March 24, 2017 Edition

Sarasota resident to create residential community in an industrial, light warehousing district for people who want to work out of their homes

Eldon Johnson Jr. convinces County Commission to approve a Zoning Code text amendment to make the development possible near Cattlemen Road

For about five years, Eldon E. Johnson Jr. of JW4 Capital LLC in Sarasota has envisioned a single-family residential neighborhood where people could also work out of their homes. Finally, after about two-and-a-half hours of discussion during two public hearings, the Sarasota County Commission has given him the opportunity to create just that kind of community on 42.5 acres in the eastern part of the county. (Read more »)


Restaurant Depot plans cancelled in wake of protests over proximity to Celery Fields

Advocates of the county’s internationally known park warn of other projects they plan to fight while Restaurant Depot attorney defends suitability of the warehouse for the parcel on which it was proposed

Pennsylvania-based attorneys for a company that proposed a 60,000-square-foot wholesale restaurant supply warehouse on property near the Celery Fields have informed Sarasota County staff that their client has terminated the contract to purchase the parcel. (Read more »)


Public hearing on proposed City of Sarasota leash law for all parks continued until May 1

Staff asked to research the possibility of differentiating between neighborhood parks and larger facilities, such as Payne Park, and to investigate cost of enforcement

After listening to six opponents of a proposed amendment that would require the leashing of dogs in all city parks — except in areas specifically designated for dogs — the Sarasota City Commission this week decided to continue the public hearing until May 1. (Read more »)


Marian Anderson Place Invitation to Negotiate to be flexible about proposed development

City commissioners vote 4-1 to refrain from any rezoning at this point that might limit responses

With Vice Mayor Shelli Freeland Eddie taking the lead — and making the motion — the Sarasota City Commission this week voted 4-1 to forgo a staff recommendation and instead advertise an Invitation to Negotiate for the 13.19-acre Marian Anderson Place brownfield site that leaves open the future zoning of the majority of the site. (Read more »)


County commissioners point to facets of report on February workshop to reaffirm support for community triage facility for the homeless

City of Sarasota expecting a consultant’s report on homelessness no later than mid-April, city manager says

In Sarasota County’s efforts to deal with homeless people suffering from mental and behavioral health problems, one key missing component is a triage center, a report issued by the University of South Florida’s Criminal Justice, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Technical Assistance Center concludes. (Read more »)


233-unit DeSoto Road Apartments project wins County Commission approval

Property will be rezoned for development near the Mall at University Town Center

It took an assurance that a revised site plan was preferable to residents of a nearby condominium community, plus some last-minute wordsmithing for setback stipulations. After the proposed ordinance language was clear, the Sarasota County Commission this week unanimously approved a Comprehensive Plan amendment and the rezoning of about 18 acres at 5380 DeSoto Road — in the southeast quadrant of Honore Avenue and DeSoto Road — from medium density to high density for the construction of 233 apartments. (Read more »)


Open-air trolley begins its runs on Siesta Key

Siesta Chamber chair still hopeful route can be tweaked to make Siesta Key Breeze more visible in the Village

“It’s a big deal,” was the common refrain as representatives of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, Sarasota County, RideRight Transit and members of the public gathered in front of an open-air trolley on the morning of March 20 in Siesta Village. (Read more »)


2017 Sarasota County transportation priority list approved for Sarasota/Manatee MPO

Three new projects added: Lakewood Ranch overpass of I-75; Iona Road expansion; and roundabout at Cattlemen and Richardson roads

With only one question from a board member — regarding a project planned for the City of Venice — the Sarasota County Commission this week unanimously approved the county’s list of state and federal transportation program priorities for adoption by the Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). (Read more »)


County Commission endorses Judge Quartermaine for recognition from the Florida Supreme Court

Award would recognize county judge’s leadership in establishing the Comprehensive Treatment Court

The Sarasota County commissioners this week took only moments to offer their endorsement of the nomination of a county judge for a Florida Supreme Court Award recognizing judicial excellence. (Read more »)


New Pass bridge openings to be necessary for testing of updated equipment, FDOT says

Project began on March 21; testing is to continue through mid-May

On March 21, crews began updating the bridge tender house, electrical and mechanical components, and traffic gates on the New Pass bridge on State Road 789, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has announced. (Read more »)


Parents invited to take online survey on their child’s school, through March 31

Survey available through the Sarasota County School District’s website

Each year, the Sarasota County School District conducts what is known as a “climate survey,” district staff is reminding the public. This year, the survey has been posted on the Sarasota County School District website at www.SarasotaCountySchools.net. It will be available from Wednesday, March 22, through Friday, March 31, a news release says. (Read more »)


Musical tribute to crime victims planned for evening of April 3 in Sarasota, organizers announce

Event to be part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week observance

In early April, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Victim Assistance Unit and members of the Sarasota County Victim Advisory Council will host Celebration of Survivorship: A Musical Tribute to Crime Victims as part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, the Sheriff’s Office has announced. (Read more »)


First microtunnel completed for Lift Station 87 project

City of Sarasota staff emphasizes the significance of the event as work proceeds to complete the project in 2020

The first Lift Station 87 microtunnel, which crossed under Hudson Bayou and Osprey Avenue in Sarasota, has been completed successfully, the City of Sarasota has announced. On the night of March 14, the microtunnel boring machine arrived at the receiving shaft on the corner of Osprey Avenue and Mound Street, a city news release says. (Read more »)


Cover named new City of Sarasota planning director

He will begin work April 12, after relocating from an Arlington County, Va., position

On Wednesday, April 12, Steven Cover will join the City of Sarasota as the new planning director, the city has announced. His appointment “follows an extensive hiring process involving a national search and community input,” a news release points out. (Read more »)


Sarasota County named Healthy Weight Community Champion for fourth consecutive year

County has won the recognition each year since the award was created, health official says

For the fourth consecutive year, Sarasota County has been recognized by the Florida Department of Health as a Healthy Weight Community Champion, the county has announced. “Sarasota County was one of 98 communities throughout the state to achieve this distinction this year,” a news release says. (Read more »)


First Step of Sarasota reaches 200th patient milestone for its sober living program

Nonprofit operates 18-bed facility

First Step of Sarasota, a nonprofit organization that provides addiction recovery programs in Sarasota, Manatee and Desoto counties, recently served its 200th patient through its sober living program, First Step has announced. (Read more »)


County’s director of libraries and historical resources appointed to State Library Council

Sarabeth Kalajian will be one of nine members

Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources Director Sarabeth Kalajian recently was appointed to the State Library Council, which serves as the advisory board for the Florida Department of State’s Division of Library and Information Services, the county has announced. (Read more »)