Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Letters to the editor

  • By
  • | 5:00 a.m. November 11, 2009
  • Longboat Key
  • Opinion
  • Share

+ Longboat Key female
officers are out-of-hand

Dear Editor:
What is it with the female officers of Longboat Key? One is pulling a gun on a mother with her children in a car for no reason at all, and the other is making illegal arrests and swearing out false charges on a citizen.
One wonders what happens to the rights of the citizens if a camera had not captured the incident with Officer Anderson. Oddly enough, cameras used to be primarily for getting evidence against criminals; now it seems it is used primarily to capture police officers acting as criminals.

How many other times have these officers threatened citizens, lied about their actions, falsified records and violated the rights of the citizens they supposedly serve? Perhaps we can change the name from LBK to GGW (Girls Gone Wild).
Ken Fitz
Holmes Beach

+ Has our Longboat Key
paradise been lost?

Dear Editor:
The Longboat Key Club has measurably lessened my quality of life in the “paradise” that once was Longboat Key.

My wife and I bought a Harbour Circle home on Harbour Oaks Drive because the area is beautiful and it is within walking distance of shops, restaurants and many other services. We loved to stroll with friends to Café on the Bay to enjoy Sunday brunch, lunch on the marina patio or a romantic dinner. Occasionally, we bought merchandise at the adjacent ship’s store or had breakfast or lunch there.

These delights are now history. A person has to be a member of the Longboat Key Club to partake of the neighborhood restaurant or store — there goes the neighborhood!

There is a sidewalk that runs from Gulf of Mexico Drive on the south to Corey’s Landing on the north. Located in the gated community of Bay Isles, the sidewalk was given for the “ … benefit and enjoyment … ” of all property owners by the developer, the Arvida Corp. Part of this sidewalk between the Moorings Marina and the Bay Isles north gate is a lifeline for all pedestrians from south Bay Isles to the amenities located in the Avenue of the Flowers shopping center and to various municipal services.

In my opinion, the Longboat Key Club has usurped this sidewalk to its own use as a golf cart path, as if it were part of the golf course. General Manager Michael Welly says the club has been doing this for more than 20 years.

Such use violates Florida Statutes Section XXIII Paragraph 316.1995 and Longboat Key Ordinance 73.05, which both prohibit the driving of motorized vehicles on sidewalks. Longboat Key Club golf carts and utility vehicles harass pedestrians, thus endangering them when they exercise their rights to benefit from and enjoy the walkway.

There is an easy solution to the problem of golf vehicles harassing pedestrians. The Longboat Key Club should extend already existing golf cart paths all the way from the flagpole at the north gate to the Moorings Marina parallel to the sidewalk. That should keep golf vehicles on the golf course where they belong and off the sidewalk where they do not belong. To foil the cheaters, the club should build a low, green chain-link fence between the golf cart path and the sidewalk.

I understand the Harbourside golf course will have greatly expanded use if the massive Key Club expansion takes place. For an organization poised to spend $400 million for a greatly expanded presence on Longboat Key, which purports to “ … benefit all Longboat residents,” costs for the golf cart path and fence construction could be considered chump change.

Dr. Robert J. Tata
Longboat Key



+ Longboat Public Tennis
Center needs more courts

Dear Editor:
As a tennis player, you may appreciate the fact that we came to this beautiful island because of the tennis amenities it offered. 

Recently, the Longboat Key Club closed the 18 tennis courts at Islandside, where it proposes to build 372 new units. In season, these units can house more than 700 people, perhaps 300 to 400 of them new tennis players — welcome! Our concern is, however, where are all these additional tennis players going to play? How are we (they) going to get court time?

The club’s new tennis facility at Harbourside (with the same 20 courts as before) is filled to capacity, as is the Public Tennis Center in season. It is clear to us that, without additional tennis courts, our lifestyle in paradise is going to be seriously impaired.

As Key Club members for almost 15 years, we recommend that due to this additional demand, the town expand the Public Tennis Center by another 20 to 30 courts. This may not be easy. As you surely remember, the proposal to build public tennis courts was vehemently opposed by the club, the chamber of commerce and The Longboat Observer.

They were proven dead wrong, of course. Perhaps now, they, too, recognize the importance of adequate tennis courts to our lifestyle in paradise.

Gary and Ilona Benko
Longboat Key

+ All affected parties should
ask officials questions

Dear Editor
All Longboat Key Club members, whether they live inside or outside of the gates, should be united in learning whether or not their dues will be increased under the proposed club expansion and whether or not their membership will be “grandfathered” in to a new entity if there is a sale or restructuring.

Although this is not a question for the town authorities, the membership might like to make this inquiry of the club officials. As an astute organization, Loeb Partners has no doubt studied where the return on its investment will be coming from. As astute club members, although not asking to be privy to their financials, we would like to know if it includes raising dues and having to pay an additional sum to retain our membership.

All residents of the Key, as well as those who work here, should also be united in asking what plans there are to handle the increase in traffic. This is a question that the town authorities are looking into. Hopefully, it is also a question that the club officials should address now.

It is unrealistic not to recognize that there will be this increase, with the result that any increase in property value will be mitigated, because the Key will become a beautiful place that no one can get to or from without great delay.

When the traffic is backed up, not just to Seaplace, but even beyond (so) that all residents will be affected, then the solution will probably result in a new bond issue or increase in taxes to correct the situation.

I respectfully suggest that a coalition of all interested parties be formed and invite the club officials to join so that this can be realistically addressed. Only when problems are addressed is there a chance for them to be solved.

 Ruth Kreindler
Longboat Key

+ Both sides should do what’s
best for the island

Dear Editor:
After many months of following the proceedings between the Longboat Key Club and the residents of the Islandside Coalition, we felt compelled to put pen to paper and share our experience with all of you.

Our first encounter with Longboat Key was in November of 1989, when we came for a three-night stay at the Colony Beach & Tennis Resort. It was love at first sight. We were so taken by the beauty surrounding us that we signed a contract to purchase Unit #4401 in building four of the Inn on the Beach on our way to the airport. The magnificent panoramic view of the Gulf and the expansive beach took our breath away. The closest building to us at the time was The Sanctuary; with each visit, we thought we had died and gone to heaven.

Shortly thereafter the construction on building one of L’Ambiance began and as it neared completion, it was followed by building two. During that period, the income stream from our unit dried up, and we were unable to use the condo ourselves due to the deafening noise level.

As most of you are now aware, there is only 100 feet (yards?) of separation between building four of the Inn on the Beach and L’Ambiance building one. At the completion of the project, to add insult to injury, the visionaries in charge decided to plant a tall row of Australian pines as a border between the two buildings to further obstruct our view and destroy our ambience.

We all know that change is inevitable, no matter how much we fight it. Our biggest fear is that when all is said and done, and the dust finally settles on this issue, when we all look out, none of us may like the view. We need to stop thinking in terms of me and you and come together to devote our energies to what is best for us and the future of our beloved island.

In closing, we implore both sides to step back, iron out their differences and do what is best for all of us.

Dr. Tom and Helen Dzongowski
Longboat Key

+Get on board,
support the Key Club

Dear Editor:
It is time for us to get on board and support the Longboat Key Club renovation. It is good for the community.
Mr. & Mrs. J.M. Pete Salpietra
Longboat Key

+Capital program would improve the community

Dear Editor:
While reading the opinions of Bradford Saivetz on the proposed Longboat Key club capital program (“The Key would not stay our ‘Golden Pond’” my view in the Oct. 29 issue), I was filled with wonderment.

I wondered if Saivetz believes his continued membership in a professional organization, the American Society of Civil Engineers, a profession, by the way, that he has not actively pursued for many years, qualifies him as a lawyer and community planner.

I wondered how a part-time, seasonal resident who has not lived “behind the gates” in this century or for many years before would suggest otherwise. And, I wondered why Saivetz continues his membership in a club that he cannot support, but one where he and his wife continue to enjoy benefits.

And then I decided I am glad he is not on our side.

We are full-time residents of Longboat Key and have been members of the club for many years. We support the capital program not only for out own benefit, but for the benefit to our community. Go Longboat Key Club.

Edna Hausman
Longboat Key

+ Positive change for Key Club
will enhance the club

Dear Editor:
I definitely support positive change for the Longboat Key Club. What is wrong with all these people who can't see that change is needed? The same thing will happen to the Key Club that happened to the Colony.
Remember, there are people who are only put on this Earth to protest! So, it might be a bit of inconvenience for a while. Haven't you ever renovated a home and seen what it is like for your neighbors? In the end, though, everyone will be happy with the beauty of it all. I have been a member of the Key Club for 30 years, and it is a pleasure for me when we have guest to show off the club, and it will be even more of a pleasure when the positive change is completed.

Arlene Willis

Longboat Key

+We support the Key Club’s plans
Dear Editor:
We urgently support the Longboat Key Clubs plans for expansion.
Linda and Bill Berliner

Longboat Key

+ Businesses and Key need this project
Dear Editor:
I am a resident of Sarasota and visit the club, St. Armand’s and Longboat Key often, because I am a social member at the Longboat Key Club. I visit other restaurants and shops on the Key as often as I visit the club, if not more so, and would like to see the area grow, or at least not lose shops, restaurants and services. The closing of the Colony is not a good sign for the area.

When I ask vendors, “How's business?” they tell me, "Down a lot." I would hope the club expansion would bring more visitors and this would lead to good full-time residents to the area to benefit both the Key and the club. Many areas of the club need updating to attract the younger crowd. Please support the club expansion.


+ Development is how the Key Club
exists in the first place

Dear Editor:
I have just purchased a condo at Sands Point Condominium, the original building to first stand on this amazing piece of property now known as the Longboat Key Club. Let's look back to that time and imagine what, or where, the Key Club would be today if the community wasn't up for change at that time. Most of the people, for or against, the new development, would not be enjoying what we have now.

The resort when built was state-of-the-art, we need to reinvent this option for the Key Club. There is plenty of space, parking and traffic control available to enhance what we have. Our community needs this, and if there is a company or individual who would like to try and increase our property values while investing in our community, we should invite the opportunity.

It really comes down to just being selfish and stuck in a rut for those of you who oppose such a wonderful opportunity for our resort. If the developers are not hurting anyone and they own the land and they are within their building rights, all we can do is support and hopefully participate to make this project the crowning jewel of the Key Club. (This is) something well overdue, and did I mention we are in a recession and lucky to have this opportunity.

Christopher Dubs

Longboat Key

+We would like to show our support

Dear Editor:
We would like to add our names to those who support the Longboat Key Club redevelopment plan.
Michael and Susan Master
Longboat Key

+ Why we support Key Club
Dear Editor:
As Longboat Key residents, we support the proposed $400 million expansion/improvement proposal for the Longboat Key Club and Resort.

While we assume there are some details to work out on the exact implementation of the plan, we definitely will be looking for the Town Commission to approve a plan substantially along the lines that have been proposed. We feel it has been clear from the start that this project is something we need to allow Longboat Key to remain a top draw for high-end tourists.

With the Colony Beach & Tennis Resort closing, this project looms even more important to the future well being of the island.

Here’s why we support the project:
• Future home values will be dependent upon future demand, which will be driven in large part (as it has in the past), by Longboat Key’s attractiveness as a high-end vacation and business-meeting destination.

The advertising done by the Longboat Key Club and the other few remaining hospitality providers, along with the quality of the experience their customers enjoy, will be the basis of how future home buyers think about making their domicile here. If there is no advertising, or if those who come have a poor experience, the demand will decline, as will our home values.

• A failure to act and act promptly could result in the same thing happening at the Longboat Key Club that is happening at the Colony. To reject a $400 million investment would be difficult to imagine how that could be viewed as having exercised the highest in fiduciary care for the future well being of our community.

• The fortunes of our town are dependent upon the fortunes of our businesses, which drive the values not only of business real estate, but ultimately all of the real estate on the island. Real estate taxes are the revenue source for the town’s government services. Already the decline in the number of rentable rooms has done serious damage to our ability to retain healthy businesses. Allowing the crown jewel of the island’s business to decline cannot do anything but make a bad situation much, much worse.

• While a fair number of Longboat residents are Key Club members, as we are, everyone will benefit from these improvements either directly or indirectly. The annual 7% increase in property values (over and above normal real estate market value changes) that other venues have seen from such developments will apply to all residents.

Even if this number were only to be half of the average experienced by others, it will certainly be better than the real-estate value decline we can expect if the Key Club were to follow in the footsteps of the Colony.

• Failure to approve this project will deprive Longboat Key of a $400 million increase in our tax base, will cause additional pressure on our already beleaguered local businesses and ultimately drive down our real estate values.

We should be jumping at a chance to significantly reverse the trend of declining tax revenues and perhaps even lessen the load of residential real estate owners.

• If we pass this opportunity and the decline that we envision occurs, what will we be willing to give up at that future time to persuade the Key Club or some other unknown entity to come in save us? We certainly would not be bargaining from a position of strength at that time.

• While traffic will increase, we need it to increase. We need more people coming to experience a high-end vacation experience to drive future demand for our real estate.

We implore the Longboat commissioners to get on with approving this project.

David and Marcia Gutridge
Longboat Key