20170203-3 Feb 2017

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

Last year, the Sarasota County Commission rebuffed his attempts to create a Comprehensive Plan amendment for a new type of 2050 Plan community east of Interstate 75. On Jan. 25, developer Pat Neal was back before the board, seeking direction on a number of facets of his latest proposal for a neighborhood he and his team have christened Grand Lake. (Read more »)

Petland’s attorney seeking a stay of judge’s order allowing new retail pet sales ban to go into effect

Petland Sarasota is continuing to offer dogs for sale while its attorney also has asked for an expedited appeals court hearing on a motion to overturn the judge’s decision

Early one afternoon this week, about half a dozen people gathered near the rear of the Petland store on Fruitville Road in Sarasota. In cages lining a nearby wall, puppies of various breeds were dozing, oblivious to the onlookers. (Read more »)

Arguments made that County Commission not following county policy and appropriate procedure with Siesta Promenade proposal

Former senior planner for the county and a Pine Shores resident plead for changes to ensure all potentially affected areas can be given adequate consideration

As a senior planner for Sarasota County for 22 years, Brian Lichterman told The Sarasota News Leader, he was the primary person responsible for implementing a process that Benderson Development has initiated for its proposed Siesta Promenade project. (Read more »)

History and coastal geology cited as a Siesta nonprofit makes its case against the dredging of Big Pass

Residents urged to contact U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan with the hope Congress would tell the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to study alternative means of renourishing Lido Key

It was one part history lesson, one part pep rally and one part fundraiser. Facing about 115 people in the Community Room at St. Boniface Episcopal Church on Siesta Key, the retired director of the Environmental Studies Program at New College of Florida presented a series of slides showing the residential structures on land seaward of the Feb. 2, 1948 vegetation line on South Lido Key. (Read more »)

Questions regarding location of new emergency communications tower in Englewood expected to be resolved on Feb. 7

County commissioners rebuke emergency services director for failure to check with Englewood Water District and for request to waive a county policy on separation of towers

On Feb. 7, Sarasota County Emergency Services Director Rich Collins is expected to be back before the County Commission to seek approval of the location of an Englewood-area tower needed as part of the county’s updated emergency communications system. (Read more »)

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

During a Dec. 13, 2016 presentation to introduce himself and his command staff to new County Commissioners Nancy Detert and Mike Moran, Sheriff Tom Knight reported that county crime had declined 49% since 2008. He was elected to his first term that year. (Read more »)

Neunder, Pember win seats on Planning Commission

County Commission approves nominees on unanimous vote

Thanks to a unanimous vote of the Sarasota County Commission, two new members will serve on the county’s Planning Commission. On Jan. 25, the County Commission named Dr. Joseph Neunder, a Nokomis chiropractor, and Colin Pember of Siesta Key, a commercial real estate agent, to replace Planning Commission members John Ask and Philip Kellogg, whose terms had expired. (Read more »)

Ground broken for Mid-County Tax Collector’s Office

Facility expected to open in spring of 2018

Sarasota County Tax Collector Barbara Ford-Coates joined Sarasota County Commission Chair Paul Caragiulo, Commissioner Alan Maio and County Administrator Tom Harmer in the ceremonial shoveling of dirt as the county broke ground Jan. 26 on the Mid-County Tax Collector’s Office. (Read more »)

County attorney and tax collector get commission go-ahead to forge agreement with Airbnb

Negotiations designed to lead to a document modeled on one Airbnb recently signed with Hillsborough County

With three commissioners voicing concerns — including two airing frustrations over attempts to circumvent local and state regulations — the Sarasota County Commission has told County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh to proceed in trying to negotiate an agreement with Airbnb. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

Cosentino’s appearances before County Commission may be limited in the future; update provided on Cosentino’s Charter initiatives; plea renewed for a park on Siesta Promenade site; Benderson’s director of development to speak at first quarterly Chamber session for members; proposal offered for site of the wastewater treatment plant; Eat Here building sustains damage; and Sunrise Cove residents get a county response

Ever since the latter part of May 2016, Siesta resident Mike Cosentino has been a regular speaker at County Commission meetings, using Open to the Public segments to press his case that the board violated its Comprehensive Plan in voting on May 11, 2016 to vacate a 357-foot segment of North Beach Road. (Read more »)

Sarasota County tourism figures for the past three months continue to show positive trends

Visit Sarasota County president says hotel general managers are forecasting demand remaining about the same as it was last year or dropping for the next three months

The number of visitors to Sarasota County in December 2016 increased by only 0.5% compared to the same month in 2015, but domestic tourists “were a real bright spot,” the president of Sarasota County’s tourism agency has reported to City and County of Sarasota elected and appointed leaders. (Read more »)

FDOT to host Feb. 9 meetings on latest plans for Bee Ridge Road/I-75 interchange improvements

Sessions to be held at 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. at the Realtor Association of Sarasota & Manatee

On Thursday, Feb. 9, District One staff of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will hold public meetings to present the latest designs for the improvement project encompassing Interstate 75 from south of Bee Ridge Road to south of Fruitville Road. (Read more »)

Sarasota County partners encouraging homeowner participation in solar energy co-op

Registration open until May 1; information session set for Feb. 24

The League of Women Voters of Sarasota, along with the Manatee-Sarasota Sierra Club, the Sarasota Classified/Teachers Association, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota, the Florida House Institute, the Gulf Coast Foundation and the Barancik Foundation have partnered in supporting the expansion of rooftop solar installations in Sarasota County through the establishment of a solar energy co-op, the organizations have announced. (Read more »)

‘Say I Do Again’ vow renewal planned for Valentine’s Day on Siesta and Venice public beaches

Preregistration required by Feb. 10; fee is $10 per couple

“The popular and romantic Say I Do Again wedding vow renewal ceremony” will be held once again on Valentine’s Day — Feb. 14 — on Siesta and Venice beaches, Sarasota County has announced. (Read more »)

Shannon Staub selected Woman of the Year by the League of Women Voters of Sarasota County

Former county commissioner the first woman so honored, League chapter says

The League of Women Voters of Sarasota County has selected former County Commissioner Shannon Staub as its 2017 Woman of the Year, the nonprofit organization has announced. (Read more »)

Microtunneling under Hudson Bayou underway

Work to take four weeks, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays, city staff says

The Lift Station 87 contractor has begun microtunneling under Hudson Bayou, the City of Sarasota announced on Jan. 30. “This much-anticipated work” involves installation of segments of a 36-inch wastewater main under Hudson Bayou and Luke Wood Park “and is critical to the success of the Lift Station 87 project,” a city news release explains. (Read more »)

Supervisor of elections announces polling place change for March City of Sarasota election

Voters from Precincts 123 and 129 shifted to First Brethren Church

Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner this week announced that voters who cast ballots in Precincts 123 and 129 will be voting at a new location, effective with the March 14 municipal elections. (Read more »)

City Hall display celebrates Black History Month

Materials may be viewed during all of February

For the ninth consecutive year, educational materials are on display at Sarasota City Hall to commemorate Black History Month, city staff has announced. Among the items the public may view are photographs and newspaper articles “charting African-American trailblazers in Sarasota and their achievements as athletes, elected officials, military personnel, teachers and others, as well as the history of racial integration in Sarasota County,” a news release says. (Read more »)