March 16, 2018 Edition

Nov. 6 referendum to seek voter approval of $65 million in bonds for North Extension and other improvements to The Legacy Trail

Friends of the Legacy Trail remain hard at work on ‘Square Foot Campaign’ and pledge to promote referendum

On the morning of March 14, the Sarasota County Commission issued a proclamation in recognition of the 10th anniversary of the opening of The Legacy Trail. That afternoon, the board members unanimously approved a Nov. 6 referendum that would enable the county to pay the estimated $65-million expense of extending the trail to Payne Park in downtown Sarasota and complete connections to North Port and Venice. (Read more »)

112-acre county site in Newtown to be focus of staff report on potential for affordable housing development

Chair Nancy Detert emphasizes prospect of a tiny house village on part of the property

In December 2017, Sarasota County Commissioner Charles Hines first broached with his colleagues the potential for creating an affordable housing development on county-owned property in Newtown originally envisioned for a sports complex. During their regular meeting on March 13 in Venice, the commissioners directed County Administrator Jonathan Lewis to have staff prepare a report on how much of the 112 acres could be used for housing, park amenities and/or other purposes. (Read more »)

Golf carts to be allowed to operate legally on certain Pinecraft streets but not on any Beneva Road and Bahia Vista Street sidewalks

Sheriff’s Office and county’s Traffic Advisory Committee had recommended the County Commission deny the request

The Sarasota County Traffic Advisory Committee (TAC) and the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office both recommended against legalizing golf carts in Pinecraft because of concerns about safety. Nonetheless, the County Commission voted unanimously on March 14 to approve the operation of the vehicles on specific neighborhood streets in the predominantly Amish and Mennonite community whose primary boundaries are Bahia Vista Street and Beneva Road. (Read more »)

Pointing to changes in the retail world, Neal Communities team wins County Commission approval of proposed change to 2050 Plan requirements

Commercial centers could be eliminated from villages even if a contiguous community had no such center, as long as one village in the area did

Sarasota County Commission Chair Nancy Detert initially voiced considerable skepticism this week when faced with the prospect of another privately initiated Comprehensive Plan amendment. In this case, the proposal calls for allowing the elimination of the commercial center requirement for a village created under the aegis of the county’s 2050 Plan, as long as another village in the same area — but not necessarily contiguous to the proposed one — has or will have such a complex. (Read more »)

City of Sarasota’s draft form-based code available for members of the public to review

Document and map comparing current and proposed standards to be addressed during April 5 workshop at City Hall

The final draft of the City of Sarasota’s form-based code and preliminary Straight Translation Analysis Map were released, as promised, on March 9, and made available to the public for review. A Community Introductory Workshop on the code is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 5, in the Commission Chambers at City Hall in downtown Sarasota, the city has announced. City Hall is located at 1565 First St. (Read more »)

Water demand in Sarasota County expected to rise from current level of 19.4 million gallons per day to 29.38 million gallons per day by 2039

Staff working on resources to provide additional supply

Sarasota County’s water demand is expected to rise from the current level of 19.4 million gallons per day to 29.38 million gallons per day by 2039, the director of the county’s Public Utilities Department told the County Commission this week. (Read more »)

County’s biggest strengths in facing Hurricane Irma were emergency response team and united county approach to disaster, former FEMA administrator says

Simplifying evacuations and issuing alerts and information across all media and social networks called key recommendations for improvements

Sarasota County’s two greatest strengths in facing Hurricane Irma in September 2017 were county government’s emergency response team and the fact that “you responded as one community,” Craig Fugate, the former Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) administrator, told the Sarasota County Commission on March 14. (Read more »)

Reductions in mobility impact fees proposed for affordable housing in Sarasota County

Public hearing tentatively set for April 24 on changes for specific types of homes

On April 24, the Sarasota County Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing on proposed reductions in the county’s mobility impact fees to foster the development of affordable housing. The board members unanimously authorized the hearing when they voted on their March 13 Consent Agenda of routine business items. (Read more »)

Major crimes down 3% from 2016 to 2017, Sheriff’s Office reports, with violent crime having dropped 37.57% since Sheriff Knight took over in 2009

2017 Annual Report offers details about responses to opioid abuse crisis and Hurricane Irma

Major crimes — known as Part I Offenses in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Index — declined 3.01% in Sarasota County from 2016 to 2017, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has announced in its 2017 Annual Report. The total number of crimes was down 2.59% year-over-year, the report says. (Read more »)

Multi-way stop signs going up on Commonwealth Drive at Venice Lane intersection on Siesta Key

Commissioner Hines critical of county staff’s failure to change criteria used to determine whether stop signs warranted in a situation

For months, residents of the affected Siesta Key neighborhood have been divided in their opinions about whether multi-way stop signs should be installed on Commonwealth Drive at the Venice Lane intersection. However, responding to the urging of most of the people who addressed the issue during the County Commission’s Feb. 27 meeting, the board voted 4-0 to approve the signs. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

Siesta Chamber hosting March 20 anniversary party for the trolley; lifeguard hours will not be extended this summer; SKA sends out survey about SKOD setbacks; new county administrator addresses SKA members; resident asks about spurring a county offer for Siesta Promenade land; and Cosentino’s Special Magistrate hearing delayed

The Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce will host an event at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 20, to mark the first anniversary of the launch of the free Siesta Key Breeze open-air trolley. The festivities will be held at the gazebo, located at the four-way stop on Ocean Boulevard. (Read more »)

Jouniari files for District 2 County Commission seat

Republicans Christian Ziegler and Alexandra Coe also have filed for the race

Democrat Ruta Maria Jouniari, a small business owner, small farmer and community health care advocate, has filed to run for the Sarasota County Commission District 2 seat. (Read more »)

First Watch Half Marathon on March 18 to necessitate temporary street closures in Sarasota

Event will begin and end at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

The First Watch Sarasota Half Marathon, 10K and Relay, which will be held on Sunday, March 18, will necessitate some street closures, the Sarasota Police Department has reported. (Read more »)

Supervisor of elections offers reminders about March 20 School Board referendum and other votes that day

School district seeking renewal of special 1-mill tax

Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner is offering information to help ensure a smooth Election Day on March 20, his staff has announced. (Read more »)

Robert L. Taylor Community Complex to be closed March 16 and March 17 for maintenance

Facility will reopen at regular time on March 19

The Robert L. Taylor Community Complex in north Sarasota will be closed for scheduled maintenance on Friday, March 16, and Saturday, March 17, the City of Sarasota has announced. The complex is located at 1845 34th St. (Read more »)

Jarvis named new principal at Ashton Elementary

She has been acting principal since June 2017

Kristi Jarvis has been named the new principal at Ashton Elementary School in Sarasota, the Sarasota County School District has announced. (Read more »)