Public to Help Shape Longboat Key’s Future through Urban Land Institute Project
Longboat Key is a lovely, tranquil community offering resort accommodations for visitors and a range of neighborhoods for residents. Today our island paradise is facing some challenges. If you’ve lived in or visited the Town of Longboat Key over the last decade or more, you can’t help but recognize the changes.
Well over half of the existing residential units were constructed more than 30 years ago, and about half of all residences don’t meet current flood regulations.
About 38 percent of residences don’t comply with density restrictions adopted by the town in 1984. Those restrictions were adopted when Longboat Key was projected to reach 23,000 permanent residents at build-out. Yet, the current population of permanent residents of 6,900 is expected to remain level for the foreseeable future.
While current regulations would allow older properties to be renovated, property owners may not be able to redo their homes or commercial properties in a fashion that would attract today’s homebuyers or commercial investors.
Local residents and community leaders have expressed concern that, if Longboat Key’s future is not addressed with a comprehensive yet focused view, the community’s reputation for upscale living, aesthetic quality, and pleasing mix of residential areas and commercial amenities could suffer.
Town residents and leaders developed a community Vision Plan in 2005-06, but there is widespread agreement that more focus is required to move ahead on the broad ideas included in the plan.
To help address concerns related to land use planning and future development of Longboat Key, the Town contracted with the nonprofit Urban Land Institute (ULI), a research and education organization known for providing expert advice to shape better communities.
Working with a team of local residents along with town staff, we shaped 10 questions that were addressed by an advisory panel of ULI members. The panel included experts in various fields who examined information provided by the town, interviewed more than 90 residents and others familiar with Longboat Key, and provided recommendations based on the questions posed by the town.
The panel conducted its work during the third week of October 2013, culminating in a public presentation of ULI recommendations to the Town Commission on October 25. The ULI will deliver a final report to the Town in 60 to 90 days.
The ULI panel’s recommendations are available for review, and the Town will coordinate additional public conversations on the important issues and ideas presented through the panel’s work.
The future of Longboat Key is being shaped every day by the decisions we do or do not make; by the creativity we do or do not apply; by the input you offer or do not offer. Successful communities are serious about planning for the future, and the ULI project may be the most important step we take this decade in that direction.
Here’s how you can participate: 1. Review the 10 questions presented by the Town to the ULI. 2. Review the ULI panel’s recommendations (pdf | video) 3. Provide feedback via email or a letter. • Email: email@example.com • Letter: Alaina Ray, Town of Longboat Key, 501 Bay Isles Road, Longboat Key, FL 34228-3196
If you love Longboat Key and care about its future, now is the time to get involved.