The only Longboat Key commissioner without a challenger still calls this year’s election “extremely critical” to his second two-year term and what he will be able to help accomplish.
“The most important thing going on right now is this election,” Duncan said. “As a commission, we need to continue the work that’s being done. We’re a group that strives for consensus and moving things forward, and that needs to continue.”
When Duncan became the District 2 commissioner in March 2011, he let everyone know the town needed a vision and that a clear-cut business plan would be implemented.
At a June 2011 Longboat Key Town Commission meeting, Duncan said, “If you want to look at the island as a whole, you need an integrated strategy that includes the north end, the (Longboat) Key Club, the Colony (Beach & Tennis Resort), etc. You name it, it all has to be part of an overall plan that says, ‘This is what we want to be.’”
Fast forward to today and that plan is getting ready to be set in motion, most likely with the help of The Urban Land Institute (ULI). ULI could be hired soon to talk to residents and Key stakeholders and present a vision for the town that will help it overhaul its codes and Comprehensive Plan.
“I don’t have an agenda,” Duncan said. “If I have one, it’s to put long-term strategic planning in place for this Key.”
In his first term, Duncan lists accomplishments that include being a part of a group that completed an independent study on cellular communications; helping craft a new three-year contract for firefighters; and approving a new Longboat Key Publix and CVS Pharmacy.
“The Publix and CVS are steps in the right direction this Key has to build upon,” Duncan said.
Duncan’s first term, though, he said, isn’t without what he calls “disappointments.”
“The Colony and the north end (Whitney Beach Plaza and various vacant commercial parcels) just sitting there are disappointments,” said Duncan, who says the commission must do more to help in 2013. Duncan hopes to hold workshops on the Colony to get input from unit owners and Association board members. He says similar workshops might need to be held with north-end residents and stakeholders.
“We can sit around forever and say we don’t own these properties, but the answer starts to get unacceptable after a while,” Duncan said. “We need to look at ways to stimulate change there.”
What he doesn’t call a disappointment is the ruling on the former Longboat Key Club and Resort project that is forcing the town to rewrite its codes.
“I had no vote on that project, but I would have voted for it,” Duncan said. “The courts told us our codes need to be updated and gave us a roadmap to do it. That’s a positive thing.”
Duncan, an Ohio native, worked his way up the corporate ladder at Wilmington, Del.-based Zeneca Pharmaceuticals (now Astra Zeneca Pharmaceuticals) before making his way in 1999 to Longboat Key as a permanent resident.
Duncan is hopeful new codes and a new long-range plan will spur commercial renovations and applications for aging condos to update their properties.
“We are taking the steps now to move Longboat Key forward in the next 25 years,” Duncan said.
Family: Wife, Debbie; a daughter; and two sons
Hobbies: Baseball enthusiast; kayaking; running four to five miles a day on the treadmill
Interesting fact: Duncan and his baseball buddies have made spring training baseball an annual rite of passage each year for more than three decades. Duncan has been visiting ballparks all over Florida since 1980 and makes a point to visit Arizona spring training ballparks, too. Duncan has also seen a ballgame in most major league ballparks nationwide. He says Wrigley Field, in Chicago, is his favorite for its combination of charm, history and character.