Lansdale appointed to seat on county’s Environmentally Sensitive Lands Oversight Committee

Former county employee works with Quest Corporation of America

Miranda Lansdale. Image from her LinkedIn account

Promising his colleagues, “I’m going to do this very infrequently,” Sarasota County Commission Chair Alan Maio passed the gavel on Jan. 26 to Vice Chair Christian Ziegler so Maio could nominate Miranda Lansdale of Sarasota to the county’s Environmentally Sensitive Lands Oversight Committee (ESLOC).

No other nominations were offered, so Lansdale will join the advisory board.

Nicole Rissler, director of the county’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department, had just announced that she was asking the commissioners to fill an unexpired, three-year term on the ESLOC. The at-large position is effective through April 2022, a staff memo noted.

The appointment was necessary, the memo added, because of the resignation of James DeNiro.

As another document in the commission’s Jan. 26 agenda packet explained, the ESLOC “[p]rovides a conduit for citizen input to the [commission]; makes recommendations and provides advice on land protection within the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program (ESLPP).”

“We all know Miranda,” Maio said after making the nomination. She worked for the county for six years, he pointed out, and “did an excellent job.”

Maio then reminded his colleagues that, on their behalf, he has begun attending the meetings of the ESLOC and the county’s Parks Advisory and Recreation Council, which makes recommendations to the commission on “issues involving parks, beaches, recreation and the acquisition and use of Neighborhood Parkland,” as its webpage says.

The county’s website also explains that the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program and Neighborhood Parkland Acquisition Program “are voter-approved and taxpayer-funded programs designed to acquire and protect natural lands and parklands.”

Property owners pay 0.25 mills per year in ad valorem taxes to support the programs. The funding will be in place through 2029, the website points out. The last referendum on the tax was conducted in November 2005 referendum.

During the Jan. 26 commission meeting, Maio also pointed out that he called Lansdale the previous day to warn her “ahead of time of the amount of work” the ESLOC handles, “and she claims she’s ready for it.”

This document about the ESLOC, and its members, was included in the Jan. 26 County Commission agenda packet. Image courtesy Sarasota County

Lansdale noted in her application for the appointment that she is the communications manager for Quest Corporation of America Inc., which is based in Land O’Lakes.

In response to a question about why she wanted to serve on the ESLOC, she wrote, “I would be honored to be part of the decision-making process for protecting environmentally sensitive lands in Sarasota County. I’ve spent quite a bit of time learning about how to protect Sarasota County’s natural resources, as well as balancing the rights of property owners with/against the protection of lands in Sarasota County. I also like the citizen-involvement of the grassroots nomination process and have a great deal of respect for this and other Sarasota County programs.”

She added that she previously served as coordinator of the county’s Neighborhood Services Program, “which involved extreme familiarization with Sarasota County government, objectives and processes,” and she worked closely “with staff from Environmental Protection and Stormwater Environmental Utilities.”

Further, she wrote, “I graduated from the [University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences] UF/IFAS Florida Water Stewardship program, Water and Energy Upgrade Coaching Program, and Master Gardener Volunteer Program. I assisted neighborhoods in meeting their improvement goals, many of which were related to environmental concerns. My college degree is in Public Administration/Political Science.”

Ella Lewis. Image from her LinkedIn account

Only one other applicant applied for the ESLOC seat, according to the materials in the commission’s Jan. 26 agenda packet — Ella Lewis of Sarasota.

Director of advancement for Girls Inc. of Sarasota County, Lewis wrote that while she was studying for her master’s degree in public administration from Florida Gulf Coast University, she “became aware of the role of community advisory councils …”

In response to the question about why she wanted to serve on the ESLOC, Lewis added, “As a lifelong resident of Sarasota County I am deeply committed to protecting this community and ensuring responsible management of our natural resources. I know how important the business community is to providing financial resources to our citizens and that the balance of these two interests is absolutely critical to the success of Sarasotans.”

Lewis noted that she also is a member of the Junior League of Sarasota.