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+ St. Armands traffic problems could be solved with lights
The traffic problems of St Armands Circle, thus Longboat Key in general, seem to me to stem from the confluence of pedestrians and cars at the Circle. With unrestricted pedestrian crossings and pedestrian precedence, car traffic is constantly backed up.
If small solar-powered traffic lights were installed at each pedestrian crossing that would give pedestrians a 60-second crossing. The lights need only apply to pedestrians, and the precedence at crossings would still remain, but most would respect the lights. The lights could be phased around the Circle in an anti-clockwise direction so that there would be an almost constant slow flow of traffic and back-ups would be limited or reduced.
The timing of these lights could easily be altered throughout the season to adjust for seasonal conditions.
The cost would be minimal and not involve large ugly aerial lights.
+ The town should not waste the taxpayers’ money
How long will we continue to tolerate the waste of our money by federal-and- local governments? We have two examples right here on Longboat Key. First, look at the foolishly crowded palm-tree forest being installed on the south end of the Key. This $500,000 boondoggle is the result of the failed trillion-dollar “stimulus” package that will be put on the backs of our children and grandchildren. How many jobs did this create? Rather, how many hours of work did it create? This installation will be a perpetual monument to governmental incompetence and waste.
Second, we have a local example with the endless number of beach renourishments that have wasted tens of millions of our dollars. Michael Lightfoot noted that it “just washes away” in a recent letter to the editor. In my 20 years here, I have paid for at least four of the foolish projects. The worst example was about eight years ago in the fall when one-third or more of the sand vanished within months. One of the experts in the Town Hall explained that “a storm came through.” Imagine? A storm on Longboat Key in the fall!
My grandfather had an expression that is very appropriate here: “Shoveling s*** against the tide.” My alternate home is in Chicago, where the lovely beaches are protected by seawalls, breakwaters and groins.
We waste our Chicago money in other areas.
Enough waste on both a federal-and- local level. It may be hard to educate the government in Washington, but we can set an example on Longboat Key.
Stuart R. Scheyer
+ Loeb Partners Realty should not get everything it wants
Editor’s note: This letter was originally sent to Commissioner David Brenner and The Longboat Observer.
I realize you have a Vision Plan, which is good. However, I don’t believe your vision should give the Loeb organization everything it wants. They do not guarantee they will build a hotel, which will bring in new people. If they don’t sell their condos and villas, everything will be at a standstill, and they don’t even say when or if they will build. Please don’t give away the store, as the saying goes. Let’s work out a compromise.
+ We need to figure out how to make this deal work
Editor’s note: This letter was originally sent to the Town Commission and The Longboat Observer.
This letter is to register our support for the Longboat Key Club expansion plan. Although we understand the Town Commission needs to do its job, we urge you all to approach this project from the point of view of how to make this work, as opposed to how to make this fail. We believe a failure to make this project work is a failure for the future of our island.
In my career, I have been in the position of the Key Club many times, while seeking to build a new plant in a community. Every time we did this, we expected the community to provide significant benefits to us in the form of tax reliefs, infrastructure investments, training dollars and so on. The club’s offer is unique in that it is requesting none of these things.
We can rest assured that should the club not proceed with this project, in the not too distant future we will begin to see our entire island go the way of The Colony Beach & Tennis Resort. At that time, no doubt our government will be tripping all over itself to offer incentives to anyone who will come and invest in our island.
Let’s avoid that catastrophe and figure out how to make this deal work.
David and Marcia Gutridge
+ Longboat Key Club delivers on its promises at Moorings
I am in favor of supporting elected officials in their decision connected with the Planning and Zoning Board. Further, I am in favor of the redevelopment proposals from the Longboat Key Club.
From personal experience with the yacht club, I find they have delivered on all that was promised and made significant improvement. They are people of vision and integrity who deserve our support.
I look forward to the improvement they propose and support the actions necessary to make that happen.
We are lucky that someone wants to invest on this island, where outlets are closing, retailers have difficulty making money — especially in this economy.
Slip owner at Longboat Key Moorings Marina; Longboat homeowner
+ The majority of Longboaters do want change on the island
I have been a part of the Longboat community since 1997. It is very important that changes be implemented, not just at the Longboat Key Club, but in the community itself. We have many empty storefronts in the Publix shopping center and other places on the island. We need new development to provide more jobs and increase our property values. I voted to change the makeup of the commissioners to send a message of change, which I hope will be done by the commissioners at the next meeting. The majority of people want this change.
+ Town Commission should not approve club’s plan
Editor’s note: This letter was originally sent to Mayor George Spoll and The Longboat Observer.
I have been a proud homeowner on Longboat Key since 1985. I am totally confused by the apparent willingness of elected town officials to approve a plan that is so obviously bad for our town. On one side, we have the residents of our already overbuilt and congested island, and on the other a private equity group looking to make a fast profit and by its own words exit the investment.
What will we get then? Another over-leveraged buyer who will need more development to cover its bet, or perhaps tax concessions. I would not let these guys build a pup tent. It is time for you and your colleagues to stand up for the people that make this their home.
+ Commission should have the vision to approve the project
I have written on several occasions to your great newspaper to express my support for the Longboat Key Club expansion. I am doing so again. The investment of $400 million in a small community is nothing short of monumental. It will have a huge positive impact on our local economies and will help to promote tourism that will benefit the housing market just as the creation of the Ritz-Carlton spurred the economic and housing growth of Sarasota.
The aggressive negative advertisements by the group (Islandside Property Owners Coalition) vehemently opposing the expansion is an admission of desperation. They know they will lose but they want to go down in flames. And deservedly so. How desperate can they be that they stoop so low as to lie in their negative ads — that the expansion of the Key Club will lead to hundreds or thousands of new housing units being built on Longboat Key? Not to mention other fabrications designed to incite public uproar against the expansion.
Anything short of approving its expansion plans will lead to a death spiral of Longboat Key. This is an issue that pertains to the lifestyle of all of us who reside here and to others who look to Longboat Key as a vibrant, prosperous place to visit. If the goods aren’t there, people will go elsewhere. It’s do or die.
Commissioners, take note. Two incumbents lost because of their myopia. The people voted and they were far greater in number than the miniscule number of IPOC members. Property rights are involved in this issue. The Key Club owns the land, and it has the inalienable right to maximize the value of its property.
They have chosen to do so and no one should stand in its \way, especially the town commissioners whose vote ultimately will decide the issue. Commissioners, this could be your legacy for the good of Longboat Key or for its ultimate decay and demise.
Have vision. Have guts. Do it!
Milan V. Adrian