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Longboat Key
Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Letters to the Editor week of November 5, 2021

Manufactured homes

To: Gulf Shore owners

The email below was sent to the Town Commissioners and Town Manager this week in preparation for the Commission meeting on Monday, November 1 at 1:00 p.m. That meeting will be the 2nd reading and vote by the Commissioners regarding Ordinance 2021-11 which will remove the exception for mobile home parks regarding height requirements for new mobiles moved onto the property. You may see a recent article about Gulfshore published in the Longboat newspaper. Please read the latest information contained in the email below sent from Gulfshore to the Town. If you have any particular comments to make regarding the proposed issue you may email the Town Clerk at

tshinkle@longboatkey.org. Trish Shinkle will make those available to Commissioners.

Fred Bez
Community Association Manager

Gulfshore of Longboat Key, Inc.

 

Manufactured homes and proposed Ordinance 2021-11

To: Longboat Key Commission

This email is to add to information Commissioners received from Planning, Zoning & Building Department Director Parsons, in answering their questions regarding manufactured homes at the October 4 meeting. It is correct that under current code, the minimum elevation is 3 feet. It is actually 3 feet from the top of the slab on grade to the bottom of the beam supporting the mobile. However, the beams that support the frame of the mobile is at least 12 inches high. The distance from the bottom of the frame that sits on the beams to the floor level of the manufactured home is about 18 inches. That means the first floor of the new manufactured home is elevated to approximately 5 1/2 feet above the slab at grade. On a 3 foot grade, that is a total elevation to the first floor of 8 1/2 feet under the current code.

The Florida Building Code requires residential dwellings to be elevated to the lowest floor while requiring manufactured homes to be elevated to the bottom of the frame. This inequity is discounting the additional 1 foot of the beams that support the frame as well as the additional nearly 1 and 1/2 feet to the lowest floor.

The Executive Director of the Florida Manufactured Housing Association has sent a letter to the Town addressing this issue on our behalf requesting an amendment to the proposed ordinance for change in language to elevation to the the lowest floor rather than bottom of the frame.

The combined residential units of both Gulfshore and Twin Shores is 263. That is the number of residences that would potentially be affected by the proposed new elevation requirements. It has been stated that the grade of the Gulfshore units closest to Gulf of Mexico Drive is about 8 feet. In actuality, it is just under 5.5 feet according to engineering roadway surveys made when Gulfshore roadways were newly paved in 2009. The breakdown of the Gulfshore units on grade according to that survey is the following: 24 units between 5.2 and 5.3 feet, 24 units between 4 and 4.5 feet, 12 units between 3 to 4 feet, 24 units between 2 to 3 feet, 68 units 1 to 2 feet and 26 units less than 1 foot. The topography of the land means that the proposed new elevation requirements as currently defined, would make building steps to reach the ground, relocating air conditioning units to driveways impacted by a 2nd set of very high steps, and maintaining driveways for parking impossible.

The Town has previously received narrative, pictures, and illustrations speaking to size of lots and current construction of manufactured homes. This previous communication illustrates a condition that has been provided for in the proposed ordinance. This condition would be one of the mitigation methods asked about by 2 commissioners at the October 4 meeting and was not addressed. That would be on page 12 of proposed Ordinance 2021-11 item (G) Conditions for issuance of variances, (1) Submission by the applicant of a showing of good and sufficient cause that the unique characteristics of the size, configuration, or topography of the site limit compliance with any provision of this Code or the required elevation standards;.

It is clear that from the above facts and previous information submitted, that under current current code, at Gulfshore, a new manufactured home is being elevated a minimum of 5 1/2 feet to the lowest floor in addition to the grade under the slab. At Gulfshore that means under current code, a new manufactured home is elevated to the lowest floor including grade a maximum of 10.5 feet to a minimum of 6 1/2 feet to the lowest floor.

Because Gulfshore falls into the conditions described under the variance description, we request that should the proposed Ordinance 2021-11 be approved, that Gulfshore be considered for a variance.

Regards,

Fred Bez
Community Association Manager

Gulfshore of Longboat Key, Inc.

 

Waste Management

To: Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier

Mayor, thanks for the email. I will check with Public Works- they work closely with Waste Management on any service level concerns like a missed pick-up. That is the best place for a resident to call.

Not sure who he may have talked to at Town Hall. Susan is out of the office and I haven’t received a call or message, but Public Works will reach back out to him to assist.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Waste Management

Edward Mankes Garbage Pickup

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

Mr. Mankes called me at 12:23 today to say his garbage had not been picked up yesterday at 801 Binnacle Point Drive in Emerald Harbor, that he talked to someone in Public Works who assured him it would be picked up first thing today and that it is still put there. He said he also talked to “the Town Manager’s office. Any ideas? He said he didn’t think it was his obligation to call Waste Management.?

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Manufactured homes and proposed Ordinance 2021-11

To: Longboat Key Commission

Please accept my communication and comments for presentation to the Longboat Key Town Commissioners and Town Manager’s meeting scheduled for today, November 1st 2021 at 1pm, regarding the 2nd reading and vote regarding Ordinance 2021-11 which proposes to remove the existing exception regarding height requirements for mobile home parks to place new mobiles onto existing site-specific lots.

Dear Town Commissioners and Town Manager,

Acknowledging that floodplain management regulations are necessary and drafted to encompass a broad range of common conditions however they not anticipate every imaginable local situation or condition which may be encountered. Gulfshore of Longboat Key (3710 Gulf of Mexico Dr) inherits established special conditions with respect to size and configuration.

The mobile properties at Gulfshore of Longboat Key are unique in their design and footprint whereas I would request that Gulfshore of Longboat Key be granted a variance or a continuance of non-conforming based upon lot sizes. The mobiles at Gulfshore of Longboat Key are placed on lots ranging from 2,597 square feet to as little as 1,389 square feet which are considerably smaller than the One-Half Acre or Less criterion set forth by FEMA for variance consideration.

It is reasonable that a variance be issued for any newly placed or substantial-improvement to existing mobiles at Gulfshore of Longboat Key.

Gary and Carol Wise

Longboat Key

 

North Longboat properties

To: Longboat Key Commission

We are lucky to have properties in North Longboat Key and want to thank you for helping make it a wonderful place. One of the properties we own in the North Longboat Key is directly across the canal from the property slated for development at 551 Broadway (the old six-unit Larfald Landing apartments) on the corner of North Longboat Drive.

As an interested neighbor and adjacent landowner, I am delighted to see that the new owners have plans to build 4 single family homes on the subject property. They are beautiful in design, reduce the density from 6 to 4 units, and I am pleased that there will be wonderfully landscaped high-end homes at the entrance to our village rather than the outdated apartments we have learned to ignore when driving by.

It is my understanding that the developer had contemplated building the same number of pre-existing units (six) and we believe that the decision to construct 4 homes with side yards was a respectful way to handle the development considering the density of the neighborhood. We’re happy to see the site be re-developed and the removal of the old apartment building, as it will bring down the number of living units from 6 to 4 units and that is a good thing for the area.

In summary, I encourage you to approve the planned development as stated above.

Again, thank you for all you do to make Longboat Key special!

Rodney Schansman

Longboat Key

 

Follow-up

To: Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier

Hope all is well with you.

I just want to follow-up on two things with you:

  1. Preliminary Engineering Study for the reminder of Sleepy Lagoon Streets. Lyons Lane Project has been rescheduled for Mid-November.
  2. Cell Facilities – where will the poles be located on the North End. Neighbors have expressed concerned where they will be located on the North End.

June McGroary

Longboat Key

 

Infrastructure poles

To: June McGroary

  1. I am referring the engineering study question to Isaac.  2.  As for the new poles, final locations haven’t been determined yet, but the preliminary plan had 9 or 10 poles, almost all of which were to be set on the west side of Gulf of Mexico Drive.  The poles will have the same color, form and height limitations as the new LBK street light poles and will be placed at least 60 feet from any Town poles.  More information on this will be available soon.

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Infrastructure poles

To: Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier

Thank you so much for the update. I will be back in Longboat Key on November 16th.Artie has to go to the Mayo. I will try to attend the Town Meeting on November 17th. Again, grateful for your help on Sleepy Lagoon and with Town issues.

June McGroary

Longboat Key

 

Loud noises and generators in the Village

To: Longboat Key Commission

Loud construction site gas powered generator and compressors. What is worse is the large amount of greenhouse gas pollution coming from the indifferent gas engines.

This morning there is a large loud diesel truck parked thirty feet from our bedroom starting from 7:30 am. It is almost as loud as the gas generators. Again, it is spewing out pollution needlessly as it sits there for half an hour with the windows open.

Where are the rights of residents being protected. This will go on for a year or two. In one place in the village, construction on three houses is in the third year.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Loud noises and generators in the Village

To: Gene Jaleski

From message below not am not sure what the issue is for five surrounding neighbors?  Boat engines?  Cars? Construction?   Also let’s follow-up regarding that task team. How does the week of Nov 15th week look for you?

Maureen Merrigan

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Loud noises and generators in the Village
To: Longboat Key Commissioner Maureen Merrigan

This is what neighbors suffer because the town refuses to control unnecessary noise and hugh amounts of greenhouse emissions.

All the five surrounding neighbors will not be able to open their homes for a year because the town does nothing to fix an easily preventable problem.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

Unbearable noise

To: Longboat Key Town manager Tom Harmer

Please listen to the attached construction site noise recording measured from my property. Ask yourself if you want this noise in your home, nine hours a day, six days a week.

For the next year I, and my neighbors, will not get to enjoy opening up the doors and windows. We will not ever get to know a quiet moment.  We are being denied access to outdoor living.  Our planet is being further polluted.

Because the commission chooses to support the absolute worse conditions possible at building sites on Longboat Key. The most possible amount of noise be mandating gas engine generators and compressors,  instead of quiet, less expensive electric equipment.

The highest possible level of air pollution resulting from allowing the use of inefficient gas equipment. The incessant loud noise affects five surrounding homes. The noise is absolutely unacceptable, and sadly totally unnecessary. Please make our lives better. Why support the worst, rather than the best, solution for mitigating construction noise all over the island.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

High noise levels in the Village

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

I am writing to seek the town’s help in solving the high noise levels coming from a building site at 660 Cedar Street, builder John Cannon Homes.

I am eighty-six years old and have lived in the village more than thirty-five years.

My bedroom window is directly across from the building site, where some days loud trucks show up at 7:30 a.m., and a very loud gas generator starts up at 8 a.m. and is not shut off till 5 p.m. or later. The distance from my bedroom to the generator is fewer than 30 feet.

I am told by neighbors that the owner of the house being built has repeatedly asked John Cannon Homes to use electric equipment instead of gas equipment for several months. I am told by another neighbor that John Cannon Homes has not even applied for a town permit for FPL service to the construction site, even though there is an FPL construction pole at the corner of the property that can easily supply electric power to the site

I have hearing issues and find it difficult to even carry on a phone conversation, since the gas generator permeates my small home with high levels of noise.

With the gas generator, when I try to sit on my deck, sometimes fumes from the nearby generator are so bad I cannot sit outdoors at my own home.

Lastly, my monthly AB&B renter, of the other cottage on my property, is threatening to cancel his stay due to the construction noise.

How is all of this possible? How can John Cannon Homes make my life miserable, and the town not protect my best interests?

Pat Crawford

Longboat Key

 

High noise levels in the Village

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

I am happy we are finally beginning to talk about managing construction site activities on the island. As someone said to me recently, Longboat is 98% built-out, and 10% rebuilt-out. I believe there will be an immense amount of building activity going forward, as seventy year old homes are replaced. The impact on the community, from all the construction, needs to be regulated by the town to optimally serve all stakeholders, including the futures of our children.

I am guessing that the proposed noise ordinance will address maximum noise levels emanating from construction sites on the island. To this I respond. Only controlling gas equipment noise ignores the more pressing issue of global warming. Small gas engines emit high levels or greenhouse pollutants.

Since electric power is available throughout all communities, there is no justification for allowing the continued use of gas powered equipment, both in terms of noise in the surrounding community, but more importantly air pollution.

Using electric equipment, compared to gas generators and compressors, has been demonstrated to cost less, while greatly reducing noise and vastly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

FPL and generators

To: Pat Crawford

Good to talk to you and I am so sorry about the noise and fumes coming from the generator located on the building site next to your home.   I too am sorry the builder did not take advantage of hooking up directly to FPL electric. Thank you for making me aware of your concerns for your health and that your renters are now inquiring about a refund.

As i mentioned, I’m not sure what we can or cannot do from a Town perspective immediately.  I do know we are updating a noise ordinance (that could have relevance – but not for another month or two) – and believe the Key currently does not mandate use of FPL electric over gas generators (even if easily available).  I believe some of your neighbors are trying to contact the property owners and builder directly on your behalf (this might be the quickest and most logical path near term). Will inquire to see if the Town can help.  Will be back in touch shortly.

Maureen Merrigan

Commissioner

Longboat key

 

FPL and generators
To: Longboat Key Commissioner Maureen Merrigan

My name is Patricia Crawford. I have lived on LBK since 1976. I bought a home as a permanent residence in 1991 in the village.
I am 88 years old, widowed, and own two cottages. I live in one and the other is a legally registered AirB&B. My business and income is being threatened by circumstances beyond my control.
I am coming to you as my LBK commissioner asking for your help & guidance.
I need a conversation with you. Would you please telephone me at my number,
Patricia Crawford

Longboat Key

 

No health effects from cell phone towers

To: Longboat Key Commission

“At this time, there’s no strong evidence that exposure to RF waves from cell phone towers causes any noticeable health effects. However, this does not mean that the RF waves from cell phone towers have been proven to be absolutely safe. Most expert organizations agree that more research is needed to help clarify this, especially for any possible long-term effects.”

Based on the foregoing, prudence would require towers not be placed next to where humans live.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Health effects of being near a cell tower

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

I received information from Tate Taylor and have spoken with him about the site location of all nine proposed towers and the specific site plan for the 35-foot tower that would be constructed right next to the Sea Pines property line and a few feet from my condo unit 11.  The proposed site area in question is extremely narrow, in between the sidewalk and our property line.  The ground slopes steeply on both sides to form a water runoff channel.  In other words, it’s an extremely poor location.  How was it determined?

Beyond that, I am very concerned about the health effects of being so close to a cell tower.  What analysis has the Town done approving the placement of a cell tower so close to where humans live?

There’s a big empty field across the street.  There’s also an old bank building that hasn’t been used in years.  How about Whitney Plaza?  Why not use those locations instead of placing the tower so close to humans?  Surely Verizon’s vaunted network can accommodate a move across the street.

Finally, I have been speaking to my neighbors and nobody is aware of this.  What notice was given?  I never received notice of the meeting.  If I had not come across the stake with the notice posted on it, I would not have known.  Many owners are not yet down for the season.

Bottom line, as an owner directly impacted, I don’t want the tower located in its proposed location.

Matt Schroeder

Longboat Key

 

Health effects of being near a cell tower

To: Matt Schroeder

Mr. Schroeder, thanks for the email. Verizon’s application will be considered by the Planning and Zoning Board on the 16th of November. I have shared your email with the Planning, Zoning, Building Director. His Department is reviewing the application and coordinating the Town’s response.  I have asked him to reach out to you tomorrow to go over their request and to help answer any questions you may have.
Tom Harmer
Town Manager
Longboat Key

Health effects of being near a cell tower
To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer
I was just walking back to Sea Pines after a wonderful dinner at the Bayou Tavern and saw a posted notice of plans to potentially build Verizon wireless towers in front of our building at the 6900 block on GMD. The notice stated a meeting to consider this will be held November 16. Can someone provide/email a detailed description of what is planned please. We have a number of obvious questions and concerns.
Matt Schroeder
Longboat Key

 

Noise and generators in the Village

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

Thanks Tom, but looking at my neighbors and I missing the entire outdoor season, because the Town Commission has not listened to numerous pleas over the years, from several residents, we wish there is some remedy sooner that three or four months from now.

This is not the first time residents have asked the commission for relief from the tyranny of contractors, who do not care about our community, taking away our lifestyle simply because they are too lazy to arrange for readily available FPL power to the building  site.

There are mindful builders who do use electronic  equipment.  Then there are builders such as John Cannon Homes, as they told me, who have a policy to use generators, and neighbors be damned.

Tom, somehow I suspect that the pending noise ordinance revisions exempt contractors.

The commission needs to mandate the use of electric construction site equipment for the sake of our community and our planet.

Once again, our commissioners support, through their ordinances, the worst possible conditions for the surrounding community at construction sites, with the most noise and the most air pollution.

My neighbors and I are distressed and mad. Since the town condones turning our lives into noise bedlam, what else can we do but continue to petition the town for immediate relief.

Sadly, our situation is not new. Residents have raised the noise problem for years.

Now it has been shown that gas powered construction equipment is a major source of greenhouse gas pollution.

That the town allows a for profit builder to take away my outdoor lifestyle, that I and my neighbors must spend large amounts of money to continue to cool our homes because of the very loud noise and fumes, depending on the wind direction.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Noise and generators in the Village

To: Gene Jaleski

Gene, thanks for sharing. I have forwarded your series of emails to the staff so they are aware and I am sure they will be happy to assist to make sure the contractor is following the existing codes.

I think you may be aware, but just in case you are not, the Town Commission will be considering a rewrite to the existing noise ordinance at their December 6th regular meeting. It is 1st reading of the proposed ordinance. The proposed ordinance includes decibel reading standards for certain activities.

Tom Harmer

Town Manager

Longboat Key

 

Noise and generators in the Village

To: Longboat Key Commission

We have received a number of noise complaints starting yesterday regarding residential construction project(s) in the Village.  The staff did meet with the contractor today and also observed conditions on site and discussed ways to help mitigate the noise.  See update below.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Builders using generators

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

A number of Commissioners have been contacted regarding the usage of generators and other mechanical equipment at construction sites. Up until the input received yesterday, staff had not received any other complaints about construction noise at the particular property that was the subject of the complaint. We have subsequently followed-up with the contractor and have shared the complaints and have spoken to them about alternatives that could mitigate sound.

I wanted to share a copy of the Town’s standard building permit card. On the last page (pg. 4 of this attachment) of the permit, there is a notice provided to all contractors regarding the Town’s current limitations on construction noise (i.e. construction noise is prohibited between 5 p.m. – 8 a.m. and on Sundays and holidays).

A draft update to the Sound Ordinance (which will be considered by the Town Commission on Dec. 6th), would maintain those same hours and would further add requirements for power-driven equipment to be equipped with a muffler or other noise reduction device at least as effective as that recommended by the manufacturer. In addition, for construction projects that may be granted Extended Hours waivers, the updated ordinance provides requirements for shielding of sound by a barrier or other means of keeping the sound at less than a newly established level of 55 decibels (similar to sound requirements for all noise, in residential areas).

Staff is also evaluating additional messaging that can be provided on the building permit cards to further emphasize and encourage the reduction of sound from construction related equipment during the allowed hours for construction noise making activity. We understand that being next to an active construction site can be impactful to residents.

Allen Parsons

Director Planning, Zoning & Building Department

Town of Longboat Key

 

Builders using generators

To: Lynn Larson

We are looking at this closely now due to some specific construction-related complaints from the north end, and in light of our current reworking of the town’s noise ordinance.  Thanks.

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Builders using generators

To: Lynn Larson

Is it possible for the Town to review its policies and ask/require builders to use FPL power if available, rather than generators on construction sites.  There is a lot of construction going on in the town.  If builders can use local electric rather than generators, it could help the people whose complaints I am hearing.  I understand that sometimes the local electric is not functional on larger sites until later in the building process or for other reasons, it is not possible to use.  But if it is available, it could help keep noise levels down and citizens happier.  Thank you for your attention to this problem. I understand his subcontractor relocated a piece of equipment to another spot on the lot – that seemed to help according to one of the neighbors.

Tom Harmer

Town Manager

Longboat Key
FPL power instead of generators

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

Is it possible for the Town to review its policies and ask/require builders to use FPL power if available, rather than generators on construction sites? There is a lot of construction going on in the town.  If builders can use local electric rather than generators, it could help the people whose complaints I am hearing.  I understand that sometimes the local electric is not functional on larger sites until later in the building process or for other reasons, it is not possible to use.  But if it is available, it could help keep noise levels down and citizens happier.  Thank you for your attention to this problem.

Lynn Larson

Longboat Key

 

FPL power instead of generators

To: Lynn Larson

We are looking at this closely now due to some specific construction-related complaints from the north end, and in light of our current reworking of the town’s noise ordinance.  Thanks.

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Bird Key – Candie Appreciation Thank you letter

To: Sarasota City Manager Marlon Brown

Thanks Candie. Thank you Frank!  We appreciate your role with getting this project completed.

Melissa Johnson
Manager Bird Key Homeowners Association Community

Bird Key – Candie Appreciation Thank you letter

To: Sarasota City Manager Marlon Brown

We are delighted to be a good neighbor and match up to your new entrance landscaping. I simply met with a few residents on the beautification committee and got the concept down.

I do want to give all the credit to Frank Murray who drew up the detailed plans – by hand with a pencil. He got the quotes and supervised the work through final inspection. Thank you Frank. Well done!

Candie Pedersen

General Manager, Parks and Recreation Department

City of Sarasota

 

 

Bird Key – Candie Appreciation Thank you letter

To: Bird Key Homeowners Association Manager Melissa Johnson

Thanks for sharing Bird Key’s appreciation and recognition for Candie’s efforts. Candie truly exemplifies our organization’s can-do work ethic and this recognition is a testament of that. Thanks for sharing and Candie is copied on this e-mail as requested.

Candie; thank you for the service provided to Bird Key and to the city of Sarasota.

Marlon Brown

City Manager

City of Sarasota

 

Bird Key – Candie Appreciation Thank you Letter

To: Sarasota City Manager Marlon Brown

Bird Key would like to thank Candie Pederson for her recent efforts. Please share the attached letter with her, and thank you as well for sharing this email and letter with her.
Melissa Johnson
Manager Bird Key Homeowners Association Community

Agenda packet

To: Sarasota City Commission

Sorry I forgot to send the agenda packet. Please find attached. The Monday, October 25, 2021 Charter Review Committee Meeting now available. Please find the attached backup material for your review and it is also available on the City’s website.

Shayla Griggs

City Clerk

City of Sarasota

 

Mayor’s update

To: Kelly Franklin

Glad you’re back in town and that your trip was fulfilling.  Upon reading your e-mail I remarked “finally, a sarcasm partner in crime,” and then I chuckled at your attached link. Upon reviewing the names you proposed, we could also approach naming the city in the way a small town in Massachusetts did; being aware that there are twenty thousand cities named Manchester in a fifty mile radius of any part of New England, the small town of Manchester, MA became “Manchester-By-The-Sea”… this is especially rewarding because it alerts potential visitors that you’re going to a coastal town where spaces between words are frowned upon.

If this strategy worked for them, it could serve us well; imagine, Sarasota could differentiate itself from the county by being “Sarasota-By-The-Mooring-Field” or perhaps something that rolls of the tongue like “Sarasota-By-The-Bobby-Jones-Golf-Course-Designed-By-Legendary-Architect-Donald-Ross” (these are working titles).

When it comes to our logo, I envision the Ringling Bridge to be more iconic to our city than the replica* statue of David at the Ringling Museum. Our bridge also has the added benefit of not requiring visitors to pay to go see it. To this e-mail I’m attaching a working concept for a city logo that we could expand on and I’m very interested to hear your ideas.

Until we speak again, your Favorite Vice Mayor of a City Under 60,000 Residents,

Erik Arroyo

Mayor

City of Sarasota

 

Walking bridge over US 41

To: Sarasota City Commissioner Liz Alpert

We played golf with a couple today and the gentleman said that he knew a construction company that’s ready to begin building the bridge at Boulevard of the Arts over US 41 to the bayfront area. We thought that project was killed. What is the status?

Terry Defibaugh

TNT Fun & Leisure

 

Walking bridge over US 41

To: Terry Defibaugh

I’m copying the city manager and staff so that the appropriate person can respond.

My understanding was that there would be a pedestrian bridge over Boulevard of the Arts to the Bay project, but that may have changed.

Liz Alpert

Commissioner

City of Sarasota

Walking bridge over US 41

To: Sarasota City Commissioner Liz Alpert

In staff’s analysis of a pedestrian bridge at Boulevard of the Arts and US 41, there isn’t sufficient right-of way available to build it without impacting the adjacent properties (such as Hotel Indigo) with something that may hinder their views (there are hotel room windows along the Blvd. of the Arts). In my professional opinion, it is not advisable to build something that may lead to opposition and one that affects a business economically. In my discussions with Bay Park representatives, a better approach could be placing one further north in the vicinity of 9th Street. Thanks for asking.

Marlon Brown

City Manager

City of Sarasota

Hotel in Laurel Park

To: Sarasota City Assistant Attorney John Shamsey

I’m writing to follow up on our conversation about El Tropicale which is being run as a Hotel with nightly rentals.

El Tropicale is located at 1910 Morrill Street in Laurel Park. It is a group of 3 buildings with 11 apartment units that can house 55 tenants. Some units front on Morrill while others front Hawkins Court. Earlier this year they were converted from residential use into a short-term “vacation rental”.

Laurel Park is zoned RSM-9 which clearly does not allow hotels, however, when neighbors checked online rental listings for El Tropicale, they found the units were being offered for, as short as, one night rentals. We believe this, combined with the number of units, makes it a hotel, not a vacation rental.

I brought this to the attention of city code compliance personnel who informed El Tropicale owners that they needed a minimum 7-night rental to operate as a vacation rental. El Tropicale’s reaction was to make one unit listing a 7-night minimum, but if you scrolled down their online listing, the other units remained available for shorter periods. Even after a management change and further contact from the city, El Tropicale continues to operate in violation of the city code.

Because of this, we in the neighborhood can’t understand why it isn’t shut down. El Tropicale has been allowed to operate and have a negative impact on our residential neighborhood for more than 6 months with no repercussions.

City Code Section VI-201 is clear that RSM-9 neighborhoods like Laurel Park are designed to preserve land for housing and provide housing opportunities for individual households while preserving their existing residential character. It is clear that El Tropicale does not conform to this purpose. In fact, it negatively alters the character of our neighborhood and has converted affordable, family housing into a de facto hotel who’s customers have no connection or interest in the neighborhood.

Additionally, the City Code, Sec. VI-202 indicates Vacation Rentals at this scale aren’t allowed in RSM-9 at all. It states: “only those uses specified shall be permitted in the various zoning districts. If a use is not specified in a zoning district, it shall be prohibited in that district.” The table listing approved uses does NOT list vacation rentals. (Table VI-201. Primary Uses Allowed in the Single Family Zones)

Laurel Park has many small and mid-sized apartment buildings. If the city does not enforce the codes related to vacation rentals and hotels, what is to keep other landlords from converting and further depleting the stock of affordable housing while turning Laurel Park into a hotel district.

Mr. Shamsey, I’m very concerned that you are negotiating with the owners of El Tropicale without involving those of us who are adversely impacted. If the City allows this non-compliant business to operate, it is, in effect, changing our zoning code without going through proper, legal channels. Most of us living here, chose Laurel Park for it’s distinct sense of neighborhood and community. Don’t allow that to be destroyed.

Alice Sundstrom

Sarasota

 

Hotel in Laurel Park

To: Alice Sundstrom

Thank you for this email and for bringing this to my attention.  May I call you about this? I have a City Commission meeting tomorrow during the day but perhaps Alexya can schedule a call for another day this week.

Jen Ahearn-Koch

City Commissioner

City of Sarasota

 

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