December 15, 2017 Edition

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Swap of surface parking lots and creation of affordable housing on county property in Newtown part of County Commission proposal to end CRA dispute

County board agrees to put on hold extension of interlocal agreement with the city on the Marian Anderson Place brownfield site until after city-county staff discussions have been held

Call it a creative counter-proposal from County Commissioner Charles Hines. The Sarasota County Commission has asked Interim County Administrator Jonathan Lewis to talk with City of Sarasota staff about a parking lot trade and the county’s willingness to create an affordable housing development in Newtown. (Read more »)


County commissioners to review potential expense if county had to take over all Benderson Park operations, with SANCA having requested more county funding in current and future fiscal years

Commission also agrees on need to review division of responsibilities in contract with SANCA and to consider appointing a voting member to the organization’s board

How much would it cost for Sarasota County staff to handle all the work at Nathan Benderson Park — including the scheduling of events — for which the Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates (SANCA) is responsible? That is one question the County Commission has asked staff to determine, as SANCA has requested about $300,000 more in the current fiscal year and a total of $1,205,000 for fiscal years 2019 through 2021. (Read more »)


Jonathan Lewis the choice of full County Commission to replace County Administrator Harmer

Board members authorize contract negotiations, indicating hopefulness that the process will be completed early in January

With emphasis essentially on ”as soon as possible,” the Sarasota County commissioners this week directed County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh to initiate contract negotiations with Interim County Administrator Jonathan Lewis. They were unanimous in their desire to have Lewis become the county’s next administrator. (Read more »)


Sarasota County staff to demolish Sheriff’s Office training facility on South Midnight Pass property so people can use the site for free parking

Commissioners consider other options to ease Siesta Key traffic congestion, including use of parking spaces at Sarasota Pavilion if Siesta trolley service can be expanded off-island

With the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office having formally vacated a training facility at 6647 S. Midnight Pass Road on Siesta Key, the County Commission this week unanimously directed staff to demolish the structure and grade the land so the public can use the 14 paved parking spaces on the site. (Read more »)


Addendum to contract for first segment of North Extension of Legacy Trail clears up issues with legal descriptions of the parcels

Friends of The Legacy Trail estimates total users this year to close in on 200,000 mark

Thanks to a unanimous vote on Dec. 12, the Sarasota County Commission’s plan to create the North Extension of The Legacy Trail cleared another hurdle. As part of its Consent Agenda of routine business items, the board approved an addendum to its contract with the Trust for Public Land that dealt with a couple of last-minute issues county staff had discovered. (Read more »)


Sarasota mediator who is retired attorney named to unexpired Planning Commission term

Frank Strelec wins unanimous County Commission support

The Sarasota County Commission has appointed Frank Strelec of Sarasota, a mediator and a retired attorney and pharmacist, to its Planning Commission. On Dec. 13, Commissioner Alan Maio nominated Strelec, and Commissioner Nancy Detert seconded it. (Read more »)


Planning Commission votes 8-1 to recommend County Commission amend Siesta zoning regulations to allow flexibility with commercial structures’ street setbacks

Majority of public speakers oppose the initiative, saying a Siesta chiropractor has pursued it so he can build a new hotel

Eight of nine Sarasota County Planning Commission members have agreed that developers should have the flexibility to construct buildings taller than 35 feet as close as 2 feet to the sidewalk in three commercial zoning districts on Siesta Key. The lone “No” vote at the conclusion of a Dec. 7 public hearing was cast by Commissioner Laura Benson. (Read more »)


Steube offers assistance to county in effort to obtain state economic development grant funds for River Road

Commissioner Nancy Detert says she believes state financial assistance would facilitate faster timeline for improvements than a potential road swap with FDOT

State Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, agreed with former State Sen. and now County Commissioner Nancy Detert this week on how best to speed up the improvements the county has planned for River Road: obtain money from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s Florida Job Growth Fund instead of pursuing a road swap with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) so the state could take over control of River Road. (Read more »)


Siesta Seen

Decision yet to be made on nonprofits that will benefit from 2017 Crystal Classic; repairs close to completion next to Terrace East; new Village custodial contract awarded; one streetlight still out near the Village; Light Up the Village draws thousands of visitors; motorcycle parking spaces relocated in the Village; dogs on the beach raise questions for Sheriff’s Office sergeant; county commissioner asks about potential sale price for South Midnight Pass Road parcel; Breeze ridership climbing again; Cosentino’s proposed Charter amendments not likely to hit goal by end of year; and Calle Minorga parking lot plans remain on hold

After all the accounting has been completed, the organizers of the Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Festival will decide how to divvy up any profits, Mark Smith, chair of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, has announced. (Read more »)


Riverview High educator named 2018 Teacher of the Year for the Sarasota County Schools

Event also honors first Alumni of Distinction and Ignite Innovation teacher

Es Swihart, an English teacher at Riverview High School, was named the 2018 Sarasota County Teacher of the Year during the Ignite Education event, a celebration hosted by the Education Foundation of Sarasota County. This is the second year in a row Superintendent Todd Bowden has presented this honor to a teacher from Riverview, a Sarasota County Schools news release points out. (Read more »)


Lift Station 87 site work expected to begin first week of January 2018 in Luke Wood Park in Sarasota

Minimal activity to occur on the site during the holidays, project team says

While all seems quiet at the Lift Station 87 site in the city of Sarasota, “much work continues behind the scenes to prepare for construction in 2018,” the project team has announced in its latest update. (Read more »)


Two Miami men charged with installing skimming devices at Sarasota service stations

Detectives find devices at Bee Ridge Road Sunoco and Citgo, as well as a South Tamiami Trail 7-Eleven

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has arrested two Miami men for allegedly installing skimming devices at three Sarasota service stations, the office has announced. Patrol deputies first were alerted around 1 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6, when a person called the Sheriff’s Office about a suspicious white Chevy Camaro parked at the closed Sunoco gas station in the 4100 block of Bee Ridge Road. (Read more »)


‘Ready for 100’ plan to kick off Dec. 20

Event to be held at Robert L. Taylor Community Complex from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

The public is invited to the first in a series of community meetings as the City of Sarasota kicks off its Ready for 100 Plan. The session will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 20, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex, located at 1845 John Rivers St. (formerly 34th Street), the city has announced. (Read more »)


Detert elected chair of County Commission for 2018

Hines to serve as vice chair

Their colleagues on the Sarasota County Commission have elected Commissioner Nancy Detert of District 3 the chair and Commissioner Charles Hines of District 5 the vice chair for the 2018 calendar year. (Read more »)


Supervisor of elections invites scholarship applications

Students must meet specific criteria for the $1,200 award

Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner is accepting applications for a $1,200 scholarship that will be awarded by the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections (FSASE) in 2018, his office has announced. (Read more »)


Elementary-age Sarasota County students honored for artwork being showcased in 2018 NEST Calendar

Submissions reflect the theme Seagrass Keeps the Bay Alive

Sarasota County’s 2018 Neighborhood Environmental Stewardship Team (NEST) Calendar has been made available at county facilities, while supplies last, the county has announced. (Read more »)