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Longboat Key highlights 2016 legislative priorities

Preserving a longstanding vacation rental ordinance tops Longboat Key’s list of 11 priorities it wants the Legislature to take note of when it convenes in January for the 2016 Legislative session.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. September 16, 2015
A survey of a wastewater pipeline underneath Sarasota Bay will be performed next year.
A survey of a wastewater pipeline underneath Sarasota Bay will be performed next year.
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The town of Longboat Key has 11 legislative priorities it wants the Manatee and Sarasota counties’ legislative delegations to take note of for the upcoming 2016 legislative session in Tallahassee.

Longboat Key Commissioner Pat Zunz outlined the island’s priorities Aug. 24 at a Manatee County legislative delegation hearing in Bradenton.

Listed below is an outline of eight of the top priorities and Zunz’s take on some of them as they relate to Longboat Key.


• Support changes to existing state law relating to vacation rentals that permit grandfathered local governments to modify existing short-term vacation rental regulations.

Zunz: “Longboat Key has had a short-term rental law for many years and is grandfathered under the state law prohibiting local governments from adopting these. We are in the process of updating all our codes but are concerned that even minor changes would invalidate this long-standing ordinance that is important to Longboat Key.”


• Oppose legislation that mandates local governments incur the cost of relocating utility equipment when utility equipment is located within a public utility easement and needs to be relocated for transportation purposes.

Why: The town will ask voters to consider approving a $25.2 million Gulf of Mexico Drive undergrounding project in November. 


• Support the maintenance of local business tax, communications services tax and tax-exempt municipal bonds.

Zunz: “Local business tax and communication services tax are important revenue sources for Longboat Key. We use these revenues to help pay for the town services our residents enjoy.”


• Support legislation that provides opportunities for increased and alternative revenue sources for municipal transportation infrastructure projects.

Why: The town is always looking for revenue sources to fund projects that would make improvements to Gulf of Mexico Drive.


• Support state funding for beach nourishment.

Zunz: “Beaches are a central element to the state’s economy and to Longboat Key ... We are working hard to maintain our beaches for recreation and for storm protection.”

“Beaches are a central element to the state’s economy and to Longboat Key. Please continue to support beach nourishment funding."

— Commissioner Pat Zunz

• Support legislation that recognizes and addresses sea-level rise concerns.

Zunz: “Places like Longboat Key will be the first to feel the effect of sea level rise. Portions of our island are very low, and even extremely high tides can flood our roads and our homes. Some state-level leadership and coordination around the issue is appropriate.”


• Support legislation that encourages water quality preservation and enhancement.

Why? Keeping the water clean and eliminating red tide that’s a result of storm water runoff and other issues are crucial to the area’s quality of life.


• Support future funding of the town’s subaqueous wastewater line replacement project.

Why: Longboat Key Town Manager Dave Bullock is working to replace a wastewater line that funnels all of the island’s wastewater under Sarasota Bay to a water treatment facility plant in west Bradenton. The approximately $20 million project is one of the largest capital improvement projects looming if the Town Commission approves its eventual replacement.


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