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Longboat Key Wednesday, Sep. 9, 2009 10 years ago

Letters to the Editor


+ IPOC chairman issues response to Key Club
Dear Editor:

Michael Welly’s My View in the Aug. 27 Longboat Observer questioned the Islandside Property Owners Coalition figures that were calculated as 1.2 million square feet of gross building area for the Longboat Key Club and Resort’s expansion project, claiming that it was inaccurate and misleading. As disclosed long ago, a professional engineer and planner certified the calculations. He also attempts to equate the footprint of the current facilities, which include the tennis courts, open space and driving range, as nearly the same as the footprint of the condos, hotel, villas and spa. The point of this comparison of apples and watermelons escapes me.

Welly contends that the daily traffic increase of 2,500 cars per day is unimportant and that peak-hour traffic will add only one car per minute in each direction. Yet the club’s traffic study actually says, and I quote, “Trips generated by the project are estimated to be 262 net new two-way peak-hour trips. This represents approximately two trips to the north and three trips to the south on the adjacent road per minute during the peak hour.”

(The total traffic at these intersections is projected by their study at 455 cars per hour or 7.6 cars per minute).

The column also acknowledges that the conference center will accommodate 700 people and that they anticipate 350 cars at special events. The club claims that these events will be infrequent and has maintained that its target meeting group will average 50 to 75 people. This defies believability! Why would they build this large facility with a 10,000-square-foot ballroom, 12,000 square feet of “pre-function” space and an 8,000-square-foot kitchen if they didn’t plan on having frequent “special events”? They certainly don’t need this facility for 50 to 75 people!

Mr. Welly also says that: “To assert that tourism is unimportant to this island’s future is simply ridiculous.”
This is a totally gratuitous statement because the Islandside Property Owners Coalition has never made this assertion. In fact, we have said repeatedly that we support the replacement of the 250 tourism units lost through conversions of tourism properties since the year 2000.

Mr. Welly continues to use the term “small number of detractors” despite the fact that the club’s own survey has completely discredited this contention. Its survey indicates that 74% of Islandside residents oppose the currently proposed project and that fewer than half of Longboat residents outside the gates support it. I’m not sure if this is just spin or a failure to acknowledge reality. He also inaccurately states that L’Ambiance is where the majority of coalition supporters live. This is an absurd statement given that L’Ambiance residents make up only 17% of the Islandside residences and 74% of all Islandside residents oppose the club’s plan, as noted above.

The column’s gloom-and-doom scenario for Longboat Key implies that the expansion will help solve the town’s financial problems and that more tourists are needed to save the Key from decline. But it fails to mention that voters have already acknowledged that some additional tourism units are desirable to replace those lost since 2000 by the Holiday Inn conversion. The Longboat Key Hilton Beachfront Resort has applied for 85 of the 250 approved units.

Voters did not indicate that they wanted to increase the level of tourism beyond those in the referendum, which is exactly what the club’s plan would do, adding 240 additional units — a total of 490 above the year 2000 level.

We support renovation of the Key Club, Hilton and the Colony resorts along with limited expansion, in keeping with the Key’s essential character and zoning-and-building codes.

The debate on the merits as well as the legality of the club’s proposal will come before the Planning and Zoning Board and Town Commission this fall.

We believe that they will agree that the proposal in its present form is inappropriate for Longboat Key and impermissible based upon the Outline Development Plan and town codes.

Bob White

Chairman of the Islandside
Property Owners Coalition

+ Public option is necessary for health care in the country
Dear Editor:
Choosing a public option for my health care is not socialized medicine. I am in favor of competition. This is why a public option is necessary to protect me from insurance companies who do not have my best interest at heart. Insurance companies have only one concern: their own profits!

Insurance companies are bamboozling the public with phony and flat-out lies about the proposed reform measures.

Barbara Fleisher
Longboat Key


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