+ We question the Town Commission’s dealing with the Key Club
Dear Commissioners Spoll, Larson, Younger and Siekmann:
I am shocked and appalled after reading a report of the Town Commission's proceedings in the Longboat Observer online. Whatever were/are you thinking?
Perhaps you were not truly hearing either the Key Club when they said that the proposal you approved was not financially feasible or hearing (what appears to me to be) a clear message voters sent in the last election. Perhaps you are not savvy enough to understand how the world works, or you think your position entitles you to become a business adviser/kibitzer. Perhaps you are not personally comfortable to vote for a proposal with a small, well-organized and vocal minority of the community opposed. No matter.
What kind of a rinky-dink operation floats an unheard of proposal and brings it to a vote at first blush — over the objections of the business who would implement it? In my opinion, bringing a surprise proposal developed by a town employee to a vote within moments of its introduction calls into question whether the council has been acting in good faith when dealing with the Key Club over the last years. At the least, it is breathtaking incompetence.
My view is that your action seriously calls into question your ability to serve responsibly and, sadly, your political future.
Donn Osmon and Barbara Nelson
+ The weight of this decision sits on the commission’s shoulders
First, I would like to thank you, Commissioner (Jim) Brown, for being the lone vote for the proposal that the Longboat Key Club brought back to the table after a weekend of furious work and compromise.
That said, it was apparent by Bob White’s request today to move the project over to Harbourside that there will be no satisfying him or his group. One would have thought that you all could have figured that out when he proposed to have the sandbar at New Pass removed. He does not speak for the majority of this island, but somehow he carries enough weight to keep you from approving the project.
Much has been said about Commissioner (Lynn) Larson’s vote in the final few minutes of the meeting, but the writing was on the wall when six of you sided against the club earlier and Commissioner Brown was the only one who could see the big picture. I think we were all shocked and dismayed to witness the continued moving of buildings and the Chicago-style politics including financial blackmail being practiced right in front of us. It is doubtful that the Hilton, Publix or any other business would now want to even attempt to do any type of development in Longboat Key. Who could blame them?
I will never be able to understand what happens to you intelligent and seemingly caring people once you get elected to the Town Commission of Longboat Key. We do not elect you because you were once, in a former life, a doctor or a town planner, or a land use attorney, or an architect, or a builder, or an airline pilot, or a developer, or a mayor, or a communications guru, or a CEO, or a newspaper editor, or a CIA operative or a hotel manager. We elect you because we believe you when you tell us that you have the best interests of the community as a whole in mind. We appreciate that you bring incredible experience to the table but we are not asking you to apply it literally. We expect you to respect the people who are today doing the jobs you once did. That is why they are the experts and you are retired. They are in touch with the way things work today, not they way they did back when you were doing their jobs.
Today was a very sad day. There was absolutely no leadership … ego and posturing were allowed to take center stage. You made no sense at all, acting as if this wA the first time you had been asked to think about the design of this project, moving buildings, stacking garages and just being obstructionists. Then, when you hastily decided to vote, no one in the audience understood what you were voting on and I have to wonder if you even understand what you did.
A leader would have realized that the project being discussed was not so insignificant that it should be hastily voted on so that you did not have to worry about Commissioner Hal Lenobel being able to return after lunch or whether you would be on time for a funeral. Both the condition of Commissioner Lenobel’s wife and the funeral service for Andy Cail could have been treated respectfully by simply requesting that the meeting be recessed at lunch and resumed on Wednesday or Thursday. What was the rush? Why were you so willing to just pull the plug on this project?
You have wasted the time of all of the citizens who have been coming to these hearings for years. You have wasted the time of the attorneys on both sides and you have caused incredible expense to be incurred by all the parties involved as well as the town. You have misled us, but shame on us for not paying attention. The fact that you still have not acted upon the Vision Plan was a huge red flag but we believed that you were so busy working on the project that you just had not gotten around to it. The truth is, you have no use for it. You have made a mockery of the voters who campaigned for you and believed that you would do the right thing. When all is said and done, no one will blame Bob White and his IPOC group or the Longboat Key Club for this failure to rejuvenate and revitalize Longboat Key. I hope that you all have very strong shoulders because the responsibility for this debacle sits squarely on them.
Former chairwoman of the Longboat Key, Lido Key, St. Armands Key Chamber of Commerce and Realtor with Re/Max Excellence
+ Please do whatever is necessary to get the application right
You need to get this Key Club application right! Do what you have to do to correct this apparent commission blunder of great proportion. Your job was to vote up or down on the application as presented to you last Wednesday, June 9.
Project redesign is for their architects, not for you.
Extraction of dollars is not something you should press hard for. It is not right! Please do whatever is necessary to move this forward.
Time is rapidly running out for the applicant on this application.
Please get on with this.
Currently 7 Responses
- I am really sad for Bob White and his sheep (IPOC followers). Your vision for the island is obviously non-existent as you suffer from that silly little phrase that came about a few years ago "It's all about me". When you make statements that all the condos behind the gates are in support of you and your organization, YOU ARE NOT TELLING THE TRUTH! When you talk about all the traffic on Longboat Club Rd., I want to laugh my head off. You again, ARE NOT TELLING THE TRUTH! I run that road all the time and sometimes there is more foot traffic on the sidewalk than there is road traffic. You have filled peoples heads full of false information and your constant rambling on about The Club and it's convention center is another moment where you again, ARE NOT TELLING THE TRUTH! It is not a convention center, Bob, it is merely a meeting room. Your list of stipulations to The Club last Wednesday had people making inaudible bursts of uncontrollable laughter, thus reaffirming the new phrase "It's all about BOB!"
- Mr. White has proven himself expert at hyperbole and ignoring facts. One takes him seriously at one's own risk
- Mr. White, there are 2 bridges on the Island. Pick one and leave as the only thing you are going to accomplish is either legal fees on behalf of the Town of LBK or the essential demise of a premire tourist destination. Pick one or the other.
..."we don’t like the plan at this scale and we’re not going to approve it,", who gave you the gavel?
- To the Longboat Key Commission,
The commission has approved a redevelopment project that the Longboat Key Club has rejected as "not feasible". The plan was put together by the mayor, two lawyers or maybe three, the planning director, and commissioners(?) during an exhausting 72 hour period of consultation. Well guys and lady, I hope you have a plan B that will address the needs necessary for this island community to move forward because what you approved lacks a developer. The LBKC has left the table and takes its $400 million dollar project with it. Your job now is to figure out how to get redevelopment on Longboat Key going with $0.00.
You are going to spend 40 to 50 million dollars for sand. This sand is to last last maybe 4 years? Negotiations are continuing with town employees over pay and pension issues. The unfunded liabilities of the current pension plans could be 25 million come October of this year. The north end of the island is washing away and homes and roads are threatened. Property values are projected to fall another 10%. Tax revenues will not be adequate with out a tax increase or a decrease in services, the Colony is toast, and that new beautiful "Welcome to Longboat Key" sign seems a bit inappropriate. The mayor hopefully has an ace in the hole or else all he did was overplay a weak hand and lose $400 million. But maybe Bob White will invite IPOC, the commission and the planning staff to a meeting at the massive Sarasota Yacht Club Convention Center to discuss the implementation of your project. I suppose one could look back on all this and find some humor in this process except that it really is truly tragic.
The voters of Longboat Key look forward to hearing about plan B
- I wonder if it ever occurred to the vitriolic writers above who are critical of the Commission’s actions that their suggestions were in response to an overreaching plan that was in desperate need of a dose of reality, e.g. downsizing. While some of the suggestions at redesign may not have been practical, the message was clear – we don’t like the plan at this scale and we’re not going to approve it, but we’re trying to help. Given that this Commission is supportive of development and was attempting to offer an alternative rather than denial, it is boorish, at the least, to insult them, particularly with arguments that ignore facts in favor of hyperbole and excoriation. And by the way I did not suggest that the project be moved to Harbourside, only some of the condos to reduce density on the site which the Town Planner and the Commission described as overbuilt as proposed.
Bob White, President
Islandside Property Owners Coalition
- Wow!!! Can the Town Commissioners really have done this! Has "Inspector Clouseau" moved to LBK and been elected to the Commission or perhaps been made mayor? I have to agree completely with Marnie Matarese.
There is an increasing concern in our society that private corporations cannot be trusted to do the right thing. In many cases it is legitimate. Unfortunately, this concern is answered by greater government involvement by government officials who are motivated by trying to do the right thing, but are incapable of doing things right.
At bes,t this is the case in LBK. Giving the Commission the benefit of the doubt that they wanted to do the right thing, they certainly did not do it right by passing a quickly fabricated plan they knew was unacceptable to anyone.
Commissioners, at least have the courage to vote yes or no on the legitimate plan before you. What you did was a shameful cop out.
- outrageous! Blackmail as part of a redevelopment plan sprung on commissioners who didnt know what they were doing to the citizens of Longboat Key
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