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Longboat Key Letters to the editor

Three reasons to vote against Floridays hotel; Let’s hope voters drive developers out of town; More traffic will ruin the feel of the Village

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  • | 6:00 a.m. August 17, 2016
  • Longboat Key
  • Opinion
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Three reasons to vote against Floridays hotel

Your Aug. 4, article, “The Faces of Floridays,” did little to enlighten Longboat voters about what the upcoming Aug. 30 referendum is actually about.

Your article notes that, “Although Floridays hasn’t settled on a final form for the north end hotel and beach club, manager James Brearley does have a specific vision in his head.”

Thus, just weeks before the referendum, voters still have no idea what Floridays might actually build.

There are three essential reasons to vote “no” on the density referendum Aug. 30:

1) There is no compelling need for another hotel on Longboat Key.

On Oct. 1, the Zota Beach Resort will open on the former Hilton site, with 187 tourism units, 85 of them from the town’s tourism pool.

Next spring, the Resort at Longboat Key Club is expected to file a site plan for a greatly expanded resort complex, including an additional 259-room hotel, plus 93 condominium/villa units. (Editor’s note: These rooms would not be part of the town’s tourism pool.)

A redeveloped Colony Beach and Tennis Resort is next. Unicorp is resurrecting and enhancing the once great beach and tennis resort that is grandfathered for 237 tourism units. Unicorp’s plans for a 180-room hotel and 180 resort condominiums would require 137 additional tourist units from the town’s tourism unit pool.

If you are counting, that’s at least 481 new tourism units already in the works not counting the 165 still in the town’s tourism unit pool.

Is yet another hotel needed in this less-than-desirable location?

Not if you can count, and not if you can multiply the certain impact to seasonal traffic gridlock.

2) A hotel is not the best use for the properties in question.

We have every confidence that market forces will eventually take care of the too long unoccupied, too long overpriced gas station and bank building at the corner of Broadway and Gulf of Mexico Drive.

The proposed hotel shoehorned onto the small parcels between the current Whitney Beach Plaza and Broadway is tremendous overkill for the modest problems it is supposed to remedy.

We agree with experts and the current owner of Whitney Beach Plaza that low-density residential with a light mix of commercial is a far better use for this site.

3) The remaining 165 tourism units should be allocated to the Colony.

To achieve its goals for a comprehensive revitalization of the Colony, Unicorp is in direct competition with Floridays for these units. These units would be better allocated to a five-star Colony resort on a 17.3-acre prime beachfront location rather than the Floridays hotel on just 2.62 acres with no beachfront and at a main highway choke point.

For reasons of quality, location, compatibility and traffic, the better choice is obvious: the Colony.

Keep Longboat Special urges you to vote “no” on Tuesday, Aug. 30.






Let’s hope voters drive developers out of town

In the heat of summer, a good laugh is as good as a cooling drink. So I want to express my appreciation for two funny postcards that arrived today.

One assures us that we can protect our neighborhood from bad development by approving bad development that it describes as “community driven.” The return address of that outside-the-community drivel seems to match the address of developers whom most members of our community hope to drive out of town by voting no. (Translation: “Scram!”)

The funnier mailing is a scare tactic that refers to Longboat Key as “our town … our neighborhoods … our island …our community… ”

It comes from unknown persons whose address is in Jensen Beach. If the people of Jensen Beach want to ruin their own residential neighborhoods and environment instead of ours by building an oversized and ill-situated hotel there, I would be happy to share the return addresses on those expensively printed but silly postcards.

P.S. The Longboat Observer tells us the Colony will be re-created as a new hotel by Unicorp Development. We hope that such a great new Longboat Key hotel project can turn the ill-begotten Bishops Bayou hotel mess into a “unicorpse.”






More traffic will ruin the feel of the Village

We have owned on the north end of the Key since 2003, living here full time since 2014.

What initially attracted us to this part of the Key was the quieter atmosphere and less congested space.

Over the past 13 years, we have seen the traffic increase and the entire Key become congested with more cars.

It used to be easy to cross the bridge to Coquina Beach and circle up Cortez Road to get to Sarasota if the traffic was bad at St. Armands Circle. This is no longer the case.

The north end of Longboat Key can have traffic backed up worse than the south end.

In spite of this increase, there is still an attractive feel to this area, which will be ruined by more traffic.

We can still walk in the Village and walk on the beach without too much difficulty caused by all the cars and trucks that use the Gulf of Mexico Drive as a driving route.

We strongly urge all voters to vote “no” on the proposed zoning density amendment.







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