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Longboat Key
Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Letters to the Editor week of May 6, 2022

Ruskie on Dr. Palmer

To: Editor

Oh My, the Expounder has no shame.

He spoke of the evilness of a worldwide  ‘collective ideology’, which is the identical bespoken mantra of his and his fellow travelers, “MAGATS”, expostulating the decline of American ideals, and disenfranchisement by any segment of our society, that disagrees with their dark views of our country’s future. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Edmund Albright

Sarasota

 

Strip Malls

To: Editor

Well, it doesn’t take long for Longboat Key Planning Board to make decisions to want Longboat Key to look like Cortez Road.

People who pay taxes on Longboat Key have not wanted nor want a strip mall. This Planning Board must not live on the Key.

If any members who live on Longboat Key we should vote them out or fire them.

Are The Plannng Board Members getting a kickback from developers? It sure looks like it or why would any sane person what a Strip Mall on Longboat Key.

We who live on Longboat Key must tell Planning Board Members take their strip mall to Cortez Road.

Judy Wagner

Longboat Key

 

Golf course

To: Editor

Now that the golf course has changed the island to a fine sandy white environment where we have the material piling up on the adjacent balconies, how much will we be breathing into our lungs! Next time you walk on or around the sandy layer notice how much becomes airborne.  Perhaps a new diagnosis of “Golfer’s Lungs” will be established.  I would appreciate hearing from the LBK golf management if this has been studied.

Marvin G. Frank

Longboat Key

Proposed Pickle Ball Courts

To: Longboat Key Commission

I am writing to you as a twelve-year resident of the community of Winding Oaks.  Last week in an article in the newspaper, I learned of a disappointing move by the Longboat Key Club to add new pickle ball courts in close proximity to our neighborhood.

The recent influx of new residents and visitors along with the popularity of the game has no doubt prompted this addition to the facility.  It’s wonderful to respond to demands from members.  However, in haste to install these new courts, no one in our neighborhood was consulted about this plan.

I implore the Town Commissioners and Mayor please take a critical look at the Club’s proposal in terms of noise and light mitigation.  The placement of these courts directly affects Winding Oaks.

The pickle ball courts will be permanent, as will the after effects!

Our neighborhood is a quiet and friendly one.  I will quote a neighbor who stated after hearing about this unfortunate development: “What affects one neighbor in Winding Oaks affects us all”!  That is the true spirit of being a good neighbor and I suggest the Longboat Key Club is being very one-sided in their plans! Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Melanie DeCarlo

Longboat Key

 

Follow up from Finance Committee Meeting

To: Longboat Key Commissioner Penny Gold

The Committee had asked what kind of investments were included in Florida Prime.

Mel provided a comparison between FL Prime and the Chandler Asset Pool below.

The Committee also asked for some other Investment Policies to compare to.

I was able to obtain City of Sarasota, Northport, Sarasota County and Sarasota Schools attached. Let me know if you need anything further or have further questions.

Susan Smith

Finance Director

Town of Longboat Key

 

Follow up from Finance Committee Meeting

To: Longboat Key Finance Director Susan Smith

Thank you Sue, this is helpful information.

Penny Gold

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Proposed Pickle Ball Courts Follow Up Question

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

As a follow up to my email yesterday, can you explain to me how members of our community can best have their opinions heard ?  Most of the WO condo owners will have left for the season before the next hearings.  Are emails from owners  (like mine yesterday) to the Commission members best or do our objections need to take another form ?

Tom Dimond

Longboat Key

Proposed Pickle Ball Courts Follow Up Question

To: Tom Dimond

Mr. Dimond, thank you for your email.  I copied Allen Parsons, our Planning, Building, and Zoning Director and asked him to respond directly to you on the rules of procedure for the upcoming hearings.  Based on the approval requested, they are quasi-judicial hearings so there are certain procedures and processes associated with those types of applications.  He can share with you the ways you can get your comments into the record and/or heard at the hearing.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

Town Center

To: Longboat Key Town Commission

I received a request from a Commissioner for a copy of the presentation that Hoyt Architects made at the planning charrette in 2020 as well as the follow-up presentation to the Town Commission. I also included the minutes from the follow-up Commission discussion approving the concept plan and authorizing staff to move forward with Phase 2 planning.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Longboat Key Club pickle ball courts

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

I am a year-round resident of Longboat Key and have lived here for nearly twenty years. It is come to my attention that the Longboat Key Club is attempting to build four pickle ball courts adjacent to the tennis courts. The neighbors on Winding Oaks are directly impacted and received no notification of the hearing before the zoning and planning board. As it turns out, a letter was sent to our managing company’s Lakewood Ranch office and received after the scheduled hearing. The timing is unfortunate, if not suspicious.

The first the adjacent neighbors in Winding Oaks heard of the pickleball courts was when an article was published in the local newspaper. Why were we not consulted? This is not a non-intrusive plan that is being presented. It directly impacts our quality of life.

I and many of my neighbors have many questions that we have been denied the opportunity to pose.

It appears that many trees are going to be taken down to make way for the courts and many homes in Winding Oaks will be exposed to noise from both pickle ball and participants. Are there any town regulations as to decibel levels that are permitted? If so, will the pickle-balls courts be in compliance?

Trees will be taken down. Will they be replaced in such a manner as to ensure privacy for the neighbors? Will there be any vegetation planted to deaden the sound?

What are the hours that Pickleball will be played? Will there be lighting?

With the extensive property that is owned by the Longboat Key club, why are Pickle ball courts going to be sited on property that abuts residential areas particularly for such a noisy activity?

Was there any consideration given to alternative games such as Beckyball which is quite similar to pickle ball but is not played on a hard court and infinitely quieter.

Only the beginning of loads of questions that we have been denied the opportunity to ask at a public hearing.

I do hope that something may be done to remedy this egregious  situation. I have been told that there is to be another hearing in June and sincerely hope that this is more widely promulgated and those directly affected have an opportunity to participate.

Jill Considine

Longboat Key

 

Longboat Key Club pickle ball courts

To: Jill Considine

This matter will be heard by the Town Commission at its regular meeting at 1 pm on June 6.  I encourage anyone with concerns to attend.

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Land Use application

To: Longboat Key Town Commission

The Town Commission’s decision making on specific land use applications are quasi-judicial.  When the Town Commission sits in that role, the Town Commission is required to:

(1) observe due process for all participants, (2)  make decisions based upon competent substantial evidence and testimony provided at the hearing, and

(3) apply the correct applicable law.

Resident and property owner communications that are sent to the Town Commission relating to a specific land use application are considered ex parte communications.   While the Town may include ex parte communications in the agenda materials for informational purposes, those previously received communications are not considered competent substantial evidence in a quasi-judicial hearing.  Competent substantial evidence is the evidence that is sworn to and presented at the hearing.

I understand that there have been several communications relating to the upcoming quasi-judicial hearing associated with the Harbourside pickleball court application.  The Town’s PZB Department intends to transmit the following response to individuals who submitted inquiries to them:

Thank you for your e-mail. Your correspondence will be included in the Town Commission’s agenda materials associated with the pickleball court application. Notwithstanding the foregoing, your e-mail correspondence is considered ex parte communication since it has been submitted outside of the public hearing proceedings. During quasi-judicial public hearings, the Town Commission is required to consider testimony and evidence provided on the record at the hearing.  If you would like to ensure that your position is considered by the Town Commission on the record, you may want to attend and participate in the Town Commission’s quasi-judicial public hearing which will be held on June 6, 2022 at 1 p.m.

Should a Town Commissioner feel compelled to respond to communications from property owners/residents relating to a pending application, you can respond by thanking them for their email and directing them to the quasi-judicial hearing where they can provide testimony and evidence to the entire Commission on the record.  Keep in mind that Commissioners that take this approach may still need to disclose the communication on the record at the commencement of the proceeding.  Another option is to refrain from responding to the unsolicited communications which avoids the ex parte issue all together.  I generally encourage the later approach so Commissioners can minimize ex parte disclosures at the commencement of the hearing.

I hope this reminder is helpful.  As always, should any Commissioners have questions about quasi-judicial matters, ex parte communications or specific applications, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Maggie D. Mooney

Town Attorney

Longboat Key

 

Land Use application

To: Longboat Key Town Attorney Maggie Mooney

There appears to be an issue with proper notification of residents – I have not responded to these resident emails, but my home was notified and I am much farther away than Winding Oaks.

BJ Bishop

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Proposed Pickle Ball Courts

To: Longboat Key Club Manager Rick Konsavage

By way of introduction, I am a resident of the Winding Oaks Association and a full member of the LBKC.  I discovered through a newspaper article in a local paper that new pickle courts were approved after a “thorough” vetting by all constituents – including the neighborhood.   I have confirmed that no one in this neighborhood was ever consulted.  The “neighbor” that was consulted lives in Sable Cove I believe which is nowhere near as close to the proposed courts as WO is. There are condos in WO that are really close to the area being mapped out – with water in between which will serve to magnify the sound of the pickle ball on the racquets.  And lights are part of the proposed project too?

I am astonished that this community wasn’t consulted.   I play golf, tennis and pickle so I do have a vested interest in continued improvements to the club facilities- but not at the expense of the neighbors that are most directly impacted.  That’s the definition of a bad neighbor.  Please let me know what the club plans to do to remedy this problem.

Tom Dimond

Longboat Key

 

Proposed Club Pickle Ball Courts

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

By introduction, I am a condominium owner in Winding Oaks, which is an association that lines the estuary across from the location of the proposed courts.  I am aware of the proposed layout which would place them alongside the right hand side of the Blue #1 hole.  I am also a full member of the LBK Club.   I play golf, tennis and pickle ball so I feel as if I have a vested interest in having enhanced club facilities- but within limits.

I was made aware of the proposed courts by an article that appeared in the local LB paper.  I can’t quote from it verbatim but the gist of what I took away was that all constituents had weighed in (including neighbors) and that the project had been approved.   I sent a note to our neighborhood group email to ask if anyone in our neighborhood had been contacted (in case maybe I missed something) and I discovered that no one had.   Someone in Sable Cove (?) apparently was contacted per the article and they apparently were good with it so that was enough neighborhood input? The problem is that Winding Oaks is way more exposed to the considerable noise (and lighting) of the courts than any other neighborhood.  Some of the condos are unbelievably close!  I find it incomprehensible that this association was ignored prior to and during this phase of the approval process.  I think you’ll hear from many others in this neighborhood that share my opinion. Hopefully, there can be a remedy that is fair to all constituents.

Tom Dimond

Longboat Key

Noise Level

To: Longboat Key Commission

I just heard some additional data worth considering. Regarding the proposed location of the Pickle Ball courts near the tennis gardens… the noise of pickle ball is four times louder than tennis. It is 70 decibels, add in voices and its 80 to 85 decibels. The EPA considers anything above 70 to be a public nuisance. This is also not taking into account how the noise/sounds travel across the water to the community of Winding Oaks.

The location of these courts so close to a residential community is not acceptable. With all the property owned by the Longboat Key Club it seems there are other places for these courts that would not interfere with the property values and enjoyment of a residential community, many of whom support the Longboat Key Club. Please take into account the light pollution from the night time lighting as well as the noise pollution.

Nancy Camp

Longboat Key

 

Pickle Ball Courts

To: Longboat Key Town Commission

I am writing to express my concerns with the location of the proposed pickle ball courts near the LongBoat Key Club tennis gardens. We live in the community of Winding Oaks which back up to the tennis gardens. My parents were original owners purchasing in 1988, and my husband and I loved the community and recently purchased a unit as well. What attracted us to that particular community was the gorgeous views across the water.

While we understand the game of Pickle  Ball has become popular, we do not support the location of the proposed courts. They will directly impact the views from some Winding Oaks units. We understand the courts will be lit at night which adds to light pollution in the area. Of additional major concern is the noise pollution. The sound on pickle ball courts is different than the sound of a tennis ball, and less tolerable to listen to on a routine basis. Also, pickle ball games are quite spirited and the sound of the players voices will carry over the water. In the spirit of play it is not uncommon for players to use expletives and this was not what I planned on hearing from my deck.

I am concerned the location of these courts will diminish our enjoyment of our property as well as property values. It was stated that the association of Sabal Cove was considered and deemed not to be affected. No one has mentioned that the community of Winding Oaks was taken into account. Please do not allow these courts to affect our community.

Nancy Camp

Longboat Key

 

5G Antenna Installation/Application at Privateer

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

Following up on the question that came up at yesterday’s Town Commission Regular Workshop, we have not received an application for a new or replacement wireless communication antenna at the Privateer condominiums.  I have asked the staff to let me know if an application is submitted & will share that with you, if we receive an application.

Allen Parsons

Director Planning, Zoning & Building Department

Town of Longboat Key

 

Annual Sunshine/Ethics Training Opportunity

To: Longboat Key Commission

Holmes Beach will be hosting a 4-hour Sunshine, Ethics, & Records training on May 9th in their City Hall Chambers, 5801 Marina Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217

The training will be presented by certified trainers Attorneys Jay Daigneault and Randy Mora, and will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Holmes Beach Clerk’s office has extended an invitation to include LBK Commissioners who need the 4-hour annual required training.  At this time, we have not been notified that Manatee County is scheduled to host the session later this year.

The training is also open to our committee or board members and any staff who may wish to attend. Please let me know by Thursday, May 5th, if you would like to attend.

Trish Granger

Town Clerk

Longboat Key

 

MPO Board

To: Longboat Key Vice Mayor Maureen Merrigan

I just watched the recording of yesterday’s meeting and it appears as though I have been selected for the MPO.  If so that is great!  I look forward to serving. Let know if I have misinterpreted the situation. Thanks for your support.

Eddie Abrams

Longboat Key

MPO Board

To: Longboat Key Vice Mayor Maureen Merrigan

I see that there is a CAN meeting this Monday, May 9, 2021.  If I am on the committee, should I plan to attend? Not a problem as this would be an opportunity that I would not want to miss. I will fly back this weekend if that’s the case. Please let me know.

Eddie Abrams

Longboat Key

 

MPO position

To: Eddie Abrams

Congratulations and thank you for volunteering to serve our Town.  If you listened in to the meeting and Commissioner comments, then you know how important the MPO is for LBK.

Mike Haycock is the LBK Commissioner who serves on the MPO Board and might be a good resource for you going forward.

Saw your other email on the Citizens Advisory Network meeting and I do not know the details.  My hunch is, it is not critical to fly in, especially given the short notice and your recent appointment – but you could call in to MPO to help with that decision and to see what, if anything, is offered remotely.  Also reach out to our Town Hall staff (Trish Shinkle or Susan Phillips) and they can confirm if your appointment has been communicated to the MPO and may be able to help with that decision too.

We appreciated that you expressed interest in several Town Advisory Boards – as it gave us flexibility to balance experience and expertise with our appointments.

Maureen Merrigan

Vice Mayor

Longboat Key

DeSantis Announces $20 Million for 98 Projects Through Florida Grant Program

To: Longboat Key Commission

See notice below forwarded from Representative McFarland announcing this cycle of Florida Resiliency Grants.  We made the list to received funds for the final phase of our Sea Level Rise Study.  The award is for $131,289.

This request was originally sponsored by Representative McFarland last year but didn’t make it into the final budget signed by the Governor. As a follow up, we were advised to seek planning funding through the new State Resiliency Program.  We submitted our application last year and have now been notified that we were successful in our grant application.

Tom Harmer

Town Manager

Longboat Key

 

DeSantis Announces $20 Million for 98 Projects Through Florida Grant Program

To: Florida Governor’s Office Fiona McFarland

This was a great way to celebrate your Monday visit to Longboat Key.  Thanks for your help.

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

Verizon wireless cell towers

To: Longboat Key Commission

First, let us thank you for honoring your commitment to the taxpayers of this community to raise wireless service from the level that has been sub-par for too long.

As everyone is aware, there has been some concern about the two towers that are scheduled to be placed in residential neighborhoods. We believe that there is a discrepancy between what was promised and put forth at the public hearings with the final approval for the Verizon contract and with what the Verizon representatives have communicated about it being “too late” to make any improvements to the plan since they have “already received the poles.”

We are requesting that a camouflage technique be considered for the design of the residential cell towers as a compromise to the placement of the poles.  Pine tree and palm tree disguise examples are attached. The pledge to follow EIA/TIA (Telecommunications Industry Association & Electronic Industries Alliance-the technical standard for commercial telecommunications products and services) practices was promised to the community and the commission prior to the vote. In speaking with Allen Parsons, he advised that town code would need to be changed on the two poles in question if those practices are upheld.

While we do not agree with Verizon that there is only one location for placement of the towers, they are now stating that they are unfamiliar with the abovementioned. Best practices in cell towers are not a new thing. Camouflaging techniques are not new either, especially in neighborhoods or in front of businesses.

Many localities now have comprehensive plans that include EIA/TIA policies for communication towers. The attached plan for Ferndale, WA, section 18.66.010 F states, “Encourage users of towers and antennas to locate, configure them in a way that minimizes the adverse visual impact of the towers and antennas through careful design, siting, landscape screening, and innovative camouflaging techniques.”

We formally request that the town follow through with the commitment made by Verizon, to augment and keep the natural beauty that the taxpayers deserve with the major investment we are making together to improve our community.

James A. Smith

Longboat Key

 

Cell tower request

To: James Smith

Thanks for your note.  Unlike the towers shown in the pictures you supplied, the Verizon poles are the same height, color and dimension as the new light poles being constructed throughout the community as part of the undergrounding project.  This was by specific design by the Town in order to improve both service and aesthetics.

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

FY23 Priorities

To: Longboat Key Commission

Based on input at the strategic planning retreat the FY23 and FY24 Workplan now has 45 initiatives on our updated Placemat.  After the retreat, Commissioner Dominick completed her prioritization of the FY23 Initiatives.  With her input we have now finalized the top priorities for the next year.  We will be updating the Placemat with the 45 initiatives and 8 priorities for the 1st Budget Workshop.

Based on the individual feedback the following eight initiatives received at least 4 votes:

Establish funding methodology for canals and developed a long-range navigational maintenance program

Complete Town Center outdoor venue Phase 2 improvements, including stage

Advance the concept of a community center with a public library, adult education, and a multipurpose space on the south parcel at Town Center

Advance planning with Sarasota County for Library Services

Advance GMD corridor plan concept.  As part of the study, evaluate future plans for pedestrian crossings and a roundabout on the south end of the island at Longboat Club Road

Seek a Unified Public Transit system on the island

Improve Conditions of multi-use trail along GMD

Seek State and Federal appropriations to offset costs for a subaqueous wastewater line and other major capital projects.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

List of owners that support crosswalk

To: Longboat Key Commissioner Penny Gold

Good morning. I hope this note finds you well. My meeting with you was quite helpful. After our meeting, I contacted the Mayor, who was kind enough to come out to Bayport to view the crossing conditions. After the meeting, he recommended that the best way for the

Bayport community to present its views is to attend the meeting at Town Hall

on May 3.

Representatives of Bayport will be attending that meeting. Unfortunately, many owners leave Bayport by the end of April to go home for the holidays and so we will not have the kind of numbers who would have attended during season.

That being said, we have received a strong positive response from members of

the Bayport community. Attached is a document expressing the support of

members of the Bayport community most of whom cannot attend.

Since it is clear the meeting will not be the end of the road to achieve our goals, I am hoping you can give us post-hearing directions to continue our campaign. Thanks for your assistance.

Marc Pachtman

Longboat Key

 

List of Owners that Support Crosswalk

To: Marc Pachtman

It was nice meeting you and your wife last month. I appreciated learning more about the issues at Bayport. Please feel free to reach out again anytime.

Penny Gold

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

List of Owners that Support Crosswalk

To: Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier

Good morning. I hope this note finds you well. My meeting with you was quite helpful. After our meeting, I reached out to the Bayport community requesting that they appear at the May 3 hearing as you suggested. Representatives of Bayport will attend that meeting. Unfortunately, many owners leave Bayport by the end of April to go home for the holidays, so we will not have the kind of numbers at the meeting who would have attended

during season. That being said, we have received a strong positive response to adding a

crosswalk from many members of the Bayport community. Attached is a document

expressing that support.

Since it is clear the meeting will not be the end of the road to achieve our goals, I am hoping you can give us post-hearing directions to continue our campaign. Thanks for your assistance.

Marc Pachtman

Longboat Key

 

List of Owners that Support Crosswalk

To: Mark Pachtman

Thanks, Mark. We’re happy to have as many Bayport residents attend the information session as are available, but rest assured that we understand your request.

Ken Schneier

Mayor, Longboat Key

 

U.S. 41 / BOTA Intersection

To: Sarasota City Commission

We understand that regarding the intersection of US 41 and Boulevard of the Arts, there is a proposal to retain traffic coming through the intersection, rather than providing a right-turn only requirement on US 41. We believe that this is a mistake.

We live in BLVD Sarasota, which has a right-turn only exit onto US 41 and right-turn only entrance into the development from US 41. It requires drivers to utilize the roundabouts at 10th Street and Fruitville Road to change direction. It has not been an undue burden.

We believe that for better traffic control and safety, the same should be true of those exiting BOTA onto US 41 – right turns only with the ability to utilize the roundabouts at 10th Street and Fruitville Road to change direction.

This intersection is busy and will only get busier as construction commences at Quay Sarasota and The Bay Sarasota, and further, once various buildings open to residents and visitors. Under the current approach, we have experienced traffic tie-ups all along US 41 and noise from horns from frustrated drivers.

We understand that the Rosemary District Association had been considering different approaches to the intersection, presenting for public comment two alternative options to doing nothing. Both of these approaches implement a right-turn only requirement from exiting Boulevard of the Arts onto US 41. However, surprisingly, they seem to be endorsing a fourth approach without presenting this option to the general public for input. This approach does not implement the right-turn only requirement, but rather, continues the problems we currently have at the intersection.

We believe that it is a mistake to pursue this approach, especially without having provided a general opportunity of homeowners and other affected stakeholders to comment.

We strongly believe that a right-turn only approach makes the most sense at this intersection, for the safety of drivers and pedestrians as well as for the enjoyment of the neighborhood by residents.

Robert E. Gordon

Sarasota

 

U.S. 41 / BOTA Intersection

To: Robert Gordon

Thanks for writing and your input. I have not seen the plans for that intersection yet. I am copying the city manager so that the appropriate staff can respond to what is being done and your suggestions.

Liz Alpert

Commissioner, City of Sarasota

U.S. 41 / BOTA Intersection

To: Robert Gordon

Staff copied will be in touch with information as to what is actually happening here. Thank you.

Marlon Brown

City Manager

City of Sarasota

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