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Longboat Key
Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Letters to the Editor week of October 8, 2021

Vote Yes
To: Editor

The letter printed in your paper as an advertisement was incredibly stupid.  There is a simple issue on the ballot regarding 597 Buttonwood Drive: Should this property that is on a residential street remain commercial or be rezoned residential with no more than two homes? Any developer building on this site will be required to meet the code of the Town and improve the storm water issues. The residents do not want a commercial building fronting on their quiet street with a big parking lot that could hold lots of cars on the weekends for beachgoers.  That nightmare already exists on the north end.  Don’t let it happen on Buttonwood Drive.  Vote yes.

Penny Norwood
Longboat Key

Housing changes

To: Longboat Key Town Clerk Trish Shinkle

I am a second generation Gulfshore resident. My parents came here in 1977. I often visited them and moved here in 2003. If the proposed changes take place, it would be very difficult for me to build a new mobile unit. First, the financial addition with the changes would be a handicap for me. Secondly, the new requirements would make it difficult for me to have an entrance, along with where the air conditioning unit would be. In addition, it would be hard to go up and down so many steps. My knees are not great!

As we have been here on Longboat Key for so long, we are asking that we keep our non-conforming status. This would allow us to keep the nature of our park. If these new rules effect our park, it would be difficult to keep our 55-plus status. Many of our residents are elderly, and they can neither afford the changes, or navigate so many steps. We are already packed together as it is! The new regulations would squeeze us in even more.

We feel we are a unique community, and would like to keep it that way. We love our little community. We have been grateful for our non-conforming status and ask that it remain that way. Please consider our request! Thank you for your time in considering us.

Carol Ann Williamson
Longboat Key

FEMA BFE requirement and Gulfshore

To: Longboat Key Commission and Town Manager Tom Harmer

Please reference prior communications in opposition to the FEMA BFE guidance submitted on behalf of Gulf Shores and residents dated July 21, 2021 and September 24, 2021 (these are attached as a PDF file).

Primary points:

  1. Many conventional homes located in coastal flood zones are not designated as manufactured homes, yet some of these structures are so poorly constructed that the structures could not withstand the typical assault that the homes at Gulf Shores routinely are subjected to. The fact is that much of the newer conventional housing found on Longboat Key is subject to the same water intrusion and damage as would be found in manufactured housing. This fact points out a basic inequity in the very language of the BFE and as such we request that the Commissioner’s and Town Manager discount the authority of the BFE to the level of a guidelines or guidance.
  2. Gulf Shores should be afforded a non-conforming variance as it predates the FEMA agency (1979).
  3. Gulf Shores should be afforded a non-conforming variance as it predates the Town of Longboat Key (1955).
  4. The cost of compliance far exceeds the residents’ ability to afford as many are on fixed incomes.
  5. The elevation discussed in the Base Flood Elevation BFE guidelines would make it difficult for many of the aged in the community to negotiate the stairs and thus limit their ability to access their homes to lead an independent life.
  6. The application of the BFE is not equally applied throughout the U.S. as many coastal areas that currently have manufactured homes that do not comply with the guidance. It is by no means universally applied in many parts of the country.
  7. Manufactured housing is not an accurate description/designation as modern manufacturing now utilizes the same techniques in what is commonly thought of as tradition or conventional housing. There is an inequity brought about by this designation that is largely out of step with modern home building processes. The current trend in modern housing makes use of offsite manufacturing processes to increase efficiencies, reduce building construction time, and to build in compliance at the factory. In this instance the finished product is regarded as a convention home structure yet it is not subject to BFE in coastal areas.
  8. We implore the Commissioners and Town Manager of the Town of Longboat Key to reconsider their approach to this matter and to pursue a constructive, equitable, and humane resolution to this issue.

Finally, you I would ask each and every one of the Commissioners and Town Manager if they believe that all people and organizations are capable of compliance with all Federal Regulations and if not, why should we choose to comply with the BFE when it is blatantly punitive and imposes undue hardships on some of the most vulnerable in our community?

Again, I implore the Commissioners and Town Manager of the Town of Longboat Key to reconsider their approach to this matter and to pursue a constructive, equitable, and humane resolution to this issue.

David Byrd

Longboat Key

 

FEMA BFE requirement and Gulfshore

To: Longboat Key Town Clerk Trish Shinkle

\Would you please make this email available to the Town Commissioners and Town Manager regarding FEMA requirements for our manufactured home community.

My name is Iris White President of Gulfshore of Longboat Key Co Op andI have been off and on since 2004. I have lived part time in the community since 1992 and became a full-time resident in June 2020.

Approximately a year and half ago Gulfshore had a visit from the town staff to discuss the FEMA base flood elevation requirements. In that meeting we were asked about the challenges and hardships presented in compliance with FEMA’s requirements once the Town of Longboat Key decided to join this voluntary program. We have made those available.

Gulfshore’s Manager has sent a packet to all of you showing and describing what hardships Gulfshore will endure in trying to meet those requirements.

Gulfshore is a 55 and older community and a resident owned, no rentals. The park has been here since 1948 and incorporated in 1996. We own ten and half acres. Gulfshore has always been considered a non-conforming property since its beginning and would like to be considered as such regarding the new height requirement due to our lot sizes and spaces we are a very unusal community.

Listed below are some of the hardships that a 55 and older community will endure if the FEMA requirements go into effect. The packet you received describes them in detail with pictures for better understanding for your viewing.

  1. Among the hardships is ingress and egress to and from our homes. In order to comply it would be very hard for an older resident to climb that many stairs.
  2. Placement of A/C would be a problem. All our a/c units are placed in the front of the units which would be taken up by steps to comply with the new requirement.
  3. Parking would be a problem due to a second set of steps to be placed in the driveway.
  4. The cost is a big one. In your packet you will see where the starting price in 2021 for a moderate home approximately 750 sq ft is $130,000 and in 2022 that home would jump to $235,000.

Gulfshore has always been well maintained and continues to improve as much as possible.

Please consider all of these hardships for our community when making your decision in joining this FEMA voluntary program.

And consider us a non-conforming property in this height requirement.

Gulfshore residents ask our Commissioners for a ‘No’ vote.

President of Gulfshore of Longboat Key Co-Op

Iris White

Longboat Key

 

Ohana solutions

To: Longboat Key North Representatives

Just a quick update on Ohana. Wanted to let you know our Town Manager and Attorney are still working with the owners to come up with a viable solution for all. Hope to have a bit more of an update for you during your next meeting.

In the meantime, it would be very helpful if you encourage your residents and their guests to respect the current signage on the Ohana property (not cross over the property) and to not engage with the property owners. Thanks so much!

Maureen Merrigan

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Ohana solutions

To: Longboat Key Commissioner Maureen Merrigan

Thanks for the information. Those of us that have been walking the beach for the last 25 years or so have always felt uncomfortable with the property sticking out and our trespassing Maybe a solution as possible. I’m glad you’re involved. We hopefully are going to be down in January.

Bob Appel and Elaine

Longboat Key

 

Beach Entrance Implementation

To: Longboat Key 360 North residents

Yes, the next step is to get the dune restoration plantings protected (may be already done and know Cyndi is working on this) and to complete the beach entrance.

The town has asked me for a point person from this team for public works to communicate with on the entrance (this person would loop in the task team). Wendi has led things in past (surveying all entrances on key, communicating with task team, getting this in budget, designing power points with pictures to make the case, etc). Anyone up for being the point person for this final stage?

Maureen Merrigan

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Beach Entrance Implementation

To: Longboat Key Commissioner Maureen Merrigan

I would be happy to be the point person for public works to communicate with for the final stage of the beach entrance enhancement effort. I will be returning to LBK (at 360 North) on October 11th and staying through mid-November.

Roger Field

Longboat Key

 

Beach Entrance Implementation

To: Longboat Key Public Works Director Isaac Brownman

Going forward, Roger Field, who lives at 360 N, is going to be the point person from Longboat Key North / beach entrance task team for the N. Shore entrance.

He will coordinate communication etc., with Longbeach and N. Shore neighbors, as needed. When I spoke with Tom Harmer he asked that I get you the name of the neighborhood contact to you for this project. Thanks in advance for keeping the group in the loop and moving this forward. The upgraded entrance will be a wonderful final touch to the new beach!

Maureen Merrigan

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Beach Entrance Implementation

To: Roger Field, Longboat Key Commissioner Maureen Merrigan

Mr. Field, please feel free to reach out to us at Public Works at any time. Also, by copy, I will ask Mr. Mark Richardson to reach out to you directly to share timing of our initial work to remove the chain link fence at the cul-de-sac and add post-n-rope. And also, Mr. Charlie Mopps will keep you updated as we get into the greater North Shore Road beach access feasibility and options for beautification.

Isaac Brownman

Director Public Works

Town of Longboat Key

 

Approve the St. Regis project
To: Longboat Key Commission

We urge you to approve the St. Regis project for four undeniably critical reasons:
1.  Longboat needs this project to help our island businesses recover from the Covid financial hit they took and will struggle with for years to come.
2.  After many years Longboat still misses the economic stimulus the Colony and the Holiday Inn provided our island commerce.
3.  The St. Regis will attract higher end visitors to Longboat and will encourage potential buyers of property here.  In short, it will help protect and further increase property values.
4.  The project will increase LBK’s tax base to help reduce the need for increasing property taxes for existing taxpayers.
We are feeling this is deja-vu all over again after going through the LBK Club improvement and expansion battle nightmare years back with no success.  Let us not make that same mistake again.
The St. Regis developer has gone beyond the extra mile to accommodate P & Z and Commission demands.  It is now time to approve this magnificent, quality brand improvement for Longboat Key to help our island thrive again.  Please do the right thing for Longboat Key residents and businesses. Thank you for your service to our community.
Bob and Shannon Gault
Longboat Key

 

Approve the St. Regis project

To: Bob and Shannon Gault
Thanks for your input. All good points.
Mike Haycock

Vice Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Water Quality Restoration Workshop

To: Longboat Key Commission, Sarasota City Commission

As you know, we held our Water Quality Restoration Workshop yesterday. We had more than 250 people register, and averaged 150 to 200 connections for most of the day. In some offices of some agencies, a room of people watched a single monitor, so it is likely that we had more viewers than the number of connections to the workshop.

Our morning session was focused on local governments, and was where they summarized the amount of resources already expended meeting CCMP goals by acting on stormwater and wastewater. These same local governments then listed the projects they planned on implementing over the next 5 to 10 years. Nobody can question this community’s commitment to do what needs to be done to restore this bay, not with the list of planned projects and the associated budgets that were compiled yesterday.

I wanted to particularly thank Jon Thaxton and Angela Collins for doing a great job keeping us on track, and a special thanks to US Congressman Vern Buchanan for his welcoming remarks. Additional thanks for Jeff Godwin and Greg Blanchard (Manatee County), Amanda Boone and Mike Mylett (Sarasota County), Bill Riebe (City of Sarasota) and Isaac Brownman (Town of Longboat Key) not only for taking time from their busy schedules to prepare their presentations, but also answering multiple questions during the Q&A sessions after each session. Thanks to Steve Suau, Mary Szafraniec, Sandy Gilbert and Abbey Tyrna for their presentations on innovative approaches to wastewater and/or stormwater management, and thanks to Jay Leverone, Randy Edwards, Damon Moore and Curt Hemmel for their contributions to the last session.

The Q&A and chat functions running during the workshop picked up dozens of compliments from our attendees, including local elected officials. Our office has also received congratulatory calls from other elected officials. Thank you for your words of encouragement.

In addition to the agenda we covered, I’ve also attached a copy of the final few slides from the workshop, where we tried to put together a sort of on-the-go summary of what was covered, and what our next steps are going to be.

The workshop was, I think, a success. But only because of the combined efforts of our SBEP staff – Cheryl and Jay and Heather and Christine and – above and beyond – Darcy.

David Tomasko

Executive Director

Sarasota Bay Estuary Program​

 

Water Quality Workshop – tomorrow

To: Longboat Key Commission, Sarasota City Commission

Tomorrow we are hosting our Water Quality Restoration Workshop, which already has more than 230 people registered. The agenda has a link for those who want to attend (it is being conducted virtually) but we have asked people to register as well, so that we can track how many people we need to accommodate.

We have staff from Manatee and Sarasota Counties, the cities of Bradenton and Sarasota, and the Town of Longboat Key. We also have staff from FDEP, FFWCC, SWFWMD and EPA. We also have folks registered from outside of or region, including people from Brevard, Martin and Miami-Dade counties, as well as folks from as far away as Texas, Louisiana, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maine.

As you can see from the agenda, we are pivoting from the study phase to the implementation phase, as far as water quality. In the past year, we have started and/or completed enough work to get us far along the pathway in terms of what needs to be done. Tomorrow’s workshop will focus on what has been done, and what is being planned on being done. With that information, we will seek to determine if the planned activities are sufficient to get us to where we want to be, and if not, what more needs to be considered.

David Tomasko

Executive Director

Sarasota Bay Estuary Program​

 

Gas powered leaf blowers

To: Longboat Key Commission

See note below from Mr. Schumacher. He is a resident of Country Club Shores and has been emailing Allen and I regarding the noise associated with gas leaf blowers. He may reach out to each of you, so I wanted to share the background information and his initial concerns raised.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

Gas powered leaf blowers
To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

I’m writing to you to complain about the incessant and obtrusive noise from landscapers on Longboat Key who excessively use gas powered leaf blowers which is ruining the peace, harmony and quality of life in my neighborhood of Country Club Shores and LBK. Is there a local ordinance banning them or at least limiting their use? There’s a landscaper across the street from us that does 2 houses and blows for 2 hours! That is excessive and detrimental to one’s quality of life. If you’re not the right person to complain to, how does a concerned citizen who has made this our retirement home express a serious noise complaint which, if there isn’t an ordinance, needs to be addressed? It’s gotten out of hand. Thank you.

Barry Schumacher

Longboat Key

 

Gas powered leaf blowers

To: Barry Schumacher

Mr. Schumacher, thank you for your email. I copied Allen Parsons, his Department oversees the Town’s Codes and Code Enforcement. There is currently no restriction in the Town prohibiting gas powered blowers or other gas-powered lawn equipment. There are restrictions on noise and time of day and day of week. Allen can provide you more detailed information and can verify if the current circumstances you are dealing with are addressed in our Codes. Not aware if the Country Club Shores HOA has their own restrictions, for example I am aware of some more restrictive restrictions within Bay Isles.

Tom Harmer

Town Manager

Longboat Key

 

Gas powered leaf blowers

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

Thanks for your response and referral to Mr. Parsons. I just want you to know that I’ve never complained to any city official in my entire life in any town I’ve ever lived, yet I feel compelled to speak out on this issue. Across the street from us, a one-man landscaper takes 4 hours every Thursday to cut and blow two residences. You are welcome to witness this spectacle as I invite you to bring your decibel meter. He literally spends an hour at each house running his leaf blower continuously for 2 straight hours.

According to an article in last week’s newspaper regarding noise entitled “Changes considered to noise enforcement”, a leaf blower’s average noise output in decibels is 106-115 db., just below a sports crowd, rock concert or snowmobile. That’s very loud and infringes on a Homeowner’s right to “quiet enjoyment” which every homeowner is entitled to.

I don’t know if the town of LBK is considering changes to the noise code, but if not it should immediately. The properties in my neighborhood and across the island are not that large (typically a 1/4 to 1/3 rd of an acre) and it shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes to blow grass and leaves (which these landscapers never bag I might add and typically blow it into the canals and bay).

In that same article, there’s a list of noise regulations in other communities and I note that most towns’ list noise levels is 60-70 db from 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. Even Sarasota has a limit of 75-80 db from 7 a.m. – 11 p.m. which is equivalent to a vacuum cleaner, heavy traffic or window air conditioner.

Based on this information, gas powered leaf blowers are egregiously loud and above what’s considered reasonable. I’d like to know what the Town of LBK is doing to address this significant form of pollution. If people are complaining about boats blasting music off Jewfish Key, then I would argue that this is just as important as it is pervasive on every street, every single day and not just weekends like the boat music. Literally, there are landscapers on my street Monday-Friday and sometimes even Saturday. By the way, I have a landscaper and I’ve timed him and he only runs his leaf blower for 15 minutes typically which I think should be the max for these sized lots.

I look forward to Mr. Parson’s reply, specifically, what if anything is being done to address this insidious noise pollution. If you can’t ban gas powered blowers, then surely you can write code that limits their use to 15 minutes per day. That’s fair and doesn’t penalize the landscapers. Thank you.

Barry Schumacher

Longboat Key

 

Gas powered leaf blowers

To: Barry Schumacher

Sorry to hear about the ongoing noise issues you’re having to deal with. There’s no doubt that leaf blowers can be both loud and annoying. The Town’s Sound Ordinance (existing and proposed), however, has provided exemptions for the kinds of equipment that are routinely used in property maintenance (such as lawn mowers, power tools, chippers, clippers and leaf blowers; which is common in most jurisdictions). Their specific exemptions, from otherwise meeting the sound ordinance requirements, recognizes that these kinds of tools can be loud, but that they are associated with the reasonable maintenance of one’s property. I understand that your concern is more directed to the duration of these annoying sounds. One of the challenges as I see it with your interesting suggestion of having a time limitation would be determining what a reasonable length of time for usage would be. There are so many different individual property, landscaping and user or project specific conditions that establishing a reasonable, fair and publicly accepted maximum usage length of time would be difficult to say the least.

Earlier this year, the Town Commission did consider (back-up memorandums attached) looking into potential development of an ordinance that would prohibit gas leaf blowers and would require the usage of electric leaf blowers. After discussion and consideration, the Town Commission did not pursue that further. As Mr. Harmer suggested, you may want to reach out to your association to see about potential restrictions with your neighborhood.

Allen Parsons

Director Planning, Zoning & Building Department

Town of Longboat Key

 

Gas powered leaf blowers

To: Longboat Key Planning and Zoning Director Allen Parsons

Thanks for your response but how do citizens, rather than the Town Commission, initiate a movement to ban gas powered leaf blowers? Many towns across the country, including the City of Los Angeles, have ordinances banning these obnoxious noise makers. There is a doctrine called Quiet Enjoyment that all homeowners are entitled to, and gas leaf blowers violate this doctrine. Everyone is making a fuss over noise on Sarasota Bay, yet ironically this problem affects everyone on land.

LBK is a quality town and is ranked very high on national lists. Having a ban on gas blowers is totally in keeping with other high-quality towns such as Aspen, Beverly Hills, Laguna Beach, Malibu and Montclair, NJ that have banned these machines and upheld the doctrine of Quiet Enjoyment. How do we citizens bring this up again before the Town Commission or before a general vote?

Barry Schumacher

Longboat Key

 

Restaurant Seating Count Follow-up

To: Longboat Key Commission

We received a question about how the code addresses restaurant seat counts and what seats qualify. See explanation below. There is the previous code that applies to the existing restaurant’s entitlements and the 2020 code update adopted by the Commission that is now based on gross square footage.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Restaurant Seating Count Follow-up

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

Following-up on the question below: the Zoning Code doesn’t include waiting areas in seat counts. It counts seats “where the customer consumes these foods” (meaning unpackaged food in a “ready-to-consume” state) “while seated at tables or counters”. The semi-recent change to restaurant parking requirements moved away from the requiring parking based on seats to having required parking be based on gross square footage of the building or outdoor dining area (1 space for every 150 sq. ft.).

Allen Parsons

Director Planning and Zoning Department

Longboat Key

 

Restaurant Seating Count Follow-up

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

Don’t know if our code addresses these seats?

BJ Bishop

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Restaurant Seating Count Follow-up

To: Longboat Key Commissioner BJ Bishop

Thanks very much for forwarding. Not sure, but most likely, the speaker was not referring to the official number of entitled seated diners but the increased capacity that allows people to drink and chat while waiting for a table. In the peak season, rather than October, we have seen many additional people patronizing the Shore and Mar Vista way above the entitled number of dining seats. Both restaurants have many seats and benches where food is not served but where people can sit and have a drink. As you know both number of the official entitled seats (e.g., Mar Vista 49 to 169) as well as the capacity (Shore seems twice the size of Moore’s) have increased dramatically over the years.

Pete Rowan

Longboat Key

 

Restaurant Seating Count Follow-up

To: Longboat Key Commission

At yesterday’s Regular Commission Meeting, there was a public comment made that the two restaurants in the Village have recently expanded their seating capacity. The staff inspected the property and found both businesses to be in compliance with their current seating entitlements- see note below.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Restaurant Seating Count Follow-up

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

Tom-FYI- Following-up on public input, regarding the number of seats at the two restaurants at the end of Broadway St, provided at yesterday’s Town Commission meeting during consideration of the Report on Implementation of Village Resident-Only Parking Permit Program: Staff conducted a seating count today and both restaurants are not exceeding their entitled seating amounts. This morning’s count indicated that the Shore Restaurant had exactly 185 seats (their entitled amount) and the Mar Vista restaurant had less than their 169 entitled seats.

Allen Parsons

Director Planning, Zoning & Building Department

Town of Longboat Key

 

Final OPPAGA product

To: Longboat Key Commission

We just received a copy of the OPPAGA report on the challenges of being in two counties. See attached. They don’t make a recommendation in their report. They do confirm the challenges and financial impacts that we have historically discussed and highlight a couple of potential approaches with related advantages and disadvantages.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Final OPPAGA product

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

Good afternoon, folks. Our project is complete and we have enclosed it for you. Thank you for your professionalism through this complex project. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have concerns or questions.

­­­Emily Leventhal

Staff Director, Government Operations Policy Area

The Florida Legislature’s Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA)

 

Strategic Planning Retreat

To: Longboat Key Commission

We were asked if we could share some background reading information on the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) in advance of the Commission’s Strategic Planning Retreat on October 18th.

We put together a high level one page summary sheet along with a copy of the “Interim Final Rule” and two sets of Frequency Asked Questions (FAQ’s).

We will review this information and discuss funding strategies related to Commission priorities during the retreat.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Beach Project Update

To: Longboat Key Commission

Dr. Browder posted two new videos showing pre and post conditions associated with the sand placement around the new groins. The videos show the dramatic change once the fill was placed. You can use the link below to access the video section.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Paid public parking

To: Longboat Key Commissioner Maureen Merrigan

The very successful RPP program in the village appears to need no further action by the town. Perhaps a few more well placed signs.

The one aspect of the town’s plan, is the intended Public parking on Lois and Broadway, adjacent to the two restaurants. Presently the restaurant staff occupy these parking spaces from morning to night, including the boat parking at the village dock.

1) How about paid public parking just like St. Armands and downtown Sarasota? Using a pay parking service such as Park Mobile does not require meters.

2) If use of the boat ramp and dock is primarily intended for the taxpayers who support maintenance of the facility, then allow LBK residents to purchase a permit, similar to what village residents purchase for on-street parking privileges.

Pay for use might more fairly distribute real costs to those who actually use the amenities, and prevent present and future off-island use, which can prevent access to those who actually pay for the facilities.

Both these measures might effectively control current widespread abuses of the RPP program.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Repurpose mulch
To: Longboat Key Commissioner Maureen Merrigan

I have advocated that all tree removal be repurposed into mulch for decades. There is plenty of room at Quick Point to store the mulch, and allow residents and on-island landscapers to purchase at $15 a cubic yard. All it takes is an ordinance. Another upside would be to not have thousands of plastic mulch bags end up in landfill.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

 

To: Carla and Pete Rowan

I will be unable to make tomorrow’s Commission meeting where Town staff is providing an informational update on the Village parking program to the Commissioners.  See summary below. Carla, short notice but assuming your neighborhood looped in already on this update.
Maureen Merrigan

Commissioner

Longboat Key

Resident Permit Parking

To: Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier

I’m sitting on side of road in Wyoming sending this so it will be brief.
Yes, the Resident Parking Permit has made a positive impact on Village. But, the public spaces are still being utilized by restaurant employees along w the boat/trailer parking. At what point is this addressed and enforced? Season is coming and the restaurants need to be responsible for their employee parking.
Kimberly Ross
Michael Riter

 

Resident Permit Parking

To: Kimberly Ross, Michael Riter

As key coordinators of the Resident Only Parking Permit effort, you may want to share your thoughts at tomorrow’s meeting or by correspondence to the commission.

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

Gulf Shores hardship
To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

I understand there is an initiative to put undo hardship on the Gulf Shores mobile home communities by creating new guidelines on existing structures. This is a community of people who have been on the island long before many have showed up to build multimillion dollar homes. My family and I now have been on the island for more than three generations and have seen the island change dramatically over time.

Gulf Shores is a retirement community, and like mobile home communities along the coastal waters are filled with the Americans who worked hard to fight for this country, built the infrastructure we enjoy, and sustained this country through the Great Depression and Great Recession. Putting these proposed requirements in play would put great hardship for these residents of Gulf Shores and in some cases impossibility for these kind people.

I ask that you grandfather these homes in and define a solid solution is reasonable for any new mobile homes installed after this date.

There are so many other issues that could be tackled.

Gulf Shores residents have been here for a very long time and I hope our elected officials are going above and beyond to be inclusive and supportive of the people who have been good citizens and paying taxes for decades.

I look forward to the kind of stewardship and governance that is more focused on cherishing taxpayers true needs vs creating undo hardship.

Roberta Goheen
CEO/President
Synthesis Management Group

Controlling Illegal Rentals

To: Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier

I am writing to the commission, once again, concerning illegal rentals in our community.

On my block alone, seventy percent of the properties are rentals. I know of only one of those rental properties that actually adheres to the 30-day rental ordinance. All the rest rent by the week and even the weekend. Especially during the off-season months.

It appears that the weekend and weekly rental clientele think of the short-term rental as a tourist hotel accommodation, and have little regard for the surrounding community in terms of noise and the number of people and cars crammed into one property. Perhaps they assume that Longboat is just like Anna Maria, where every house/hotel is a weekend party house.

I am well-aware of the legal challenges confronting the town when it comes to enforcing our rental laws. I am here suggesting another approach that may allow the town to efficiently and legally control illegal house rentals.

1) I believe it is illegal to rent a house more than once every thirty days.

2) I believe it is legal to rent a property for fewer than thirty days, but no more frequently than once in a 30-day period, twice in sixty days, etc.

3) I see that many Longboat properties are listed on AirB&B, VRBO and other rental sites for almost any period of time.

If the town hired a part time person, or organized a citizen committee, to research, log and track the errant rental properties, the town could see when and for how long reservations are being accepted. Most rental sites have a calendar showing available and booked unit/days.

If the town carried random sting rentals, renting a property for say three different weeks/weekends over a one- or two-month period, under different names and credit card numbers, the town would have an actionable record of illegal activity. The reservations can then be cancelled.

This approach would not require that the town even visit the property, and once again here that every illegal stay on our island is at “my uncle’s” house.

After the initial few fines and charges, the illegal rental community would no longer openly carry out illegal rentals via online booking sites.

The town could send out repeated notices in the utility bill packets, informing renters (legal) that the town is instituting new enforcement policies.

Another possible approach is to allow the illegal short-term rental agreements to take place. This approach would require only a small portion of the money the town now spends on staff time and resources trying to enforce our ordinances, where the illegal renters are willing to lie about “my uncle’s” house.

One the illegal rentals have taken place, the town can work with the county to see if the renters (legal) have submitted room tax proceeds to the county. If not, then a crime has been committed.

I believe once those willing to violate our laws solely for profit, find out that any illegal on-line rental could be a sting, they will be less willing to risk fines and/or criminal charges.

If done intelligently, there is no way a renter (legal) can differentiate a real rental from a hook. We might see more legal 30-day rentals as a result.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Controlling Illegal Rentals

To: Gene Jaleski

Gene, thanks for copying me. I have asked Allen Parsons to reach out to you directly. His Department is responsible for enforcement of the Town’s short term rental ordinance.

FYI- the Town has hired a part time person that is assisting our Code Enforcement Officer and helping track on-line advertisements of short term rentals on the island.

Allen’s staff is also coordinating with our business tax licensing and has recently completed a review of known rental properties to make sure that it reflects what is legally allowed and they have the appropriate license if required. Based on this review they have brought a number of properties into compliance and also processed, as necessary, a number of properties through the Special Magistrate to assist with compliance.

In addition, Allen’s staff also shares information with both the Counties, Tax Collector and Property Appraiser Offices as appropriate.

They also have implemented a process to notify property owners when them come in for a residental permit of the Town’s short term rental regulations.

I am sure Allen would be very interested to hear your specific information to see if those properties are on their radar and/or so he can follow up as necessary.

Tom Harmer

Town Manager

Longboat Key

 

Report on Implementation of Village Resident Parking Permit

To: Longboat Key Planning and Zoning Director Allen Parsons

Thanks for this information, Allen. We will not be able to attend the Oct. 4 Commission meeting as we are still in the north for another few weeks. We will tune in from here. I’ve notified the ROPP Village Reps who are familiar with all the parking issues (both past and present) of the Oct. 4 meeting.

I can offer to assess the Broadway residents and the committee regarding your suggestion to eliminate all parking on Broadway between Palm and Lois. Past Village discussions have always resulted in pointing out the difficulties that would cause residents and their property services. The prediction is that doing so will push the problem deeper into the neighborhood. We continue to suggest more visible (to drivers) signage… which may have been done since our last communication.

Hope your summer has been a good one with some found time for fun with family and friends.

Thank you again for sending this data.

Carla Rowan

Longboat Key

Central Cocoanut Meeting Feedback

To: Sarasota City Commissioner Jen Ahearn-Koch

The residents of the Central Cocoanut Neighborhood Meeting voiced two concerns to pass on to respective units in the agency to address:

HOT/Crime Prevention:

1001 Cocoanut Ave (Old Starlite or Broadway) transients on property – all hours.  A/Lt Combs, please have Officer Robbins look into TEP with the property and add if possible.  A/Captain Armstrong, please request HOT to address concerns at the property, as well.

CID/Narcotics:

1331 15th St – Frequent narcotics activity.  Gentlemen expressed issues have been going on for years without resolution.  Lt. Steiner, please determine what actions can be taken by Narcotics Unit to address issues, if confirmed.

Thank you to all for your assistance, this was a well-attended neighborhood meeting, and the residents are very involved with their community.

Captain Kenneth Rainey II

Police Department

City of Sarasota

 

Central Cocoanut Meeting Feedback

To: Sarasota City Captain Kenneth Rainey II

Thank you Captain. You and the team did an excellent job tonight and your attendance was very much appreciated. It is so valuable to the citizens of our community to be able to have interaction with the police department and establish reliable lines of communication.

Jen Ahearn-Koch

City Commissioner

City of Sarasota

 

 

Fillmore Drive Project

To: Sarasota City Commissioner Jen Ahearn-Koch

I am writing today to share my thoughts on this project. I was fairly neutral until reading an article published yesterday on the website YourObserver.com. Among other things the article said that an offer from the first potential purchaser may include a provision to offset the sales price by the cost of building a parking garage.

If this type of provision is allowed, then there is no other reasonable decision other than to not sell the property. I have lived on Lido Key since 2013. While a market out there would be nice, it is not a necessity. Parking is already scarce during busy times. I cannot see how development of this project- which I am not sure how a project of this size is being considered without the requirement for more parking, not just replacing what already exists- improves the quality of life in either that area or Sarasota as a whole.

I applaud you for considering other offers in addition to the one original entity. However, I suggest the best decision would be to not sell the property. Additionally, if you approve the increased building height for the entire area, what will that do to parking demand as buildings get redeveloped.

I think the best option for the future is to keep the Fillmore Drive parking lot as is. In a few years- if properties on SA Circle redevelop- it may be a great spot for a parking garage.

Dave Wood

Sarasota

 

Fillmore Drive Project

To: Dave Wood

Thank you, Mr. Wood for your input on the Filmore lot proposal. You make some great points in addition to the increased need for parking on the Circle per the ZTA.

I have copied the City Manager and Staff on this email to respond to that particular point. It is my understanding that parking standards and requirements are part of the discussion and am interested in the response.

Jen Ahearn-Koch

City Commissioner

City of Sarasota

 

Fillmore Drive Project

To: Dave Wood and Commissioner Jen Ahearn-Koch

Thanks for sharing. If indeed the City Commission directs us to consider any offer, rest assured, staff copied will ensure the number parking spaces needed to support any development is provided unless the City Commission determines otherwise. Since that direction to accept an offer has not yet been given, it is premature to respond at this time. I hope this helps. Thank you.

Marlon Brown

City Manager

City of Sarasota

 

Fillmore Drive Project

To: Sarasota City Manager Marlon Brown

Thank you for the feedback. I think that the parking situation is important to the decision on whether to accept any offer as, my understanding at least, is that any offer would have to include dealing with the parking. Thank you very much for all that all of you do for our city.

Dave Wood

Sarasota

 

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