Several Key residents were upset with Country Club Shores resident Bradford Saivetz’s appointment to the Planning and Zoning Board at the Town Commission’s Monday, April 5 regular meeting.
That’s because Saivetz went on record during the Longboat Key Club and Resort’s Islandside renovation-and-expansion project hearings earlier this year as being opposed to the project and has written several letters that oppose it.
But Commissioners Gene Jaleski, Lynn Larson, Hal Lenobel and Robert Siekmann nominated Saivetz to the planning board at the commission’s March 25 regular workshop.
Mayor George Spoll, Vice Mayor Jim Brown and Commissioner David Brenner unsuccessfully nominated Laurin Goldner to the seat.
Several Islandside project supporters took to the podium Monday to urge the commission to rescind Saivetz’s nomination or request he recuse himself from the special planning board hearing Tuesday, April 6 that the club requested for code amendments that affect its project.
Rick Crawford, president of Positive Change for Longboat Key, which is in favor of the Key Club project, told the commission that placing Saivetz on the board was the equivalent of placing himself on the board.
“We don’t need someone on record, both in letters and publicly, in front of the commission, that’s vehemently against the club’s project,” Crawford said.
Country Club Shores resident Bob Gault, a supporter of the club’s project, agreed.
“This application is one of the most important projects the commission and planning board will discuss in our history,” Gault said. “Given that Mr. Saivetz has been vehemently opposed to this application, in all fairness, at least I want to request he recuse himself from voting on the code amendments before the board on Tuesday.”
Brown told the 40 people in attendance that he had thought about raising the issue.
“But I have changed my mind and I think that you will do a fine job and I know you will be fair,” Brown told Saivetz.
After Brown’s comment, Saivetz thanked the commission and left the meeting.
But soon after his departure, Larson requested the commission discuss the item at the end of its meeting; Saivetz returned to the meeting later in the evening.
After the rest of the agenda was complete, town attorney David Persson warned the commission that it’s not clear in Robert’s Rules of Order, which the town follows for meeting procedures, when exactly a person is seated on a town board.
“You can make the argument that person is already seated before he is sworn in,” said Persson, suggesting that rescinding Saivetz’s nomination could be challenged. “If you wrongfully remove someone, it raises questions about what the planning board is about to do and that’s not a good idea.”
“For those reasons, we shouldn’t argue the point any further,” Brown said. “Mr. Saivetz has got to convince eight other people to vote with him.”
But although Jaleski made a motion to terminate the discussion, it continued when additional members of the audience wanted to discuss the issue.
Said Sarasota resident and Longboat Key real-estate agent Marnie Matarese: “This gentleman took an inordinate amount of time to denounce this project at a hearing. Having him on the board is like having Ebenezer Scrooge come to your Christmas party.”
Islandside Property Owners Coalition President Bob White, however, pointed out that the planning board was looking at zoning codes and not the club’s project.
Larson directed her comments to Saivetz, explaining she felt duped because she had no idea Saivetz opposed the project when he approached her last month to support him as a planning board candidate.
“When I looked at résumes, I didn’t know about your history, letters or testimony,” Larson said. “If I had known that, I probably would have placed you on a committee, but not on a week before you were to decide something that affects this project.”
Larson urged Saivetz to consider taking his seat on the planning board after the board met Tuesday.
But Saivetz disregarded Larson’s suggestion and took his oath of office Tuesday at his first meeting.
Said Saivetz on Monday: “I feel I can serve the town with all of the integrity I possess.”
Contact Kurt Schulteis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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