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Longboat Key Monday, Nov. 2, 2020 3 months ago

Cottage site decision expected Monday

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Spoll urges historic building to sit on northeast corner of Town Center Green land.
by: Mark Bergin Staff Writer

The Longboat Key Town Commission on Monday afternoon voted in favor of holding a special meeting next week to determine where specifically to place put a historic cottage.

The meeting will follow an already-planned workshop meeting. Commissioners are set to decide where specifically to put a historic Whitney Beach cottage at the Town Center Green site.

Longboat Key Historical Society President Michael Drake told town commissioners on Monday he must move two historic cottages from where they sit now at 521 Broadway St. The landowner is looking to sell the property.

“As far as timing-wise, we’ve got all of November to work with,” Longboat Key Historical Society President Michael Drake said.

The town is looking at acquiring the smaller of the two cottages, which is about 400 square feet. The Historical Society is planning to continue to operate the cottage even once it moves to town-owned land.

The Historical Society is accepting bids until Nov. 10 on the larger L-shaped cottage.

Town commissioners are set to decide whether to place the smaller cottage near the southeast side of the Town Center site or on the northeast side.

“It would be helpful if the commissioners actually looked at the sites to see both of them staked,” Town Manager Tom Harmer said.

District 2 Commissioner George Spoll cited his professional career as a builder of homes, condominiums and commercial rehabilitation projects.

“I don’t talk about my own expertise, but one of the things that I spent my life in is locating buildings on sites that are very difficult,” Spoll said.

Spoll is an advocate of putting the cottage on the northeast portion of the property.

“Picture this little cottage sitting alongside the brook with a view of the meadow shaded by these magnificent trees and on a site all by itself so it’s planted appropriately and not dwarfed by any other major buildings around it,” Spoll said.

Drake estimated it would cost the Historical Society between $15,000 to $20,000 to move the cottage.  Drake said the Historical Society has paid $2,500 in monthly rent since August 2018 for the cottages to sit where they do now.

“I would rather spend another $2,500 today to pay for December's lease with the current owner of the property versus having to move the cottage [again] at some point down the road,” Drake said.

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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