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Longboat Key
Saturday, September 24, 2022

Letters to the Editor week of May 27, 2022

Ohana house blocks walking

To: Editor

I have lived in our community for 32 years. My greatest pleasure over these years has been walking on our beach with my family and friends. These walks are no longer available because of the owners of what has become known as the Ohana house. I believe that it is your obligation, for the benefit of the public, to do what is best for us. I feel that it is wrong to negotiate with the owners, as this will create a precedent which could become an ongoing problem on our beach and for the town. We property owners, voters and neighbors look to you to open up our beach to the public, as it was for the more than 50 years that I know of.

Lillian Sands

Longboat Key

 

Ruskie and Alexi

To: Editor

“Buoyant, Post-Pandemic Optimism”

Initially I assumed it was an attempt at “Tongue in Cheek”, reading further on, the realization that it was a “ Foot in the Mouth” distortion of the country’s awareness of the ongoing pandemic. There is an average of 3000 new cases daily. I guess I missed the “ buoyant optimistic” parades and fireworks. Your further arguments based on the above, discounts the ongoing pain and suffering of this country.

Another Big Lie.

“Reflections on Florida”

Being a USAF veteran with a top-secret clearance in the intelligence sector, I can readily understand you being rejected by the CIA. Using the tragedy of the “ Challenger” as an introduction to your vitriolic diatribe against abortion, racial curricula, the right to protest, and free speech via-a-vis LGBTQ is that best self-serving and at its worst it is repugnant and ignorant of the Constitution’s Inalienable Rights granted to all citizens irrespective of Race, Creed, or Gender. Another Big Lie.

Edmund Albright

City of Sarasota

Manatee County meeting rescheduled

To: Longboat Key Commissioner Mike Haycock

The GMD Corridor Study and the Broadway Roundabout was on our joint meeting agenda with Manatee County.  Unfortunately, we had to cancel that meeting and are working with them to reschedule.  We will be including it on the agenda for the new meeting date as well.

Longboat Key has been considered part of the State’s Shared Use Non-Motorized (SUN) Trail Network which is largely consistent with what the Trust for Public Land identifies on  a local level as the “Gulf Coast Trail”.  The Town, FDOT, and the MPO have been aware of the SUN Trail segment on the island.  If you look at the SUN Trail map below from the Sate website you will see the trail designation.  Our portion of the SUN Trail is listed as an unfunded bap because the current trail is know to be a substandard part of the trail network (current width and condition).  Obviously, our GMD Corridor Study will reflect the SUN Trail reference, especially as it relates to funding and implementation. I will be happy to reach out to Charles to make sure we are all on the same page.

We are working with FDOT and the MPO for our Fall discussion on Destination Zero.  We will look at ways to coordinate the two updates.

Isaac is engaged with the technical group on the Transportation Resiliency effort and it is good that Kimley Horn is doing our GMD Corridor Study and is also involved in that initiative with FDOT.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

Monday’s MPO Meeting and follow-up

To: Longboat Key Commission

I attended Mondays MPO meeting and since I won’t be there next week I wanted to summarize some follow-ups for us.

I was able to introduce our GMD corridor to the Board and updated them on the current status. I shared that we would be back in the fall with cost and would be looking for their support. MPO Chair Baugh asked if we were going to give the Manatee County Commission an update.  We should make sure it is on the agenda when we meet with them next.

There are a number of initiatives that were discussed that might be funding sources for our project.  Here are the ones that we should follow-up on.

1. Charles Hines presented for the Trust for Public land and the Florida Gulf Coast Trail and suggested there might be some public money for Multiuse Trials. Curiously he shared a map that showed an existing Gulf Coast Trail on Longboat Key. I did not get a chance to talk to him but suggest you give him a call. The MPO also has Trails Study being done by a consultant but is currently focused on the Mainland.

2. Dave Hutchinson discussed the recent Destination Zero workshop. There are specific dollars set aside for this initiative and Dave thinks there is a good match with our GMD project. When he presents to the Commission in the fall I suggest we have our GMD study update at the same meeting so they can discuss funding strategy with him.

3. Colleen from Kimley-Horn presented the status of the Long-Range Transportation Plan Resiliency/Vulnerability Assessment Study. The study specifics were not clear to me, but I wanted to make sure your team was involved.

Mike Haycock

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Longboat Key Club Pickle ball Court Request

To: Longboat Key Town Commission

As neither a pickle ball player nor resident of Winding Oaks, to this dispassionate observer the matter of the Key Club’s request has played out in a familiar pattern:  the use of the appropriate process to propose a change;  poor communication at the start with interested parties;  fears expressed by surrounding properties countered by advocacy confusing desire for need, with both sides perhaps overstating their cases just a bit.

Wisely, Ocean Properties recognized that the notification issue provided a new opportunity for outreach, which they may or may not have attempted.  But Planning and Zoning will receive another opportunity to consider the application and hear from the public and the applicants.

There is no wish to argue here whether or not pickle ball is the fastest growing sport in the universe.  Let’s just say it is popular and people enjoy playing it.  Let us also recognize that there is less capacity on Longboat Key than players would prefer.

The chief argument in opposition is for once not traffic, it is noise.  But all that has been claimed by both sides appears to be anecdotal.  I would propose that Planning and Zoning work to empirically identify the volume levels of enthusiastic play and the distance at which the sound dissipates, including when it travels over water.  This information should be gathered by an independent party engaged by either the Town or the Club(Applicant) so that discussion can move out of the perceived and anecdotal and into the realm of fact.  In that way, an informed decision can be reached by the Planning Board and ultimately by the Commission.

While gathering these facts might cause a rescheduling of final Planning Board deliberations it might be a preferable avenue toward ultimately reaching a satisfactory conclusion for everyone. Hope all are doing well.

Terry Gans

Longboat Key

 

Longboat Key Club Pickle ball Court Request

To: Terry Gans

As you know, we Commissioners cannot comment on this quasi-judicial matter that will end up before us at some point, but I appreciate as always, your logical approach to the issue.  There is now time for research, but also time for the interested parties to discuss a win-win solution.

Ken Schneier

Mayor, Longboat Key

 

Pickleball application

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

The Mayor’s receipt of a Notice, mailed by the applicant, for a June 6th Town Commission public hearing on the proposed Harbourside Pickleball Courts addition, highlights an issue that’ll unfortunately cause similar confusion with other recipients (i.e. property owners within 500 ft).

The applicant had already sent Notices for the June 6th Town Commission public hearing, prior to requesting that their application be reheard by the P&Z Board (& withdrawn from the June 6th Town Commission agenda).  That is the Notice referred to below & which undoubtedly will be causing some confusion with recipients. I will contact the Observer & the LBK News to see if they can help with stories that will mention the applicant’s requested rehearing by the P&Z Board and that some residents will be receiving Notices still indicating a June 6th Town Commission public hearing.

FYI- The applicant will be required to mail Notices for the June 21st P&Z Board by June 7th. Recipients should be receiving those Notices thereafter.

On the question about the Site Location Map (which the Town provides to an applicant for them to include with the Notice)- that typically points to a subject property. In this case, with the subject property being the entirety of the Harbourside Longboat Key Club, the map was pointing to the general location of the application.  We’ve updated the Site Location Map to have the arrow more closely point to the proposed courts location so that it is not inadvertently being misread.

Allen Parsons

Director Planning, Zoning & Building Department

Town of Longboat Key

Pickleball application

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

We just received the notice for the rescheduled LBKC pickleball application for June 6.  It includes a map with a red arrow pointing to “Site Location”, with the tip of the arrow at the parking lot adjacent to the storage building for the Tennis Gardens.  This is much further from Winding Oaks than where I understood the original application to have sited the courts; have they been moved?

Ken Schneier

Mayor, Longboat Key

 

Pickleball application

To: Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier

Mayor, thanks for the email.  See note below from Allen.  The proposed location of the Key Club pickleball courts has not changed at this time. Since the applicant sent out the June 6th notice before they requested that their item be reheard by the P&Z Board that notice is no longer valid.  There will be an updated notice going out for the June 21st P&Z Board Meeting that they will be more specific in highlighting the actual location of the proposed courts versus a more general site location.    Allen’s Department will be working with the local papers to help reinforce that the next hearing scheduled is the June 21st P&Z Meeting and that the Commission hearings will follow that review/recommendation and at this time are being scheduled for the September and October regular Commission meetings.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Proposed LBKC pickleball

To: Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier

I am a Winding Oaks resident.  I wrote a note to you when I first read about the proposed courts (and how all the constituencies were supposedly, “in favor.”  My views haven’t change vis a vis having the courts as near to Winding Oaks as what’s been proposed.  Unfortunately the unique noise that comes from a  pickle racquet hitting the pickle ball is fine if you are playing, but absolutely brutal to have to listen to , if you are trying to enjoy quiet time outside.  There is just no comparison to how we would be affected vs how it presently is by the Marina condos.  Their outdoor spaces face in the opposite direction and have buildings and trees in between.

I am a member of the club, and play golf, tennis and pickle so I would normally be very in favor of facilities enhancements.  But never at the expense of the neighborhood.  Further, I haven’t found a single golfer or tennis player that is in favor of having these courts in the proposed location.

I hope the club will reconsider their plans in a way that takes into account everyone’s needs, not just their own. I hope they can find a location that can work for everyone.

Tom Dimond

Longboat Key

 

Proposed LBKC pickleball

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

In light of the problem with delivery of notices, the Longboat Key Club has requested that its pickleball application be reheard by the Planning and Zoning Board at its regular meeting at 9:15 am on Tuesday, June 21 in Town Hall.  The P and Z’s decision on this matter will be advisory only, and the application will then be heard twice by the Town Commission, probably at its September and October regular meetings.  All of these meetings are open to the public, and any testimony or other evidence given at the hearings will become a part of the record and considered in the final decision.

As the pickleball matter is quasi-judicial in nature, members of the P and Z and the Commission are prohibited from discussing its substance outside of the public hearing.  However, nothing precludes the applicant and other parties in interest from trying to reach an amicable solution beforehand. Let me know if you have any further questions.

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Pickleball is noisy

To: Longboat Key Commission

I am a resident of Winding Oaks, the nearest neighborhood to the proposed pickle ball courts.  I would like to record my dismay at how this matter has been handled as well as at the apparent approval of the proposed courts.

Pickleball is a lot of fun. I play it, although not at Longboat Key Club since I am not a member.  Reading the Planning and Zoning Board staff report, I could only note with disbelief the statement that these courts will benefit the Bay Isles community.  I would submit it only benefits Longboat Key Club members.  But, as I said, the game is a lot of fun.  And noisy.  The ball hitting the paddle is noisy, the ball hitting the surface is noisy, the voices of people playing are  noisy.  So I was very surprised to see, that even though the noise has already been freed to travel by the removal of shrubs, and will be further freed by removal of dozens of trees, and already has fewer obstacles than distance might imply because much of the distance is over water (which does not obstruct sound), the effect of the noise of the games on the neighborhood is not taken into account in the staff report.

I think the noise would have been considered had Longboat Key Club bothered to consult the neighborhood about their plans ahead of time, like you would expect a good neighbor to do.  And the noise would also have been considered had the neighborhood been notified about the hearing before the Planning Board.  But they did not, and we were not.  From the point of view of achieving a result that works for everybody, I really don’t think it matters when notices of the hearing were mailed; the point is, we didn’t get them, to the detriment of a result that might work for everyone.  I also note that some articles have indicated the courts will be lit.  I see nothing in the report about shielding the neighborhood from the lights.

In short, this is a very poor result from a process handled poorly.  In golfing parlance, I suggest the LBK club and the Planning Board take a mulligan.  Start over, and get it right this time.

Michael Spencer

Longboat Key

 

New library

To: Longboat Key Commission

Good news!  At today’s Sarasota County Commission budget workshop the County Administrator presented the plan to add $1 million to their FY23 Capital Budget to advance planning and design of a new library. This was obviously a follow up to the Town’s request at the joint meeting.  I was notified after today’s workshop that all of the Commissioners supported the request and it will now become part of the proposed budget going forward. As discussed during the joint meeting, the County is waiting to finalize their current study to confirm library deficiencies in the County before formally designating a specific library location so it will be generally listed at this time.

Tom Harmer

Town Manager

Longboat Key

 

New library

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

This is such good news Tom; an important first step in funding the project. Thank you for your leadership on this.

Penny Gold

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

New library

To: Longboat Key Commission

In my recent discussions with the Sarasota County School Board staff and potential partnership with Sarasota County and the Community Center/Library project they requested use of our Chamber for their June 21st Board Meeting.  They advised that they have some work scheduled for their board room so they are looking for a place to hold their meeting that evening.  They also are scheduling other board meetings in various locations around the County and wanted to do one on Longboat Key.

We have made arrangements for them to hold their June 21st meeting here at Town Hall at 6 p.m.  They will reimburse the Town for any expenses to support the meeting and they have set aside a few minutes at the beginning of the meeting for us to welcome them to Longboat Key.

I have confirmed with the Mayor his availability to welcome them to Longboat Key and I have prepared a few slides highlighting Longboat Key and a couple of our major initiatives including the Town Center that we will present to them at the beginning of their meeting.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Coquina Beach Parking

To: Longboat Key Commission

See note below from Manatee County regarding status of the Coquina Beach Parking Area.  They have advised that they have a new contractor lined up a new contractor that should be starting early next month.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Coquina Beach Parking

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

This will not help with Memorial Day or 4th of July.  I hope they will take appropriate measures to ensure golf carts stay on their side of the bridge and we will have to keep the north end of the island safe from illegal parking.

BJ Bishop

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Coquina Beach Parking

To: Longboat Key Public Works Director Isaac Brownman

Isaac, receiving questions from Commissioners about the lack of activity on the Coquina Beach parking lot construction project. I heard previously that the contractor walked off the project and they were going to be soliciting for someone else to pick up the work. But that was some time ago. Please reach out and see if we can get an update on status of the project.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Coquina Beach Parking

To: Longboat Key Commissioner Mike Haycock

It’s been a long time, and I hope all is well.  Below, our Town Manager notes receiving an inquiry from some of our commissioners about a lack of activity at Coquina Beach Parking Lot construction site.  Can you give us a quick update we can share with the Town Commission? Thank you!

Isaac Brownman

Director Public Works

Longboat Key

 

Coquina Beach Parking

To: Longboat Key Public Works Director Isaac Brownman

Good morning Isaac. We had to let the contractor go. We have another lined up to start early next month.

Michael.Sturm

Senior Project Engineer

Manatee County

 

Pickleball court objection

To: Longboat Key Commission

As homeowners in Winding Oaks Association directly affected by the possibility of pickle ball courts at the Longboat Key Club we wish to register our strong objection to the current proposal.  The Longboat Key Club did not give us actual notice, information sessions to learn about the project or the opportunity to be heard on the proposal.

Pickle ball is not a suitable activity in proximity to a residential community.  Pickle ball courts are exceptionally loud.  They are much louder than tennis courts.  The ball is hard, the number of ball hits are much more frequent than tennis.  Golf is a very benign sport from a noise perspective with gaps between foursomes.  Pickle ball is a constant cacophonous din.

The pickle ball courts at Marina Bay have been referenced.  Marina Bay is not comparable to Winding Oaks for the following reasons.   The pickle ball courts near Marina Bay are blocked by significant vegetation.  The vegetation on the proposed WO courts would be largely removed.  In fact some helpful sound blocking vegetation between the proposed courts and Winding Oaks has already been removed by the LBKC.  Marina Bay presents a nearly blank high rise wall toward the courts while the primary bedrooms, living rooms and outdoor living spaces of Winding Oaks will be in a direct sound and light line to the proposed courts.  In contrast at Marina Bay as the name suggests the living spaces face out toward the Bay.  As a result, the noise and lighting until 9 pm will disrupt the quiet use and enjoyment of our homes.

Given the significant negative impact the courts will have on the quality of life on many in the Winding Oaks and surrounding communities is there not some other location that could be a win-win for all?

Nancy and David Camp

Longboat Key

 

Pickleball court objection

To: David Camp

The Planning and Zoning Board has been asked by the Key Club to rehear this application in June.

BJ Bishop

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Pickleball court support

To: Longboat Key Town Commission

As new residents/property owners in Longboat Key we are writing to support the construction of new courts at the Longboat Key Club.

• We were attracted to LBK because of the community’s active lifestyle.

Pickleball is one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S. as it offers exercise and social opportunities.  Allowing the Longboat Key Club to improve its facilities is important to us as Club members.  We use the current courts and as live aboards at the marina we were never bothered by the sound.  In fact, we only heard it when directly adjacent to the courts.

• The courts at Bayfront Park are highly used and there is pressure on the town to build more courts.  Having privately owned courts takes the pressure off the town to find space for and pay to build more courts.

• There is a perception that noise from playing pickleball is much louder than it really is. The noise decibels do not exceed town standards.  Noise from garbage collection and lawn cutting is far louder. In addition, the LBK Club is also installing sound barriers around the courts.  Pickleball also isn’t played for that long a period of time during the day and it is generally when people are out biking, walking, running or doing errands.

• It is my understanding that LBK has over 50 properties with PB courts all over the island.  These are within condo associations and are located near condos with no issues.

We support the improvement of the pickleball courts at the LBK Club.

Claudia and Darrell Moore

Longboat Key Club Moorings Marina

 

North end issues

To: Longboat Key Vice Mayor Maureen Merrigan

Hello neighbor.  I hope you are doing well.

Please note we recently had a director change on our Board of Directors.  Jim Gusweiler has replaced Rob Hongen as Coastal Chair.  There are a few questions which have recently come up that we would appreciate receiving feedback.

Am copying LBK North communication leads (Pat Kaufman, Jeff Driver) on e-mail so they can make sure this change is noted and the minutes and invitations for LBK North now go to Jim.

The first question pertains to any public comment which may have been received by the TLBK Commission concerning the proposed roundabout at Broadway.  To my knowledge, no one from Longbeach Condominiums (LBC) has testified either for or against this project.  Have hearings by the TLBK Commission been conducted where testimony would have been offered?  If so, please let me know when these hearings were held and where we can find any testimony which may have been submitted.  I believe that FDOT and Manatee County may be leading this initiative.  However, it would be helpful to better understand the community views both for and against this project to share with our owners.

Happy to give you background, as a roundabout at the Broadway intersection has been a topic of heavy discussion for LBK North over the past 5 years and has been in the goals of LBK North presented to the Commission each year for the last 3 years. Below is an excerpt from the LBK North minutes back in Nov 2017.

“This intersection can be harrowing when trying to make a left-hand turn and extremely dangerous when trying to cross on foot during the season.  When the Shore restaurant opens (by the way construction is back on), the intersection will be an even greater safety concern.  As many of you are aware, the city has looked at plans to add a traffic circle in that area.  Having been to several presentations on the issue, we are convinced a circle would make the intersection safer, would improve traffic flow and would present an opportunity with landscaping to be an attractive northern gateway to the island.  The town is currently in serious planning stages to build a circle on the south end of the island near the LBK Club and we will advocate with the town to include the north end circle plans in that same timetable.”

With LBK North, the roundabout has been discussed with all of the Reps to bring back to their HOAs for 5 years. The Town shared designs/concepts, traffic safety info regarding a traffic light vs roundabout, worked with Whitney’s to ensure their build out could accommodate a roundabout, met with Conrad Beach residents that bordered the area, presented to various neighborhood groups about the pros and cons.  Bob Appel, from LBC was also involved in helping LBK North move this concept forward.  Of course, the need for a safer intersection (roundabout) has only increased over the last few years, as we now have 3 very successful and busy restaurants on Broadway and the area serves over 350 homes and our busiest public beach access. We also had a fatality in the area.

There has been very high resident support for it, a few valid concerns that will need to be addressed in design (keep in mind it will be bigger than the Bradenton Beach circle and smaller than US 41 circles), and still a number of residents (especially new owners) that need to be educated on why a roundabout makes sense there and why LBK North has advocated for one on the north end.

From a Commission standpoint, it has been discussed during the goals and objectives meeting each year for the last 4 years, during the budget discussions last year and this year and during the GMD corridor study presentation and public input session.  There was little, if any, public comment offered during the meetings I attended (beyond LBK North written submission for Town goals).   Public comments are welcome at any Commission meeting.

Fortunately, last year because of the safety concerns, the LBK Commission and Manatee County decided to fund the design work (typically paid by FDOT) to accelerate the project.  We should get a report on that in the next few months, which would be another opportunity for public comment.   The roundabout will also be discussed with Manatee County in a public meeting this Thursday.

Sorry for the long response but wanted to get the background to you and Jim.  The LBK North Board (Paul, Pat K, Pat Z) can provide additional info as needed.

The second question concerns the parking enforcement of the lot adjacent to Whitney Plaza.  The public crowds on the beach with access to Broadway have been abnormally large the past two weekends. With the parking lot under construction at Coquina Beach remains stalled for the foreseeable future, this mishap will likely generate excessive beach traffic at the North End of Longboat Key. To successfully manage these crowds, the TLBK must help to ensure strict parking enforcement of this lot   The owners here at LBC would be most appreciative to receive a letter from the Commission formally addressing how our concerns regarding parking enforcement are being addressed.

Agree with your points about Coquina parking – the delay in construction is causing overflow on our beaches and streets.

I do understand that there were beach goers on Mother’s Day weekend using that new parking lot.  Will send this along to Tom Harmer for additional comment, but from my understanding the entrance to the private parking lot is now “coned off” and is designated for employee and/or overflow parking for Mar Vista and the Shore restaurants and is not intended for any beach parking.  Police are still out ticketing illegal parkers on the streets (they ticketed one in front of my house today).  Similar to condo private parking, lot owners can tow, put up gates and signage.  I do not believe the police patrol / ticket private lots.  Regardless, we will need to keep an eye on it.

Questions remain regarding when we can expect the lighting fixtures to be operational on North Shore Drive.  Latest schedule has lights on by the end of the summer! We look forward to receiving answers to these questions.

Debbie Murphy

Longboat Key

 

North end issues

To: Debbie Murphy

Thank you for reaching out and continuing to serve as President of one of our larger Condo Associations on the north end of the Key.

My comments in red font below.  Call me if you need any more info.  Also can always have residents reach out directly to the Town via website (can “report a concern/ask a question” and get a written response and/or call back).

Maureen Merrigan

Vice Mayor

Longboat Key

North end issues

 

To: Longboat Key Vice Mayor Maureen Merrigan

Commissioner Merrigan, thanks for the email. Good response on the proposed roundabout- nothing to add.

For the MarVista lot:

Yes, that is a private lot so we don’t enforce parking on private property.  I confirmed with our Planning, Zoning, Building Director that there are no restrictions on who can park there each day.  They have to have enough parking for their office use, but can allow parking there on their lot at their discretion.  We understood one of their primary purposes to purchase and improve the lot is to create some capacity for their employees and patrons but they can allow others to park there.

We are checking with the County on the status of their construction project- we have heard that they had contractor issues but have asked for an update.  The police department enforcement is for any public/street parking and should be consistent regardless of the Coquina Beach construction project.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

North end issues

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

I am sorry we are not meeting with Manatee Commissioners to address the failure of their parking lot improvements at Coquina along with our other issues. While we cannot police private property we need to have increased presence on the north beaches for holiday weekend and enforce parking on public streets.

BJ Bishop

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

North end issues

To: Longboat Key Commissioner BJ Bishop

Commissioner Bishop, thanks for the email.  Police, Fire, and Public Works Departments coordinate their plans in advance of each holiday weekend.  That plan does include increased law enforcement presence and they continue to enforce public parking violations related to our beach access points and as part of the resident only parking program.  They also coordinate with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and the Bradenton Beach Police Department in advance of each holiday weekend.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

Missing woman

To: Longboat Key Commission

A woman went missing Saturday night off of Lido Beach while swimming. Multiple agencies participated in a search of the area Saturday evening and Sunday and did not find her. Last night a body washed up on shore here on Longboat Key. Sarasota PD responded to investigate and our police and fire assisted.  They have confirmed this morning that the body is the missing swimmer.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Applicant’s Request to Rehear the Harborside Pickleball Courts Application

To: Longboat Key Commission

The applicant for the pickleball courts next to the Tennis Gardens has requested that the item be reheard by the Planning & Zoning Board before coming before the Commission due to the concerns about the original notice.  The staff is scheduling that hearing for the June 21st P&Z Meeting.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Applicant’s Request to Rehear the Harborside Pickleball Courts Application

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

We’ve received the attached request from the applicant for the Harbourside Pickleball Courts addition. The request is to remove the application from the Town Commission’s June 6th Regular Meeting agenda & have the application reheard by the P&Z Board, with new notices provided.  We will be working with the applicant to have this scheduled for the next P&Z Board meeting, which will be on June 21st at 9:15 a.m.

Allen Parsons

Director Planning, Zoning & Building Department

Town of Longboat Key

 

Coquina parking lot

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

Can we find out what is going on with 60 percent of public parking lot at Coquina not being finished? Memorial and 4th of July could create some serious problems for north end of LBK with that still being unfinished.

BJ Bishop

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Coquina parking lot

To: Longboat Key Commissioner BJ Bishop

Heard previously that contractor abandoned project and they had to figure out a way to bring in someone else. We can ask for an update.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Coquina parking lot

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

Good idea. Now that they are issuing tickets for people illegally parked the overflow may end up in LBK neighborhoods.

BJ Bishop

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Crosswalk at Bayport

To: Longboat Key Commission

As a newer owner at Bayport Beach and Tennis Club, I quickly became aware of a serious potential problem. The lack of a crosswalk to cross Gulf of Mexico Drive to the beach entrance directly across the street. With traffic often traveling well over the posted speed limits (I strongly believe a maximum speed limit of 35 mph is appropriate), a crosswalk with a signal is vital to insuring against accidents/injuries. Please vote to approve an appropriate crosswalk/signal at your earliest possible convenience.

Harold Blumenfeld

Longboat Key

 

Crosswalk at Bayport

To: Harold Blumenfeld

Thank you for your email regarding crosswalks near the Bayport community.  I drive by there several times a day and am very aware of the need for properly positioned crosswalks.  This is an issue that is being actively addressed by the town and FDOT.  I’m sure Bayport and other nearby communities will be kept in the loop for any next steps.

Debra Williams

Commissioner

Longboat Key

Gulf of Mexico Drive crosswalk – Bayport

To: Longboat Key Commission

We have lived at Bayport since 1993. Crossing Gulf of Mexico Drive has always been a challenge. As our population ages it gets more difficult to run across the street to get to the beach. The 45 mph speed limit and lack of accessible crosswalk is sure to lead to future fatalities.   Help us to make Longboat Key a safe home for all residents.

Eleanor & Richard Linde

Longboat Key

 

Gulf of Mexico Drive crosswalk – Bayport

To: Eleanor and Richard Linde

Thank you for your email regarding crosswalks near the Bayport community.  I drive by there several times a day and am very aware of the need for properly positioned crosswalks.  This is an issue that is being actively addressed by the town and FDOT.  I’m sure Bayport and other nearby communities will be kept in the loop for any next steps.

Debra Williams

Commissioner

Longboat Key

Window Replacement Permit

To: Sarasota City Commission

I have been in the Permit and Government regulatory fields for close to 35 years. On 5/26/2022 we were threatened with shutdown of our work at the referenced location by City Staff.

In the 35 years I have been doing this, I have never acted in good faith to obtain a Building Permit and then have the fact that another permit was required threaten to shut us down except now in the City of Sarasota.  Part of my career spent in Government permitting, if we required a permit or permission from another Department, we would require or advise the applicant that as part of the Building Permit Process and then not issue the permit until that was acknowledged or permission obtained. In the private sector as a Permit Manager, I have never had an agency  not advise ahead of time that another departments permission is required.

You all issued us a Building Permit and then send an Inspector out to threaten to shut the job down and then hold us hostage for a fine and another permit fee and act like we are trying to pull something.

I think it’s bad business to issue a Building Permit and then have someone waiting in the blind to do this. Even if the process is totally innocent, it confuses to me to have one department issuing a permit on behalf of the City and not even advise during that process in which we pay a plan review fee, that no one bothers to mention that you need to get an engineering permit. From what I can see it’s just a money grab for the 2nd permit but at least tell your customers upfront and make the issuance of a permit contingent on obtaining the required other Department approval.

Furthermore, this reflects negatively on my Company and my personal expertise from a perception standpoint. I would think the City would be more Business and user friendly especially in a project that is improving the appearance of a main area.

Jack Abrams

Weather Tite Windows

 

Window Replacement Permit

To: Sarasota City Manager Marlon Brown

I talked to Mike Taylor and he provided me an update on this.  Weather Tite Windows has an active permit to replace windows at this site.  Weather Tite Windows had blocked the sidewalk with tape for their construction but did not get a sidewalk closure from Engineering. Wesley Stucky , from Engineering, went to the jobsite and told them they were required to get a sidewalk closure for the 2 day duration of their project . Mr. Abrams was upset and felt he should have been notified from Development Services that a sidewalk closure from the Engineering was required. Mike spoke to him and explained that typically a two story building would not need a sidewalk closure for window replacement and our plans examiners would not know his means and methods for this window installation. He agreed and Mike gave him his number if he had any other questions.  Additionally, we (DS) never threatened to stop his job as we were not involved with the sidewalk closure requirement.

Lucia Panica

Development Services Director

City of Sarasota

 

Indian Beach Sapphire Shores Neighbors Request re: Apartment Projects

To: Sarasota City Commission

You have a lot to read so my message is sent in abbreviated format.

Dramatic and harmful change is proposed to the Indian Beach Sapphire Shores neighborhood. Three additional 4-story high density apartment buildings are in the process of being approved.

The site plans of Akoya and Sapphire South route all traffic to and from the buildings to flow through our neighborhood streets instead of directly onto US 41/Tamiami Trail.  The diversion of traffic into our neighborhood, over 309 vehicles per the workshop data, is incongruent.

It is reasonable to expect that a new development have complete plans to provide for resident parking, guest parking, service vehicle parking and overflow parking needs. The traffic studies filed do not relate to the actual streets to be impacted and they do not demonstrate an appreciation of how this neighborhood functions. Sarasota Avenue is not even mentioned but it will become a collector street for the Akoya and Sapphire Projects. Sarasota Avenue is at any given time a pedestrian mall; there are bicycles, baby strollers, dog walkers and peacocks.  Adding a steady flow of vehicles to this mix presents a major safety hazard. How is this appropriate?

I quote below from Article VI-910 of the City zoning code:

“The North Trail Overlay District (NTOD) is intended to provide an optional set of zoning standards… the standards will encourage new development and redevelopment projects to function in a sensitive manner that preserves the integrity and long-term viability of the surrounding neighborhoods.”

We request that safety and suitability be foremost in the design of projects that have such a monumental impact on Indian Beach Sapphire Shores.  Please request that the apartment driveways be moved to US 41.

Ceci Wooster

Sarasota

 

Indian Beach Sapphire Shores Neighbors Request re: Apartment Projects

To: Ceci Wooster

I can’t commit to any changes to the plans until I have a chance to see what is being planned. When it comes before me, I will take into consideration the emails I have received regarding this project.

Liz Alpert

Commissioner

City of Sarasota

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