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Longboat Key Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013 2 years ago

Consultant needed to map Longboat Key's future

by: Kurt Schultheis Managing Editor

It’s back to the drawing board in the town of Longboat Key’s quest to modify its codes and Comprehensive Plan.

Town Manager Dave Bullock told the Longboat Key Town Commission at its Tuesday, Jan. 22 regular workshop he isn’t comfortable recommending either one of two companies willing to review the current codes.

“Neither firm met my expectation for the best team going into this,” Bullock said. “We need a careful and thorough look at our zoning code and where the Key wants to be.”

The town put out request for proposals in May to find a consultant to help the town through an analysis and an objective review of existing town conditions. But, even after a committee was formed to produce a recommendation, the commission agreed Tuesday neither company that came forward was a fit for the job.

The town-hired consultant will look at all aspects of the community and hold no less than 10 community meetings to discuss everything about the island, including its residential and tourism aspects.

The five main areas of concern are residential, tourism, commercial, marketing and zoning.

Once a consultant is selected and community meetings are held, there will be follow-up meetings to discuss the consultant’s findings.

The consultant will also attend and assist staff with the future public hearings required to adopt any of the plans or policies that come from the public meetings.

In April, the Longboat Key Town Commission directed town staff to find a community consultant after commissioners rejected a proposal from The Urban Land Institute (ULI) to organize a five-day panel of various professionals for a similar project, at a cost of $125,000.

On Tuesday, the commission made a decision to give the ULI another look and invite officials to Town Hall for a discussion.

“The Urban Land Institute wasn’t interviewed,” said Mayor Jim Brown. “Many of us believe they can do this.”

Planning and Zoning Board Chairwoman B.J. Webb, who expressed frustration earlier this week with how slowly the process is going, urged the town Tuesday to move forward expeditiously.

“I said years ago we can’t continue to put Band-Aids on the zoning code and the Comp Plan,” Webb said. “When you have Band-Aid projects on a continual basis, those Band-Aids fall off. We desperately need a new Comp Plan and a new zoning ordinance.”



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