THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2013
+ Chart House blaze causes $25,000 in damage An early morning fire at the Chart House Restaurant resulted in $25,000 worth of damage Oct. 22. The fire was limited to the decking area and didn’t damage the structure. The state is investigating the cause of the blaze, including the possibility that it resulted from a tossed cigarette.
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WELCOME BACK / FROM PAGE 15A er Family Consulting Agreement” and dole out another $2.3 million to bankruptcy trustee William Maloney over five years to distribute to creditors. If U.S. Bankruptcy Judge K. Rodney May approves, the agreement would absolve the association from a $25 million judgment for damages Klauber won last year. Colony Lender LLC, which owns bank loans on Klauber’s property and is seeking to collect on a $13 million judgment, opposes the proposed settlement. In October, Colony Lender attorney Michael Assaf told May that Orlando-based Unicorp National Development would be willing to pay $2.3 million cash immediately to pay off creditors if chosen as the property’s developer. May will review the proposed settlement and a series of motions Nov. 22, in his Tampa courtroom.
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+ State delivers kick to groin objections
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The state’s Department of Environmental Protection dismissed petitions from former Manatee County Commissioner Joe McClash and Longbeach Village resident Gene Jaleski objecting to the construction of three north-end groins. The state dismissed McClash’s petition because he didn’t sufficiently state why he had standing to file and Jaleski’s petition because he filed it after a July 16 deadline. It also dismissed both petitions because they contained allegations of federal environmental claims over which the town has no jurisdiction. McClash has since re-filed his appeal, and a state hearing will be scheduled soon to review the appeal.
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// OCTOBER // + Aging in Paradise hires executive director
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The town also reached an 11th-hour agreement with the Longboat Key Police Union in October on a contract that will freeze the police pension plan and set up 401(a) accounts for police officers. The union rejected an offer similar to the FRS agreement the town reached with firefighters because of concerns about the FRS plan’s rising costs.
+ Old Publix plaza comes down Lakeland-based Publix Super Markets Inc. demolished the last remaining part of the old Avenue of the Flowers plaza to make room for additional parking. The company originally planned to tear down the plaza in Easter but ran into scheduling issues.
+ Colony severs relationship with developer The Colony Beach & Tennis Association board terminated its relationship with development partner JHM Financial Group Oct. 16, after the parties couldn’t reach an agreement. It’s the second time the association has parted ways with its developer. In May 2012, the board voted unanimously to end its relationship with Club Holdings LLC.
+ Whitney Beach Plaza welcomes first new tenants The mostly vacant Whitney Beach Plaza received its first new tenants in October: Linen Locker, a 24/7 laundry and drycleaning kiosk, and a second Engel & Volkers Longboat Key real estate office. According to listing agent Debbie Anglin, of Ian Black Real Estate, leases have been signed for a breakfast-and-lunch restaurant and an attorney’s office.
+ Town to budget pension debt
Longboat Island Chapel hired Donna Dunio for the new position of executive director of its Aging in Paradise Resource Center (AIPRC). Dunio is the nonprofit organization’s first paid employee and was chosen from a pool of 102 applicants. She previously served as senior director of resource development for American Red Cross Southwest Florida Chapter.
The town doesn’t plan to ask voters to approve a bond to pay down pension debt. Town staff and the Investment Advisory Committee recommended the town budget each year to pay more than its required contribution toward pension debt. Staff and committee members agreed it doesn’t make financial sense to pay off all the debt at once through a bond because of rising bond market interest rates.
+ Town freezes two pension plans
+ ULI panel presents recommendations
The town froze its firefighter and general employee pension plans Oct. 1, as anticipated, at the start of the new fiscal year. Twenty-nine of the town’s firefighters enrolled in the Florida Retirement System (FRS) plan, while five firefighters declined to enroll, opting instead to enter the Deferred Retirement Options Program (DROP). Firefighters agreed to split the required FRS contribution with the town and cap the town’s required contribution at 13% of their salaries. The town set up defined-contribution 401(a) accounts for general employees, who are eligible for a town match of up to 13% of their salaries.
An Urban Land Institute panel suggested the town toss its codes and Comprehensive Plan and start from scratch when it presented its recommendations to the Longboat Key Town Commission Oct. 25, after a five-day study of the Key. Other recommendations from the $125,000 study: Relax the 30-day rental restriction mandate during off-season (the commission already nixed this idea); make Bayfront Park a recreational hub for outdoor activities but don’t build a community center there; and encourage a town center concept for the area around Publix. The panel will submit a formal report to the town later this year.
Longboat Observer 11.14.13