The five new wayfinding signs on Gulf of Mexico Drive remain blank after being installed more than three months ago.
The blank signs have town staff, commissioners, church leaders and business owners confused.
Town staff says it will not receive direction from the Town Commission on what to place on the signs until later this month at the commission’s regular workshop.
But some commissioners thought four of the signs should have already been completed, exluding the Bay Isles Road sign.
“I don’t understand why the other four signs are still blank,” Vice Mayor Jim Brown said. “There is no issue with the other signs.”
Alan Moore, co-owner of Moore’s Stone Crab Restaurant & Marina, also doesn’t understand why the sign at Broadway is still blank.
Moore’s and Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub are the only two private businesses that are located off the beaten path.
“I asked the town if we could put our signs up earlier this summer and was told it would be fine,” Moore said. “Then I got a call saying we had to wait because the commission had to decide on the font in September. All I know is we have been waiting all summer and the sign is still blank.”
Although town staff thought they had permission in July to move forward with installing nameplates on four of the signs, Public Works Director Juan Florensa said that is not the case.
“At first, we also believed we had that permission,” Florensa said. “But the meeting discussion was confusing, and after listening to the (July Town Commission meeting) tape a couple of times, we are not going to install anything until we get further direction.”
The signs — which sit along Gulf of Mexico Drive at Broadway, the 5000 block of GMD, the 4000 block of GMD, Bay Isles Road and just south of Longboat Club Road — all have eight blank nameplates on them.
But the Bay Isles Road wayfinding sign is the one causing the holdup.
The town of Longboat Key and the Town Commission agreed to use part of its $500,000 federal stimulus grant to install five wayfinding signs on public property.
But years ago, Town Attorney David Persson said the town opted to stay out of the sign business for the same issue the town faces today: a Bay Isles Road sign war.
At its July 12 regular meeting, the commission heard from wayfinding sign ad hoc committee members Florensa, Realtor Andrew Vac, dentist Lawrence Kassouf and six church officials.
All had a difference of opinion on how the Bay Isles Road wayfinding sign should look, and all wanted a space on a sign that can only accommodate eight spaces.
There are more private businesses on Bay Isles Road than there are spaces on the new wayfinding sign.
Options presented included varying font sizes and organizing the spaces by alphabetical order.
But the various suggestions, which included using generic names, confused commissioners, who had trouble figuring out which option the committee recommended.
Florensa said the commission will review a list of suggestions for the Bay Isles Road sign later this month that include revised fonts and lowercase words. A local sign-company official may also be present to address any concerns.
Town Manager Bruce St. Denis and Florensa will present the commission with final recommendation at the commission’s Thursday, Sept. 23, regular workshop.
But members of the commission don’t understand the delay with the other four signs. “The other signs were supposed to be done already,” said Commissioner David Brenner.
Town staff has suggested the following names be placed on the town’s five new wayfinding signs: Center for the Arts, Boat Ramp, Beach Access, Police/Fire Rescue, Chamber of Commerce, Town Hall, Joan M. Durante Park, Post Office, Public Tennis Center, Bicentennial Park and Library.
Contact Kurt Schultheis at Kschultheis@yourobserver.com.
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