Haycock to face Jim Brown in March election.
Mike Haycock, vice chairman of the Planning & Zoning Board, has filed papers to run in the March 2019 election for a seat on the Longboat Town Commission.
Haycock, 69, will run for the at-large seat and face incumbent Jim Brown. Brown, 73, who hails from Huntsville, Ala., first sought elected office in Longboat in 2009 and served as Mayor from 2011 to 2015.
With two years of public service under his belt, Haycock said he felt it was time to try for a seat on the commission. Had he waited until 2020, to run for the District 3 seat, Haycock would have had to challenge Ken Schneier, who was elected in March of 2018 and also served on the Planning & Zoning Board before running for a commission seat.
“I knew I wanted to give back,” said Haycock, a former vice president of manufacturing with Tropicana Corp. and 21-year resident of Longboat. “I feel like I can contribute at a high level.”
Longboat has a number of important issues and projects that will need to be addressed in the coming months and years including the revision of town’s zoning ordinance, beach renourishment, its project to bury utility cables and upgrade
cellular and broadband service and the Longboat Key Arts, Culture and Education Center, a joint project with Ringling College of Art and Design.
“The question facing us at Planning & Zoning is how do we redevelop Longboat Key,” he said. “And what about the remaining nonconforming buildings.”
Haycock said he also likes the idea of increasing the commission term from two to three years, an issue that will be put before Longboat voters in the March election. He said two years is not enough time to learn the job and its nuances before running for re-election.
“I think it is a great idea,” Haycock, adding he thinks the commission is doing a good job.
The cost of beach renourishment projects worries him. While they are necessary undertakings, he said a plan needs to be developed to do the work and keep expenses down.
Haycock, who retired three years ago, has a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Florida.
He and his wife, Lyn, who is active in the Longboat Key Garden Club, have four children and 10 grandchildren.