January 20, 2017 Edition

Siesta Promenade to be focus of Jan. 25 County Commission discussion

Staff to address types of studies Benderson Development will be required to undertake in an effort to win approval for the project

On the afternoon of Jan. 25, the Sarasota County Commission is scheduled to address the studies and data collection that will be required for the proposed Siesta Promenade mixed-use development at the northwest corner of U.S. 41 and Stickney Point Road. (Read more »)


City Commission delays approval of conflict resolution process over final Downtown CRA payment

Board agrees to allow city manager and city attorney to try to schedule an informal discussion first with their county counterparts

Yes, they still want the money, and pursuing formal conflict resolution proceedings allowed by state law may be necessary. However, the Sarasota City commissioners this week agreed to let City Manager Tom Barwin and City Attorney Robert Fournier first initiate informal discussions with their Sarasota County Government counterparts over a final payment the city says the county owes it for the Downtown Sarasota Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) Trust Fund. (Read more »)


School Board members learn that state is not expected to increase its student funding allocation for 2017-18

Debate ensues about how best to use a $6 million surplus in the 2015-16 district budget

It was a $6-million question, and new Sarasota School Board member Eric Robinson voiced frustration with news that indicated spending the money needed more debate. (Read more »)


Siesta residents offer cautionary tale in their history of the closing of the island’s Midnight Pass

A former county commissioner and a former SKA director offer examples of damage to be expected if Big Pass is allowed to be dredged

With the looming potential that Big Sarasota Pass will be dredged to renourish South Lido Key Beach, a past director of the Siesta Key Association (SKA) has pointed to the history of Siesta Key’s Midnight Pass as a cautionary tale. (Read more »)


School Board gives staff go-ahead to negotiate on purchase of new elementary school site

District planning director says the owner already has proposed the sale for $2.5 million, which the board had set aside in its budget

The Sarasota County Sarasota County School Board this week authorized its staff to begin formal negotiations for the purchase of 20 acres of property on Palmer Ranch for a new elementary school. The parcel is south of State Road 681 near Venice, with easy access to Honore Avenue, Interstate 75 and U.S. 41, Kathie Ebaugh, director of planning for the school district, explained during the board’s Jan. 17 workshop in Sarasota. (Read more »)


Atlanta Braves announce plans to make Sarasota County their new Spring Training home

County Commission to get an update on Jan. 24 in Sarasota

The Atlanta Braves announced this week that they want Sarasota County to become their new Spring Training home and that their management is in exclusive negotiations with representatives of the county and the West Villages near Venice and North Port. (Read more »)


County Commissioner Maio reaffirms his commitment to protect Siesta Key from harm, with Lido Renourishment Project looming

Maio also defends his vote on allowing earlier staff work on a Comprehensive Plan amendment that could lead to a new hotel on Siesta Key

Sarasota County Commissioner Alan Maio reassured about 40 people during the Jan. 17 Siesta Key Condominium Council meeting that he remains committed to protecting Siesta Key as the City of Sarasota and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) proceed with plans to dredge Big Sarasota Pass to renourish South Lido Key. (Read more »)


City of Sarasota moving utility lines in advance of FDOT drainage project on Siesta Drive

Traffic backups frustrate drivers headed to and from Siesta Key

As one person put it during the Jan. 17 meeting of the Siesta Key Condominium Council (SKCC) at Siesta Chapel, “It is a catastrophe, and it’s just the first day.” She was referring to the closure of one lane on Siesta Drive just east of the north bridge to Siesta Key. (Read more »)


SKA joins two other nonprofits in administrative challenge of state’s plan to issue permit for Lido Renourishment Project

SKA also explains its research showing potential for violations of City and County of Sarasota comprehensive plans

Late on the afternoon of Jan. 13, the Siesta Key Association (SKA) formally filed its petition with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), seeking an administrative hearing on the department’s Dec. 22, 2016 Notice of Intent to issue a permit that would allow the dredging of Big Sarasota Pass to renourish about 1.6 miles of South Lido Key Beach. (Read more »)


Siesta Seen

Potential for a new hotel on Siesta Key sparks exchanges at SKA meeting; ‘no hotel’ petition drive continuing online; SKA program packs the Parish Hall; SKA experiencing online membership renewal problems; no significant island crime trends reported; and Reopen Beach Road supporters officially warned about signs

Lively debate ensued at the Jan. 12 Siesta Key Association (SKA) meeting when a resident of the Marina Del Sol condominium complex on Old Stickney Point Road brought up the County Commission vote last week to authorize staff to begin work on a proposed Comprehensive Plan Amendment that could lead to a new hotel on Siesta Key. (Read more »)


SOSS2 to host community meeting on proposed dredging of Big Pass

Session planned for Thursday, Jan. 26, at St. Boniface on Siesta Key

On Jan. 26, Save Our Siesta Sand 2 (SOSS2) will host a community meeting on the proposed $19-million Lido Renourishment Project. The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. at St. Boniface Episcopal Church on Siesta Key. (Read more »)


The Vue in downtown Sarasota to be topic of nonpartisan forum on Feb. 11

Better Government Association to host event at Selby Library

On Saturday, Feb. 11, the Better Government Association of Sarasota County will host a nonpartisan forum on the topic, The Vue: Model or Mistake? The Vue Sarasota Bay is a condominium complex under construction at the intersection of U.S. 41 and Gulfstream Avenue. (Read more »)


Jan. 24 FDOT workshop to focus on pedestrian and bicyclist improvements to South Tamiami Trail

Segment of U.S. 41 to be addressed is from Blackburn Point Road to Stickney Point Road

On Jan. 24, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will host a public information meeting regarding the design of proposed improvements to U.S. 41 from Blackburn Point Road to State Road 72/Stickney Point Road in Sarasota County, FDOT has announced. (Read more »)


Mote officially announces ‘major record’ for 2016 sea turtle nesting season

Record had stood for 35 years, Mote scientists say

Sea-turtle nesting season “wrapped up with a major record” for Mote Marine-monitored beaches from Longboat Key south to Venice, Mote has announced. By the end of nesting season — May 1 through Oct. 31, 2016 — Mote scientists had tallied 4,588 nests. (Read more »)


Library Foundation surpasses $500,000 Children’s Literacy Endowment goal

One program underway ensures young eligible children receive a free book each month

On Jan. 5, the Library Foundation for Sarasota County celebrated surpassing its $500,000 goal to create a new Children’s Literacy Endowment, the nonprofit has announced. (Read more »)


Sarasota County releases its 2016 Annual Report

Copies available online and at county offices and libraries

Sarasota County has released its 2016 Annual Report, “which takes a comprehensive look at the county’s most important projects, programs and initiatives and how it is meeting its goals,” the county has announced. (Read more »)