20160226-26 Feb 2016

Sunshine case against city commissioner set for May trial

Judge Brian Iten of the 12th Judicial Circuit sets final motions for April 5

A Sunshine Law case involving Sarasota City Commissioner Susan Chapman is headed to a non-jury trial starting on May 9, with two days set aside in the 12th Judicial Circuit in Sarasota, The Sarasota News Leader has learned. (Read more »)

Historic ‘Seven Gables’ home on Osprey Avenue slated for demolition

An effort to save the house began more than a year ago, failing after a disagreement over a tree mitigation plan

The home at 405 S. Osprey Ave. was built for a local business owner and his family at the end of Sarasota’s boom years — the land boom of the 1920s, that is. (Read more »)

Public hearing on new food truck ordinance delayed again

At staff’s request, county’s Planning Commission agrees to continue the matter until May 5

May 5 is the latest date proposed for a new Sarasota County food truck ordinance to make its public debut, the county’s planning manager told the Planning Commission during its Feb. 18 meeting. (Read more »)

Venice City Council offers consensus on counter proposal to county regarding Hamilton Building lease

City and county staff continuing work toward finalizing library space agreement by March 8, when both boards will hold regular meetings

With the consensus of the Venice City Council this week, negotiations will proceed in an effort for the Council and the Sarasota County Commission to finalize a lease on March 8 that will allow the county to use the city-owned Hamilton Building as the temporary location of the Venice Public Library. (Read more »)

New group to begin formal planning for bayfront cultural district

City commissioners offer support, but one seeks a lot more details about the projected expenses

Sarasota city commissioners had numerous questions during a special meeting on Feb. 22 as they heard an interim report from Sarasota Bayfront 20:20, a coalition of arts and civic groups tasked with transforming 42 acres of city-owned bayfront land. (Read more »)

Sarasota Police Department’s HOT teams’ goal is to help homeless people get services they need, supervisor says

As part of a regular Continuum of Care meeting, Capt. Kevin Stiff explains the program to service providers and other individuals who work with the homeless in Sarasota and Manatee counties

For the Sarasota Police Department, “arrest is not the primary result of a contact with homeless individuals,” Capt. Kevin Stiff told about 50 people during the regular Continuum of Care meeting conducted this week by the Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness. (Read more »)

Reducing travel lanes on Bahia Vista not likely among initiatives sought for Pinecraft, county staff says

County Commission approves recommendation for work on an overlay district and a mobility plan to address zoning and safety concerns in Amish/Mennonite community

Among its 25 proposals, the Pinecraft Neighborhood Master Plan presented to the Sarasota County Commission last week suggests that one way to slow down traffic on Bahia Vista Street in the predominantly Amish and Mennonite community would be to reduce the number of through lanes from four to two. (Read more »)

City Commission reinstates water and sewer impact fees at previous levels

Commissioner Shelli Freeland Eddie asks for a future discussion about modifying homeowners’ rates

If the City of Sarasota’s water and sewer impact fees had been in effect, the city would have received about $485,000 for four new condominium projects under construction in downtown Sarasota, city Utilities Director Mitt Tidwell told the City Commission last week. (Read more »)

Former county administrator appointed to financial advisory board

Jim Ley wins unanimous approval for unexpired term

It took the Sarasota County Commission about 90 seconds last week to appoint a former county administrator to an unexpired term — plus an additional three-year term — on one of its advisory boards. (Read more »)

Sarasota County to seek national grant to help with services for the homeless

In a ‘hugely competitive’ application process, the county probably will seek the maximum award of $800,000 per year for three years

The Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness this week endorsed the efforts of Sarasota County staff in applying for a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant that could provide up to $800,000 per year for three years to provide additional services to homeless individuals, veterans, families and youth. (Read more »)

Parking issues may be biggest reason for Siesta Beach’s drop to No. 3 in TripAdvisor rankings

Disgruntled visitors cite frustrations with finding spaces and fighting traffic in comments on the website

That enduring Siesta Key quandary, “so many visitors; too few places to park,” has proven a figurative “bogeyman” in snatching away Siesta Public Beach’s No. 1 ranking on TripAdvisor. (Read more »)

Welcome to a state of ‘b’ing’

Florida’s beaches and natural areas remain places to revel in beauty

Music lovers have Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. We Floridians have birds, butterflies and beaches. Comprising 1,300 miles of coastline, beaches are Florida’s stock in trade. Even in the center of the peninsula, gently rolling countryside is reminiscent of an ancient dune system. (Read more »)

At Yappy Hour, it was Best in Show, Sarasota style

Southeastern Guide Dogs sponsors event in advance of its Walkathon

As I was watching the magnificent dogs compete for Best in Show during the recent Westminster Dog Show, I could not help thinking that the dogs who participated in a special Yappy Hour at the newly opened Square 1 restaurant would have definitely given them a run for their money. (Read more »)

Future of Fruitville Road to be focus of March 1 workshop at City Hall

Improving connectivity between downtown and neighborhoods to the north is among the focus of proposed changes

The public is invited to attend a community meeting on Tuesday, March 1, to learn about possible enhancements to Fruitville Road between U.S. 301 and U.S. 41 and to provide comments, the City of Sarasota has announced. (Read more »)

Compatible development coming to Whitaker Bayou after years of wrangling to be focus of March 14 CONA meeting

Session will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Sarasota Garden Club

On Monday, March 14, the Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations (CONA) will host participants in a protracted effort that has led to a compatible development project on the site of a historic boat works, CONA has announced. (Read more »)

‘Lose Big, Win Bigger’ fitness challenge to begin Feb. 29 at Taylor Complex

Final ‘weigh-out’ set for April 25

The third annual Lose Big, Win Bigger fitness challenge to help promote healthful lifestyles will kick off on Monday, Feb. 29, at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex (RLTCC) in Sarasota, the City of Sarasota has announced. (Read more »)

Lamarque Elementary School to host runners’ events on Feb. 28

Proceeds from Fun Run will go toward school projects

The Lion 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run will be held at Lamarque Elementary School in North Port on Sunday, Feb. 28, the Sarasota County School District has announced. (Read more »)

First pool dedicated to teaching adults to swim to open in Sarasota

Former Flanzer Jewish Community Center facility scheduled to open on April 16

The first pool dedicated specifically to teaching adults to swim is slated to open in Sarasota on April 16, a nonprofit organization based in Sarasota has announced. (Read more »)

Brownman named Sarasota County engineer

Larry Mau, former Manatee County transportation director, joins staff as assistant county engineer

Sarasota County Public Works Director Isaac Brownman added a new title above his name this week: county engineer. Brownman will take on that role as part of his regular duties overseeing public works, a county news release says. (Read more »)

Keep Sarasota County Beautiful wins national recognition

Presentation made at recent conference in Orlando

Keep Sarasota County Beautiful received the 2015 Keep America Beautiful President’s Circle Award at Keep America Beautiful’s recent national conference in Orlando, the county has announced. (Read more »)