LBK North will bring town officials and experts together this week to discuss erosion, traffic and drainage problems.
LBK North, formerly known as the North End Coalition of Property Owners, will host a forum highlighting issues facing the Manatee County side of Longboat Key Wednesday, at the Longboat Key Center for the Arts.
The meeting will feature a presentation from 360 North condominium resident and former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecaster Bob Bunting about erosion at Beer Can Island. The spit of sand and coastal flora has served as a natural groin protecting north end properties, and residents fear a large storm may breach its shoreline.
“What a few years ago seemed like protecting a natural resource will shift to a question of what the town has to do save public and private property,” said LBK North coordinator Denton Crews.
The town installed two permeable sand-saving features, known as groins, in 2015 on north end beaches, but a legal challenge from former Manatee County Commissioner Joe McClash blocked plans for a third groin on Beer Can Island. A court settlement bars the town from applying for a permit for that structure until 2019.
But former Town Commissioner Pat Zunz, also an LBK North organizer, wants Longboat staff to work with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection about what could be done about the timeline.
“I think if we weren’t pushing it, 2019 would come and go and nothing would be done,” she said.
The group planned the meeting after finding out that Town Manager dave Bullock was planning a neighborhood workshop to discuss Longbeach Village Drainage issues, which is also on the expanded agenda.
The town recently paid $35,940 to Venice-based DMK Associates Inc. to evaluate the stormwater system in the Village and suggest solutions.
Kreg Maheu, DMK’s vice president of engineering, during a December Town Commission workshop that new seawalls, stormwater valves or pumping systems are among the solutions. Lift stations already have been in use on Longboat for more than 50 years and would be most effective..
Also at the meeting, Longboat Key Revitalization Task Force members Lenny Landau and Tom Freiwald will discuss short-term traffic solutions that LBK North members have endorsed.
“We will make calls to sign petitions, write letters and attend meetings, because being there and being vocal is very important,” said Appel. “It is true that the squeaky wheel gets a lot of attention.”
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