+ Town staff report was an honest and fair evaluation
I was disappointed with the tone of Bob and Shannon Gault’s recent e-mail to the Town Commission dated June 3.
In the past I thought you had done an excellent job articulating your support for the Longboat Key Club project. However, in your most recent e-mail I find that your comments regarding Monica Simpson to be totally inappropriate.
Ms. Simpson is an excellent professional planner with a significant understanding of the history of development on Longboat Key. She has a clear understanding of departures and how they have been used and granted on Longboat Key in the past.
In her staff report she stated her professional opinion regarding the Longboat Key Club application as evaluated against the town code and the comprehensive plan. Those documents have been developed over time by the citizens of this town to drive the design of any and all Longboat Key development. Ms. Simpson made it clear that she found the number and magnitude of the requested departures to be significant and unprecedented for a Longboat Key development.
An honest and fair evaluation by the town planner is required by the town code and as part of a quasi-judicial proceeding. Ms. Simpson's evaluation is incorporated into the staff report. The Town Commission can accept her recommendations or take other actions based on competent and substantial evidence.
Ms. Simpson provides good rationale for her decision and then points out alternatives for the club and the Town Commission.
As long as I am town manager, staff reports will be evaluated based on the merits of the proposal, the town code and/or the comprehensive plan. While the Town Commission has great discretion in any actions, staff will not tailor a report to favor a perceived goal of the Town Commission or a group of citizens on the Island.
Finally, the concerns about the club's plans articulated in the staff report were brought to the attention of the Longboat Key Club project team for at least two years.
Bruce St. Denis,
To read the letter to the Editor from Key residents Bob and Shannon Gault, click here.