+ Town should evaluate itself, not businesses
Reading the last issue of The Longboat Observer was depressing. I am not calling the paper depressing but rather the reported news that the town is again beating up on a hard-working local business. Having lived through many recessions, I understand the push by local governments to collect fees and fines to stretch the shrinking budget.
Every season people come back to Longboat Key and see fewer and fewer amenities than the last time. Leave businesses that have been a boon to the community alone and cut staff at Town Hall, starting with code compliance. Then, cut every position that has two or more people to one person.
I know that would put some people out of a job. Well, what do you think happened to all of those people that worked for the businesses that are no longer on Longboat Key?
“The town staff is just doing their job” translates into: “They really were not doing it before.” The code? Like some food, it has gone past its expiration date. Let’s take a positive approach when something is finally noticed after many, many years and give notice that it needs to be addressed and set a reasonable time frame in which to do so. The focus should be on working to keep the businesses that are here and the tourists that visit. They, like us, become future residents, taxpaying investors in this island.
+ Female officers should not be judged so quickly
This letter is in response to a submission by Mr. Fitz, of Holmes Beach, who spoke out against the female officers on Longboat Key and suggested that they should be called, “Girls Gone Wild.” I can only imagine a statement such as that coming from an individual who has read an article or two and rather than consider all facts that may be surrounding an incident, has simply made up his mind that these ladies have done something wrong. Things aren’t always as they appear to be, and anyone with any sense at all would know to consider all facts surrounding an incident before passing judgment.
Officer Anderson did not violate anyone’s rights when she made this arrest. The arrest was made in good faith because an individual was refusing to give her identification, refused to move a vehicle out of the right of way and, from what I understand, was being aggressive with his body language.
I would like to see proof, myself, of any falsification of any documents that they are claiming took place, and I would also like to know if Mr. Fitz thinks that any officer, knowing that she is on camera, would arbitrarily violate an individual’s rights and then try to lie about it. If we were all to view this video, I think we would see a situation that started out simple enough and then turned nasty quickly, for whatever reason.
As for Officer Beardsley, until she is convicted of the charges that have been brought before her, I think we should all reserve our judgment. We do not know whether she was, in fact, holding a mobile phone or a pistol in her hand, as is stated in the police report. What we can do is wish her the best and hope that an officer with as much time in the field as Officer Beardsley would know better than to do such a thing.
+ New job opportunities would enrich the Key
Every single day, I work with organizations across this country that are laying off employees. Not only does this affect a company, but it truly affects the lives of the families involved and the economic conditions of the community. Most of our work is in Sarasota County, and it baffles me why we are even going through this exercise. To create and open up a community with 1,400 new jobs for our community and enrich it with the potential to grow the supplier chain is huge. Why is it that when there is a positive change coming to Sarasota, everyone focuses on the negatives? Those negatives being nothing.
Give the Key Club the support, and let’s let Sarasota begin to recover from this economic hardship that has devastated our country.
+ In return for project approval, ask for a bond
I am generally in favor of some redevelopment, but remember, these are the same people who have been promising and charging for a first-class championship course for almost 10 years. What they have in fact delivered is a first-class pasture.
In return for approval, make them put up a multi-million-dollar bond that would be forfeited if golf-course improvements have not started within 18 months. Then, let the town and/or members do the course.
+ Longboat Key Club plans not a good thing
Please help me to understand. We have the owner of land designated as “open space and recreation” on approved plans coming before the town with a request that it ignore its ordinances and give said owner the right to build any or all of its shopping list of goodies some time in the future, if and when the present recession makes these goodies viable.
Sounds like Alice in Wonderland, revisited — and like a carrot on a long stick.
The owner, Key Club Associates, guarantees nothing, but requests a blanket approval for its future pie-in-the-sky scheme, (which is) artfully portrayed to the town in smoke and mirrors and supported by a phalanx of out-of-town businesses that would be in favor of anything in someone else’s backyard as long as there might be more revenue to them.
Exactly where and when is this purported and much ballyhooed $400 million going to be invested in the community? The only investment I see up to now is in the myriad of experts in dark suits, who have been paid to come here and convince us that this is for our own good. If the Key Club timeline holds true, many of us would be long dead before the “financial engine” produces enough money to build the five-star hotel and rehabilitate the golf courses.
I guess that Key Club believes that if you consult enough experts, you can confirm any opinion, and if you hypnotize enough bystanders, you can destroy Arvida’s promises to the residents of Islandside.
+ We must look to the future of our island
It is a bit puzzling that after the Longboat Key community came to consensus on the elements of the Vision Plan, which over several years had much community input, town dollars and staff time expended, that there would be so much discussion regarding the expansion of the Longboat Key Club.
The community agreed upon the following goals: Encourage improvement, redevelopment and development of commercial property; encourage redevelopment and development of tourism; and keep or improve the island’s amenities important to residents’ quality of life. Before the Longboat Key Club became an issue, we agreed on the goal: Minimize seasonal traffic congestion. According to the “action steps,” this is an ongoing responsibility of the commission and town manager.
Of course with change comes some controversy. It seems, however, that this controversy is not based on community values, but rather is a NIMBY response. The club has already agreed to some suggested changes. Perhaps other modifications can be negotiated.
The status quo is a slippery slope as recent commercial closures indicate. We must look to the future of our island. That is the purpose of the Vision Plan.
Therefore, we support the efforts of the Longboat Key Club as a significant contribution to the vision of this island.
Richard and Gail Levin
+ Key Club’s project would ensure healthy future for the Key
As a new Longboat Key property owner, the possibility of the town commissioners refusing to allow the upgrade to the Longboat Key Club seems shortsighted and narrow minded. Remember, this is the town that voted no to adding a mobile-phone cellular tower to the island ... and why was that? Property owners of Longboat Key deserve to benefit from progressive technology and reform.
Longboat Key property owners will benefit from the Longboat Key Club’s redevelopment project with increased property values and new visitors who will fall in love with and buy property on Longboat Key — just like I did. Also, the town will benefit not only from desperately needed new jobs but also from an immediate infusion of more than $6 million of building permits to the town's coffers. By supporting the Longboat Key Club redevelopment project, the commissioners will ensure a healthy future for Longboat Key.
+Longboat Key has the opportunity of a lifetime
Longboat Key has the opportunity of a lifetime. The Longboat Key Club and Resort is offering our beautiful island $400 million to enhance our club and our island. It’s amazing to me that a group of islanders want to reject the proposal and the money. Any other city in the United States would bend over backward to an offer like that. What’s the downside? A world-class resort? A top-rated golf course? A new clubhouse facility?
I think we should welcome the new residents, tourists and the wealth that this opportunity will afford this island. If this island becomes stale and opposed to change, we all lose. I think we can all live with “the traffic” for the benefit of our island’s heath and prosperity. The “disaster” will occur if we don’t revitalize the club.
+The Longboat Key Club would become world-class
My name is Lorraine Reynolds, and although I spend most of my time living on Long Island, N.Y., my husband and I also own a residence on Longboat Key, and I am deeply concerned with the situation I have been hearing about taking place on the Key. Personally, I have been traveling to Lido Key and Longboat Key since I was 5 years old, first staying at the Helmsley Sandcastle, then at various hotels on Longboat Key, from the Holiday Inn to the Hilton to the Colony and, later, the Longboat Key Club. After getting married and traveling to various exotic locations around the world, my husband and I would always comment how we would much rather be on Longboat Key. Compared to other places, Longboat Key was clean, safe, had nice restaurants to dine at and the most gorgeous beaches, and, thus, we began to take our children to the Key, again staying at all the same hotels my parents used to bring me. Now, 36 years after my first visit to the area, I can proudly say we have owned a place with my young family for the past four years. We try to get down at least once a month, either with or without the kids, to the place people often hear me refer to as "a little piece of heaven on Earth," even though there have been many changes and many of the places I have mentioned are no longer in operation.
I certainly would not be happy if the tropical paradise of Longboat Key ever became overdeveloped, however, it is simply too difficult for young families to travel to Longboat Key without ample hotels available for short stays and little choice of restaurants to visit (long live The Buccaneer, Shenkel’s and The Schooner [later Lynches’ Landing] to name a few). This is not an opinion, it is a fact, because we know several of our friends who used to frequent the area and loved Longboat Key and they are simply not willing (to visit) anymore with the lack of choices available to them.
If Longboat Key does not draw in the young families now, then who is going to purchase homes here in the future? As far as the Longboat Key Club project, yes, we are members and we agree certain upgrades need to be completed to make it a classy resort that will bring it more up-to-date and draw in tourists and locals alike. It isn't a coincidence that since the Ritz moved into town that Lido Key seems to be buzzing — it's new, classy and convenient to restaurants and shopping, and it attracts people from everywhere.
It is easy to be content simply with the way things are now, and, no, we do not want Longboat Key to turn into a typical East Coast locale where many of our other New York friends travel to, but Longboat Key needs help now, before it's too late. A revitalization of the Longboat Key Club would turn it into what it used to be called — a world-class resort — which would bring much needed new life onto the Key. Please consider approving the club's proposal, which will certainly draw in new tourists who will fall in love with Longboat Key, and, in turn, they will want to make it their future home just like what happened in my family.
+We support the Key Club’s plan
Without a doubt, we support the Longboat Key Club Islandside redevelopment plan.
Delph and Glenda Ross
We, Jack and Maureen Gibson, of the Grand Bay community and members of the Longboat Key Club, are in full support of the project.
Jack and Maureen Gibson
We need to move forward, before we are left holding the "tax bag” for another generation.
I am a 15-year resident of Longboat Key and fully support this effort on behalf of the entire island. Despite the commotion and disruption, the end result should be a net plus to the entire area.