February 5, 2016 Edition

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City’s Downtown Improvement District votes to support funding streams to pay for homelessness initiatives

EILEEN_HAMPSHIRE via DID websiteWhile the debate over a possible come-as-you-are shelter is far from over, the shift to a focus on financing programs to help the homeless appears to mark renewed city/county collaboration

“The door is open,” Downtown Improvement District (DID) Chair Eileen Hampshire said of the possibility of a new type of collaboration between the City of Sarasota and Sarasota County on the issue of addressing homelessness — a partnership that appeared highly unlikely just a month ago, observers say. (Read more »)

March mediation set in ACLU case filed against the city last fall

U.S. District Courthouse Tampa_Courthouse from the Middle District websiteCity Commission approves first reading of a revised panhandling ordinance, which could render part of the lawsuit moot

Mediation is set for March 18 in a lawsuit the Florida Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed in October 2015 against the City of Sarasota over allegations that the city has been trying to criminalize homeless individuals “despite the lack of an available shelter and a deepening housing crisis,” plus sections of the city’s panhandling ordinance. (Read more »)

City staff working to schedule next public meeting on proposed improvements to Fruitville Road

County Commission receives a report on the effort to improve Fruitville between U.S. 301 and U.S. 41 to increase pedestrian safety and enhance the road’s appearance

In response to a Sarasota Commission directive, county staff has provided more details about the City of Sarasota’s efforts to improve Fruitville Road between U.S. 41 and U.S. 301, including making it safer for pedestrians to cross from the downtown core to the Rosemary and Gillespie Park neighborhoods. (Read more »)

Foundation building support in quest to purchase Orange Hammock Ranch

Orange Hammock Ranch fact sheet map Jan. 26 2016 BCCLegislative funding through Amendment 1 seen as a key component, with owner seeking $22 million

The Peace River Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority is the latest entity to vote in support of efforts by the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast to acquire Orange Hammock Ranch, The Sarasota News Leader learned this week. (Read more »)

City Commission approves sale of Pineapple Park right of way

Pineapple Park artwork center Roger Jan. 26 2016The board approves the option that enables the developer to build on a 4,310-square-foot piece of land

In a 3-1 vote Monday, Feb. 1, the Sarasota City Commission approved the sale of a strip of right of way adjacent to Pineapple Park in downtown Sarasota. The vote came despite the pleas of dozens of speakers opposed to it, who saw the parcel as an opportunity to enhance one of only six downtown passive pocket parks. (Read more »)

Siesta Isles’ appeal over tree removal leads to Sarasota County ordinance and procedural changes

Siesta Isles Shadow Lawn Way entrance Feb. 2 2016 large smallThe same day the County Commission approves the measures, it also awards the organization another $10,000 through the Neighborhood Grant Program

The Sarasota County Commission has amended its Tree Ordinance to prevent a recipient of any county Neighborhood Initiative Grant Program award from being stopped in its tracks in beautification efforts. (Read more »)

Governor seeking SBA disaster declaration for tornado victims

B0CczePCMAAgDYo-2Goal is for federal agency to offer low-interest loans to property owners who were uninsured or underinsured

Gov. Rick Scott has recommended a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) physical disaster declaration for Sarasota County, so owners of property that sustained damage from the Jan. 17 tornado can apply for low-interest disaster loans, Sarasota County Administrator Tom Harmer has notified the County Commission. (Read more »)

Siesta Village property owners may balk at expense of new parking plan

Siesta Key Public Improvement District via scgov Lisa Cece Feb. 2 2016County staff estimates the cost of 90 spaces at $100,000; private landowners would have to be willing to offer more spots to reach the 300 mark a Siesta architect’s research shows to be feasible

It would cost about $100,000 to create less than 100 new parking spaces in rights of way around Siesta Village, and the owners of property in the Public Improvement District (PID) would have to be willing to pick up the tab. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

Gidget's Coastal Provisions open in Siesta Village April 1 2014 RBH smallNew owners of the 7-Eleven property looking for the right new tenant; discussions continuing on the future of the 162 Beach Road parcel; more details available about the grand opening of the renovated Siesta Beach Park; Easter Egg Hunt volunteers needed; the County Commission chair lets his sense of humor shine; and the Condo Council will meet again next week

Longtime Siesta Village property owners Jim Syprett and Jay Lancer of Sarasota have added a new parcel to their holdings: the 10,293-square-foot site where the 7-Eleven stood for about 15 years at 5232 Ocean Blvd. (Read more »)

Tourist Development Tax ordinance to be tweaked to aid cities in ‘extenuating and unusual circumstances’

TDT expenditures pie chart for FY 2015 TDC Jan. 19 2016County Commission will be asked on Feb. 9 to advertise a public hearing on the change related to beach renourishment initiatives, just as work is about to get under way on the South Siesta Renourishment Project

With the potential for more beach renourishment projects to come in over budget in the future, the Sarasota County Commission wants to eliminate any chance that it could be accused of favoritism in dealing with funding requests from municipalities, Commissioner Charles Hines pointed out in a recent advisory board meeting. (Read more »)

Croteau wins the job after serving as interim county building official

Kathleen Croteau via scgovShe was one of 14 people who applied for the position, the News Leader learned

Interim Sarasota County Building Official Kathleen Croteau will be able to remove “interim” from her title: On Jan. 28, county staff offered her the job on a regular basis. Croteau, 50, was one of 14 people who applied for the position and one of only four asked to interview for the job. (Read more »)

Voter registration deadline nears for March 15 elections

Kathy-Dent-mugshot-from-2012-Veterans-Parade-Norm-477x720-2Supervisor of elections urging voters to verify that their information on file is correct

Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent is reminding voters that Tuesday, Feb. 16, is the deadline to register to vote or change political party affiliation to be eligible to vote in the March 15 Presidential Preference Primary (PPP), Town of Longboat Key Bond Referendum and Holiday Park Park & Recreation District elections. (Read more »)

Changes to plans for Bee Ridge Road/I-75 project to include hybrid diverging diamond interchange

Bee Ridge Road I-75 interchange project website banner Feb. 2016 FDOTFDOT schedules public meeting for Feb. 11 in Sarasota

On Feb. 11, District One staff of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will conduct a public workshop regarding proposed changes to design plans for improvements to Interstate 75 from south of Bee Ridge Road to south of Fruitville Road in Sarasota County, the state agency has announced. (Read more »)

‘Say I Do Again’ to be offered Feb. 14 on Siesta and Venice beaches

Say I Do AgainFeb. 14 events draw hundreds of couples, Sarasota County staff says

Sarasota County’s popular Say I Do Again wedding vow-renewal event will be held once again on Feb. 14 on the Siesta and Venice public beaches, Sarasota County has announced. Sponsored by the county’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department, Say I Do Again features a non-denominational service performed by a local officiant. (Read more »)

Historic preservation to be focus of Feb. 8 neighborhood associations meeting

Lorrie Muldowney at BCC meeting Jan. 24 2014 Norm smallCounty’s immediate past manager of historical resources to discuss benefits of living in a home designated as historic

On Monday, Feb. 8, the Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations (CONA) will present a program on the topic Historic Preservation Adds Value To Your Home and Community, CONA has announced. (Read more »)

Sample ballots for March 15 Presidential Preference Primary available online

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn Feb. 24, Supervisor of Elections Office also will mail samples to those not requesting absentee ballots

Sample ballots for the March 15 Presidential Preference Primary (PPP) are available on the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections (SOE) website, Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent has announced. To access a personalized sample ballot, a Sarasota County voter may go to the website at www.SarasotaVotes.com and click on the “Precinct Finder” icon at the top of the homepage. (Read more »)

Lido Beach Pavilion informational meeting set for Feb. 9

Historic Lido Casino from scgovGroup proposing new amenities to present designs for public review

An informational meeting about proposed enhancements to the Lido Beach Pavilion will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 9, from 6 to 8 p.m. on the eighth floor of the Lido Beach Resort, located at 700 Ben Franklin Drive in Sarasota, the City of Sarasota has announced. (Read more »)

County’s December tourism figures break records again

Construction of Aloft hotel on Ringling near Palm roundabout Norm Jan. 14 2014 smallNumber of visitors in paid lodging and room rates hit new marks for that month; Aloft Hotel opening later this month

In December 2015, the number of visitors to Sarasota County who stayed in paid lodging rose 0.8 percent over the December 2014 figure, Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota County, reported to the Sarasota County Commission late last week, The Sarasota News Leader has learned. (Read more »)

Pine View teacher selected for Florida Supreme Court Justice Teaching Institute, Feb. 7-11

Carol Lavallee-Pine View teacher Jan 2016Educators’ experiences are adapted into classroom plans for their students

A Pine View School social studies teacher is one of 25 educators selected to participate in the 2016 Florida Supreme Court Justice Teaching Institute, the Sarasota County School District has announced. (Read more »)

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