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Review shows Longboat Key unlikely to develop town-owned land in Emerald Harbor, Longbeach Village

The town has developed most of its easements for their intended purposes and are generally the ongoing maintenance responsibility of the town.

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  • | 2:30 p.m. February 2, 2022
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Longboat Key owns, uses and manages 61 parcels of land for a variety of purposes.

Planning, Zoning and Building Director Allen Parsons said the town occasionally gets inquires from people about buying the town-owned land.

“Some of that may come from the perspective of, ‘Are these properties that can be developed or are these properties that could potentially be sold?’” Parsons said. 

Parsons said one of the areas the town gets inquiries about is 6.1 acres along Binnacle Point Drive just north of Spanish Main and near Emerald Harbor.

“It is an open-space conservation zoned property so that has some pretty restrictive reactions by zoning on it,” Parsons said. “It was given to the town as part of a settlement stipulation and acquired back in 1989 as a density swap for other properties.”

Emerald Harbor Association President Susan Jones said she and her neighbors were “glad” to hear the town’s code requires the property to “remain in (a) natural state with little or no disturbance.”

“It’s fine as it is,” Jones said. “We like that it’s not disturbed, and it’s basically trees and there is flooding that goes on back there when there is high tide, so it is marshy back there.”

Jones said she’s spoken with neighbors about their hopes to keep the town-owned Binnacle Point Drive property in its current state.

“If you talk to most, if not all of the people within Emerald Harbor, they would share that same view,” Jones said.

Parsons said he didn’t know all of the details of the Binnacle Point Drive settlement. However, Parsons said the land was initially zoned for open-space purposes, but then got rezoned to restrict that.

“That’s not a property that would be developable without probably going back to that legal settlement agreement,” Parsons said.

Two easements exist in the Longbeach Village neighborhood that are not fully developed. Magnolia Road and Jackson Way are developed as streets, but parts of their rights of way — closer to Sarasota Bay — have not been developed. The town occasionally gets questioned on whether they could get developed as passive parks or public parking.

District 5 Commissioner Maureen Merrigan said she gets asked whether the town could use the Jackson Way easement as a potential place for the Longboat Key Police Department to dock its boat or as a dog park.

“Definitely no,” Town Attorney Maggie Mooney said. “I’m going to jump in here because these right of ways are dedicated for a particular use.”

Currently, the Longboat Key Police Department docks its boats at the Harbourside Docks.

Mayor Ken Schneier asked if the town could build another boat dock like the Linley Street boat ramps.

“People often say we don’t have enough of that,” Schneier said.

“We need to look at those documents and the specific plots and the right of ways and what those reserved uses were,” Mooney said. “And then, the answer can be determined based upon that review.” 

Parsons said the town is limited in whether it could further develop the Magnolia Road and Jackson Way easements.

“Generally, as I noted before, easements are dedicated for very specific purposes,” Parsons said. “These are rights of way easements for transportation, so the ability of the town to be able to develop more amenities on there is going to be fairly limited.”

Parsons said he and his staff do not consider the town to have a surplus of land.

“It’s recommended that none of those be considered surplus,” Parsons said. “Surplus is a way in which property that’s obsolete, unused, can be considered for some disposition, donating it, selling that property.

“Staff isn’t recommending that any of the properties be considered in that category.”

Parsons also said Longboat Key is different than other municipalities throughout Florida.

“(Other) jurisdictions may get proprieties just by virtue of people being delinquent on their taxes and ultimately, that going to that jurisdiction,” Parsons said. “Longboat, we just don’t have that kind of situation here.”



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