20170616-16 Jun 2017

Public hearing on recycling facility tentatively scheduled on Aug. 23 before County Commission

County Commission to be asked next week to affirm the date

Because of the community interest evidenced at the June 1 Sarasota County Planning Commission meeting, staff tentatively has scheduled a public hearing on a proposal for a recycling facility near the Celery Fields as the lone agenda item during an Aug. 23 County Commission meeting, The Sarasota News Leader has learned. (Read more »)

Responding to Bee Ridge Road residents’ pleas, County Commission seeking creative staff proposals for keeping surplus lands in that area undeveloped

Part of the property was left over after the Bee Ridge Road improvements were completed in 2016

Sarasota County commissioners have expressed optimism that two county-owned parcels left over after improvements to Bee Ridge Road and another piece of county property in the same general area can be conserved through a sale to nearby homeowners. (Read more »)

Board of Zoning Appeals splits 3-2 in supporting county zoning administrator’s interpretation of the street setbacks required for tall buildings on Siesta Key

Representatives of Dr. Gary Kompothecras contended that language in the Siesta Key Overlay District part of the zoning code took precedence

It all came down to a question of the correct interpretation of the Sarasota County Zoning Code involving potential commercial redevelopment on Siesta Key. In a case focused on an application from a Siesta Key resident, the county’s Board of Zoning Appeals voted 3-2 to affirm the county zoning administrator’s determination: Taller buildings need greater setbacks from the street. (Read more »)

After disputes over candidates, city commissioners reappoint two to the Nuisance Abatement Board and name two new members to the Planning Board

Debates over qualifications and complaints about one candidate take up much of the discussion

As a result of disputes over candidates for open seats on two of its advisory boards, the Sarasota City Commission took about 45 minutes at its most recent session to approve appointees to a total of four boards. (Read more »)

County asks Circuit Court to throw out another count in lawsuit over the May 2016 North Beach Road vacation

If the court agrees, only one count in Siesta resident Mike Cosentino’s lawsuit would remain, as one partial summary judgment order already has been issued

With one partial summary judgment ruling already having gone against the plaintiff in the case, Sarasota County is seeking a second one relating to the County Commission’s May 11, 2016 vacation of a 357-foot-long segment of North Beach Road. (Read more »)

More sidewalks to be provided along Proctor Road — and to fill in gaps — in the 2019 fiscal year

Following up on a March discussion, County Commission approves adjustments to its capital projects plan for the next five years

During the course of a session that lasted about four-and-a-half hours, it could be characterized as a brief item, consuming approximately 5 minutes. Nonetheless, as Sarasota County staff pointed out, it was fulfilling a request the board chair himself made earlier this spring on behalf of a multitude of constituents. (Read more »)

Water Management District envisions selling part of Orange Hammock Ranch for development, if it and Sarasota County can finalize purchase of the land

County administrator advises his board of the news a day after the North Port vice mayor suggested to the county commissioners and her colleagues that part of the ranch should go on the tax roll

North Port’s vice mayor surprised Sarasota County commissioners last week when she confessed to continued interest in seeing part of Orange Hammock Ranch’s 5,744 acres developed as a means of adding to the city’s tax base. Yet, a day after the two boards discussed efforts of county staff and the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) to purchase and conserve the entirety of the property, County Administrator Tom Harmer had what might be called another surprise for his board. (Read more »)

April’s Tourist Development Tax revenue report shows $240,000 increase over April 2016 figure

Visit Sarasota County report also cites larger number of visitors that month, year-over-year, and uptick in their spending

In April, Tourist Development Tax (TDT) collections surpassed the figure for the same month in 2016 and also marked the second consecutive month of year-over-year increases for the county’s “bed tax” revenue, the Sarasota County Tax Collector’s Office has reported. (Read more »)

County’s emergency management chief points to the 2016 tornado and Tropical Storm Debby in 2012 to remind residents of the need to be prepared

Ed McCrane recommends registration for the county’s CodeRed notification system and designating a ‘safe room’ in homes

In the past five years, Siesta Key residents have had two significant reminders about the dangers of storms, Sarasota County’s emergency management chief pointed out to Siesta Key Association (SKA) members on June 1: the January 2016 tornado and Tropical Storm Debby in 2012. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

Tenant search underway for Jo-To building; Siesta resident wins prestigious honor given to professional skaters; the new Daiquiri Deck opens on Stickney Point Road; the SKA launches a new survey; volunteers needed to help with trash bag distribution over July Fourth holiday; county’s emergency management chief once again displays his facility for being entertaining and educational; an SKA director takes on a new role; and a correction offered

One of the new owners of the building that for years housed the Jo-To Japanese Restaurant in Siesta Village says it probably will take two to three months to decide on the best new tenant. (Read more »)

Call them ‘lessons in fire’

Destruction by flames in North Port followed by burst of new vegetation, offering a reminder of the value of nature’s burns

This spring a huge wildfire erupted in the pine flatwoods of North Port. I had been walking roadsides there with Sarah Lockhart, who had just bought a small lot off Raintree Boulevard. A graduate of Eckerd College, she recently completed a master’s of environmental science at Duke University and then returned to Florida. (Read more »)

Recreational burn ban lifted in Sarasota County

Seasonal rains have reduced the threat of wildfire, fire chief says

On June 15, Sarasota County Fire Chief Michael Regnier lifted the countywide recreational burn ban that was put into effect on April 21, the county announced. (Read more »)

City Commission moving toward supporting 100% renewable energy pledge

Resolution to be considered during June 19 regular meeting

The Sarasota City Commission unanimously has authorized an initiative designed to conclude with the city’s joining the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 campaign to transition to 100% renewable energy sources. With involvement of community residents, staff will draft a resolution calling for the City of Sarasota’s municipal operations to be powered by renewable energy sources by 2030, a news release explains. (Read more »)

Coast Guard to remove New Pass navigational markers

Shoaling has led to hazardous conditions for boaters, the Coast Guard says

This week, the U.S. Coast Guard was scheduled to remove the New Pass navigational markers because of hazardous conditions in the channel, the service reported in a news release. (Read more »)

Sarasota County Schools’ state test scores show improvement at nearly all grade levels

Some decline seen in language arts proficiency among eighth-graders and in math proficiency among students in grades three and seven

Students in the Sarasota County School District scored higher than the state averages for their peers in all categories of the 2017 Florida Standards Assessment (FSA), according to results released on June 8 by the Florida Department of Education, the Sarasota County district announced. (Read more »)

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe to present staged reading of ‘Yellowman’ on June 19

Event to be part of the international effort Project1VOICE

On June 19, the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) will take part in Project1VOICE/1PLAY/1DAY, “an international effort presented in association with 45 theater companies and other diverse institutions to celebrate African American theatre,” WBTT has announced. (Read more »)

Adult education program generates $1 million in annual fees for the first time since its establishment

Most ACE classes offered at Suncoast Technical College in Sarasota

The Sarasota County Schools Adult and Community Enrichment (ACE) program has generated more than $1 million in annual fees for the first time, program Director Laura Trubac announced on June 9. (Read more »)

Youth Regional Challenge added to World Rowing Championships program schedule

Events to showcase the top rowers under the age of 19 in six regions

USRowing’s Under-19 National Team is collaborating with the 2017 World Rowing Championships staff to present the Youth Regional Challenge during the World Rowing Championships (WRC) this fall at Nathan Benderson Park, the WRC group has announced. (Read more »)

An important note to SNL Tinypass (paid) subscribers:

If, in addition to your Sarasota News Leader Tinypass subscription, you also subscribe to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, you have been notified by the SHT that your Press+ account (which was bought by Piano Software, which also owns Tinypass) has been converted to a Tinypass account. This likely has caused some confusion when trying to sign into one publication when already signed into the other.
Our editors are having the same problem. We have contacted Piano support, and they do not yet have a good workaround. What we have found works best on a laptop/desktop is having two browsers (e.g.-Safari and Google Chrome or Internet Explorer and Firefox), with your SNL account signed in on one and your SHT account signed in on the other. You don’t have to sign out of either … you just switch between browsers.
If you use an iPad or iPhone (or other mobile device), the SHT is read on their Tecnavia app, while the SNL is read on your mobile device browser. Since two separate programs are used, you should not experience sign-in conflicts.
We apologize for the inadequacy of the Tinypass system to accommodate this overlap (something they should have anticipated, since they have a virtual monopoly on paywalls, and we can’t be the only two paid publications existing in the same market). We hope they develop a better way of handling this, and we will communicate that to you if they do.
In the meantime, thank you for your patience, and your support of The Sarasota News Leader!