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Longboat Key Friday, Mar. 13, 2020 1 year ago

Commissioner Irwin Pastor: 'It's been a privilege serving'

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After six years, Longboat Key commissioner Irwin Pastor is stepping down from his role on March 23.
by: Mark Bergin Staff Writer

Election Day is set for Tuesday and it will bring newcomers to the Longboat Key Town Commission.

At-large commissioner Irwin Pastor did not seek reelection and will step down this month after a six-year tenure.

“It’s a lot of time, a lot of commitment,” Pastor said. “It's not just making two meetings a month. One [is] a workshop and then the regular meeting is mandated. You have to be able to move things in order to get things done. Bureaucracy makes it that way.”

Planning and Zoning Board Chairwoman B.J. Bishop is set to succeed Pastor on March 23.

“It’s been a privilege serving as a public servant,” Pastor said. “I’ve learned a lot coming from private enterprise going to government.”

Pastor said he was proud of the work the commission accomplished during his three-term tenure. Specifically, Pastor mentioned Ocean Properties’ acquisition of the Longboat Key Club and his support for the St. Regis Hotel project at the Colony Beach and Tennis Resort Property.

“If they didn’t vote on an application, and they couldn’t find fault [or a] reason to deny the application, that they would put the town in harm’s way,” Pastor said of the Colony project.

Had the commission not approved the application, Pastor said it could have led to personal lawsuits against individual commissioners. A civil-court trial is scheduled for April that is expected to decide how the Colony Beach and Tennis Resort will be sold.

Pastor has also supported the town’s underground utilities project, bringing all of Longboat Key into Sarasota County instead of splitting half with Manatee County and the town’s enforcement of barring short-term rentals of less than 30 days in residential neighborhoods.

“This is a situation where I thought I could make a difference,” Pastor said. “One of the reasons that I’m leaving is the things I wanted to achieve, I was able to.”

Pastor repeatedly reiterated “it’s not just me,” and said he was “proud” of the 12 commissioners he served alongside.

“Of the commissioners that I’ve been involved with —  all hardworking, faithful —  we’re trying to do the best job that we can for a community that we love,” Pastor said.

Pastor said he is looking forward to spending more time with his wife Sylvia of 56 years and their family. It includes 16 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.

“This is going to give us the luxury to be able to visit more family and do things for ourselves,” Pastor said. “We didn’t get away for a weekend, a long weekend, which is a typical challenge for someone who is a commissioner.”

District 1 Commissioner Randy Clair is also stepping down from his position. Sherry Dominick will succeed Clair.

With Bishop and Dominick, it marks the first time since 2015 the commission won’t be all male. It will also mark the fourth time in the town’s history that two women will serve on the commission at the same time.

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Mark Bergin is the Longboat Key Town Hall reporter for the Observer. He has previously worked as a senior digital producer at WTSP, the CBS affiliate in St. Petersburg. Mark is a graduate of the University of Missouri and grew up in the Chicagoland area.

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