20161104-4 Nov 2016

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Focus group of regional leaders suggested as best means of tackling traffic congestion woes

Discussion among Longboat Key and Sarasota County commissioners references study FDOT will be undertaking

The creation of a focus group of Sarasota and Manatee county and municipal leaders to push for solutions may be the best hope for alleviating the seasonal traffic congestion that plagues the area, the chair of the Sarasota County Commission has suggested. (Read more »)

Northern extension of Legacy Trail fails to win SUN Trail program grant, but application to be submitted for next state funding cycle

Sarasota County staff also bogged down in negotiations with FPL over easement for a section through the Carlton Reserve as work proceeds on southern extension

Obtaining funding from a state trails program for the north extension of The Legacy Trail — from Culverhouse Park in Palmer Ranch to Payne Park in downtown Sarasota —remains the top priority for both District One of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), Assistant Sarasota County Attorney Mark Cunningham has reported to the County Commission. (Read more »)

County Commission to take another look at updated impact fees during a Nov. 8 public hearing

Following up on questions board members posed in September, staff is to propose more categories for single-family homes and offer figures for the same types of fees in a broader range of counties

On Tuesday, Nov. 8, in Venice, the Sarasota County Commission once again will address updated impact fees for a range of services the county provides — from libraries to parks to law enforcement. By that time, staff is expected to have provided responses to four sets of requests the board made on Sept. 6, which it wanted before choosing how best to proceed. (Read more »)

FDEP officials eschew SOSS2’s request for a public hearing on the Lido Renourishment Project’s need for state sovereign easements

An open-house style meeting tentatively is set for Nov. 29 or 30; in the meantime, SOSS2 has sought clarification about the need for any county easements for the project

Almost exactly a month ago, the chair of a nonprofit group opposed to the dredging of Big Sarasota Pass reported on a discussion he had had with representatives of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) about his organization’s call for another public hearing on the proposed Lido Renourishment Project. (Read more »)

First phase of project leading to decommissioning of Siesta wastewater plant on hold because of issue with pipeline installation under the ICW

Consultants working with county staff to resolve issue of vibrations that led to a crack in one homeowner’s garage on Siesta Key

In August, a Siesta Cove Drive homeowner and a project inspector almost simultaneously discovered a hairline crack in the wall of the homeowner’s garage. The incident occurred as a contractor was working on the first phase of Sarasota County’s project to install a new water line and a new sewer force main between Siesta Key and the mainland. (Read more »)

Siesta Key Village Association to be merged into Siesta Chamber

SKVA members unanimously approve the action as a means to strengthen the Chamber and expand special events island-wide

A merger years in the making became reality this week, when members of the Siesta Key Village Association (SKVA) voted unanimously to merge the organization into the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce. (Read more »)

Close to 90% of drivers on South Orange Avenue exceeding the speed limit, traffic study shows

City Police Department says it is monitoring the traffic, including the increase because of the Lift Station 87 project detour

Slightly more than 88% of the drivers who traveled on South Orange Avenue in Sarasota between Sept. 21 and Oct. 11 were speeding, according to a Sarasota Police Department traffic study released last month. (Read more »)

Members of the public decry changes to county environmental policies in the revised Comprehensive Plan

Current and former litigants against the county among those who had pressed the County Commission to retain more proscriptive language

Although traffic was the issue that garnered the most attention during the Sarasota County Commission’s final public hearing on the county’s revised Comprehensive Plan, changes to the document’s Environmental Systems chapter also were the focus of a number of public complaints. (Read more »)

With Sarasota County’s funding for Benderson Park to end in late 2017, outgoing commissioner suggests detailed discussion on finances

Board of SANCA, which manages the park, does not expect to have its key moneymaking tool — a boathouse — in place by that time

The number of annual events at Nathan Benderson Park almost doubled from 2014 to 2016, and the economic impact on Sarasota County was estimated at $20 million in the 2016 fiscal year, Bill Robinson, chair of the Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates (SANCA), has reported to the Sarasota County Commission. (Read more »)

‘The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming!’ — to Siesta Key

Crystal Classic to feature artists from the former Soviet Union and a couple from Bulgaria among its first-timers

For the first time ever, the Siesta Key Crystal Classic International Sand Sculpting Festival will feature two Russian artists, organizer Brian Wigelsworth told The Sarasota News Leader this week. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

Sidewalk project causes traffic tie-ups; new seasonal banners to be installed in the North Village; Sandfest and the Crystal Classic help make November extra busy; benches in the gazebo get armrests; another Givens Street flashing beacon glitch encountered; North Shell Road question raised; and the Key gets a new deputy on the daytime shift

Having been among those folks driving along Higel Avenue early on the morning of Nov. 1, I could not help but notice someone had put out traffic cones near the big house being constructed on the waterway, just north of the Higel/Midnight Pass Road intersection. Additionally, signs facing southbound drivers on Higel warned that traffic would be narrowed to one lane. (Read more »)

River Road resurfacing to begin Nov. 13

$1.8-million project expected to be completed in early 2017

A major resurfacing project is set to begin the evening of Nov. 13 on River Road between Interstate 75 and U.S. 41 in south Sarasota County, Sarasota County has announced. (Read more »)

Neighborhood grant workshops for county residents will begin in December

County provides up to $10,000 each for a variety of projects to improve communities

Representatives of area neighborhood associations looking to make changes to their communities should consider attending a neighborhood grant workshop in December or January, Sarasota County has announced. (Read more »)

All portions of Knight Trail Park’s pistol and rifle range have reopened

Installation of baffles to increase safety necessitated the recent closing

The pistol and rifle range at Knight Trail Park in Nokomis was fully reopened to the public on Nov. 2, following the installation of baffles, Sarasota County has announced. (Read more »)

SCAT offering free Wi-Fi on all buses

Service previously had been provided just on express routes

Free Wi-Fi has been made available on all buses and bus routes, Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) has announced. (Read more »)

Sheriff’s Office deputies accept honors for life-saving initiatives

Sheriff Tom Knight recognizes officers who rescued victims in three incidents

Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight presented several awards during an Oct. 28 ceremony, recognizing “employees who have demonstrated exemplary service to the community,” the Sheriff’s Office has announced. (Read more »)

City of Sarasota Finance Department wins two prestigious awards

One honor accorded for the 35th consecutive year

“Continuing a years-long streak of professional recognition, the City of Sarasota Finance Department was honored recently with two prestigious awards by the Government Finance Officers Association: Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting and Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting,” the city has announced. (Read more »)