed there in 2014.

As evidenced throughout the past year, the objective is not to expand residential parking onto the streets.  The objectives are to restore quiet enjoyment and day and evening access to homes for guests to visit, and to provide service access, including contractors, mail delivery, trash, landscaping, pool service, etc.  Even more critically, the objective to is to restore the safety and quality of life within the residential Longbeach Village.

We look forward to the Commission’s prompt adoption and implementation of the ordinance reflecting its understanding of the prior efforts and facts surrounding the critical need for RPP.

Cindy Fischer

Village Parking Committee

 

Village Parking Committee response

To: Cindy Fischer

The Commission received your e-mail. I wasn’t sure if you would like to participate at the meeting via the Zoom program or if you preferred just to submit the comments below.  The deadline to sign up is 10 a.m. this morning if you plan to speak tomorrow.

The request to speak form for this meeting is available on the Town’s website.  If you would like to comment on any agenda items, please complete and submit the on-line form.  The direct link is:  https://www.longboatkey.org/town-government/town-commission/commission-virtual-meeting-information/-fsiteid-1

Trish Shinkle

Town Clerk

Town of Longboat Key

 

Virtual Meetings/Executive Order 20-244

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

I have gone through Executive Order 20-244 and the cross-referenced Executive Orders (which also imbedded other cross-referenced Executive Orders) to determine whether or not virtual local government meetings can continue until Oct. 1, 2020.  In my opinion, there is legal authority to conclude that full virtual meetings can continue to proceed until at least Oct. 1, 2020.  The basis for my conclusion is set forth below.

In the latest Order (Executive Order 20-244) the Governor repealed “any and all restrictions” within Executive Orders 20-112, 20-123, and 20-139 – all of which included extensions of Executive Order 20-69 (local government meetings).  When reviewing the above cross-referenced Executive Orders (as well as other Executive Orders issued over the past 6 months), the clear language of Executive Order 20-69 is not “restrictive” in nature.  Executive Order 20-69 is permissive, in that it affords all local governments an optional ability to conduct meetings virtually (without a statutorily required physical quorum present) if the local government so chooses.  Executive Order 20-69 is unlike other previously issued Executive Orders promulgated by the Governor that clearly restricted business operations and directed closures within various industries (i.e., short term rentals, occupancy of buildings, restaurants, gyms, etc.)

Additionally, Executive Order 20-244 did not repeal Executive Orders 20-179 and 20-193 (or Executive Order 20-69) which provided for the above optional allowance to conduct virtual meetings until October 15  and 1, 2020, respectively.   The Governor could have repealed all of these remaining orders (20-69, 20-179 and/or 20-193) in yesterday’s Executive Order, but he did not.   For this reason, it is reasonable to conclude that the Town can continue to rely upon the permissive allowances in Executive Orders 20-69, 20-179 and/or 20-193 until their expirations (Oct. 15 and Oct. 1, respectively).

Once again, in relevant part, the permissive allowances in Executive Orders 20-69, 20-179 and 20-193 are set forth below.

1.      Executive Order 20-69 states:

A link to a full copy of Executive Order 20-69 is provided at : https://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/orders/2020/EO_20-69.pdf

2.      Executive Order 20-179 (Section 1) states:

https://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/orders/2020/EO_20-179.pdf

3.      Executive Order 20-193 (Section 3)  states:

https://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/orders/2020/EO_20-193.pdf

Finally, the Town clearly relied upon the authority granted in Executive Orders 20-69, 20-179 and 20-193 and legally advertised its virtual workshop/meeting/hearing in accordance with the authority conferred in those orders. At this point in time (with one business day left before our scheduled meetings), I am concerned that if we switched up the way we are going to conduct Tuesday’s proceedings now, it would create public confusion and notice issues.

For all of the above reasons, in my opinion it is reasonable to proceed with next week’s workshop and budget meeting in full virtual meeting form as we previously noticed and planned.   After October 1, I would recommend that the Town transition to either: (A) a hybrid approach and have a minimum of a physical quorum of the Town Commission present at workshops/meetings and continue to allow any other Commissioners appear remotely if they so choose, or (B) transition to full in person meetings. Also, I would recommend that at the Oct. 5, 2020 Regular Meeting, that we add an additional Resolution to the meeting agenda that has the Town Commission ratifying and confirming all actions taken in virtual meetings/workshops/hearings from April –present.

Please let me know if you have any questions or if you would like to discuss any of the above.  Hope you have a nice rest of your weekend.

Maggie D. Mooney

Town Attorney

Longboat Key

 

Virtual Meetings/Executive Order 20-244

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

Can we assure social distance on the dais and maintain masks in Town Hall?

BJ Bishop

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Virtual Meetings/Executive Order 20-244

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

Commissioner Bishop, thanks for the email. We are working on the plan for the October 5th meeting. Would require at least four Commissioners to be physically present. Plan will include social distancing of the individual Commissioners and the public in Town Hall.  There will be some limitations on how many individuals can be accommodated in the Chamber and in Town Hall.  We plan to also retain a virtual (hybrid) component for up to three Commissioners and for the public to participate.

We currently require masks in the common areas and when unable to social distance in Town facilities.  We are reviewing our restrictions in light of the latest order and as we prep for October 5th. I plan to have an update at the Tuesday Workshop on the Governor’s Order and our plans for the October meetings.

Tom Harmer

Town Manager

Longboat Key

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