20170414-14 Apr 2017

An important note to our Tinypass (paid) subscribers:

If you also subscribe to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, you have been notified by them 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!

With no resolution at the staff level, the City and County commissions will tackle the CRA payment dispute during an evening meeting on April 26

Deputy county attorney says he believes the county would prevail if the matter went to court, and the total expenses — which the city most likely would have to cover — could rise as high as $800,000

During the final hour of an April 11 meeting of City and County of Sarasota staffs, it became County Administrator Tom Harmer’s refrain: “Our position is the payment’s not due.” Harmer was speaking of what city staff says is approximately $5,169,345.48 — counting interest — the county owes the city as one final payment into the Downtown Sarasota Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) Trust Fund. (Read more »)

April 24 Circuit Court hearing set on City of Sarasota motion to dismiss Siesta Key Association’s call for injunction to stop the dredging of Big Pass

City argues that the state administrative hearing process is the appropriate means of resolving legal challenges regarding the Lido Renourishment Project

At 3:30 p.m. on Monday, April 24, 12th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Lon Arend will hear arguments on a motion the City of Sarasota has filed to dismiss a Siesta Key Association (SKA) complaint attempting to block the dredging of Big Sarasota Pass. (Read more »)

SKA board announces vote not to become involved with Siesta resident’s lawsuit over Beach Road vacation

Michael Cosentino argues that the nonprofit should call a special meeting to let him explain his case, but the president says the SKA has no intention of getting entangled in legal action against the county

The Siesta Key Association (SKA) board has voted not to become involved with a Siesta resident’s lawsuit against Sarasota County over the May 11, 2016 County Commission vote to vacate a 357-foot portion of North Beach Road. (Read more »)

City manager indicates willingness to consider allowing public parking on at least part of the former Sarasota Police Department headquarters site

City’s refusal to transfer the Ringling Boulevard land to the county as promised in a 2003 Memorandum of Understanding arises during the CRA conflict dispute discussions this week

Sarasota’s city manager told the Sarasota County administrator this week that city staff would look into providing public parking on the Ringling Boulevard site of the former Sarasota Police Department headquarters. Contention over the ownership of that property in downtown Sarasota recently bubbled up during a County Commission workshop. (Read more »)

City commissioners question expense of technology that will help drivers find spaces in the State Street garage

City staff explains that the system is important for data collection, as the city prepares to implement another paid parking program

A technology City of Sarasota staff has touted for its ability to help drivers find parking spaces more readily in the State Street parking garage came under brief fire during the April 3 meeting of the City Commission. (Read more »)

Unified Development Code process explained to county’s Planning Commission

Consultant provides overview of plan to revise land development and zoning regulations into user-friendly document

It took only about 10 minutes during the April 6 Sarasota County Planning Commission meeting for one staff member and one representative of a consulting team to introduce an anticipated 18-month-long process to update the county’s land development regulations and Zoning Code. (Read more »)

Freestanding multi-family buildings to be allowed by special exception in mixed-use projects on Commercial General sites in Sarasota County

Commission approves zoning amendment after second required public hearing

The measure started out in association with a specific project proposed on South Tamiami Trail. Nonetheless a unanimous Sarasota County Commission vote on April 3 will make it possible for any developer to seek approval to apply it to any Commercial General zoning districts in unincorporated Sarasota County. (Read more »)

Public and developers should work to reach common ground on issues, such as environmental protection, county commissioner tells SKA members

Mike Moran also hears pleas for county staff to maintain the Siesta Key Wastewater Treatment Plant decommissioning timeline and to utilize modern technology in advertising public notices

One of Sarasota County’s newest commissioners has encouraged members of the public interested in protecting the environment and promoting positive growth in the community to work with developers to reach common ground. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

SKA seeking up to $100,000 more for legal challenges of proposal to dredge Big Pass; SKA membership continuing to grow; a ‘changing of the guard’ for a Siesta dentist office; county likely to get about $6 million more from the state for 2016 South Siesta Renourishment Project; and the Siesta Farmers’ Market’s Temporary Use Permit has been renewed

The vice president of the Siesta Key Association (SKA) told members last week that the organization expects to need another $80,000 to $100,000 as it pursues two types of legal challenges in the effort to prevent the dredging of Big Sarasota Pass to renourish South Lido Key Beach. (See the related story in this issue.) (Read more »)

Osprey Avenue bridge expected to reopen to pedestrian traffic in May or June and to vehicles in July, city reports

Work on second microtunnel segment for Lift Station 87 project set to start week of April 17

The first microtunnel segment for the City of Sarasota’s Lift Station 87 project has been completed, and the new 36-inch diameter wastewater main has been installed under Hudson Bayou and Osprey Avenue, the city reported on April 6. (Read more »)

After initially focusing on education, Sarasota Police officers turning to enforcement in campaign focusing on safety of bicyclists, pedestrians and drivers

Grant paying for special initiative through May, with results to be provided to FDOT

Using grant funding it won late last year, the Sarasota Police Department is putting a focus through May on enforcing laws to ensure safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers, the department has announced. (Read more »)

Non-motorized vessel permit program to be focus of April 18 public meeting at Turtle Beach

County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources staff looking to expand program that has been in effect on Lido Key

From 3 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 18, Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department staff will welcome interested business owners and members of the community at a public meeting regarding the proposed expansion of a permit program for commercial operators of non-motorized watercraft at Turtle Beach Park. (Read more »)

Supervisor of elections reminds vote-by-mail voters to return their ballots promptly

Elections set for May 9 in Sarasota and North Port

Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner is reminding voters who choose to vote by mail in the May 9 municipal elections to complete and return their voted ballots promptly so the ballots reach the Supervisor of Elections Office no later than 7 p.m. on election night. (Read more »)

Sheriff’s Office warning about phone scam threatening arrest unless the victim provides civic offense payments

No requests for such payments over the phone are legitimate, Sheriff’s Office and Clerk of the Circuit Court stress

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office once again is warning Sarasota County residents about a telephone scam in which a caller claims to be a law enforcement officer issuing an arrest warrant because a payment has not been made for a civic offense. (Read more »)

Ashton Elementary principal named Sarasota County Schools’ new executive director of elementary schools

Chis Renouf will assume his new post on July 1

Ashton Elementary School Principal Chris Renouf has been named the new executive director of elementary schools for the Sarasota County School District, Superintendent Todd Bowden announced on April 12. (Read more »)

Sarasota County Government named one of best workplaces for commuters in the U.S.

Tampa-based organization bestows the honor

Sarasota County Government has been named to the 2017 List of Best Workplaces for Commuters “for offering exceptional employee-provided commuter benefits,” the county has announced. (Read more »)