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Longboat Key
Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Letters to the Editor week of October 29, 2021

Beware AMI Nuisance Tickets

To: Editor

Thank you Anna Maria Island’s code enforcement for my recent $50 parking ticket for “parking on a sidewalk; obstructing pedestrian and wheelchair access.” My car blocked no one, photos attached.

I attempted to rationally dispute the ticket but was warned of impending and threatening fees per the Anna Maria Code Ordinances and Florida Ordinances, all subject to the discretion of trained officials.

Sadly, I can’t afford to fight whimsical and capricious language designed to take money out of my pocket. So, I remain a $50 taxpaying sucker paying homage to AMI’s revenue generating parking ticket institution.

I hope the local businesses get their cuts.

Cheryl Tatreau

Bradenton

 

Terrible Public Works Management.
To: Editor
Since the Town of Longboat Key took the cheapest option to resurface our street, Rountree Dive, we are, after even small rainfall surrounded by standing water for days.
All of this was because, taking the cheapest option and laying new asphalt over the existing, instead of scarifying the old product they raised the crown of the street and consequently directed much extra water into our driveways.
We are constantly driving this water into our home spaces, purely because of their cheap easy option.
Despite numerous complaints they do nothing. They no longer respond when calls and emails are directed to Public Works or Town ‘Management’.
Obviously too busy spending $6million here and there on their pet projects, the ‘town green’ and ‘Village’, multi-upgrade preferences.
Frankly, the towns Public Works service is abysmal and although my neighbors and I pay property taxes $10,000 p.a. And up, we are being put at risk of flooding by even the smallest tide surge, besides the hanging water remaining for days on end which makes it feel like living behind a moat. Not good enough!
Trevor Gillott
Longboat Key

 

Jackson Way property

To: Longboat Key Commissioner Maureen Merrigan

Commissioner, the town has a lovely piece of waterfront land at the end of Jackson Way, in the village.

While there is a lot of commission energy devoted to the town center, along with millions spent on land acquisition and improvements, no town funds have been used to develop the Jackson Way amenity.

Perhaps some of the well-funded Parks & Rec fund might be used to build a roofed, open air, structure along with improvements to the access walkway from Jackson into the park-like property. The structure needs be large enough to accommodate local groups such as the village association and other groups.

The Jackson Way property will make an attractive pocket park on the north end. With all the new construction and increased number of residents, perhaps improving this local jewel is a good idea for the community.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Jackson Way property

To: Gene Jaleski

Spoke to our Town Manager several weeks ago about looking at our property inventory on the Key and options with each. Tom is putting the topic on a future agenda. The Jackson Way property will be included (if it still exists in our inventory).

Will keep you posted.

Maureen Merrigan

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Broadway rezoning issue

To: Longboat Key Commission

Please do not rezone 551 Broadway for increased density, especially on the strange claim it has been occupied.

Our family has lived full time in the village since Fall of 2018. We pass that property many times a day entering and exiting the neighborhood, walking dogs, and enjoying our life on LBK with trips to the beach and bike rides to the shops. We have never seen someone entering or exiting anywhere on that building in three years. No one uses the yard, the parking or the canal.

Please continue to support Longboat Key residents wishes to not increase density on the island and protect our paradise from becoming a rental filled beach town without the peace and sense of community we currently love and hope to protect.

Ali Claypoole

Longboat Key

 

Broadway rezoning issue

To: Longboat Key Commission
We respectfully request that you do not grant an exception to the rezoning request by the developer for 551 Broadway Street. There are no condos in The Village and all the nearby properties have much more land per house.
The Village is a unique, single family home community that the residents are constantly trying to preserve.
I see no “hardship” reason to grant the developer any exception to the current zoning requirements.  As usual, the developer doesn’t care about the community…they are just trying to maximize profits!  This mindset has already ruined many Communities.  Profit over anything else, then the developers move on to their next area to destroy.  The zoning laws were passed for a reason.
Additionally, we have lived on Broadway Street for two years and have never seen an occupant at that location. I appreciate your consideration of our above comments and request.
Vincent DeAngelo & Linda Callagy

Longboat Key

 

Broadway rezoning issue

To: Longboat Key Commission

As you know, a developer is proposing to rezone 551 Broadway to allow development of 4 townhouse. This is effectively the driveway and the entrance to our Lands End community. My understanding is that under current zoning, only 2 houses would be allowed on this lot. While I am all for tasteful development (being a former developer myself), I feel that this plan is incompatible with the neighborhood for the following reasons: (1) too much density, (2) a wall of garage doors would face the street, and (3) flat roofs are inconsistent with the area’s predominant architecture. I would you to oppose this project as currently designed.

James G. Haft

Longboat Key

 

Broadway rezoning issue

To: Longboat Key Commissioner BJ Bishop

I’m writing to ask you to deny the request to rezone 551 Broadway. I live in the Village and pass that address multiple times a day. I haven’t seen anyone in residence for at least one year and probably more than two years. I also believe the proposed project would not be an asset to the historic Village. Thank you for your consideration.
Rusty Chinnis

Longboat Key

Broadway rezoning issue
To: Longboat Key Commissioner Maureen Merrigan
My name is Ashley Petrone. My husband and I and our four small children just purchased a home in Lands End a few months ago. We love our neighborhood so much. We also love that our kids can safely run around to friends’ houses without excess traffic
I’m writing to you today to hopefully create some awareness around the possible development and rezoning of the corner of Longboat circle and Broadway. Increasing the population of the area will undoubtedly cause additional traffic to our roads, beaches and family friendly neighborhoods. By adding condos to the street, it will modify the local family atmosphere of the historic village.
While we are all inclined to revitalizing the area, we just don’t want it at the expense of what makes this neighborhood so charming. We are asking that you please don’t allow the development of condos in the Village.
The Petrone Family

Longboat Key

 

Broadway rezoning issue

To: Ashley Petrone

Welcome to the neighborhood – and Lands End is a gem of a spot.

Because the property you are referencing below is subject to a quasi-judicial hearing, I can not comment on it until the meeting/hearing.

The hearing will be based on evidence presented during the meeting, similar to the process for the most recent St Regis hearing (if you followed that one). Thank you for your interest and involvement in the community and on the Key!

Maureen Merrigan

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Water Quality Restoration Workshop

To: Longboat Key Commission, Sarasota City Commission

I wanted to present you with a summary of the Water Quality Restoration Workshop that the SBEP just hosted, as well as the Workshop held by Sarasota County the following week.

The SBEP’s workshop had the following structure: 1) an introduction to the health of the bay, including a Welcome from US Congressman Vern Buchanan, 2) a session from all our participating local governments, where they summarized their recently completed and planned future projects to address stormwater and wastewater pollutant sources, 3) a session where innovative approaches to stormwater and wastewater treatment options were discussed, 5) a session on “in-water” approaches to water quality management, such as oyster reefs and clam deployments, and 6) a final wrap up session. The Sarasota County workshop was similarly constructed, but focused on Sarasota County alone, and without sessions on innovative technologies and in-water systems. But lots of overlap on the important topics, and no discrepancies between the two workshops.

A few highlights from the SBEP workshop that I feel are worth sharing with you include the following:

The recently completed Report Card on the bay’s health concluded that the years 2006 to 2012 were a period where the bay’s water quality was demonstrably better, with conditions such as lower nitrogen concentrations in the bay, lower levels of algae in the water column and on the bay bottom, and a sustained increase in seagrass coverage. This used to be a healthier bay, 10 to 15 years ago. When using our recently completed pollutant loading model for the bay’s entire watershed (not just a portion of the bay) the nitrogen loads to the bay were about 20% lower during that “reference period” compared to more recent years. In more recent years, the most damaging forms of nitrogen loads are about 12 tons higher for the bay as a whole, as an annual average.

This suggests that a reasonable starting point for target setting for bay restoration is to reduce nitrogen loads by 20%, or to remove 12 tons per year of the most damaging forms of nitrogen loads.

The morning session included summaries of projects from local governments for upgrades to stormwater and wastewater infrastructure that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars over the next five to ten years. This amount of investment in our stormwater and wastewater infrastructure is going to be compared in great detail to the nutrient load reduction target, but preliminary assessments suggest that what our local governments are planning on doing should be enough to get us the load reductions outlined above. To put it in technical terms, the totality of controllable load reductions to be acted upon over the next 5 to 10 years appears to exceed the potential load reduction targets suggested, when comparing loads from the current years to the suggested reference period.

This is good news folks! This suggests that within a year, we have come up with a holistic report card on the bay’s health, we have completed a bay-wide pollutant loading model, we have come up with a preliminary nutrient load reduction target, and we have summarized the planned actions taken by local governments and found (preliminarily) that they could very well get us where we want to be.

So, we’re done, right? Well, no. Because, we have to do this in a more formal way, to get the state and federal agencies to agree to our approach, and to convince them that by taking these steps, we will address the multiple water quality impairments that exist for our local waters. That will take some time, but we are in a good place right now. That is the purpose of the Reasonable Assurance Plan (RAP) that we are working to develop. This RAP will take several years, but the key to this RAP is to make sure that it complements and helps to speed up the already planned bay restoration efforts – they can both continue simultaneously, and the RAP can help local governments in their interaction with regulatory agencies that focus on water quality.

Also, it is important keep in mind that we had already brought about a substantial nitrogen load reduction to the bay, about 30 years ago. Based on those prior efforts, we had documented improvements in water quality and a sustained increase in those habitats depending on good water quality, throughout the bay. So what went wrong? Why did the bay then have the problems we’ve recently experienced? Basically, the problem is that we didn’t fully take into account the impacts of population growth since those first load reductions took place. Since those big water quality improvements back in the late 1980s to early 1990s, the population in our two counties has increased by about 70%. That has created, throughout our watershed, more impervious surfaces, so that the same amount of rainfall creates more stormwater runoff. There is more sewage that is created, and more dog poop to clean up. More lawns being fertilized by residents who may not know what they’re doing. In all, we chipped away at our prior good work by not taking into account what happens when you gain that many more people in your neighborhoods.

Once we get our loads back to where we want them to be – which appears to be doable – then unless we want to be back here in 20 years, we’ll want to develop a “hold the line” strategy to offset the impacts of population growth and (perhaps) expected changes in seal level. Sarasota Bay has not had a hold the line strategy for nutrient loads, which is how we allowed a prior success story to slip away from us. It is not a simple thing to do, but it has already been estimated in other locations, and load reduction targets to hold the line on population growth have been previously developed for both Tampa Bay and for Charlotte Harbor – we just need to do it here.

Our staff is excited – and you should be as well! You – the representatives of our local partners – have come to the table with a suite of planned activities that we believe will be able to get us to where we need to go, and potentially (needs lots of future work) we could also have a strategy and plans in place to ensure that our expectations of an upcoming successful restoration of our bay’s water quality will last over the next few decades as well.

The amount of money needed to upgrade stormwater and wastewater infrastructure in our region is very large. I wish it wasn’t. But if you want to actually fix water quality problems, rather than just study them and stay busy with small projects, then that’s what it takes. In Tampa Bay, the TBEP estimates it took $2.5 billion over the past few decades to restore that bay’s water quality. The estimates from the IRLNEP are that they need about $5 billion to fix the problems in the Indian River Lagoon. Although our numbers are much smaller than those two examples, we realize the numbers are still huge. But we believe that it is our responsibility to let you know what you need to know in your role as members of the Management Conference. The perhaps not-so-appropriate analogy we laid out at the workshop was that we view the SBEP’s role as being similar to a trusted auto mechanic. When your car breaks down, you want to know three things: 1) what’s wrong with it, 2) what do we need to do to fix it, and 3) how much is it going to cost. That’s what we’re trying to do here, but for a system much more complicated than a car – Sarasota Bay.

David Tomasko

Executive Director

Sarasota Bay Estuary Program​

 

PSC unanimously approves FPL’s rate settlement agreement

To: Longboat Key Commission and Town Manager Tom Harmer

I’m pleased to share with you that the Florida Public Service Commission today unanimously approved FPL’s settlement agreement that will phase in new rates over the next four years, starting in 2022. The agreement was developed jointly with the state’s Office of Public Counsel and other consumer and environmental advocacy groups.

As I shared with you in August, the agreement supports continued long-term investments in infrastructure, clean energy and innovative technology while keeping FPL’s typical residential customer bills well below the national average through the end of 2025. This includes accelerating the nation’s largest solar buildout with 16 million solar panels across more than 50 new sites and expanding our highly popular FPL SolarTogetherTM program – more than doubling what’s already the largest community solar program in the U.S.

Read our news release or visit FPL.com/answers to learn more about the approved settlement agreement, including how it also supports battery storage, innovative green hydrogen technology, closing early a coal unit in Georgia, preparing for and responding to severe weather, and expanding electric vehicle infrastructure.
As previously discussed, these sorts of adjustments have historically increased the revenue that the Town of Longboat Key receives from fees and/or utility taxes. By no later than early December, we will provide your staff with a new comprehensive bill and revenue projection that incorporates all your accounts during the next four years. While separate from the approved agreement, please know your 2022 bill and revenue projection will also reflect increased natural gas prices resulting from high global demand and supply restrictions.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly if you have any questions.

Devaney Iglesias

Area Manager

Florida Power & Light Company

 

PSC unanimously approves FPL’s rate settlement agreement

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

Does this include the state-wide undergrounding program for which we are to get some reimbursement?

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

PSC unanimously approves FPL’s rate settlement agreement

To: Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier

Mayor, thanks for the email. As we discussed, I did reach out to FPL for some feedback regarding the statewide undergrounding/hardening program and related fee that was approved by the State Legislature in 2019 and this particular settlement agreement. They indicated that it can be confusing. The 2019 undergrounding cost recovery fee was ultimately implemented in 2021 and is separate from this settlement agreement. They did say there were some related costs (they described as very minimal) with their Pilot Program (for hardening) that is not covered by that fee and is picked up in the settlement agreement.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Red tide impacts

To: Longboat Key Commission

With the west winds, the Town is starting to feel some red tide impacts on the island starting late yesterday and this morning, including some accumulations of dead fish on the gulf side. The staff is continuing to monitor the conditions and is also coordinating with Manatee County for assistance.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Broadway rezoning issue

To: Longboat Key Commission

I believe the town has utility records of water usage that can be used to determine occupancy at 551 Broadway. Additionally, the town should also examine FPL statements for the past two to three years for normal seasonal usage fluctuations, if the unit(s) were actually occupied.

A neighbor told me that they had looked at utility bills for the apartments and that no water was used for many months.

It appears that several village residents question the veracity of the developer claims of certain rights. Additionally many village residents expect their elected officials to put community interests ahead of maximum developer profits.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Broadway rezoning issue

To: Longboat Key Commissioner Sherry Dominick

Thank you for all you do for our beautiful Island, I am against the rezoning of 551 Broadway

Two very nice homes could be built without rezoning-there is no reason/hardship for it.

Terri Noyes

Longboat Key

 

Broadway rezoning issue

To: Longboat Key Commission

I object to the rezoning of 551 Broadway. When a person buys a property they accept the zoning that is in place. Most savvy buyers do their due diligence before buying a property. They also claim that someone is living in the property. I live just blocks away and go by 551 Broadway many times a day. I have never seen a car or any signs of someone living there. It has been vacant since 2018. Furthermore, I know that property very well. As a real estate agent I showed it many times and it was so full of termites (alive and dead) that my Buyer was afraid to walk on the floors. Please do not approve this change of zoning.

Bobbie Banan

Longboat Key

 

Sarasota Roundabout discussions

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

I received a courtesy call from LK today that covered several topics: 1. I told him the G41 work seemed to be going well from my personal experience and the lack of complaints from users, but that the true test will be as the crowds return. I commended him for the weekly update calls and more frequent emails. 2. I expressed concern over the Marina Towers request for plan changes. He seems very involved in this issue and explained how the City Commission will decide soon if a public discussion will be needed. He is working closely with Marlon to make clear that any plan changes that could extend time would be difficult to approve, and changes would be at the City’s sole expense. In any event, if there is to be any serious discussion of changes we will be included. I told him from our standpoint that changes in mid-project should not be considered unless there is some serious health or safety concern, whereas the Marina Towers objections seem related belatedly to their immediate surroundings. 3. LK mentioned the Nov. 8 joint meeting we have with the City and said he hopes to attend to discuss the G41 and other issues. 4. He said the trolley services to St. Armands and Lido is about to roll out and that we should start serious discussions with the City about a water taxi. He recommends taking first with the operator of the taxi in Tampa-St. Pete whose name he will provide. LK said FDOT may be able to provide some seed money for the program. 5. We discussed GMD briefly and I only asked if we could move forward funding for the CCS turn lane project and that we were beginning to focus more intensely on the uniform GMD corridor solutions covered at our retreat.

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Broadway rezoning issue

To: Longboat Key Commission

My family splits time between homes in Knoxville, Tennessee and the Town of Longboat Key. I’d like to commend you all on the atmosphere you have helped to curate – the Town of Longboat Key is a gem and we are delighted to have become a part of the community! Thank you all for your service.

One of the properties we own in the Town of 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. It is important to me (as I know it is to you) that development in the area is responsibly and thoughtfully imagined and brought to fruition. I understand that this require care given to aesthetics, water management, utilities, traffic control, and overall “fit and finish”.

As an interested neighbor and adjacent landowner (our holding company is Halcyon Shores, LLC), I am delighted to see that the new owners have plans to build 4 single family homes on the subject property. Given the alternatives that presently exist and those that might develop in the future, I view the current proposal as sensible, thoughtful, and appropriate for the area. The new homes will be a beautiful addition to the neighborhood.

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 in light of the density of the neighborhood. The owners should be commended on this decision and we look forward to seeing these new lovely homes and landscaping from across the canal upon completion. I consider their intended use of the property to be additive and representative of the type of responsible and well-crafted development that each of you aspire to promote for the residents of Longboat Key (i.e. striking the balance between property rights and responsible ownership and development).

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

Again, thank you for your service to our community.

Jordan Mollenhour

Longboat Key

 

Broadway rezoning issue

To: Longboat Key Commissioner Maureen Merrigan

Today’s paper summarizes the compelling case for voting “Yes” to approve the St Regis project. As residents of the Water Club, we have walked past the site for ten years, waiting for a high-class project like this to be built. We and all other residents of Longboat Key will share in the benefits.

Please don’t make us wait another ten years. Please vote “Yes” to approve the St. Regis. Thanks very much for your consideration.

Jim and Linda Mitchell

Longboat Key

Broadway rezoning issue

To: Longboat Key Commission

We echo the position of Pete and Carla Rowan on the rezoning of 551 Broadway as stated in their 10/22/21 email as stated below.

While the neighborhood residents are in favor of the redevelopment of the property at 551 Broadway St, we object to rezoning the residential lot for the purpose of increasing density and building four condos in our single-family residential neighborhood.

The density codes might have been changed in 2019 to allow a viable mobile home community, or an operating hotel on GMD, to be redeveloped in the aftermath of a natural disaster, allowing a re-creation of pre-disaster density, but it should not be allowed in this situation for the following reasons:

  1. Since the existing apartment building at 551 Broadway has been vacant and not is use (abandonment of use) since before February 2018, the property is no longer eligible as a non-conforming property and therefore is not entitled to density greater than the regular underlying R6 zoning. While the developer claims that the property has been occupied, there has been no evidence of anyone having lived at 551 Broadway for nearly four years. A lease document, as was provided to the town by the applicant, does not prove occupancy. All 6 residential units have remained vacant since very early 2018 or before that time.

According to town code 158, nonconforming status is lost as a result of the extended vacancy.

158.131(B)(8)(b) sates: A nonconforming building or structure not used or occupied in a lawful manner or vacant for a period of one year or more shall be considered an abandonment and the nonconforming building or structure shall be removed or made conforming.

158.132(B)(5), 158.132(C)(3) and 158.132(D)(1) state: To qualify for rights under this provision, any such reconstruction shall obtain site development plan approval prior to or within two years of the removal or abandonment of use.

Please note the requirement for ‘lawful manner’ There has been absolutely no evidence of any occupation since before February, 2018.

158.132(B)(6) states: … by clear and convincing evidence, through documentation … Showing a lease that we believe was never executed is not enough; ‘clear and convincing evidence’ is required. The town needs pursue this aspect to its fullest by performing actions such as:

Contact the supposed tenant of unit #6 (lease states from March to September 2021) Briana Gagnier (a real estate agent on Anna Maria Island) and ask her to provide occupancy evidence such as cable bills.

Pursue water, gas, and electricity usage. Records show that there was no water usage for all of 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Ask local real estate agents who have shown the building, when it was for sale, if any of the units were occupied.

Investigate completely other items that prove or disprove occupancy during the last 4 years.

  1. The plans are not consistent with the neighborhood. There are no condos in the village. All the nearby properties have much more land per house. While the Longbeach Village has a small percentage of parcels that are 50 feet wide, most are much wider. None are 32 feet wide.
  2. The 6 unit Stone Apartment Building at 551 Broadway exists on a single parcel – as far as we can determine from the materials presented. The other two parcels fronting Longboat Dr North should be completely separate and the SF6 (6 units per acre) should be adhered to for these two parcels. 158.131(B)(1)(b) requires all the parcels to be the same frontage in order to be combined. Thus only the 551 Broadway parcel is nonconforming, the two parcels on 7009 and 7017 Longboat Dr North have a different frontage should be held to the existing density standards. These two parcels should not be combined with 551 Broadway for the sole purpose of increasing density and does not meet the criteria in the 2019 density code revisions. Therefore, only the Broadway facing lot should be allowed the CORD rezoning – and only if it is eligible.
  3. Having a 32 foot wide lot (assuming we are reading the plans for the middle proposed lot correctly) for a home should not be approved. It is contrary to FLU Goal 1 as included in the staff report: (To preserve and enhance the character of the Town of Longboat Key by the following: 1) ensuring that the location, density, intensity, and character of land uses are responsive to the social and economic needs of the community and are consistent with the support capabilities of the natural and man-made systems; and 2) maintaining an environment that is conducive to the health, safety, welfare, and property values of the community.)
  4. We do not agree that the proposed is consistent with the adjacent neighborhood as claimed in the staff report. The density, being condos, and flat roof architecture are nothing like the neighborhood. This proposed development does not meet the CORD criteria stated in 158.85 (However, prior existing nonconformities shall be eliminated to the greatest extent possible. In considering such a request, the Town Commission shall also consider the nature and character of development in the surrounding area, and the impact thereon, in determining whether, or the extent to which, these development standards may be modified.)

Or as stated in 158.87(A)(4) (Whether the proposed request is compatible with surrounding properties and is consistent with the character of the surrounding area)

Or as stated in 158.87(A)(10) (Whether the proposed development is not contrary to the interests of the Town and/or does not adversely impact or affect the public interest).
Any one of the above reasons is enough to deny approval. Please advise if you would like to discuss, and if any clarification is desired.

Therefore, we recommend:

That the density be reduced from the four proposed units to two or three.

That the rezoning to higher density be denied.
This dense condo proposal is not suited to our neighborhood. Thank you for your service to our town and your consideration of our requests.

James Willborn

Longboat Key

 

FEMA requirements for manufactured homes

To: Longboat Key Town Clerk Trish Shinkle
Would you please make this email available to the Town Commissioners and the Town Manager regarding FEMA requirements and manufactured homes for the November 1, 2021 Commission meeting. The email below addresses comments and answers to questions commissioners asked at the October 4, 2021 meeting. It also addresses meetings and inquiry from Allen Parsons and other Town officials regarding any hardships and challenges posed to Gulfshore residents specific to the proposed new mobile home height requirements and the National Flood Insurance Program.

Fred Bez
Community Association Manager

Gulfshore of Longboat Key, Inc.

FEMA requirements for manufactured homes

To: Longboat Key Commission and Town Manager Tom Harmer

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 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 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.

Fred Bez
Community Association Manager

Gulfshore of Longboat Key, Inc.

Broadway rezoning issue

To: Longboat Key Commission

My concern is over the redevelopment of the property on 551 Broadway and the two lots, 7009 and 7017 Longboat Dr. N. I am perplexed on why this redevelopment is even moving forward. I would hope that after looking at all the evidence and the CORD code and criteria, you will agree.

It is my understanding that a nonconforming building that has been vacant and abandoned in this case for more that 4 years and deteriorated due to neglect, not a natural disaster, no longer qualifies for the status of nonconforming. At this point the properties are to follow the regular underlying zone, which in this case is single residential. However, the developer claims that one of the apartments has been occupied without providing any substantial evidence. As a full time resident in the Village, I have not seen a person coming or going from this building or any means of transportation parked at this site for many years. Therefore, this property should follow the Town codes in this residential district.

When this redevelopment was first mentioned in the Town Manager Briefs on 2/20, it stated that the developer was looking to place three homes, which in turn was presented to the Villagers as one of the CORD redevelopment steps. As far as I can tell, the project they are seeking now is clearly different then what was presented last year.

More importantly, it appears CORD was designed to help redevelop areas but make the redevelopment compatible with the adjacent land and keeping with low density charter of the Town. It states that developers should reduce or eliminate nonconforming properties. If 4 houses/condos were placed on these properties, the lots for each house/condo would be less than 5,000 sq. ft, which the code for this zone is 7,000 sq. ft. This is not even close to other adjacent properties in this area.

CORD also states that, prior existing nonconformities shall be eliminated to the greatest extent possible. In considering such a request, the Town Commission shall also consider the nature and character of development in the surrounding area, and the impact thereon, in determining whether, or the extent to which, these development standards may be modified. No CORD shall be approved unless it complies with listed standards, most importantly setbacks for the existing zone.

It is my understanding that the intent of CORD is that the development be superior to a development that could be permitted under the standard zoning. It is my opinion that this development consisting of 4 house/condo be built on lot sizes of approximately 4,500 sq ft. would not be superior to 2 homes that would be closer to the surrounding homes in this area.

Therefore, I would hope that you deny the proposed redevelopment of the above properties.

I appreciate your time and effort to preserve the character of the Town of Longboat Key that I have enjoyed over the past 35 years.

Becky and Benny Parrish

Longboat Key

 

Your Guest Column in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune
To: Sarasota City Vice Mayor Erik Arroyo
I read with great interest your guest column in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune on September 17, 2021.  Thank you for the successes in Sarasota you’ve contributed to.
Thank you also for your focus on data and public safety.  I value both.
Could you please provide the data supporting your statements that “we now have:”
• “Record low numbers in crime statistics.”
• “A 30 percent decrease in the number of homeless individuals in Sarasota”
I ask because this information surprised me compared to my first-hand experiences seeing incidents and situations in downtown Sarasota, monitoring the 911 Dispatch Reporting database and patterns I have identified in it, and review of police reports and Sarasota Police Department “Downtown Security/Police Private Public Partnership” reports.
I also would like to understand the time period you mean by “we now have.”
I look forward to hearing from you.
Linda Haller Sloan

Sarasota

 

Your Guest Column in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

To: Sarasota City Police Public Information Officer Genevieve Judge

Can you assist me in meeting Ms. Sloan’s requests (forwarded e-mail below)?

Some of our crime statistics are at a record low, I remember from a presentation at the police department. Additionally, we discussed a 30% reduction in homelessness when we looked at the point in time numbers recently.

Erik Arroyo

Vice Mayor

City of Sarasota

 

Your Guest Column in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune

To: Sarasota City Vice Mayor Erik Arroyo

Happy to help track down that presentation regarding low crime statistics with the help of our Command Staff and Crime Analyst, Vikki Burton.

Genevieve Judge

Sarasota Police Department

Public Information Officer

 

Traffic circle

To: Wayne Hughes

Thank you for your detailed e-mail regarding your experience and we can assure you that we are taking it very seriously.

Part of the difficulty is due to this roundabout being a project of the Department of Transportation. The city of Sarasota has very limited oversight or authority over DOT and the recourse we are left with most of the time is getting in touch with the supervisor on the project.

Many are in agreement with your point of view that the current traffic pattern is unsafe, inefficient, and ineffective. This is particularly true for those driving at night, those that are trying to drive north on Tamiami without having to cross the bridge, and those, like you, that see the progression of the project on a daily basis.

We’ll review this internally and I’ll get caught up on the status of this as it is something that continues to get brought up. Again, thank you for your e-mail.

Erik Arroyo

Vice Mayor

City of Sarasota

 

Traffic circle
To: Sarasota Citizens

Saturday, Oct. 9 at 8:45 a.m., sirens blare from Fire and Rescue Vehicles as they try to negotiate the circuitous alignment of counter intuitive roads and poor signage set up to route traffic around the construction site for the new traffic circle at Gulfstream/41. Cars and trucks stopped at the lights were confused by the temporary alignment and were unable to make room for the EMS Response Vehicles and hold up their access by critical minutes. Then, unable to make the required turn, the Ambulance was forced to make several back and forth maneuvers to get into the right lane. All in response to a life-threatening event.

Recently, in the dark of night the sounds of screeching tires and cars colliding brought me to my balcony to view a four-car pile-up. As Emergency Police and Fire Vehicles approached from the north and south, they all had to take time to figure out the best way to access the scene. In fact, one Fire Truck had to park 30 yards away because of the confusion.

We have been shrugging, looking at the lackluster pace of construction at the Gulfstream/41 Round-About.

We have been incredulous at watching six men “supervising” one man dig a post hole for a temporary sign…that is, when workers were anywhere on the site. We are dismayed at the counter intuitive temporary traffic alignment. Now, after witnessing several accidents and the delay of emergency responses, enough is enough! This has become a life-threatening situation.

What the hell is going on with the lack of progress at the Gulfstream/41 Roundabout?

How many people will have to die or be injured before work is expedited?

If this is Florida’s best example of expending our tax dollars then something is seriously wrong.

Wayne L Hughes

Sarasota

 

Purchase Orders — Adding Lights

To: Sarasota City Manager Marlon Brown

I did put the contractor on notice in September of a PO coming on October 1 with the understanding that this would be a November 15 to January 15 event.  The reply was that it had the items in stock and could do so and reiterated such by email yesterday which was forwarded to those in this email thread.

John Moran

Operations Manager

City of Sarasota

Purchase Orders — Adding Lights

To: Sarasota City Operations Manager John Moran

John, now that we have PO’s we will get this working. Please be aware that we are a whole month later in the calendar then have been in years past. We are also struggling with a labor shortage. All that said we will be putting a plan together to get it going, sooner than later. We will keep you in the loop once we are going to mobilize.

Nick Schriver

General Manager

Decorating Elves

 

Purchase Orders — Adding Lights

To: Sarasota City Manager Marlon Brown

Hopefully we can get them to move us up. Have a good night!

Mary Davis Wallace

Senior Planner

City of Sarasota

 

Purchase Orders — Adding Lights

To: Sarasota City Senior Planner Mary Davis Wallace

Do we know why these POs took so long to cut given we’ve been talking about this and approved months ago?

Marlon Brown

City Manager

City of Sarasota

 

Purchase Orders — Adding Lights

To: Sarasota City Manager Marlon Brown

The soonest funding availability from the DID for this was FY 22 so the soonest POs could be issued for the DID portion was October 1.

John Moran

Operations Manager

City of Sarasota

 

Purchase Orders — Adding Lights

To: Sarasota City Operations Manager John Moran

Understood but could we have put the contractor on notice to begin October 1 or soon after? It’s not like the money would not be available.

Marlon Brown

City Manager

City of Sarasota

 

Purchase Orders — Adding Lights

To: Sarasota City Operations Manager John Moran

So in all the email threads, it appears in past years POs were cut in September according to the contractor. And even after Kelly’ email that you did not have to wait until October, I still do not understand the reasoning to wait until now to cut the POs when you have done it earlier before?

Marlon Brown

City Manager

City of Sarasota

 

Purchase Orders — Adding Lights

To: Sarasota City Manager Marlon Brown

The board approved the expense on September 8, 22 days before the end of the FY (minutes attached).  Given 1) that the only money available in FY 21 was in fund balance requiring a budget amendment and 2) the vendor indicated if it received a PO in early October, it could meet the deadline of November 15 completion of installation which it confirmed yesterday, all conditions for an on-time Holiday Tree Décor installation were in order.

John Moran

Operations Manager

City of Sarasota

 

Purchase Orders — Adding Lights

To: Sarasota City Operations Manager John Moran

Does anyone know where the November 15 date came from?

Marlon Brown

City Manager

City of Sarasota

 

Purchase Orders — Adding Lights

To: Sarasota City Manager Marlon Brown

All, here is the update on the lights:

We are still aiming for the original installation date of November 15. There are several factors leading up to their mobilization date:

They now have both POs and we are officially on their calendar

Without a PO they could not hire the extra help to execute the enhanced project scope

They are hiring this week. They need to train and certify their new employees

They anticipate being on site either next Friday or the following Monday (October 25)

We have directed the Elves to start in the DID (specifically the 1400 block) and work outward.  This will ensure the core is lit first. No news on when that will actually happen but it’s possible they can light them as they move outward. I will confirm this asap.

I will remain in contact with Nick as he knows more. If you need an update please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you!

Mary Davis Wallace

Senior Planner

City of Sarasota

 

14th street crazy speeding cars and trucks

To: Sarasota City Manager Marlon Brown, City Commissioner Jen Ahearn-Koch

Contacting you about excessive car/truck traffic speeds on 14th street between the new roundabout and Cocoanut.

While the roundabout projects in general have been very positive for the City, the new 14th roundabout has increased both activity and certain dangerous conditions on the block between Cocoanut and 41…even up to Central.

We have a diverse group of families on our two blocks from seniors to children who ride their bikes on our sidewalks and often cross the street for visits, gatherings, etc.

The City already and thankfully has in place speed barriers on 19th Street between Cocoanut and Orange.

As a resident of 14th Street, it seems a similar consideration could be considered given the new 14th street roundabout and growing commercial ventures in the area.

As you know, we are an historic neighborhood with a rich history but also understand the development interests of the City.

Commercial traffic along 14thStreet is another issue as concrete trucks from Cymex and other companies regularly use our blocks to circumvent other more appropriate avenues and weekly damage trees, exceed normal traffic speeds, run into our trash cans, and honk at us when we try to exit our driveways…an irritation and annoying but perhaps remediable given other nearby options.

A review of your long-term commercial traffic plans for the City to preserve local neighborhoods, especially for large delivery trucks, also seems appropriate in the near future.

In cooperation with the City, I would much appreciate to know how we can jointly ensure safety along our two little but special blocks here on 14th Street and would be pleased to meet with you to discuss our concerns. We know you have a lot to deal with and thank you in advance for your kind consideration.

Christopher Thorpe

Sarasota

 

14th street crazy speeding cars and trucks

To: Christopher Thorpe

Good morning and thanks for sharing your concerns. By copy I am requesting staff to look into this issue and to determine the appropriate solution to address this. Thanks again and be safe.

Marlon Brown

City Manager

City of Sarasota

 

14th street crazy speeding cars and trucks

To: Sarasota City Manager Marlon Brown

Many thanks for your response. I have also received this morning a number of follow-up emails which is so very much appreciated.

We are privileged to live in a special city with wonderful citizens and dedicated leaders.  Working to continually improve the quality of life here is everyone’s job. Thank you for your kind and quick attention to this issue.

Christopher Thorpe

Sarasota

 

City Commission adjusts meeting times

To: Sarasota City Clerk Shayla Griggs

If there is any way to change the method of using Zoom to participate, it would be a good thing, I find having to sign in several days in advance a hindrance.

Why can’t people find the link on the meetings page, get in a cue and join in? Just like showing

up in person, as a caregiver for an immune compromised veteran, I cannot show up in person

and I cannot always sign up four days in advance. This extra layer is keeping many folks from participating.

Virginia Hoffman

Sarasota

 

City Commission adjusts meeting times

To: Virginia Hoffman

Thank you for your email and I appreciate your feedback. Our process for zoom is what we feel is the best way to manage the speakers who would like to participate during the meetings. We have to know who the speakers are and what they want to speak to before the meeting, it cannot be a free for all.  My office has never denied anyone the ability to speak even when they email us one hour before a meeting so to say this is a hindrance I do not feel is correct. We are one of the few municipalities in our area to still use zoom for public input many have gone back to the normal way of having the public come in person. This is the best way for us to stay organized and fair throughout this process.  Thank you.

Shayla Griggs

City Clerk

City of Sarasota

 

Holiday Light display downtown

To: Sarasota City Manager Marlon Brown

I was driving through UTC today and noticed the holiday decor going up and was wondering what day we can expect our display to be fully up downtown?  Thanks.

Hagen Brody

Mayor

City of Sarasota

 

Holiday Light display downtown

To: Sarasota City Mayor Hagen Brody

We are working on a mobilization date, but they should certainly be mobilized by November 1 and will be fully installed by November 15. If anything changes, we will let you know. Thank you!

Mary Davis Wallace

Senior Planner Public Art

City of Sarasota

 

Holiday Light display downtown

To: Sarasota City Planner Mary Davis Wallace

What does mobilized mean? I was told we were shooting the have them up before first Friday on the 5th.

Hagen Brody

Mayor

City of Sarasota

 

Holiday Light display downtown

To: Sarasota City Mayor Hagen Brody

We were shooting to have them up by November 1. I’ll find out what slowed things down.

Marlon Brown

City Manager

City of Sarasota

 

 

“Home Sharing” (aka “Hosted Rentals”) on Oct. 18 City Commission Agenda

To: Sarasota City Attorney Robert Fournier

Hope you had a lovely weekend. Could you kindly respond to the below comments when you get a minute?

Jen Ahearn-Koch

City Commissioner

City of Sarasota

Home sharing

To: St. Armands Residents Association members

I just saw that “Home Sharing” (also known as “Hosted Rentals” or “Owner-Occupied Rentals”) is on the upcoming Oct. 18 City Commission Meeting Agenda.

Link to Supporting Materials: (references the last time this was discussed at the November 19, 2018 City Commission meeting which predates the Hotel House issue by over a year).

While I don’t think we have much of this happening on St. Armands today, my concern is that this could someday be used by bad actors to circumvent the Vacation Rental Ordinance that we worked so hard to get passed.  You can imagine an 8-bedroom Hotel House with a representative of the ownership group living in one room and renting out the other 7 bedrooms (each with their own en suite bathroom) like a hotel.  It would be easy enough to do:  just put locks on each bedroom door.  Would that be a vacation rental, a home sharing situation, a bed and breakfast, or a hotel?  And does the City’s one-week minimum rental period still apply?

P.S.  If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, I believe there is a Jaguar Car Show going on at Circle Park on Saturday:  https://starmandscircleassoc.com/event/jagfest-concours-de-elegance-3/

Chris Goglia

President

St. Armands Residents Association

 

“Home Sharing” (aka “Hosted Rentals”) on Oct. 18 City Commission Agenda

To: Sarasota City Commissioner Jen Ahearn-Koch

To respond to your request, I believe that this possibility is alluded to in my memorandum in the agenda package at the bottom of page 3 to the top of page 4 when talking about the definition of a property owner currently found in the Zoning Code.  One way to prevent what is described below from happening would be to have a registration process so that the identity of the resident host or hosts is known and is on file with the City.  It also could also be prevented by a limitation on the number of guests or guest rooms that the hosted rental is allowed to have.  The use described below seems more like a hotel which is not a permitted use in single family or multi-family zones.

To respond to the question in Mr. Goglia’s email, the goal would be to absolutely apply the one-week minimum stay requirement in the City Zoning Code if the use was a true vacation rental.  However, individuals have previously testified that a bona fide “hosted rental” with a resident host present during the stay does not lend itself to compliance with the minimum one week stay requirement as guests are often present for a weekend or a long weekend.  So, if the City Commission decides to go forward with recognizing hosted rentals as accessory to household living in order to make this use lawful, stays of less than one week would likely be allowed for a genuine hosted rental.

Robert M. Fournier

City Attorney

City of Sarasota

 

Code violations on property

To: Sarasota City Manager Marlon Brown

It appears that there is a residential property located at 3710 Colorado St. that was condemned by the health department but never bulldozed. Throughout the years, numerous code violations have resulted in heavy fines and magistrate orders but no corrective action or enforcement of these orders. The city has conducted numerous clean-ups of the property, but the piling of garbage returns due to the current tenant collecting it in front of the yard. When an attempted eviction occurred, the tenant continues to return since it is owned by a family member.

Can we all schedule a call or meeting to discuss? It appears that numerous attempts have been made by our magistrate to create a solution, but the issue continues to persist causing a nuisance to the neighborhood.

Erik Arroyo

Vice Mayor

City of Sarasota

 

Bees

To: Sarasota City Commissioner Jen Ahearn-Koch
Thank you again for meeting with me yesterday. For clarity, Diane has never requested an on-site meeting with me despite my offering that option on more than one occasion.
Kim Morrison
Sarasota

 

Bees

To: Kim Morrison

Thank you as well for meeting with me. It was lovely to get to know you. I am hopeful this gets resolved and I will keep you up to date when I hear something.

Jen Ahearn-Koch

City Commissioner

City of Sarasota

 

Bees

To: Sarasota City Commissioner Jen Ahearn-Koch

There’s much more to this than what is stated here. Thanks.

Marlon Brown

City Manager

City of Sarasota

 

 

 

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