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Longboat Key Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017 4 months ago

Longboat Historical Society one step closer to permanent headquarters

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Historical Society President Michael Drake met with town officials to discuss plans for permanent headquarters.
by: Bret Hauff Staff Writer

The Longboat Key Historical Society has less than a month to submit to town hall a detailed site plan and notice of zoning compliance for its future headquarters at 521 Broadway St.

But Michael Drake, president of the nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving Longboat Key’s history, now knows exactly what needs to be done.

“I see nothing but clear days ahead of us,” Drake said. “There should be little to no concern about the Historical Society finally having a permanent home.”

Drake met with town officials Wednesday to discuss how he plans to turn two decades-old cottages rescued from the Longboat Key Center for the Arts’ former property into the first-ever permanent home for the Historical Society. Although the lot at 521 Broadway St. is zoned for residential use, town code allows nonprofits in these areas if they meet certain criteria.

Town planners are evaluating if the proposal could lead to improper drainage, an excessive increase in traffic and a reduction the the light and air flow to nearby properties.

At the meeting, town officials also asked Drake to provide details about any possible signs and lights he has planned for the headquarters, how cars will get on and off the property and where he expects patrons to park. They also expect the cottages to meet accessibility requirements mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Those comments, and many more, are in reference to a site plan Drake submitted to town hall about two months ago.

Plans submitted for the two historic cottages.

Local developer Jim Clabaugh donated the cottages, built by George Whitney in the 1930s as part of the Whitney Resort on the north end of the island, to the Historical Society after he bought the 2.3-acre plot where the structures had been since the 1950s. Clabaugh purchased the property in June and plans to build 12 single-family homes there.

In August, with the help of Johnson Housemoving and $45,000 in donations from local businesses and residents the Historical Society moved the two cottages to the .21-acre lot at 521 Broadway St.

But the Historical Society does not own the land. Property owner Greg Ciccolo agreed to lease the property to the nonprofit for $2,500 per month for one year, Drake said, with a contract to purchase the land for $450,000.

“Every place has history, and I think it's important that it's observed here,” Greenbaum said.

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