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Commissioners appoint new, incumbent members to town’s boards

Nicholas Gladding was recently appointed to Longboat Key's Planning and Zoning Board.
Nicholas Gladding was recently appointed to Longboat Key's Planning and Zoning Board.
Photo by Carter Weinhofer
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On May 6, Longboat Key commissioners selected members for several of the town’s boards, including the Planning and Zoning Board, Zoning Board of Adjustment, Citizens Tax Oversight Committee and the Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization Citizen Advisory Committee. 

The applicants were invited to a meet and greet workshop held by the commission on May 6 a couple hours before the official appointment. 

For the Planning and Zoning Board, there were five open seats. One was left vacant after David Green’s recent resignation from the board due to his relocation from Longboat Key. The other four were board members whose terms had expired, all of whom sought reappointment. 

There were five new applicants for the Planning and Zoning Board. Nicholas Gladding, Wilhelm Meierling, Thomas Simonian and James Whitman all attended the meet and greet to talk with commissioners about their background and interest in the board. 

Christopher Laurent, the fifth applicant, was unable to attend. 

In the Longboat Key Town Commission meeting held later in the afternoon, commissioners voted to reappoint the four board members whose terms were up. Those members are Paul Hylbert, S. Jay Plager, Eddie Abrams and Margaret Nuzzo. 

That left one seat on the Planning and Zoning Board for commissioners to fill. All the new applicants were nominated, but, in the end, Gladding won the appointment. 

Nicholas Gladding

Originally from Maryland, Gladding’s professional background is what he thinks will help him as a member of the Planning and Zoning Board the most. 

Gladding has about 40 years of experience with planning and zoning issues from his time as a lawyer. Over the years, his main focus was on environmental and land-use law. He is currently a member of The Florida Bar, though his status is inactive and he doesn’t take on new clients. 

In 2014, he decided to shift his focus to representing various nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations. 

His main interest is with the environmental challenges the town faces, including climate adaptation and beach erosion. 

Though Gladding became a Longboat Key resident about eight months ago, he’s no stranger to the island. 

For about 14 years, Gladding has been involved with Longboat Key-related matters in one way or another, whether that’s working on the boards of the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program or Save Our Seabirds.

Gladding has also known Mayor Ken Schneier for the same amount of time. 

He said Schneier encouraged him to apply for the Planning and Zoning Board because he thought Gladding could bring a different dimension to the town’s environmental issues. 

“I’ve been reading about what the P&Z has been up to, particularly with the comprehensive plan and environmental stuff that’s coming up, I just said, ‘You know, I really think I might be able to help,’” Gladding said.

His interest increased after speaking with people at the Climate Adaptation Center who he said spoke highly of how Longboat Key has approached environmental issues. 

“They talked up to me quite a bit about what a great job Longboat Key has done,” Gladding said. 

And after reading about Green’s resignation from the board, Gladding saw similarities in their backgrounds, both lawyers in the land-use and environmental realm. He thought it would be a good way to contribute to the Planning and Zoning Board with similar knowledge that Green had. 

He also completed the 2024 Citizens Academy, during which he said he was able to learn more about the town and its various departments. 

Overall, Gladding is looking forward to getting started with the board and contributing to the community. 

“Despite the fact we have become new homeowners, I’m not a newcomer to Longboat Key,” Gladding said. “I want to do everything I can, and Planning and Zoning seems like a good way to do it from my background.”

Other board appointments

The Citizen Tax Oversight Committee has seven members who meet to review expenditures and take note of changes made to the project list by the town. The committee meets once a year and members have four-year terms. 

There were two vacant seats on the committee after two members’ terms expired. Alzira Meierling and James Whitman were chosen to take over the two spots. 

There were no new applicants for the Zoning Board of Adjustment, which is made up of five members who meet once a month. 

Ann Roth and Gaele Barthold were up for reappointment after their three-year terms expired. Both were reappointed by town commissioners. 

One citizen is tasked with sitting on the MPO Citizen Advisory Committee, which meets for citizens to provide input for the planning process of the MPO. 

Eddie Abrams was up for reappointment to his seat on the committee and though there were three new applicants, commissioners chose to keep Abrams in his position. He was also reappointed to his spot on the Planning and Zoning Board.



Carter Weinhofer

Carter Weinhofer is the Longboat Key news reporter for the Observer. Originally from a small town in Pennsylvania, he moved to St. Petersburg to attend Eckerd College until graduating in 2023. During his entire undergraduate career, he worked at the student newspaper, The Current, holding positions from science reporter to editor-in-chief.

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