Our View


Our View


Date: July 8, 2009
by: The Observer Staff


With our most important national holiday just completed, it’s back to business. Herewith, catching up on what we’ve missed and what’s to come …

+ The good …
Manatee County officials have suggested a good resolution to area governments’ objections to Port Dolphin LLC’s proposal to install an underwater pipeline to Port Manatee. Rather than block Port Dolphin’s efforts to build its pipeline, which would preclude local governments from tapping the white sand deposits in the path of the pipeline, Manatee officials are proposing area governments extract the sand before the pipeline is built.

Great idea.

If acceptable, the next questions will be: How much will that cost and who will pay?

Let’s hope they analyze the cost-benefit …

Also good: The Longboat Key Town Commission approved June 30 the construction of an outdoor dining roof at the Dry Dock Restaurant.

In granting a special setback exception and site-plan amendment for the 1,239-square-foot roof extension, the commission took a minor but significant step toward improving the business climate on Longboat Key, creating a benefit for the town, its taxpayers, the restaurant’s viability and consumers. Win-win all the way around …

+ The bad …
It took four years for Dry Dock owner Eric Hammersand to receive approval for his outdoor dining roof.

This is the kind of thing that exasperates so many property owners on Longboat Key. Not just business owners, homeowners as well. This is the type of regulatory bureaucracy that adds extra costs and time unnecessarily and inflicts lasting ill-will.

We’re not condemning the town’s planning, zoning and building department; it has competent people. But the system is such that there are no incentives or benefits for government to act quickly. In a competitive business world, buyers willingly pay for speed, expedition and time-certain deliveries. In government, the buyer/zoning-permit applicant has no choice. As the saying goes, government gets paid the same for working quickly as it does for working slowly. That time is money to the private sector does much matter …

+ In general …
Longboat Key Mayor Lee Rothenberg recently led the charge for his fellow commissioners to support adding a code enforcement position to the 2009-2010 proposed budget. They’re convinced the building and code-enforcement department is understaffed.

This is the Town Commission intermingling policy and operations, a bad habit.

It’s not the Town Commission’s job to assess whether a town department is staffed properly. That’s the town manager’s job. He should determine how to allocate personnel resources to deliver services and enforce town ordinances …

Key Club and Resort expansion: Opponents to the proposed expansion always use the term “massive” to color their pejorative point of view.

They’re united in two regards: They’re “against” what is proposed and only “for” one thing — a remodeled Islandside golf course. They think the Key Club should negotiate and compromise (read: reduce the scope of its proposal). But compromise requires give and take on both sides. Rather than just be against, it would be more constructive to be “for” something. If the Key Club’s proposal is so bad, offer up something better …

Roundabouts: Before the Town Commission launches an all-out effort to spend $25,000 to block roundabouts on Tamiami Trail in the city of Sarasota, commissioners should think this through more. What tangible evidence do they have that roundabouts would create an intolerable or adverse effect?
They should gather first-hand proof.

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