20170901-1 Sep 2017

Sheriff expresses concern about significant financial impact new Sarasota County Quality of Life Ordinance could have on his department and seeks public discussion with County Commission

Commissioner Charles Hines says county administrator will plan time for such a session

Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight requested a public discussion with the County Commission before the board holds a hearing on Oct. 11 on a proposed new “Quality of Life Ordinance” designed to deal with homeless individuals who refuse social assistance that could help them transition into housing. (Read more »)

Efforts to purchase Legacy Trail North Extension property to proceed, after County Commission approves resolutions regarding funding

County must pay $7.9 million before the end of the year to acquire first segment; 2018 bond referendum planned to fund second section and improvements

Although Sarasota County Commissioner Nancy Detert initially voiced concerns about whether the decision was appropriate, given recent county budget discussions, she joined her colleagues on Aug. 29 in approving two resolutions designed to extend The Legacy Trail to Fruitville Road. (Read more »)

County Commission agrees to reset Newtown Community Redevelopment Area base year but refuses to pay cash settlement over larger dispute

Commissioner Michael Moran votes ‘No,’ citing city’s failure to withdraw threat of litigation

Agreeing with the recommendation of Sarasota County Administrator Tom Harmer, four of the county commissioners voted on Aug. 29 to approve the resetting of the base year for the Newtown Community Redevelopment Area (CRA). (Read more »)

If Siesta chiropractor wants to pursue hotel project, majority of County Commission decides, he can pursue a privately initiated zoning code amendment

Commissioner Michael Moran advocates for a county staff process, citing concerns about a lawsuit Gary Kompothecras has filed against the Board of Zoning Appeals

The majority of the Sarasota County commissioners agreed this week that a proposed amendment to the Siesta Key zoning regulations should be initiated privately, instead of having county staff undertake the work. A motion Commissioner Michael Moran made that called for staff to handle the changes died for lack of a second. (Read more »)

Team booking for World Rowing Championships exceeds original goal and is expected to climb, with more public ticket sales also anticipated, executive director says

1,500 athletes and members of 30 fan groups have reserved more than 12,000 rooms already

“Twenty-four days before we welcome the world.” That was the timeline Meredith Scerba, executive director of the 2017 World Rowing Championships, noted as she stood before the Sarasota County Commission on Aug. 30. When competition gets underway on Sept. 23, it will mark the first time in 23 years that the event has been held in the United States, she pointed out. (Read more »)

Higher standards to be imposed on business applicants seeking economic incentives in Sarasota County

Vote this week increases the number of jobs that would have to be created and raises average salary of new employees

After months of airing frustrations about Sarasota County’s economic development incentives, the County Commission this week voted 4-1 to approve new guidelines, recognizing that the county is well past the Great Recession. (Read more »)

July’s tourist and hotel occupancy figures break records for that month, Visit Sarasota County reports

Tourist Development Tax revenue continues to climb year-over-year, as well

July’s tourism figures broke all records for that month in Sarasota County, Virginia Haley, president and CEO of Visit Sarasota County, has reported to local government leaders. “We had a 1.4% increase in hotel occupancy over July last year to 77.6% — the best ever for July,” she wrote in an Aug. 24 email. “Hotel average room rates grew by 1.8% to $182.79 for July,” she added. (Read more »)

Republican and Libertarian candidates announce for Florida House District 72 seat

James Buchanan and Alison Foxall seek to replace Alex Miller, who has resigned effective Sept. 1

With state Rep. Alex Miller of Sarasota having announced her resignation from her District 72 seat, two contenders already have thrown their proverbial hats into the ring. (Read more »)

FDOT designing drainage project to alleviate flooding on Higel Avenue near Somerset Cove Condominiums

Earliest construction timeline would be 2019 fiscal year

Just as motorists in downtown Sarasota have learned to be wary of U.S. 41 near Gulfstream Avenue when it rains hard, drivers on a section of Siesta Key’s Higel Avenue know to watch out for flooding in one particular area. In 2014, a couple who lives on that segment of Higel, along with the president of the Somerset Cove Condominiums — whose complex is in the same vicinity — spoke with Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) staff about their frustrations. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

‘Dr. Beach’ says vacated North Beach Road segment should remain closed; Siesta Breeze ridership remains strong; beach park graffiti not gang-related; sea turtle nesting breaking new records; and Mike Cosentino chastises Nancy Commissioner Detert

No less an authority on beach issues than “Dr. Beach” himself has weighed in on the Reopen Beach Road initiative, The Sarasota News Leader has learned. And Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman of Florida International University has offered his professional opinion that the 357-foot-long segment of North Beach Road that the County Commission vacated in May 2016 should remain off limits to vehicles. (Read more »)

Evolution of a weather watcher

‘The times, they are a-changin’ ‘

Yesterday, I woke up determined to get back on the road after weeks of hunkering down in air conditioning. Scrub morning glory was calling — it blooms this time of year at Hickory Lake Scrub in Polk County. So after checking the weather in Frostproof, I arrived there after 97 miles of uneventful driving. (Read more »)

City planning issues to be among topics for CCNA meeting on Saturday, Sept. 9, in downtown Sarasota

Updates on traffic and trees and discussion of new city recycling efforts also on the agenda

City of Sarasota Planning Director Steve Cover will discuss a variety of planning issues during the Sept. 9 meeting of the Coalition of City Neighborhood Associations (CCNA), the city has announced. The session will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. that Saturday at the Bayfront Community Center, which is located at 803 N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. (Read more »)

Residential recycling commingling in effect as of Sept. 2 in city of Sarasota, thanks to new contract

Businesses must contract with private haulers for recycling

Comingling of recyclable materials will be allowed for residential curbside pickup effective Saturday, Sept. 2, in the city of Sarasota, the city has announced. Plastics, paper, aluminum, steel, glass, cardboard and other items all may be placed in the same recycling bin for residential collection. (Read more »)

City of Sarasota crews to begin yard waste collection

No garbage, recycling materials or yard waste will be picked up on Labor Day

City of Sarasota Public Works crews will begin residential yard waste collection effective Saturday, Sept. 2, the city has announced. Collection days and the types of materials collected will remain the same. (Read more »)

Sheriff’s Office reminding the public to ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ during Labor Day weekend

Zero tolerance initiative for drunk driving to continue through Sept. 4

Labor Day marks the end of the summer, with picnics, cookouts and other activities with loved ones typically planned over the long weekend. However, the holiday also marks “one of the deadliest times of year for drunk-driving related fatal crashes,” the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office states in a news release. (Read more »)

Spectator parking plans announced for World Rowing Championships at Nathan Benderson Park

Daily fee will be $5

With the 2017 World Rowing Championships just a few weeks away, the event’s local organizing committee has announced plans for spectator parking. The competitions will begin Sept. 23 and end on Oct. 1. (Read more »)

City administrative offices to close for Labor Day

Garbage and recyclables collection pushed back one day for customers

The City of Sarasota administrative offices will be closed Monday, Sept. 4, in observation of Labor Day, the city has announced. Garbage, recycling and yard waste will be collected one day later, a city news release says. For example, the Monday collection will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 5, and the Tuesday collection will be on Wednesday, Sept. 6. (Read more »)