20161223-23 Dec 2016

County sues firm over construction defects at Ed Smith Stadium

Complaint seeks damages on counts of breach of contact, breach of implied warranty and negligence

Sarasota County has filed a complaint against a Rhode Island corporation, claiming defects in the firm’s renovations of Ed Smith Stadium for the Baltimore Orioles’ use during Spring Training and failure of the firm to correct the problems. (Read more »)

FDOT drainage project to necessitate Siesta Drive lane closures near north bridge in early 2017

Work, which is to begin Jan. 9 at San Remo Terrace intersection, catches Siesta Chamber leaders by surprise

With a project already underway at the Stickney Point Road/Midnight Pass Road intersection, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is preparing to start work on another initiative that will affect traffic to and from Siesta Key. This one will be on the north end, the department announced late last week. (Read more »)

Federal judge dismisses panhandling portion of ACLU lawsuit against City of Sarasota, plus all claims against DiPino

City attorney hoping to avoid significant attorney’s fees that would be awarded along with ‘nominal damages’

A federal judge has dismissed the portion of an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation of Florida complaint filed against the City of Sarasota in late September 2015 regarding the city’s previous panhandling ordinance, because the City Commission approved an updated ordinance earlier this year. (Read more »)

New Cassia Cay residential concept wins County Commission approval

Board learns the ultimate plan for the development on Little Sarasota Bay will be pegged to sale of the property

With Sarasota County’s Planning Services manager having explained the unusual path leading to that point, the County Commission agreed unanimously on Dec. 14 to approve a residential plan with less density on about 13.3 acres fronting Little Sarasota Bay. The project is called Cassia Cay. (Read more »)

Naples firm no longer under contract to purchase site of proposed Cassia Cay mixed-use development

Binding concept plan approved by the County Commission in 2006 still in effect, county documents indicate

On Nov. 3, the Sarasota County Planning Commission unanimously recommended County Commission approval of a proposed zoning text amendment that would make it possible for developers to pursue mixed-use projects with freestanding structures containing apartments and condominiums, as well as those above commercial units. (Read more »)

Public access signage installed at vacated portion of North Beach Road

County engineer points out that the public is welcome to walk, bike and use any low-speed conveyance, such as a golf cart, on the road segment

It took longer than anticipated, but new Sarasota County signage went up on the morning of Dec. 22 at the intersection of North Beach Road and Columbus Avenue on Siesta Key. The goal is to alert all members of the public that they can access a segment of North Beach Road that the County Commission vacated on May 11, Chief County Engineer Isaac Brownman told The Sarasota News Leader. (Read more »)

Sheriff tells County Commission he doubts he will need to increase personnel in his 2018 fiscal year budget

Comment comes as Tom Knight offers his and his staff’s continuing assistance to the board members, including two newest ones

Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight has told the Sarasota County Commission he probably will not need funding for extra personnel in his 2018 fiscal year budget. He made that observation on Dec. 13 as he and his command staff members met with the board, primarily as a means of introducing themselves to the new county commissioners, Nancy Detert of Venice and Mike Moran of Sarasota. (Read more »)

County program replacing its CRA participation to put focus on ‘shovel-ready’ infrastructure proposals

Amendment to the Community Reinvestment Program ordinance set for Jan. 10, 2017 public hearing

Criteria for a program the Sarasota County Commission revived in 2015 to effectively replace further county participation in the Downtown Sarasota Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) is expected to be modified early next year to keep the focus on infrastructure. (Read more »)

Planning Commission endorses amendment for Lakewood Ranch Boulevard overpass of I-75

Exact route of overpass could yet be changed in the future, one board member emphasizes

A mix of views was aired over the exact route, with a few speakers readily conceding that their preference was a matter of “NIMBY-ism (not in my backyard).” And while the Sarasota County Planning Commission voted unanimously on Dec. 15 to approve inclusion in the county’s Comprehensive Plan of an Interstate 75 overpass from the planned Lakewood Ranch Boulevard to Cattlemen Road — between University Parkway and Fruitville Road — Commissioner Laura Benson cautioned that the board was not endorsing one of the four alternatives considered for the route. Indicating that any of them is “somehow a done deal,” she said, “sets unrealistic expectations.” (Read more »)

New street grid and other infrastructure to be first visible signs of Quay Sarasota project in downtown Sarasota

City Commission approves development agreement after securing additional language ensuring a waterfront district will be included and that public access will be allowed during certain hours

Starting in 2018 and continuing over the next seven to 10 years, the 14.65-acre development known as Quay Sarasota is expected to be constructed block by block in downtown Sarasota. The City of Sarasota Planning Board will hold a public hearing on the design of each of the 10 blocks after it has been submitted for review. The first to see vertical construction, the development team says, most likely will be Block 6, in the southwest corner of the property. (Read more »)

71 county parks win County Commission approval to include dog-friendly areas

Changes will take effect on Jan. 1, 2017

As Sarasota County staff put it, “Fido and Fluffy have some new hangout spots.” The Sarasota County Commission on Dec. 13 unanimously approved a resolution designating 71 Sarasota County parks and preserves — in North County and South County — as “dog-friendly.” The designations will take effect on Jan. 1, 2017, the county has announced. (Read more »)

DiPillo named Sarasota County Schools’ career education chief

He will succeed Todd Bowden, who will become the new superintendent

Ronald DiPillo, assistant director of career technical education programs from the kindergarten level through high school in the Sarasota County Schools, has been appointed to succeed Todd Bowden as the district’s executive director of career, technical and adult education. (Read more »)

Training offered for people wishing to assist with the 2017 Point in Time survey of homeless individuals

Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness to provide training during Jan. 4 meeting

During the January 2017 Continuum of Care meeting, the Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness will focus on training for the federally required Point in Time Survey for the homeless populations in Sarasota and Manatee counties, the Partnership has announced. (Read more »)

Temporary lane closures on part of Osprey Avenue called necessary for Lift Station 87 project

Installation of a microtunnel shaft was planned to get underway this week and continue through next week

Temporary lane closures will be in effect on northbound Osprey Avenue, south of Mound Street, during periods through the rest of this week and next week, the City of Sarasota has announced.  (Read more »)

Sarasota County high school graduation rate rises 6 percentage points

District mark for 2015-16 school year is more than four percentage points higher than the state figure

The 2015-16 graduation rate for the Sarasota County School District’s high schools rose to 85.4 percent, more than six percentage points higher than its 2014-15 graduation rate, the district has announced. (Read more »)

Sarasota Opera seeking children for non-singing role in upcoming production of ‘Madama Butterfly’

Interviews planned for early January for commitment from Jan. 17 to March 25, 2017

Sarasota Opera is conducting a casting search for three children (boys or girls) to portray the role of Butterfly’s son in the 2017 winter production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, the Opera has announced. (Read more »)

Smooth transition expected from Sarasota Farmers Market to downtown New Year’s Eve festivities, city staff says

Musical performances and carnival rides to begin at 1 p.m. on Dec. 31

Because New Year’s Eve is on a Saturday, the same day as the weekly Sarasota Farmers Market, City of Sarasota staff “has been coordinating with organizers of both events to help facilitate a smooth transition from one to the other,” City Manager Tom Barwin has announced. (Read more »)

City and County of Sarasota announce holiday hours; no change to garbage and recycling collection

Most facilities to be closed Dec. 26 and Jan. 2, 2017

City and County of Sarasota administrative offices and most county facilities will be closed Friday, Dec. 23 through Monday, Dec. 26 and again on Monday, Jan. 2, 2017, in observance of the holidays, the local governments have announced. (Read more »)

City launches new email domain

Initiative was planned and sanctioned by the City Commission, staff says

The City of Sarasota has begun using the email domain @SarasotaFL.gov, it has announced. (Read more »)

County’s Comprehensive Plan wins regional honor

Gulf Coast Chapter of the Florida Planning & Zoning Association lauds the effort that went into the recent update

Sarasota County’s Comprehensive Plan has received the 2016 Outstanding Planning Project Award from the Gulf Coast Chapter of the Florida Planning & Zoning Association (FPZA), the county has announced. (Read more »)