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Saturday, September 24, 2022

Letters to the Editor week of April 1, 2022

Lo-Key Bar Article

To: Editor

I was out of town and just returned to catch up on some news. I have to admit, I was extremely perplexed and annoyed with the article regarding the planned Lo-Key Bar and the comments included from some of the neighboring residents.

I am a middle-aged, 15-year Longboat Key half-year resident, who lives down the street near Center Shoppes. I walk/run daily on Gulf of Mexico Drive and frequent the local restaurants. I would like to think I have a pretty good understanding of the changing demographics of LBK and the fact that there are an increasing number of middle-aged people (40’s, 50’s, 60’s) moving to our town…which is great. Unfortunately, we do not have many places to gather for dinner/cocktails, to meet others and “responsibly” socialize. We desperately need another establishment for “adults” to hang out.

Which brings me to some of the outrageous comments your paper included in the article.

First, the claim about “killing our kids….drunks will be all over the place urinating”……really…you allowed that to go to print? That is an absurd statement! Next, you quoted a neighbor as saying this place would have “144 young people drinking and milling around”. We are not Siesta Key and never will be. Young people will not be traveling to LBK to get drunk and cause trouble. Sure, you may have a place for older grandkids in their 20’s but they would not make up the majority of the crowd. The article also talks about the danger at the bus stops……what exactly do they think the area will look like at 8 a.m. or 3 p.m.?

I find this depiction of the proposed restaurant/bar as incredibly unfair to those who are trying to improve life for the residents of LBK. So many of us know one of the owners of this project and she is highly-respected, well-liked, professional and caring for the people she currently serves on the Key. Is there anyone who knows her who would think she would allow the type of behavior your paper printed…and that a few old-timers believe will occur?

This community needs to change with the times. We are becoming a younger town…filled with successful, respectful and friendly neighbors. We need more safe, clean, fun places to gather and enjoy each other’s company. The last thing I would want is a Bridge Street or Siesta Key Village atmosphere, but I am 100 percent confident in the owners of this proposed establishment that they would put the clamps down on any such behavior.

I suppose the old adage, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” came true once again. But I am hopeful that once word gets around about how this matter was handled by the Planning Board and this newspaper, the rational and pragmatic residents of this area will voice their full support of Lo-Key, in whatever revised format is presented on June 21.

Mark Moshier

Longboat Key

 

Pool noise

To: Longboat Key Commissioner Maureen Merrigan

I have met with Chris Kopp, what a pleasant compliance officer. He helped me note that ordinance update is always ongoing. I attempted to say in passing a few days back, congratulations on your ascendency to a new vice, Vice Major.

Could you contact me, by phone is fine, or whatever method you choose? Neighbor’s senseless pool motor sound pressure prevents us from developing a better living space, at least for a studio for Carol’s artwork. I realize this is a difficult task from communicating with Allen Parsons, George Turner, and Chris. And some policeman.

Drew Jackman

Longboat Key

 

Green Longboat

To: Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier

Mayor,  the public private partnership (PPP), I am proposing, to transition Longboat to pollution free lawn maintenance, is completely voluntary, as is the installation of temporary power poles at construction sites, which will be a wonderful improvement  to the building permit process.

Just as construction workers choose to avail themselves of available electricity at construction sites, rather than use loud and polluting gas generators and compressors,  lawn maintenance workers I have talked to, would welcome quiet, exhaust free, lawn equipment. So would our residents.

What I am proposing is a voluntary partnership that enables small lawn care businesses to use top quality battery lawn equipment, without having to initially finance the transition to quiet clean equipment.

My proposal includes a payback path to reimburse the town for initial funding that includes the lawn company paying the town the money they save on gas and new equipment.  My calculations see a four-year payback.

As for what surrounding communities are doing, do we want to be like Siesta and Anna Maria? We can be vanguards instead.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Rumble at the Sarasota County Commission Meeting

To: Longboat Key Commission

Yesterday, the Sarasota County Commission, unexpectedly, considered the issue of the Rumble Economic Incentive Application which the Commission approved in 2021. This item was not on the docket and not advertised. The Commission was reacting to the bad publicity and the demonstrators who were protesting a company which purportedly, carries Russian disinformation from the RT channel at a time when Russia is pummeling and killing innocent civilians in Ukraine.

Where were the Longboat Key Commissioners? Why didn’t the Commissioners weigh in when the Incentive monies, Sarasota taxpayer money, was going to be used to encourage this company to locate on Longboat Key?  What is your position? Just asking.

Larry Grossman

Sarasota

 

Rumble at the Sarasota County Commission Meeting

To: Larry Grossman

I am recovering from double knee replacement and wrote to my Commissioner over a week ago.

BJ Bishop

Commissioner

Longboat Key

Rumble at the Sarasota County Commission Meeting

To: Longboat Key Town Commission

At yesterday’s BSSC meeting, when the Rumble application for a Sarasota Economic Development Incentive Grant was under discussion, Commissioner Ziegler stated that Longboat Key or some residents or someone from LBK, not sure, were enthusiastic about Rumble being located on Longboat Key.

Never got to ask Commissioner Ziegler who that might be or whether the LBK Commission was consulted on this application (probably not since the County Commission said that it did not know the applicant but tentatively approved the application) because Commissioner Ziegler had to pick up his kids or something to that effect and left the Chambers. I was the last speaker at around 4:30 p.m.

Perhaps the LBK Commission could ask that question of Commissioner Ziegler. The impression Commissioner Ziegler left with the audience present in that room and the Zoom attendees was that Longboat Key enthusiastically endorsed the application of Rumble to locate on Longboat Key.

Larry Grossman

Sarasota

 

Rumble Yesterday’s Commission Meeting

To: Sarasota County Commission

Could someone like the County Attorney explain how the Commission took a vote on the Rumble Economic Development Incentive Application for an item that was not on the Commission Docket? Worse, how could the Commission vote on whether to terminate the Incentive program when again this was not on the docket. I don’t think it was legal. No notification was given to those parties who would be directly affected and to the public who would want to comment on such a proposition.

The whole exercise of watching the Commission vote on motions on the Rumble application and the Sarasota Economic Development Incentive Program was bewildering, baffling and embarrassing. In the end, the Commission voted to discuss these matters at a later Commission meeting which, I am sure, will be properly advertised.

I do not agree that the Incentive Program should be scrapped. Every jurisdiction I know of has an Economic Development Program which offers incentives to attract businesses to boost the local tax base and provide employment opportunities. Sarasota County is one of the most attractive places in the nation and is in a growth mode- it just needs to get its act together.

Which is the point I was trying to make about a team effort with the County Planning Office, Economic Development and the Business Community working in concert to encourage business growth where growth is wanted to achieve a public purpose. I lived along the North Trail for a period and joined the North Trail Partnership. That corridor has abundant land and available parcels for redevelopment. The incentive program could target this area to facilitate North Trail redevelopment and help small businesses thrive along this corridor. I visited a newly constructed apartment building along the North Trail and it offered apartments with gorgeous views of downtown Sarasota.

LBK is not a growth area for business and should not be the locus of a media platform company and should not be a priority recipient of an SC Economic Development Incentive Grant. Public monies should go to where it will create the most public benefit to serve public objectives. LBK is not a distressed area and is not an office center. Rumble will not build buildings or stimulate other development or locate employees that will want fight the island traffic or find affordable housing nearby. Rumble needs to take a tumble and the Incentive Program needs a remake and focus.

Larry Grossman

Sarasota

 

Rumble information

To: Longboat Key Commission

By way of follow up to the status report provided at our last Board Meeting, we continue to receive media requests. As you may recall, Rumble, has permitted Russian state-controlled news network (RT) to use its platform. Some Sarasota County residents are protesting the company’s access for RT and the opening of a U.S. headquarters on Longboat Key. An online petition is “calling for Sarasota County commissioners and the EDC to rescind an $825,000 incentive grant awarded to the Canadian-based tech company for making the move to Florida.”

To correct the record, the EDC has prepared the following statement when asked for a comment:

Our team at the EDC stands in solidarity and in full support of the Ukrainian people.

We are a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that provides information and concierge services to businesses that want to grow or relocate in Sarasota County. In October 2021, Rumble’s request came before the Sarasota County Board of County Commissioners under the confidentiality afforded by Florida statute. Thus far, there is no incentive agreement in place between the Board of County Commissioners and Rumble, and no date has been set for further discussion or a vote.

If you receive any inquiries regarding Rumble, please refer requests for comment to Tracy Knight of Knight Communications at the email or at 941-468-3850.

Lisa Krouse

CEO

Economic Development Council

Electric lawn equipment and public awareness

To: Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier

Mayor, I believe the town can do much more to alert and educate our residents about the dangers of continuing to use small gas engine powered lawn equipment.

Even if the town’s priorities and spending appear to be focused on the town center, the town shill has an obligation to do as much as possible to mitigate the adverse effects to our community of gas-powered lawn care.

People will need to embrace change, and small cost increases, if we are to avoid rapidly approaching lifestyle changes resulting from global warming. I believe we will pay more the longer we delay positive actions.

One approach, outlined below, is to pay a premium for lawn service as a way of supporting the changeover to battery powered equipment. If several condominium associations banded together to hire an eco-friendly lawn maintenance company, and pay a little more, this might be a cost-effective means to transition away from polluting lawn care. The condo associations could approach their current grounds maintenance companies, to see what they need to switch to battery powered equipment. The town is in a position to effectively organize this process.

The included article below outlines a positive approach to educating residents about small gas engine emissions.

“The campaign to make Curtis Park residents aware of harmful pollutants spewing from gas mowers and leaf blowers has people listening. Increasingly, neighbors are finding creative ways to minimize the use of gas-powered equipment and turn to quieter, less polluting electric lawn care.

‘This is science,’ emphasizes Nury Eno of Sixth Avenue. ‘People are really motivated to make the switch when they learn how much pollution is generated even on their own property.’

Eno, a strong advocate for clean and quiet lawn care, has been an active participant on the SCNA ad hoc committee to help educate neighbors about pollution from gas equipment.

Her neighbor Zachary Knight didn’t want to lose his existing gardener so he invested in an electric leaf blower he keeps charged and ready for weekly use. For less than $150, he was able to purchase a high-quality blower, battery and charger. Both he and his gardener find it gets the job done just as well as the gas blower.

Knight credits Eno for helping him and his wife, parents of a 3½-year-old son, understand how the small particulate matter mobilized by gas blowers and equipment is especially harmful to children. Gas lawn equipment emits other air pollutants, including carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons (greenhouse gases) and other smog-forming chemicals such as nitrogen oxide.

‘As a homeowner, it should be my responsibility to be sure safe equipment is being used,’ Knight said.

On Portola Way, Jennifer Albion asked her gardener to not use a blower on her yard. “I notice a huge difference in noise reduction and less dust,” she said. ‘Both are appreciated with a young one in the house.’

On 25th Street, neighbors Joan Muttera and Lynda White shared the same gardener for the last few years but recently switched to all-electric service.

‘I’m so much more aware now how noisy gas mowers and blowers are when I walk around the neighborhood,’ Muttera said. Her new electric service is only $20 more per month than she paid previously, which she considers a fair tradeoff.

Her neighbor Lynda White, a retired nurse who fitted patients in hazardous jobs with respirators, is especially aware of damage to lungs from gas fumes.

‘I didn’t want to breathe the fumes from gas care any longer,’ she said. When offered the name of an electric service, she was all for it. ‘The noise from my old service was irritating, but the fumes were worse.’

For information on the noise and toxic pollution from gas lawn care, visit https://sierra2.org/ neighborhood-scna/advocacy/clean-quiet-yard/.”

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Electric lawn equipment and public awareness

To: Gene Jaleski

I received several messages from you today.  As for lawn equipment, I have told you we are looking at the issue, both in terms of equipment operated by the Town as well as the feasibility of requiring private landscapers to shift to electric devices.  It is my understanding that other neighboring communities do not prohibit gas-operated equipment at this time.  Beyond that, I do not feel it is appropriate for the Town to lecture our residents or vendors on their environmental responsibilities, but of course you may continue to do so.

As for the erosion at the North end, it is a very top priority for us to obtain approvals to clear the mouth of the Greer Island lagoon, recirculate sand to the area West of the Longboat Pass Bridge and restrict boat traffic and landings from the spit.

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Electric lawn equipment and public awareness

To: Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier

I am  not alone viewing you as the most effective Mayor in my memory.  Thanks.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Enforcement of Art Display at Cannons Marina

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

As a heads-up, staff has informed the Cannon’s Marina property owner and manager that “art displays” (which are a form of Prohibited Signage) are not permitted by the Town’s Sign Code ordinance. Attached is a photo of artwork, which was recently begun at Cannon’s Marina.

As you’re aware, the Town’s Sign Code was updated in 2018 to respond to a U.S. Supreme Court decision that addressed the constitutionality of a local sign ordinance that had different criteria for different types of temporary noncommercial signs. The Town’s adopted Sign Code was subsequently updated to reflect a “content neutral” approach to sign regulation (which means that the Town does not regulate the content of signs and only regulates the time, place and manner in which signs may be displayed).

The topic of art murals was discussed as part of the ordinance’s adoption and was specifically prohibited due to the challenges with enforcement where such murals/art displays could be problematic if they constituted the equivalent of a large billboard type sign or if they depicted obscene or offensive imagery. Because the Town cannot regulate the content of signs, the risk from problematic art displays was seen as outweighing the benefits of attractive and well-done art displays.

Allen Parsons

Director Planning, Zoning & Building Department

Town of Longboat Key

North End Structure Stabilization: N-3 and North Plantings

To: Longboat Key Commission

We received a question about ongoing erosion just past the northern most groin on Greer Island.  See background information below from Isaac.

Our Coastal Engineer expected that area to have an erosional signatures associated with the groins, especially on the Pass/Bayside of that last groin.   The staff is monitoring the conditions and are working with Dr. Browder to prepare for an update on the Beach Management Plan at the May workshop, including the status of the groins and last year’s sand placement.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

North End Structure Stabilization: N-3 and North Plantings

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

I spoke to Dr. Al Browder to get a little more specific information about the Greer Island area north of the northern-most rock groin, N-3:

The sand north of N-3 was expected to equilibrate and erode over time.  The idea of the plantings north of N-3 was not a permit condition, but just added stabilization effort as the equilibration process takes place.  It is not a big concern if we lose sea oat plug plantings north of N-3.  The plugs were very inexpensive, were an add-on to the extra sand placed beyond N-3, and not part of a permit condition.  What Dr. Al and our team will be doing is monitoring the equilibration over time to make sure N-3 is neither “too tight” nor “too loose”;  if adjustments are needed (typically, after 1-year+), we will plan those accordingly.  To loosen we move or remove rocks, to tighten (which may not be needed), we add smaller rocks in void spaces.  We want to make sure not too tight, so that the erosion does not rollback and breach into the lagoon.

Myself and James will be going out next week to take some additional photos north of N-3 and send to Dr. Al.  Dr. Al will also be down in our area and observing conditions in preparation for the May 16th Town Commission Workshop beach update.  Dr. Al also noted that even this May, it would likely be too early to react with a structure tightening or loosening.  He advises to give it more time to equilibrate, monitor to make sure no rollback, and the plants are not critical to success north of N-3 nor are a hard permit condition.

Isaac Brownman

Director Public Works

Town of Longboat Key

 

North End Structure Stabilization: N-3 and North Plantings

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

Given the pictures we’ve seen today at Land’s End, I think it’s important that we have both a short-term solution for the management of the spit, the lagoon mouth and the use of the beach adjacent to those areas and a more permanent remedy for the swift transfer of our new sand around the point.  Ideally, there would be a permitted mechanism for the Town to periodically move that sand back to the North and West sides of Greer Island, while clearing the canal and re-directing the encroaching boaters.  The May workshop may be too late to address these problems before Memorial Day and beyond.

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

North End Structure Stabilization:  N-3 and North Plantings

To: Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier

Mayor, thanks for the email.  The May workshop is a planned Beach Management Plan update with our Coastal Engineer.  That will not hold up the current efforts to secure a permit for removal of sand from that area or any work that can be done once we receive the necessary permit.

The Public Works staff is working with the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) to receive their final approval for the Spit Management permit – they are the last agency permit needed.  The Spit Management permit is purposefully designed to be that approval that will allow the Town to long term maintain that sand area, especially east of the bridge.  It should also allow the Town to quickly start to remove some of the current sand near the Lands End dock.  That is what the Public Works staff was trying to determine- can they get the ACOE to issue an emergency permit any quicker than the one that is pending and are expecting any day.

I have asked the staff to update me as soon as we hear back from the ACOE so I can keep the Commission updated.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Motorized Vessel Exclusion Areas Status Update

To: Longboat Key Commission

See note below from Allen on current status and efforts to follow-up on the motorized vessel exclusion zone for a portion of Greer Island by the Lands End dock and the Lagoon on the back side of the island.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

Motorized Vessel Exclusion Areas Status Update

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

Status update on staff’s efforts into bringing forward Motorized Vessel Exclusion Areas, in the Greer Lagoon & eastern Greer Island spit areas:  As you’re aware staff had worked with Manatee County in administratively establishing an area along the eastern spit of Greer Island, in the Manatee County Park, for Kayak/Paddleboards only.  Manatee County placed signage identifying the area as such. On March 10th, the Town was notified by Manatee County that the Kayak/Paddleboard Landing signs that they placed on Greer Island were being removed.  They stated that they were advised that the signage they placed on the island was premature and they would need to have a non-motorized vessel exclusion zone adopted before they place the signs.  As you reported to the Town Commission, County Commission Chair Kevin VanOstenbridge indicated that he continues to support the designation of that area and the County will work with the Town on what the next steps may be.

Based on Town Commission direction at their February 22nd Regular Workshop, staff has been pursuing development of a Motorized Vessel Exclusion Area ordinance for their consideration.  We are working with the Town Attorney on the process to implement a Motorized Vessel exclusion zone, and Maggie is having follow up discussions with the Manatee County Attorney.

As discussed at the February 22nd Workshop, establishment of a Motorized Vessel Exclusion Area involves the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), which has to review any locally adopted ordinance and determine by substantial competent evidence that an ordinance is necessary to protect public safety via a statistical or factual basis, which is needed to justify a boating restricted area.  Additionally, the U.S. Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) will also need to provide their support for the establishment of a vessel restriction/exclusion area. Data typically used to support motorized vessel exclusion areas include boating safety related data (records of accidents or citations), which will likely be sparse.

In addition, another potential complicating factor that’s been revealed through coordination with FWC is that the state would not support allowing the Greer Island Lagoon area residents/guests to be able to use their motorized vessels while the general public would be prohibited from using motorized vessels. If an area is established as a nonmotorized area, that would apply to all vessels. If there is not a way to allow residents/guests within the Greer Island lagoon to be able to utilize their motorized vessels, it would complicate plans to restrict who can access the lagoon.  We continue to do further research to refine the Town’s options and will be working with the Town Attorney on any coordination and support that Manatee County may offer.  As discussed, these findings will be shared with the Town Commission at their next Regular Workshop meeting for discussion and further direction.

Allen Parsons

Director Planning, Zoning & Building Department

Town of Longboat Key

 

Different aerial photos of where the Greer Island meets Lands End dock

To: Longboat Key Vice Mayor Maureen Merrigan

Different aerial photos of where the Greer Island sand spit meets the Lands End dock.  Joan told me that she had not seen my Photoshopped aerial photos concerning the small channel issues and the signage.  Please show these to your friends and share them in order to get people talking about the best way to handle the beach now and the planned channel digging or dredging that has been projected.  Realize that it will cost about 1 million dollars to dredge the new channel.  Maureen says that the last channel dug or dredged was 3 feet deep in the middle and about 50 feet wide and was too small.  I can imagine that a new channel approximately in the same location as the last one, roughly between the end of the dock and the fish sign could be planned to be 4 ft. deep in the middle and 75 ft. wide.  This is up to the Town and the County to decide on but it is my understanding that it is their intention to do something like this.  I have suggested that for simplicity you just make the area to the East of the bridge a swimming area and an area for landing kayaks and paddle boards.  That would leave the West side of the bridge for motorboats to beach and continue to do what they have been doing.  Another subject is that the whole Greer Beach should be designated a Nature Preserve with no dogs allowed to roam free.  All of our planning should be oriented to the future and with everything that is done we should think about 5-10 years in the future.  The channel dredging should take a year or more to do even if they plan it today.  The beach signage should be something that the police can easily enforce.  We all will enjoy a nice peaceful area if we can only plan on it.  These aerials show what can and may happen.

Tom Mayers

Longboat Key

 

Photos from today at the LE dock meets the public beach.

To: Longboat Key Vice Mayor Maureen Merrigan

All our blessed dead are turning over in their graves. Our family has been on this little property for over a hundred years. The Towns’ Beach Renourishment policy has destroyed our life as we knew it at Lands End.

It is not Natural Accretion that has taken place off the end of the Lands End Dock at the North end of Longboat, it is millions and millions of dollars worth of dredged and filled sand that is continually swept into the Pass by the natural ebb and flow of the currents and by the occasional storm tides that we have yearly and deposited there on the bay side by the Lands End property and dock.

The Town has been have using tax payers Dollars and this huge mountain of sand stands as silent testimony to the failed policy of Longboat Keys continued dredge and fill policy  along the beachfront, as it is all piled up on the bayside.

The Longboat Key dredged and filled sand has not only  created a expensive environmental problem for our passes and bays it has also created a untenable situation for our family, who live at Lands End at the extreme North tip of Longboat.

The environmental impact this issue has had on making the Pass and Bay Water too shallow and too warm has been brought to the Towns attention for years by the diligent and well-articulated articles and letters, along with photos and videos presented by our brother, Tom Mayers. I have written a few letters myself. It has been difficult to watch the dredged sand pour into our pass but now we have not only shallow and warm bays with decreased sea grass and fish stocks we also have a major People and boat problem.

The sand mountain and surrounding beach that has deposited at the end of the Lands End dock is an attraction to the boaters and they come in droves to enjoy this spot. The pile of sand and beach is growing fast toward our dock and now it is literally five feet from the end  of our dock. l and also blocks the entrance  to Greer Bay.

The Town finally put up a few small signs but the rules on the signs were not enforced by the Longboat Key Police and since, someone has already removed the signs.

The people with large motor boats needs to be addressed by the Commission, immediately. The pile up of sand and boats at the end of our dock that block the channel that was recently dug by the Town to give access to the homeowners is an ongoing daily problem. Dogs run free among nesting bird ls in the sea oats and scrub there. Lands End dock is being overrun by the hoards of boaters. Of course, some are orderly and nice, many are not so nice.

Today one boat decided it was a great idea to plug the channel and he anchored where the inside boats could not leave.

These boating people have no sensibility, which is a problem. They do not use good sense nor are they respectful.

Instead of crying, today, I laughed, as  it looked like Lands End was hosting a big motor boat party at the end of our dock with 7or 8 big motor boats on top of each  other right there where there is no water and plugging the channel so no one ,not even a paddle boarder can pass . Big motors grinding to leave the shallows even while small kids are trying to swim there.

This area needs to have serious signage that is enforced. That sensitive critical area should absolutely be kept as a  kayak and swim park only and past the little channel ,past  the end of the Lands End Dock and  up to the point and with a large and posted sign ‘No motor boats allowed’ by order of the Town of LBK .

Where the point there falls back toward the Pass it can be the motorboat mooring section. With- A sign ‘motor boat mooring here.’  It really can be just that simple. It needs enforcement though.

It is a true taking of the peaceful enjoyment of our property. Which each property owner is warrantied in their Deed. My sister and brother and I all have homes here and it affects all of us here greatly.

We appreciate the Commissioners help in solving this quite drastic problem Thank you

I know that you are actively trying to help ,Maureen and we all appreciate you more than you know. Please do share my letter with the other Commissioners.

Joan Bergstrom

Longboat Key

 

Photos from today at the LE dock meets the public beach

To: Longboat Key Vice Mayor Maureen Merrigan

I have been asked to photograph this area when we have a busy day.  The Police were here today but it is difficult to explain the situation to the public with no signs on the beach since you removed them last month.  There are boats on the beach with no entrance possible to the bay.  There are also dogs on the beach.  Please show these photos to the other Commissioners, both Town and County, and the Police Dept. It seems difficult to do anything when there is no signage for the public to see.

Tom Mayers

Longboat Key

 

Photos from today at the LE dock meets the public beach

To: Tom Mayers

The situation at the end of the Lands End dock is a mess with the encroaching sand and boats.  Glad the police were present to address the dogs on the beach.

The Town needs to move on getting the vessel exclusion zone in place.  Your note, by copy to me, has been sent to all Commissioners.

Maureen Merrigan

Vice Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Photos from today at the LE dock meets the public beach

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

I had asked several weeks ago if we could find a solution – you indicated Public Works was finding a solution. Every day I go to physical therapy and cross the bridge the sand has gotten closer to the Mayers’ dock.

We all understand their added frustration with Manatee County’s decision to remove the signs.   Can we not alleviate the worst of this problem for them quickly as boating increases with the warm weather?

BJ Bishop

Commissioner, Longboat Key

 

Continuous Micro Dredging

To: Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier

The result of massive sand placement at the north end beaches is a brief period of wide beaches, that are quickly eroded, positing hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of sand inside Longboat pass, filling in the tidal basin, increasing the flood shoal and further covering sea grass beds.

Millions of tax dollars are repeatedly spent to temporarily replenish beaches that have daily tidal current reversals, rendering groins and jetties ineffective.

Jetties and groins do not retain sand, they only slightly slow down its migration.

The only known remedy for the problem is continuous sand recycling,  using a jetty/weir and electric micro dredge inside the pass, to back pass sand onto the adjacent beaches on a continuous basis.

There is no other effective remedy. Micro dredging is less expensive than periodic dredging, while maintaining a much better beach profile.

The special interests who do not benefit from creating sustainable inlets are dredging companies and beach engineers. Perhaps everyone might benefit from the town consulting disinterested experts.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Harding Circle HD on St. Armands Key

To: Sarasota City Senior Planner Clifford Smith

At your request, we reviewed the National Register nomination for the Harding Circle HD and the materials from the Sarasota City Commission meeting on March 21, 2022. I spoke with our CLG coordinator, Mariah Justice, and our Tax Credit Coordinator, Dr. Kyra Lucas, about the compatibility of the proposed project, as presented, with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards.

Our initial impression is that the proposed project, while aesthetically pleasing, would not meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards numbers 2, 9, and 10. Standard 2 states that “the historic character of a property shall be retained and preserved,” but this project would completely remake the circle and erase its historic configuration (note: we would need more information on its current design, which dates to the 1960s – over 50 years ago – but was based upon the 1920s original design). Standard 9 states that “new additions, exterior alterations or related new construction shall not destroy historic materials that characterize the property,” and Standard 10 states that “new additions and adjacent or related new construction shall be undertaken in such a manner that if removed in the future, the essential form and integrity of the historic property and its environment would be unimpaired.”

The character defining features of the circle are its open, grassy field and native plantings surrounding the perimeter. It also includes four of the twenty contributing historic statues that are part of the district. The complete regrading of the site to facilitate its use as an amphitheater and the wholesale replacement of all the landscaping and statuary could adversely affect the overall design integrity of the district, and such modifications would be difficult to reverse. However, more information is required to determine definitively the impacts of the plan on the district.

This determination is based only upon the preliminary presentation given at the city council meeting. It is not a final decision, nor is it a formal determination under Section 106 or any other regulatory process. We are always open to reconsideration based upon new information.

Note that the Harding Circle Historic District is listed in the National Register for its significance only under Criterion A: Community Planning and Development, and not under Criterion C: Architecture or Landscape Architecture (see attached NR nomination). This should grant your office some leeway in reviewing and approving projects for the Circle. In addition, the central greenspace was historically used for musical entertainment and, according to the nomination, had a bandstand from the 1920s to the 1940s.

Also note that the district boundaries only include the roadways and medians of John Ringling Boulevard and Boulevard of the Presidents out to Washington Drive, in addition to the entirety of Harding Circle and its central park.

We would recommend that your office work with the Business Improvement District to develop a proposed redevelopment plan that meets the community’s current needs while preserving the historic integrity of the Harding Circle Historic District. Let me know if you have any questions about our evaluation.

Ruben A. Acosta

Survey and Registration Supervisor Bureau of Historic Preservation

Florida Department of State

 

Harding Circle HD on St. Armands Key

To: Sarasota City Manager Marlon Brown

We got a pretty clear read from the SHPO on the proposed amphitheater and the historic designation as a whole. We can provide more details if you like.

Steve Cover

Director Planning and Zoning Department

City of Sarasota

  

Harding Circle HD on St. Armands Key

To: Sarasota City Planning and Zoning Director Steven Cover

Thanks for the research and reaching out to the Department of State and for sharing their email response below regarding the amphitheater in the Circle. Given that there was a bandstand from 1920 to 1940, can we research what that looked like. Maybe we can work with Mr. Leonard to replicate what was previously there avoiding alterations of historic significance.

Marlon Brown

City Manager

City of Sarasota

 

Harding Circle HD on St. Armands Key

To: Sarasota City Commissioner Jen Ahearn-Koch

It is unfortunate that these emails do not also address whether or not a carousel could be installed at the St. Armands Circle Park.  Are you able to follow-up with the City Manager about that?

Chris Goglia

President

St. Armands Residents Association

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