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+ Confused by priorities
Longboat Key has many rules and regulations. Some would say too many.
For the town to bend, twist and break these rules to appease yet another developer is absurd. To have the Town Commission “clarifying” rules for the benefit of development is even more absurd.
What happened to the Vision Plan and the wishes of many/most of the town’s interested taxpayers? We all need to ask ourselves: What is really happening here?
Longboat now has a Town Commission that is willing to spend taxpayers’ money on protracted and expensive legal actions to benefit developers while reducing spending for public safety (a fire marshal) and potentially placing taxpayers at increased risk.
What is driving the commission’s priorities? I am certainly confused.
Here is what is really happening: A property owner is trying to exercise his constitutionally-guaranteed property rights and is abiding by the procedural ordinances and processes of the town. If there are expensive legal actions, it appears they will be triggered by the Islandside Property Owners Coalition, which has put the Town Commission on notice that it will challenge the Town Commission’s decision if the commission approves the Key Club’s application. Nowhere have town commissioners expressed a willingness to spend taxpayer money on legal actions at the expense of public safety. — Ed.
+ Paradise lost? Not ours!
The first time I read that my condo association was “up for grabs” in a Longboat Observer advertisement, I asked a town official: “Why is Cedars compared to Bay Isles or Islandside?”
I learned the only thing we share in common is that Cedars East was originally developed as a planned unit development (PUD).
Well, that is well and fine, but those who take our name and spread it around casually don’t really understand Cedars East (our clubhouse was pictured in a recent advertisement).
Cedars East has a Florida Department of Environmental Protection “conservation easement,” which takes up half the land mass of the PUD. Breaking that mangrove protection zone would be tantamount to playing the Devil at Hells Field, a contest I sincerely doubt even a New York developer could win.
Add to that our 93 often-fractious individual owners, each owning 1,501 square feet of living space on average. You would have to conquer a lot of obstacles beyond DEP to “redevelop” Cedars.
Indeed, if the ad writers did their homework, they would find the original ordinance allowed up to 98 units, and the initial developer traded away some to build a few larger buildings.
We are indeed “built out,” and with height restrictions, we cannot be built “up.”
So, please, Mr. Bob White and your followers, don’t use Cedars’ name in your future advertisements. We’re up in Manatee County where we enjoy being above your fray. Find another PUD to disparage. We’re happy the way we are and have no fear of code changes, real or imagined.
President, Cedars East Condo Owners Association
+ Sister Keys Cleanup was a great success
Sarasota Bay Watch conducted its second annual Sister Keys Cleanup Saturday, May 8. More than 80 participants gathered close to a ton of trash during the morning event. The volunteers were treated to a complimentary lunch by Ed Chiles and The Chiles Group under the buttonwood trees bayside at Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub.
Town of Longboat Key Public Works employees Curtis Vandermolin, Lloyd Hines, James Linkogle and Dale Wyman provided invaluable logistical support, while David Miller, of Cannons Marina, and Longbeach Village Association President Michael Drake provided transportation to and from Sister Keys aboard one of the marina’s custom deck boats.
Sarasota Bay Watch would like to thank Audubon, the Sarasota Bay Guardians, Around the Bend Nature Tours and the Snook Foundation for their support. A special nod to Officer Dennis Silverio, of the Longboat Key Police Department, who stood guard along the Intracoastal Waterway.
Sarasota Bay Watch
+ Don’t waste town dollars on more sand
To save our money and Whitney/Beer Can beaches, instead of wasting the money on sand, which just washes away, put groins or, better yet, boulders, which would look nice. The water comes in and the sand stays even when the water goes out. The beach grows, and (there would be) no more expensive one-time jobs. I doubt the tourists or residents would object; we just want a beach. Look at Bradenton Beach and The Colony Beach & Tennis Resort, for example. Use your brain instead of money.
+ First-Aid services should not be cut
Editor’s note: This letter was originally sent to Town Manager Bruce St. Denis and The Longboat Observer.
The primary purpose of this letter is to praise and commend our Longboat Key Fire Rescue. On Feb. 29, I had a medical emergency. Within minutes after a 911 call, the most professional team of well-trained EMS personnel surrounded me. They were superb in every sense of the word.
The mere thought of any budget cut affecting our EMS is utterly abhorrent. I have been an owner and resident on Longboat Key for 32 years. I also served as a first-aid instructor with the American Red Cross.
And I had 35 years of municipal employee experience. Therefore, I feel capable of making evaluations and suggestions.
You have to cut expenses to meet budget constraints — fine! Leave the Fire Rescue, police department and fire department alone. Our wellbeing is dependent on their skills and services.
1. Stop the exorbitant fees paid to consultants. Use our professional staff to make decisions.
2. Stop with the white sand on our beaches. The first major storm, no more white sand! Apple pie tastes just as good without the whipped cream on top. A courser topping lasts a lot longer.
3. The Longboat Key Club and Resort’s debacle has cost tens of thousands of taxpayers’ dollars. Listen to the majority of your constituents and say no. Let us maintain the integrity of Longboat Key.
Murray R. Brooks
+ Commission should approve amendments
I am in favor of the commission following the Planning and Zoning Board’s recommendation to approve the requested code amendments, and I trust the elected commissioners to consider redevelopment projects on a case-by-case basis to evaluate whether a proposal meets a set of specific criteria and serves the best interest of the community.
This should be done immediately instead of spending a lot of unnecessary monies on lawyers, meetings, etc. Don’t you think that progress should be the most important aspect here? Did anyone ever consider the time, energy and money spent on these disagreements? Why don’t you get a professional mediator to handle this or the Longboat Key Club will soon come under the same gun as The Colony Beach & Tennis Resort. I live near the club and so what if there is a little inconvenience to condo owners. The end project will make everyone proud.
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Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub is on track to have a new dock by the end of October.
Aren't you barracuda?
Steven Herich, of Beach Fishing Adventures, recently caught a 30-pound, 52-inch barracuda.
Donation creates summer camp gift
A donation from St. Armands Key Lutheran Church’s senior ministry recently made it possible for 13 children to attend Dollar Dynasty’s educational summer camp.