April 29, 2016 Edition

May 27 mediation conference set in ManaSota 88 lawsuit involving new Whole Foods site

Case comes up during county’s Comprehensive Plan review, as a Planning Commission member seeks to prevent ‘the county being sued’

A mediation conference has been set for May 27 in the legal case filed by environmental organization ManaSota 88 to stop Whole Foods from building its second Sarasota store on University Parkway, The Sarasota News Leader has learned. (Read more »)


Residential right of way mowing changes to be focus of public hearing

Commission votes 4-1 in favor of reducing county maintenance work, with expected savings of about $560,000

It took only about nine-and-a-half minutes for the Sarasota County Commission this week to approve staff recommendations that are estimated to save about $560,000 in residential right of way mowing expenses. The board voted 4-1 during its April 27 mid-year budget discussion to authorize a public hearing in August, so new county mowing contracts can be negotiated before the start of the next fiscal year, on Oct. 1. (Read more »)


County staff provides documentation showing last CRA payment was planned for 2016 fiscal year

County Commission votes to send response to Sarasota Mayor Willie Shaw, disputing city staff’s research

Although they said nothing this week about the situation, the Sarasota County commissioners make it clear in a letter to Mayor Willie Shaw that they have fulfilled their obligation in terms of payments into the Downtown Sarasota Redevelopment Area (CRA) Trust Fund. (Read more »)


Increasing building permit activity leads to County Commission approving three new employees in middle of fiscal year

Senior manager in Planning and Development Services Department explains ‘extraordinary need’ for new hires

With Sarasota County’s Planning and Development Services staff having issued 4.2 percent more permits so far this fiscal year than it did in the first half of the 2015 fiscal year — and with the construction industry having complained about delays in getting permits approved — the County Commission this week unanimously agreed to the immediate hiring of three new employees to help shoulder the load. (Read more »)


County Commission to contribute its share of funds for jail diversion program

Comprehensive Treatment Court commitments made by two private foundations, as well, but City of Sarasota participation seen as key to winning state grant

If a mentally ill individual in downtown Sarasota has been “trespassed” — ordered by law enforcement officers — to stay away from a particular business, and that individual shows back up on the premises, the person generally will be arrested, taken to the county jail and booked. (Read more »)


Maximum penalty for unlicensed contractors set at $2,000 per day in Sarasota County Code

New resolution does offer incentive for timely payment of fines

County Building Official Kathleen Croteau made about a two-minute presentation to the board on April 26, explaining that in 2013, the Florida Legislature updated the maximum penalty that local governments could impose for unlicensed contracting from $500 to $2,000. (Read more »)


Facets of Woman’s Exchange building permit denial set for City Commission discussion on May 2

City attorney raises points he recommends the board consider, given the potential for the nonprofit organization to file suit over the April 11 decision

On Monday, May 2, Sarasota City Attorney Robert Fournier plans to address with the City Commission some lingering matters as a result of the board’s 3-2 vote on April 11 to turn over a staff decision to issue a building permit to the Woman’s Exchange for an expansion on Rawls Avenue. (Read more »)


Contract approved for next step in decommissioning Siesta Wastewater Treatment Plant

Southern Underground Industries to construct sewer force main and water main under the Intracoastal Waterway

As county staff had anticipated, the Sarasota County Commission this week unanimously approved a $4,370,000 contract for the Siesta Key Force Main and Water Main project that entails constructing pipelines under the Intracoastal Waterway. (Read more »)


Precautions regarding lead-based paint to be taken in renovations of Hamilton Building in Venice

Sarasota County administrator agrees to provide commissioners an email detailing steps that will be taken to prevent air contamination

Sarasota County staff assured the county commissioners this week that precautions will be taken during the remodeling of the Hamilton Building in Venice to make certain that lead-based paint on steel beams above the ceiling will not be “disrupted,” leading to air contamination. (Read more »)


Free community health and wellness event to be held at Booker High School

April 30 Gospel Explosion to mark National Minority Health Month

North Sarasota and Newtown-area churches are joining together for the Fourth Annual Gospel Explosion, promoting community health and wellness in recognition of April as National Minority Health Month, the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County has announced. (Read more »)


National prescription medication turn-in event set for Saturday, April 30

Law enforcement agencies throughout Sarasota County will be participating; the hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Law enforcement agencies throughout Sarasota County will participate in a national Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) event on Saturday, April 30, to properly dispose of turned-in prescription medication, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has announced. (Read more »)


City issues call to artists for public sculpture at future downtown roundabout

Deadline for submissions is June 5

A Call to Artists is underway for the creation of an original landmark sculpture to be placed at the roundabout planned at the intersection of Orange Avenue and Ringling Boulevard in downtown Sarasota, the City of Sarasota has announced. (Read more »)


CodeRED test call scheduled for May 3

Weather Warning service also available from Sarasota County

Residents who have signed up for Sarasota County’s CodeRED Emergency Notification System will receive a test call May 3, county staff has announced. The test calls will give county employees the opportunity to operate the system as if there were a community-wide disaster. (Read more »)


Tourist Development Tax revenue continues its climb

February’s total is about $113,000 higher than the amount for the same month in 2015

Sarasota County’s Tourist Development Tax (TDT) collections are continuing to rise, the latest data show: In February — the latest month for which figures are available — revenue totaled $2,547,222.70, an increase of $113,347.55 compared to the same month in 2015, according to the Sarasota County Tax Collector’s Office. (Read more »)


Area employees invited to learn how to ‘green’ their commutes

Workshop on money-saving transportation choices set for May 16

Sarasota County staff and the Florida Department of Transportation’s District One Commuter Services Program are teaming up to help area businesses secure and provide money-saving transportation choices for their employees by offering a free brown-bag workshop on May 16, the county has announced. (Read more »)


CONA to host State Senate candidates for May 9 forum in Sarasota

Event will begin at 7 p.m. at the Sarasota Garden Club

On Monday, May 9, the Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations (CONA) will hold a forum for the candidates campaigning for the Florida Senate District 23 seat, the organization has announced. Candidates Frank Anthony Cirillo, Doug Holder, Rick Levine, Nora Patterson, Ray Pilon and Greg Steube have been invited to attend the session. (Read more »)


Honore Avenue/Pinebrook Road extension opens to traffic

Link provides a north/south alternative to I-75 in Sarasota County

The Honore Avenue/Pinebrook extension has opened, providing improved traffic circulation and increased capacity on the county’s north/south roadways, Sarasota County announced on April 22. (Read more »)


Englewood teen named one of three winners of prestigious national honor

Grace Wickerson honored for project to help survivors of domestic violence

Pine View School student Grace Wickerson is one of three winners of the Jefferson Awards Foundation’s LEAD360 service ideas contest, the Foundation has announced. (Read more »)


Sarasota Police Department Homeless Outreach Team honored by Congressman Buchanan

Department sergeant also honored for work with Turn Your Life Around program

On the evening of April 16, the Sarasota Police Department Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) members received the 16th District Congressional Unit Citation Award from U.S Rep. Vern Buchanan of Sarasota, the Police Department has announced. (Read more »)


Sheriff’s Office personnel honored by congressman for variety of contributions to the community

Harvest House representatives also win congressional recognition, thanks to a nomination by the Sheriff’s Office

During the Fifth Annual Congressional Law Enforcement Awards presentation, held April 22 in Sarasota, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, recognized several members of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, the office has announced. (Read more »)