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Our view: Four commissioners want it

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  • | 5:00 a.m. February 24, 2010
  • Longboat Key
  • Opinion
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Watching the Key Club process is frustrating, often excruciating — for everyone.

And some deal with it better than others (Ahem, Commissioner Peter O’Connor).

But if you step back and evaluate what the Town Commission did last Friday, those who favor the Key Club’s proposed renovation (in principle) should be pleased, if not relieved.

The commission voted 4-3 to have Longboat Key Planning, Zoning and Building Director Monica Simpson and the Key Club continue working toward agreement, with the hope they’ll have issues resolved when the Town Commission convenes after the March 16 town elections.

The alternative was stark. Town attorney David Persson told commissioners last Friday they “have the tools to say ‘no.’” They could have voted unequivocally right then and there to reject and kill the Key Club’s plan.

But the fact they didn’t do that and instead voted for a continuance was a definitive indicator that four of the commissioners want to vote “yes.”

In effect, they told Key Club representatives they’re in favor of the project, but resolve your differences with the town planner.

It’s maddening. But more talks, time and money now will be less costly later.

Sadly, we knew this day was coming.

Longtime real-estate columnist, Kent Chetlain, is retiring after this edition.

Though the weekly real-estate column chronicling sales will continue, it won’t be the same without Chetlain’s touch and rich knowledge of Longboat Key lore.

Chetlain wrote his column every week — never missing a one! — since 1982. Even when he vacationed, he produced his weekly report. That’s close to 1,425 columns.

Chetlain had fun, especially when he would receive calls from Realtors, buyers and sellers who would beg relentlessly to have a sale withheld from the newspaper. Their reasoning never held: They didn’t want their newly divorced former spouse to know; they were important people and didn’t want the public to know, etc.

Chetlain always had the same answer (and we did, too): Sorry, it’s public record, and if we leave out your transaction, then we’d have to make deals with everyone else. A nightmare. Bottom line: No exceptions.

Chetlain used to belly-laugh at the some of the begging he heard.

Even though some readers disliked seeing their transactions in print, our reader surveys always told us the same thing: Chetlain’s weekly report is the best-read feature in The Longboat Observer.

We’ll miss Chetlain, but we’ll carry on his legacy … no exceptions.         
— Ed