20171229-29 Dec 2017


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Annual Year-In-Review Issue

Firm denies any culpability for defects found after renovations to stadium

Gilbane Building Co. has asked the county to provide it copies of numerous documents, including those relating to a geotechnical firm’s study of the Ed Smith Stadium grounds

Mayor rebuffs firm’s offer of settlement in lawsuit over original Lift Station 87 microtunneling project

City’s pursuit of legal action dates to 2013

Atlanta Braves announce plans to make Sarasota County their new Spring Training home

County Commission to get an update on Jan. 24 in Sarasota

Judge declines to stop county ban on retail sales of dogs and cats from going into effect on Jan. 27

Petland Sarasota turned down in request for a temporary injunction

On a 4-1 vote, County Commission allows work to proceed on Critical Area Plan application for Siesta Promenade project

Commissioner Nancy Detert voices frank opposition to the Benderson Development’s plans

Commissioners voice discomfort with level of detail Pat Neal seeks from them during discussion about revised Grand Lake proposal

Board members refuse to be pinned down to details, telling the developer to work with neighbors and staff

Crime continues to decline in Sarasota County, Sheriff’s Office’s 2016 statistics show

The most serious types of incidents are down 7% from last year

Micro-tunneling for Lift Station 87 project clears Hudson Bayou and bridge

City manager and utility director point to significance of the news

County to spend about $16 million to purchase building on Cattleridge Boulevard to consolidate several divisions of the Sheriff’s Office

Commissioner Nancy Detert balks at first because of budget concerns, but other board members convince her to support the action

City Commission adopts updated mobility impact fees at maximum calculated level

Motion also directs staff to determine standards for classifying new construction as ‘low-income’ and ‘very low-income,’ with resulting lower fees

County’s land development and zoning regulations to be updated and combined into single document planned to be user-friendly

Commission awards contract to Fort Lauderdale firm, with goal of seeing the work completed in 18 months

City Commission agrees to pursue state conflict resolution process over county’s refusal to provide a 30th payment into the Downtown CRA Trust Fund

If no resolution results from meetings of staffs or the two boards, the issue will end up in court

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

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

$8.6 million freed up to help acquire Legacy Trail’s North Extension into downtown Sarasota

County Commission’s capital project decisions this week also make borrowing possible for the South County court facilities

District Court of Appeal upholds Circuit Court decision in Chapman Sunshine Law case

The plaintiff, Citizens for Sunshine, plans to file a motion seeking a full written opinion, as the appeal court did not provide one

Sarasota County finally inks agreement with Airbnb to collect Tourist Development Tax

Internet-based accommodations service concedes to provisions Tax Collector’s Office sought in regard to collection of unpaid revenue and auditing measures

Number of homeless people in city of Sarasota dropped by more than 200 from 2016 to this year, but overall county total declined by only about half that much

Point-in-Time survey was conducted on Jan. 23

Circuit Court judge delays Siesta Key Association challenge of City of Sarasota’s Lido Renourishment Project until after state administrative hearing process has reached its conclusion

City’s outside counsel says city may withdraw as co-applicant with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the state permit for the project

City and County commissions agree on timeline calling for another joint meeting in 75 days in an effort to settle the CRA payment dispute

Each board to hold a discussion on its own first, with subsequent meetings of administrative staff members to discuss the resulting proposals

Proposed Fox Creek development on Richardson Road wins County Commission approval

Project includes 200 single-family homes and 285 multi-family units in the Fruitville Initiative area

Brody carries all but two precincts in May 9 runoff

Jennifer Ahearn-Koch takes the other at-large seat

Three city employees demoted after ethics investigation related to Public Art Committee vote

City of Sarasota also making procedural changes to prevent future conflict-of-interest situations

Diverging diamond interchange to open at University Parkway on the morning of May 21

Proposal first was unveiled to Sarasota and Manatee county commissioners in 2013

SANCA looking at potential $900,000 deficit in the 2019 fiscal year without funding at the level it has had from Sarasota and Manatee counties

Nonprofit manager of Benderson Park hopes to gain renewal of Manatee financial assistance through 2020; Sarasota County Commission will have to discuss what it wants to do, county administrator says

Woman’s Exchange to purchase Short Stop market next-door, so it finally can expand its furniture consignment business and create a new loading zone

Two City of Sarasota permits already have been approved for the work, which is expected to begin after the end of June

Destruction of wetlands denied for proposed expansion of Aviva senior living facility in Sarasota

County Commission agrees with staff’s view that the existing wetlands continue to function, even though the project team’s proposed mitigation plan would have created new wetlands encompassing triple the space of the current ones

County Commission splits 3-2 on approving a new 5% utilities tax but no millage increase for 2018 fiscal year

All department chiefs and the constitutional officers who sought budget hikes will be asked to inform the commission about affected projects if they were to halve their increases

City’s CRA settlement proposal includes asking county to help fund a new job training facility, make payments into the Newtown CRA Trust Fund and provide annual support for the Robert L. Taylor Complex

Majority of city board members also agree to city manager’s suggestion that a pocket park with parking spaces be created on the former Police Department site

Siesta Promenade plan revised to include 415 residential dwelling units and a 130-room hotel, plus commercial space, latest documents show

Updated traffic analyses submitted were undertaken during the evening peak drive time on a weekday and early on a Saturday afternoon

City attorney pleased ACLU case settlement allows city to maintain its relationship with the Salvation Army

City pays Salvation Army for up to 30 beds a night for homeless individuals

Sarasota city manager the brunt of criticism as county commissioners voice frustration over lack of progress on resolving the Downtown CRA dispute

County administrator and board discuss counterproposals to City Commission’s requests

County Administrator Harmer accepts Longboat Town Commission’s offer to become town manager

Town board to vote on the matter July 17

Paid parking at Siesta Beach a potential solution to traffic congestion on the island, county commissioners agree

Staff to research practices in other beach communities and bring the Sarasota County board options focusing on using parking revenue for more mass transit options

Amended ordinance will require all dogs to be on leashes in City of Sarasota parks

Staff to continue to work on master plan for creating new enclosed areas designated for dogs to run freely

Amended financial agreement for World Rowing Championships makes it clear Benderson Development will cover any cost overruns

County Commission also approves plan for unpaved parking lot at Benderson Park

County seeking $10-million state grant to complete segment of River Road improvements needed for access to planned Atlanta Braves stadium

West Villages Improvement District chair says he anticipates receiving preliminary certification of a $20-million state sports grant before end of August

Splitting 3-2, County Commission denies petitions for recycling facility near the Celery Fields

Commissioner Nancy Detert proposes that the county remove from its surplus list property it owns near the park, including a parcel the applicant has sought to purchase

Reconfiguration of traffic flow to three northbound lanes between Gulfstream Avenue and Fruitville Road wins approval of the City Commission

Sophisticated ‘HAWK’ crosswalk will be constructed at Ritz Carlton Drive and First Street, with traditional type of crosswalk put back in place at Fruitville Road

Jonathan Lewis to become interim Sarasota County administrator, effective Dec. 8

County Commission asks that he be allowed to take on a larger role in the next couple of months, with the expectation he will succeed Tom Harmer on a permanent basis

Mandatory evacuations of low-lying areas of Sarasota County announced on Sept. 8

County’s emergency management chief says if Irma heads north after reaching Cuba, storm surge of 6 to 15 feet is possible, with hurricane force winds

State House District 72 seat special primary to be held Dec. 5, followed by election on Feb. 13, 2018

Legislative session begins on Jan. 9 and ends on March 9

No Public Service Tax will be imposed on residents, County Commission agrees

Money that tax would have generated to be made up from the Economic Uncertainty Fund until board members can approve specific budget cuts

Freeland Eddie and Brody vote against City of Sarasota budget for the 2018 fiscal year

Both cite concerns about the cost of new personnel and the need to focus on infrastructure concerns

City staff authorized to begin working on zoning changes to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in Sarasota

City attorney hopeful first of three public hearings can be scheduled no later than December

City Commission directs staff to work on ‘financially feasible’ options for Bobby Jones Golf Course renovations and to seek grants

Mayor makes motion calling for more community workshops, as well, to gain views of golfers about what they prefer among business plan suggestions

St. Armands parking garage bonds and $15.5-million project expense approved, with construction to begin after height of tourist season

Sarasota mayor votes ‘No,’ indicating concern that insufficient revenue will be generated by on-street parking meters to help repay the bonds

New Venice library to be named in honor of city resident contributing $1 million as endowment for it

William H. Jervey Jr. honored at County Commission meeting

Selby Gardens wins City Commission approval for first step in effort to achieve goals of its new master plan

Comprehensive Plan amendment to be processed outside normal cycle to enable rezoning of Gardens property

Companies file preliminary applications with Sarasota County to open medical marijuana dispensaries

AltMed, based in Sarasota, and Trulieve have begun the months-long process to win county approval

Longboat leaders make first formal pitch in potential bid for all of island to be in one county

Property tax inequity a major concern, town manager tells the Sarasota County Commission

Design of roundabout FDOT plans for U.S. 41 and Gulfstream Avenue needs to be reconsidered on basis of latest traffic counts, Longboat town manager says

Conceptual design for roundabout completed prior to collection of vehicle data in late winter, Dave Bullock tells County Commission

Final pieces of homelessness consultant’s recommendations to be put in place, thanks to County Commission’s unanimous votes

Quality of Life Ordinance to go into effect on March 31, after training has been conducted for Sheriff’s Office personnel and county staff

Tourist Development Tax revenue breaks another fiscal year record in Sarasota County

Total was more than $21 million

World Rowing Championships produce overall economic impact of $22.6 million on state of Florida

World governing body of rowing has asked to meet with local tourism leaders to discuss long-term plans for Benderson Park, Visit Sarasota County president reports

Sheriff’s Office wins County Commission approval for creation of Homeless Outreach Team

Sheriff Tom Knight and his staff to work with county administration to ensure personnel are hired in timely fashion to deal with new Quality of Life Ordinance

Parking fees to be charged in Palm Avenue and State Street garages starting in January as result of 4-1 City Commission vote this week

First three hours to be free

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

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

Petition drive begun in effort to let voters decide on whether to shift the City Commission election cycle from March to November, with primaries in August

Decide the Date campaign needs signatures of 3,758 registered city voters for referendum to be scheduled