It’s no secret town attorney David Persson thinks changes need to be made to the town’s Comprehensive Plan, which acts as a vision for the town’s future development.
Last week, Persson shared with The Longboat Observer his future wishes for the town now that the Longboat Key Club and Resort’s Islandside renovation-and-expansion project has been approved by the commission.
“I have been encouraging the Town Commission to look at the Comprehensive Plan for some time now,” Persson said. “It’s important to look back and see how this process can work better in the future.”
The town’s current Comprehensive Plan, adopted in 1984, worked well for many years, Persson said.
“But, when we first discussed the (Islandside) project three or more years ago, that’s when it became clear something more specific would be beneficial to everyone,” Persson said. “Until that time, Longboat Key really thought it was built out, and no one really thought about the scope and magnitude of redevelopment that could occur.”
Persson says the Comprehensive Plan needs to be more specific in terms of the town’s future redevelopment needs.
“That would make it easier for the applicant, and it would make the planning director’s job easier,” Persson said.
But, more importantly, Persson believes the public-hearing process that will most likely occur at both the Planning and Zoning Board and commission levels will give the town and its citizens multiple opportunities to express how they want to see the island progress in the future.
“The process to amend the Comprehensive Plan is one that involves lots of participation and discussion about the future of the town,” Persson said.
The process, which must be approved by the state’s Department of Community Affairs, could take years to complete, Persson said.
“Ten years ago, we talked about Longboat Key in the same breath as West Palm Beach and Naples,” Persson said. “We no longer do that, and this process will help find out who our comparables are.”
Contact Kurt Schultheis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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