73.9 F
Longboat Key
Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Letters to the Editor week of May 13, 2022

Triathlon

To: Longboat Key Commission

Sunday morning between 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. there will be bicyclists participating in a triathlon on the South portion of Longboat Key.  See note below from the Police Department.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

Triathlon

To: Longboat Key Emergency Services Specialist Tina Adams

This Sunday May 15, 2022 between 7 – 9 a.m. the bicycle portion of a Triathlon will be held on the South half Longboat Key. There will be off duty officers working to assure the safety and security of the participants and residents.

Frank Rubino

Deputy Chief of Police

Longboat Key Police Department

 

Speed reduction on Gulf of Mexico Drive

To: Longboat Key Commissioner Penny Gold

At an earlier meeting of the Commission, it was reported that there was opposition to a speed reduction. I was thinking about discussing our circumstances with those Commissioners or others who may initially have opposed a speed reduction.

Can you share with me the names of those Commissioners who initially opposed a speed reduction? Do you agree that it is worth our while to contact these people to discuss with them our circumstances?

Also, do you think they would be more receptive to a speed reduction if the reduction to 35 would be for 1/2 mile versus the original proposals of two miles proposal or the full length of the Drive?

Marc Pachtman

Pachtman Law Office

Philadelphia, PA

 

Variance objections

To: Longboat Key Commission

I want to object to the request of the variance of 6489 Gulfside Road

My concerns are several:

1.  Times have changed and we have more erosion of our beach.  Storms….climate change etc. Therefore a much smaller beach until the next beach re-nourishment.

2.  I certainly don’t want to have another problem like we have with the Ohana house.  People that have beach houses should not be able to control the beach.

3.  We all pay taxes for the beach and the bay and we should all be able to walk the entire length of the beach.

Barbara Gurchiek

Longboat Key

Building Permits for St. Regis Ready to Be Issued

To: Longboat Key Commission

The Town has completed their review of the vertical construction building plans for the St. Regis project and have notified the Developer that the permit is ready.  They have been operating under the foundation permit and this will allow the contractor to continue through the construction of the vertical buildings (condos and hotel).  Additional permits will be required for some of the site amenities on the property and for the individual condo buildouts, but this is a major milestone for the contractor and developer.  Congrats to the PZB, Public Works, and Fire Department review team!

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Building Permits for St. Regis Ready to Be Issued

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

Another significant milestone in the construction of the St. Regis project. As of this afternoon, Building permits for the vertical construction of the Hotel, the 3 condominium towers and the amenities building are ready to be issued. The review team from Public Works, Fire Department & PZB worked diligently to provide a thorough and swift review.

Allen Parsons

Director Planning, Zoning & Building Department

Town of Longboat Key

 

Suncoast Waterkeeper Manatee Sampling Release 06/01/21

To: Longboat Key Commission, Sarasota City Commission

Palma Sola Creek and Portosueno need more detailed source identification work, I think.

Otherwise, you know you’ve got a lot of bacteria, but you don’t know where it comes from.  Which means, you don’t know what you need to do to reduce levels.  Is it sewage?  Dog waste?  Grass clippings?  Decomposing weeds from channel maintenance?  All of those – and others – can give you high levels of “fecal indicator bacteria”.  The phrase “fecal indicator” doesn’t really work all that well in warm, humid environments such as we have in Florida.

David Tomasko

Executive Director

Sarasota Bay Estuary Program

Suncoast Waterkeeper Manatee Sampling Release 06/01/21

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

These numbers are all elevated over recent history.

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Comprehensive Plan Ordinance

To: Longboat Key Commissioner BJ Bishop

The recent DEO letter reflects that agency’s comments and objections to the statutory changes the Town submitted (in its amended Comp Plan submission) to the DEO for review. The state has not decided we cannot amend/revise the Town’s Comprehensive Plan; they are just giving the Town input on what they believe is missing.

I have spoken to Allen Parsons and some of the DEO’s comments are a function of timing (i.e., the Property Rights element), while other comments can be easily addressed on second reading of the amended Comp Plan Ordinance or during the Comprehensive Plan element reviews that are currently underway.  As you know, the element reviews are being reviewed in “batches” and each element is being commented on by the PZB before being forwarded onto the Commission for consideration. I expect that Town Staff will be preparing a recommendation on the preferred approach to address the DEO’s comments following further dialogue with the agency’s staff.

I hope this clarifies what the Town can and cannot do at this point in time and gives context to the DEO’s letter and comments.  Please call me if you would like to discuss this matter in greater detail.

Maggie D. Mooney

Town Attorney

Longboat Key

 

Fourth of July Permit request

To: Longboat Key Chamber President Gail Loefgren

I was forwarded a copy of your letter requesting road closure and waiver of fee for your 4th of July Public Forum Permit.  I have forwarded a copy to Alex and Isaac in Public Works.  The Public Works Department processes the permits and will facilitate the fee waiver request that we will put on the upcoming Commission agenda.  I anticipate the fee waiver will go before the Commission at their June 6th Regular Meeting.  Alex will let you know what else she may need so they can process the permit.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Greer Island Cove blocked

To: Longboat Key Commission

Has it been brought to the attention of the board that our waterway is becoming blocked from the beach replacement sands? There was a manatee in the cove and I thought it was going to get trapped during low tide. The sand has made the cove very shallow and killing off all the vegetation. I am concerned that the sand is going to be a major problem soon. I am requesting your feedback on this and hopefully it is a positive plan already in place. Thank you for your time.

Michael Logan

Longboat Key

 

One Beach

To: Longboat Key Commission

I am a permanent resident on Longboat Key and think it is absolutely the best place to live in Florida! You might agree. The beach is pretty spectacular and not crowded – to me the lack of congestion and the uninterrupted  length of the LBK beach is one of the big draws for both residents and visitors (mostly staying on LBK since there is limited public parking – hence… less crowds). My concern is the trend that we are seeing on many other beaches where “privatization” of the beach is affecting continuous beach access. From my research – privatization seems to domino when one person does it, others often follow suit – which is now occurring on Longboat Key for perhaps the first time in its history.

You probably already figured out that I’m referencing is the beach closure at the Ohana sea wall, and subsequently the half-moon sea wall to the south of that (which is an example of the domino affect). Additionally – there are numerous sea walls just south of the half-moon and Ohana (all on Gulfside Rd.) that at high tide require beachgoers to trespass (fearing further domino effect/beach closure due to privatization).

The good news is that Gulfside Rd. is very unique and likely the only area currently where privatization is likely to occur. On June 6th there is a commission meeting where discussions are continuing on solutions to this problem and I am hoping that you will support efforts to mitigate keeping the beach open and uninterrupted for the enjoyment of LBK residents and visitors. Supporting the effort would likely equate to supporting anticipated findings by our coastal engineer, Olson Engineering, that a series of groins and beach renourishment (similar to what was done on North Shore) would in fact provide a solution and would allow for affordable and practical interim beach re-nourishment in the future.

Thank you for reading this email and I am hoping that you share passion for keeping Longboat unique and special.

Steve Weyl

Longboat Key

 

One Beach

To: Steve Weyl

Thanks for your note.  If you have followed the Gulfside Road beach walkability issue closely over the last nine months or so, you know it is a difficult one with no obvious solution.  Fortunately, very few historical situations exist on the island where property lines were permitted to extend into otherwise walkable beach and no further cases will be allowed.

You are right that we will continue to review engineering options to re-open pedestrian passage on the beach, but we know that the Gulfside Road area is one of the most-erosion prone on the island and that additional groin fields, wherever placed, tend to exacerbate erosion to their north and south. We hope to see you in June.

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

One Beach

To: Steve Weyl

Thank you for your email.  I do agree that Longboat Key is a great place to live.  I understand yours and others concerns regarding uninterrupted beach access as it relates to 6633 Gulf of Mexico Drive and the “half-moon” property.  The town staff put together a very complete fact sheet detailing the history of the situation as well as legal concerns and options considered.  You can find this on the town website:  ninterrupted Beach Access, Beach Renourishment and Public Beach Access around (longboatkey.org).

I will be at the commission meeting on June 6 and look forward to hearing what your engineer has to present.

Debra Williams

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

One Beach

To: Steve Weyl

Thank you for your thoughtful letter. I am looking forward to learning more about possible solutions to this difficult problem.

Penny Gold

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Greer Island cove is closing

To: Longboat Key Commission

I am a property owner at North Shore Rd. The cove is closing in fast and this needs to be dredged immediately. The implications of a complete closure are too horrible to contemplate, loss of wildlife, property values, rentals, a hot smelling swamp. It needs to continue to have tides and water flowing. I can barely get a kayak out without walking it. The works that was done caused this problem and it needs to please be rectified forthwith. I remember the closure of North Casey Key and Siesta Key. If you wait too long, it’s not possible. I am urging you to take action immediately and have it dredged. It is of vital importance. Thank you for listening.

Caroline Vroom

Longboat Key

 

Greer Island cove closing

To: Caroline Vroom

Yes, Mr. Harmer is correct, we are working to get final authorization to perform a short-term channel cut and stockpile project around June (that is the timeframe we are targeting); the Town has a contractor lined up who can work this into their schedule at that time.  We need the  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authorization and then we can generate a contract to get this going.  The larger management project (sand dredging and beachside placement) is also under Army Corps permit review and will generally be coordinated with future nourishment projects, with the first dredge most likely happening off-cycle, potentially before the end of this year.

Isaac Brownman

Director Public Works

Town of Longboat Key

 

Greer Island cove closing

To: Caroline Vroom

Ms. Vroom, a copy of your email was forwarded to me.  I copied our Public Works Director Isaac Brownman.  His department is managing two projects related to Greer Island and the sand that has accumulated on the southeast portion of Greer.  Public Works is in the process of securing an emergency permit from the Army Corps of Engineers to remove a portion of sand from that area.  That is a short-term temporary measure as they are also working on a broader longer-term project to implement an on-going Spit Management Plan that will monitor the sand in that area and periodically move it back to the gulf fronting beaches.  Isaac can provide you more information on the timing of both of those two projects.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Irresponsible management of Greer Cove

To: Longboat Key Commission

My husband and I purchased our condo at Longboat Pass Condos in July of 2015.  It has been an incredible investment, a place we come to relax every weekend from our home in Winter Park, FL. We raised our three children spending our summer vacation at the Longboat Key Club.  Longboat Key is a very special place.

Our condo backs the cove. It is such a beautiful and unique space on Longboat Key. I have seen the effect of the absolute neglect and unfulfilled promises, a lack of true government of such an environmentally vulnerable area.  Actions speak louder than words, the phrase from which I always judge any type of governing body.  Your predecessors have failed our community and the preservation of the pristine environment of Longboat Key.  Now,  you continue to disappoint our community and risk the loss of wildlife, natural vegetation, our home value, and the reason why Longboat Key is so desirable.

The sand continues to drift at a rate that our biggest fears in purchasing our condo will be a reality.  Boats with load music, trash, and careless beach goers now invade the area because of the sandbar you built.  Because of you, the value of our property will plummet. How can you be so incompetent and thoughtless in your responsibility to protect the environment and value of the residences that back the cove. What is your motive for allowing this to happen?  There must be some sort of underlying reward for all of you.  It is the only explanation for your obvious continuous ignorance of this issue.  You can’t possibly want the area to fill in, or maybe there is a reason you do.  All of your actions scream that you don’t care if it fills in, killing the wildlife affecting our home values.  I am so perplexed by the trail of unexplained indifference emanating from your chambers.

The commission enacted an “emergency dredge” 6 months ago.  This was supposed to be an open permit (my last letter and response from the commission reassured us).  Now, we are told that actually this is not true? This tells me your responses, to reassure the community, are smoke and mirrors.  Why?

My husband and and I spoke to the company that performed that ineffective solution you tossed at our community as an effort to quiet our fears.  The man doing that work laughed when we asked about how much sand he was removing and how long this would sustain the proper opening of the cove.  He didn’t understand the limited area he was asked to remove by the LBK commission because he knew it would not make a difference.  He told us the sand would close back within 6 months. Obviously, he knew what he was talking about.   I don’t want to hear about another “emergency dredge”.  What a joke you are making of a very serious situation.

I expect a proactive solution. I expect genuine care for the cove wildlife, our property, and our beautiful neighborhood.

Jennifer and Tim Clark

Longboat Key

 

Irresponsible management of Greer Cove

To: Jennifer Clark

While I understand your frustration, you should know that it has been a top priority for the Town, as well as Manatee County (the owner of Greer Island), to solve the problems of beach renourishment and retention, noise and traffic, spit management and lagoon access at the North end.  That said, I think the tone of your letter and the accusations contained in it are uninformed and unfair.  An upcoming Commission meeting will include a presentation by and discussion with our beach management professionals; I encourage you to attend.

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Dredging of Greer Island Cove

To: North end residents

Please forward to concerned neighbors as I know they have been requesting action and more specific timelines. Looks like June to get the Greer channel dredged again … and this year (2022) to begin the Greer spit project (dredging of large sand deposits under bridge that are encroaching on Lands End and closing the cove).

Will get an update at the Commission Workshop, this Monday where we are also discussing how to formalize a swim /kayak zone in that area.  Interested parties should attend. Agenda is posted on the Town website.

Maureen Merrigan

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Support for pickleball courts

To: Longboat Key Commission

Thank you for the opportunity to express my support for the new Longboat Key Club pickleball courts.  It is interesting that I just read today about the plans to incorporate pickleball courts into the new sports center at Nathan Benderson Park:  pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the country!  I’ve been playing at our Club for several years, as a longtime LBK resident, and we need more courts!

I am confident that due process was employed to select the new location for the LBKC courts, and that appropriate guidance, such as acceptable noise limits, was considered in selecting this spot.  I know as a Club member, we worked alongside management and town officials to complete the process, and also that we have been able only to play on aged courts for several years.  We have an enthusiastic audience and a large group of players, and we support new courts!

I hope that our neighbors in Winding Oaks will join us in applauding this important addition to the community.  One cannot expect to be a good neighbor to the Club by merely enjoying the view of the beautiful golf courses that LBKC strives mightily to provide for guests and residents on our island.  As neighbors, we need to accept healthy growth in our environment so that LBK continues to flourish socially and economically.

Please build our new facility, and come have some pickleball fun!

Lisa C. Whitney

Longboat Key

 

Support of pickleball courts

To: Longboat Key Commission

I am a resident of Queens Harbour in Bay Isles and I am a member of the Longboat key club. I am an avid Pickleball player and as it is well known our courts are currently in disrepair. I am in support of the new courts being proposed at the Longboat key club. I think this is necessary and will be a great addition to the community and club experience.

Kenneth Levitsky

Longboat Key

 

Full support of pickleball courts

To: Longboat Key Commission

I am writing to let you know I am in full support of the four new proposed Pickleball courts at LBKC.

The noise level is in the 18-20 decibel range which is not a major concern.

Proposed lighting will be placed, not to shine directly at near by residences.

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America, it’s fun and good for memory and great for physical activity.

Longboat Key has very few courts and the addition of 4 new courts at LBKC is a bonus!

Trish Green

Longboat Key

 

Pickleball support

To: Longboat Key Commission

We are 5-year LBK residents and LBKC members who are very much in favor of the proposed construction of pickleball courts alongside the tennis courts at the Tennis Garden facility.  As very active golf and pickleball players, we believe that these courts are essential for the increasing demand by the LBKC members and the resort visitors.  Other reasons include:

• Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the U.S. and, while it’s a sport all ages can play, it has primarily attracted seniors who want another avenue for extending their healthy lifestyle.  The LBKC should be allowed to expand their product to their members and potential new members as a private club.  Their pickleball courts at the Marina are heavily used and additional courts need to be added.

• Allowing pickleball courts to be funded and constructed by a private entity places less pressure on the public sector to use land and funds on LBK.

• It is our understanding that there are around 50 complexes on LBK that have converted one or more of their hard tennis courts to pickleball courts for multi playing use or built dedicated courts. These courts sit in the middle of condominiums which owners approved them.

• The noise decibels from playing pickleball does not exceed the town standards.  The LBKC already has 30 tennis courts, lights for night play and a premier golf course that surrounds Winding Oaks.  There must be noise created by all this activity.  There are already trees in the proposed area that act as a natural sound barrier and we believe that the LBKC will take additional steps to mitigate som epickleball noise issue as the courts are constructed.

It is unfortunate that the meeting is in June since many LBKC pickleball players will have left for the summer season and their collective voices cannot be heard.  We would encourage the mayor and commissioners to give their approval for the construction of the pickleball courts.  We are in utmost favor. Thank you for your time and attention on this matter.

Todd and Wendy Wyman

Longboat Key

 

Support for new pickleball courts

To: Longboat Key Town Commission

I am and have been a resident of Longboat Key for almost 9 years and I am writing in support of the construction of new Pickleball Courts at the Longboat Key Club. These are some of the reasons why:

• Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S. for seniors as it offers both exercise and social opportunities.  Allowing the Longboat Key Club to improve its facilities is important for visitors of the resort who are looking for that option as well as Club members, especially since the marina pickleball courts are falling apart.

• The courts at Bayfront Park are extremely popular and there is pressure on the town to build more courts.  Having privately owned courts takes the pressure off the town to find space for and pay to build more courts.

• There is a perception that noise from playing pickleball is much louder than it really is. The noise decibels do not exceed town standards.  Noise from garbage collection and lawn cutting is far louder. In addition, the LBK Club is also installing sound barriers around the courts.  Pickleball also isn’t played for that long a period of time during the day and it is generally when people are out golfing, biking, walking, running or doing errands. I support the improvement of the pickleball courts at the LBK Club.

Susan Loprete

Longboat Key

 

Support for pickleball courts

To: Longboat Key Commission

I retired to LBK about 6 years ago and I had two objectives – to improve my tennis and golf games. Then I discovered Pickleball about 5 years ago and my golf game goal was not achieved. Now I play tennis 3 times a week and Pickleball 3 times per week. I play with my guy friends during the week and on Saturday we play with our spouses.

We need more Pickleball courts on the island because the demand has grown rapidly over the last few years. I completely support the plan by the Longboat Key Club to install new, dedicated courts on their property.

There are a variety of reasons why more Pickleball courts are vital for Longboat Key:

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the U.S. and, while it’s a sport all ages can play, it has primarily attracted seniors who want another avenue for extending their healthy lifestyle.  The LBKC should be allowed to expand their product to their members and potential new members as a private club.  Their pickleball courts at the Marina are heavily used and additional courts need to be added.

Allowing pickleball courts to be funded and constructed by a private entity places less pressure on the public sector to use land and funds on LBK.

It is my understanding that there are around 50 complexes on LBK that have converted one or more of their hard tennis courts to pickleball courts for multi playing use or built dedicated courts.  These courts sit in the middle of condominiums approved by their owners.

The noise decibels from playing pickleball does not exceed the town standards.  The LBKC already has 30 tennis courts, lights for night play and a premier golf course that surrounds Winding Oaks.  There must be noise created by all this activity.  There are already trees in the proposed area that act as a natural sound barrier and I believe that the LBKC will take additional steps to mitigate some pickleball noise issue as the courts are constructed.

It is unfortunate that the meeting is on June 6th since many LBKC pickleball players will have left for the summer season and feedback from them indicated that they would have preferred to be there in person to share their support.

I would encourage the mayor and commissioners to give their approval for the construction of the new pickleball courts at the LBKC.    I am strongly in support of this project for all the reasons explained above.

Neil Avison

Longboat Key

 

Support for pickleball courts

To: Longboat Key Commission

I would like to give my support for the additional pickle ball courts proposed for the Longboat Key Club. Currently the four courts they have are insufficient for the number of players. There is often a long wait to play. Pickleball is becoming the fastest growing sport in the country and the demand will only increase over time. The level of noise is minimal and the proposed lighting will be shielded from the neighboring community.

Please vote yes to ensure there are sufficient number of courts for those of us who would like to play this fun sport.

Thank you

Pam Ball

Longboat Key

 

Support for pickleball

To: Longboat Key Commission

Since I will be unable to attend the upcoming meeting, regarding the new pickleball courts at LBKC, I wanted to express my support for the construction. Although there is no denying there is some noise created by a pickleball match, I would argue it is neither loud nor unpleasant. If the residents who are objecting lived near open space or a quiet park that had decided to install courts, their complaints would be easier to understand. However, their complex is near a country club. Obviously there will be some activity and yes, sometimes you will be able to hear that activity. The addition of pickleball courts to a country club is certainly not outside its purpose and should be permitted.

Jill Reiter

Longboat Key

 

In favor of pickleball courts

To: Longboat Key Commission

I am a 17-year Longboat Key resident and Longboat Key Club member who is very much in favor of the proposed construction of pickleball courts alongside the tennis courts at the Tennis Garden facility.  As a very active tennis and pickleball player, I believe that these courts are essential for the increasing demand by the LBKC members and the resort visitors.  Other reasons include:

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the U.S. and, while it’s a sport all ages can play, it has primarily attracted seniors who want another avenue for extending their healthy lifestyle.  The LBKC should be allowed to expand their product to their members and potential new members as a private club.  Their pickleball courts at the Marina are heavily used and additional courts need to be added.

Allowing pickleball courts to be funded and constructed by a private entity places less pressure on the public sector to use land and funds on LBK.

It is my understanding that there are around 50 complexes on LBK that have converted one or more of their hard tennis courts to pickleball courts for multi playing use or built dedicated courts.  These courts sit in the middle of condominiums which owners approved them.

The noise decibels from playing pickleball does not exceed the town standards.  The LBKC already has 30 tennis courts, lights for night play and a premier golf course that surrounds Winding Oaks. There must be noise created by all this activity.  There are already trees in the proposed area that act as a natural sound barrier and I believe that the LBKC will take additional steps to mitigate some pickleball noise issue as the courts are constructed.

It is unfortunate that the meeting is on June 7th since many LBKC pickleball players will have left for the summer season and their collective voices cannot be heard.  I would encourage the mayor and commissioners to give their approval for the construction of the pickleball courts.  I, for one, am in favor. Thank you for your time and attention on this matter.

Garrett Ulrich

Longboat Key

 

Support of pickleball courts

To: Longboat Key Commission

I am and have been a resident of Longboat Key for almost 20 years and I am writing in support of the construction of the Pickleball Courts at the Longboat Key Club. These are some of the reasons why:

• We live in a town that is very health conscious and residents lead an active lifestyle. This is what we love about LBK. Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S. for seniors as it offers both exercise and social opportunities.  Allowing the Longboat Key Club to improve its facilities is important to visitors of the resort who are looking for that option as well as Club members.

• The courts at Bayfront Park are highly used and there is pressure on the town to build more courts.  Having privately owned courts takes the pressure off the town to find space for and pay to build more courts.

• There is a perception that noise from playing pickleball is much louder than it really is. The noise decibels do not exceed town standards.  Noise from garbage collection and lawn cutting is far louder. In addition, the LBK Club is also installing sound barriers around the courts.  Pickleball also isn’t played for that long a period of time during the day and it is generally when people are out biking, walking, running or doing errands.

• It is my understanding that LBK has over 50 properties with PB courts all over the island.  These are within condo associations and are located near condos with no issues.  In fact, the courts near Portofino at LBK Club are very near several condos and there are no complaints.  I understand that some owners at La Firenze across from Bayfront Park do not hear pickleball playing, but they do hear noise from the dog park.

So I support the improvement of the pickleball courts at the LBK Club.

Linda Ulrich

Longboat Key

 

Support of pickleball courts

To: Longboat Key Commission

I am a resident of Longboat Key and am writing in support of the proposed pickleball courts near the Key Club tennis center.

We live across the street from Bayfront Park and hear no noise at all from those pickleball courts even though they are very heavily used. (Barking dogs from the dog park there is another matter!).

The proposed Key Club courts will help to alleviate the pressure on the Bayfront courts and therefore will offer more Town residents the opportunity to play – and this will be done with private money.

Further, it’s hard to believe that the noise associated with the new courts will be more distracting than already comes from the existing tennis facility, and I’m not aware of any complaints about that facility.  The noise levels from pickleball fall within the Town’s guidelines and, on top of that, the new pb courts will have sound barriers.

There will of course be night lighting standards. Finally, pickleball is hugely popular and good exercise.  More such courts on Longboat can only be good for our residents and therefore for the town itself.

Jonathan Berg

Longboat Key

 

Pickleball concern

To: Longboat Key Commission

I am a resident of Winding Oaks, and I am writing to voice my concern and displeasure regarding a proposal, heretofore unknown, by the Longboat Key Club to add pickleball courts in close proximity to my community.

As a pickleball player, I am aware of the loud sound of the ball meeting the paddle. Sound travels, as does light, and these proposed courts will deeply affect the peace and quiet of my neighbors who live within hearing distance. As such, I ask that the Town Commissioners please consider the following: 1) the Winding Oaks community had absolutely no knowledge of this proposal prior to last week; 2) without knowledge, the owners, many of whom have now left for the summer, were unaware of possible avenues for communication and remedies, and 3) the Town Commissioners consider the impact of the location of these courts on the neighborhood most impacted.

I understand that this email is considered ex-parte communication. However, I would greatly appreciate it if it was included in materials provided to the Town Commissioners as part of the application process. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Megan Herman

Longboat Key

 

Pickleball concerns

To: Longboat Key Commission

Because I am unable to attend your June meeting, I am writing to share my thoughts on the proposed construction of Pickleball courts adjacent to the Longboat Key Club tennis gardens.

I am concerned what the impact of pickleball games will be on Winding Oaks, the neighborhood in which I live. According to a story in the Observer, residents of Sable Cover were given an opportunity to voice their opinions of the pickleball courts. Yet, folks in Winding Oaks were not asked for input. I wonder why. Winding Oaks is much closer to the proposed site.

It is also my understanding that pickleball games are quite loud because the racquets/paddles used are solid and make the game considerably louder than tennis games.

I am sure the Town of Longboat has noise restrictions. What are the parameters of those restrictions? I frequently see in the Observer that police are called because of noise disturbances- loud music, barking dogs, etc.

Also, I understand that noise from golf course maintenance equipment has an exception to the town restriction on noise. Will such an exception need to be made for pickleball game noise? Will police need to be called to report loud pickleball games?

I am grateful for and appreciate your efforts to help keep Longboat the community we all love and enjoy. So, I respectfully offer my thoughts and questions. I hope you will factor them into your deliberations.

Bonnie Platten

Longboat Key

 

Pickleball courts

To: Longboat Key Commission

My husband and I reside at Winding Oaks Dr.  This is directly across from the newly proposed pickleball courts that I read about last week in the newspaper.  We are very concerned about the noise level this will create at our residence.  And if the courts will be lighted, that too will be a distraction and increase the length of play to completely interfere with the quiet enjoyment of our property morning, noon and night.  The 56 residences in Winding Oaks will be negatively impacted if this proposal is approved.  It will also create difficulty for the homes closest to Harbourside Drive in the Bayou neighborhood.

Our management company, AMI, informs us that a letter announcing the Planning and Zoning meeting on this topic was received by their Lakewood Ranch office on April 27—after the meeting had already occurred!  Therefore, we were denied the opportunity to consider the proposal and plan our response to it at this meeting.

I do not understand why it is illegal for contractors to perform noisy work after 5 p.m. and never on Sundays or holidays on the island, but this noise nuisance might be approved?  Where is the logic in that?

I might suggest that given the extensive acreage that is owned by the Longboat Key Club they might find a better location that would not impact the peaceful use of homes in a residential neighborhood.

Charlotte B. Cooper

Longboat Key

 

Opposed to pickleball courts

To: Longboat Key Commission

I am Carol Swed, a resident of Winding Oaks in the Bay Isles Subdivision. I am a golf member at the Longboat Key Club and registered to vote in Florida. Among the reasons I bought my home is the spectacular view I have of the lake and golf course. My outdoor area is a peaceful haven for entertaining, relaxing, and watching wildlife.

I was disturbed to find out through an article in the newspaper that pickle ball courts were planned for construction directly across the water from the homes on the western side of Winding Oaks.

To my knowledge, this came as a surprise to everyone in Winding Oaks. We got notice of the meeting after it took place. Whether this was an unfortunate accident or an intentional omission remains to be seen, but the outcome is the same: lack of confidence in the club and the approval process. Furthermore, many of us will travel to our summer destinations and be unable to attend any meetings in the near future. The timing is suspicious. We’ve been told there are posted signs: there are not.

The plan is unacceptable. Here are some of the reasons:

1. Pickleball is loud, the pitch is shrill, and the noise is constant.

2. Water amplifies sound.

3. Over 50 mature trees have been marked for removal. Replacements will take decades to achieve their size.

4. Many of our homes are a short iron shot from the planned courts. It will be like having a game going on in our bedrooms especially if we like our doors and windows open.

5. Golfers on #1 Blue Heron will be disturbed by the noise.

6. Nets will be needed to protect players from errant golf balls. What is this going to look like? TopGolf?

7. No amount of noise mitigation will solve the problem of light pollution. Florida is a Dark Skies state.

8. Our property will be less attractive and could lose market value.

I repeat: I object in the strongest possible terms to having pickleball near my home. The Longboat Key Club has plenty of property—put them somewhere else.

Carol Swed

Longboat Key

 

Florida Department of Transportation meeting

To: Longboat Key Commission

Last week, the staff met with the Florida Department of Transportation, including the District Secretary, to discuss next steps on the Country Club Shores Turn Lane Project.  As you are aware, the project design is complete and we have an FDOT permit.  The focus has been on finalizing funding within the State 5-year workplan for the construction.

The District Secretary committed to providing funding for the project within the 5-year workplan and we were working with them to fund the project in their FY24 (which begins on July 1, 2023) budget.  A couple of months ago, the FDOT mentioned that there are some additional design related activities that would need to occur before the State could fund or perform the construction.

At our meeting we went over the status of the project and next steps to proceed to construction.

The State said that if they were to conduct the design, there are additional steps that would need to occur, including formatting of plan requirements through internal design phase reviews, right-of-way and utility certifications / clearances and potentially a couple of additional steps for approval that have not yet be completed by our engineer.  They also stated that when they fund and/or manage the construction of a project, they have to make sure it follows this same internal design process and deliverables.

Since the Town completed the design, they advised that the best approach forward would be for the Town to begin and complete the design phase reviews and clearance processes with FDOT staff in order to contract for the work and the State provide the funding.  We had some concern about project management, but the FDOT agreed to also fund Construction Engineering & Inspection (CEI) services which would provide a project construction management/ inspection services to the Town.

There are a couple of steps that the Town will need to go through the over the next year to complete the FDOT requirements pre-bidding of the work.  They agreed to expedite that process.  For them to provide the funding to the Town it will require a formal joint-project agreement (“JPA”) with the FDOT.  We all agreed for the Town to fund the additional engineering services and start working on that process now.

The plan is to finish any additional review/approval of the plans and have the interlocal agreement executed by July 1, 2023.  They would include this project in their FY24 workplan for construction and after execution of the interlocal and the start of FY24 the Town would then be able start the procurement process for engaging a contractor for the work.

We also discussed the Broadway Roundabout.  That project is under design and has no current FDOT funding for construction, but we wanted to make sure we addressed any FDOT needs up front during the design phase.  We had reached out to our design engineer and they have advised that our plans are substantially consistent with FDOT internal review requirements and can be modified to work that process as well.  The Town will work with the design engineer to determine that scope of work.  The District Secretary did state that there is a lot of competition for FDOT construction dollars and once we have the design complete for the roundabout, the best way to seek FDOT funding will be to come to the table with a local match for the construction portion of the project.

No commission action is necessary at this time, but wanted to provide a quick update on our latest conversation with FDOT regarding these projects.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

0FansLike
0FollowersFollow
0SubscribersSubscribe
spot_img

Latest Articles