20170407-7 Apr 2017

District Court of Appeal upholds Circuit Court decision in Chapman Sunshine Law case

The plaintiff, Citizens for Sunshine, plans to file a motion seeking a full written opinion, as the appeal court did not provide one

In an opinion released on April 5, Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal has affirmed a lower court’s decision that Sarasota City Commissioner Susan Chapman did not violate the state’s Sunshine Law when she attended a private meeting in October 2013 that was organized by downtown business owners to discuss issues relating to homelessness. (Read more »)

Decision on motion for partial summary judgment in North Beach Road case hinges on interpretation of whether road vacation constituted a ‘development order’

Siesta resident’s attorney argues that Siesta property owners needed the road vacation to construct new dwelling units, while their attorney says the May 11, 2016 vote on the road was designed to save the county money

It all comes down to a 12th Judicial Circuit Court judge’s interpretation of the Florida Statutes and case law in regard to what a development order is. Lewis Hall III of the Williams Parker firm in Sarasota, the attorney for Dennis and Wendy Madden of Siesta Key, told 12th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Frederick Mercurio this week that the Sarasota County Commission’s decision to vacate a 357-foot-long segment of North Beach Road did not constitute a development order. (Read more »)

Administrative law judge sets August hearing dates for petitions opposing FDEP’s intent to issue permit for dredging of Big Pass to renourish Lido Key

Siesta Key Association had argued for keeping the hearing in abeyance, pending the outcome of the case it has filed in Circuit Court

A Florida administrative law judge has denied a motion by the Siesta Key Association (SKA) and three Siesta Key residents to delay an administrative hearing on petitions they and two other organizations filed in January. Their action responded to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Dec. 22, 2016 notice of its intent to issue a permit that would allow the dredging of Big Sarasota Pass to renourish South Lido Key. (Read more »)

Top city, county staff to meet on April 11 as first step in trying to resolve CRA payment dispute

Joint session of the City and County commissions planned as a follow-up on April 26

Top staff of the City and County of Sarasota are scheduled to have their first formal meeting on Tuesday, April 11, in an effort to resolve their boards’ disparate views regarding the timing of the county’s final payment into the Downtown Sarasota Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) Trust Fund. (Read more »)

County Commission agrees to offer $144,000 incentive grant to digital marketing company after assurances that funds would be pegged to jobs created and kept in place

Commissioner Mike Moran opposes the decision, emphasizing his focus on career creation in the community

It took about 20 minutes of discussion on April 3, including staff emphasis that no payments would be made unless jobs were created and maintained for five years and that the company offering them is attracted to the community because of the Ringling College of Art + Design. (Read more »)

County should be constructing more sidewalks, with public safety the chief criterion for project priorities, commission chair says

County’s chief engineer to provide list of construction proposals, but cautions that funding is the biggest constraint

Whoever serves as chair of the Sarasota County Commission fields general emails from the public and responds to them — copying the other board members while directing the correspondence to appropriate county staff, commissioners have explained to The Sarasota News Leader. (Read more »)

City of Sarasota endorses legislative bills that would permit pilot programs regulating plastic bags

Two members of the public talk of the damage the bags cause to the environment and wildlife

With two members of the public having stressed the related environmental concerns, the Sarasota City Commission this week voted unanimously to ask the Florida Legislature to allow municipalities to regulate the use of plastic bags provided by retailers. (Read more »)

Sarasota County finally inks agreement with Airbnb to collect Tourist Development Tax

Internet-based accommodations service concedes to provisions Tax Collector’s Office sought in regard to collection of unpaid revenue and auditing measures

It was slightly more than three years ago when Sarasota County Tax Collector Barbara Ford-Coates first talked at length with county Tourist Development Council (TDC) members about her staff’s efforts to track down residents renting properties through the internet-based firm Airbnb. (Read more »)

With Manasota Key residents pleading for more assistance to deal with erosion, County Commission asks staff to undertake more outreach efforts

Commissioner Nancy Detert also talks of the need for the board to seek state funding to help with a beach renourishment project

The Sarasota County Commission this week voted unanimously to ask County Administrator Tom Harmer to direct staff to expand outreach to homeowners on southern Manasota Key, with an eye toward seeking state funding for a beach renourishment project in that area. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

Beach Road parcels’ acquisition debated during County Commission budget workshop; Siesta trolley drawing lots of riders; the Great American Cleanup on Siesta includes a ‘butt count,’ with the county having won a cigarette litter prevention grant; Avenida Milano gets a stop sign; and the Condo Council joins the Gulf and Bay Club board in opposing new hotels

In October 2016, the Sarasota County Commission authorized County Administrator Tom Harmer and staff to negotiate with the owners of the parcels at 162 and 168 Beach Road in an effort for the county to buy the property. As Carolyn Brown, director of the county’s Parks, Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department, explained, if staff were successful, the property would expand opportunities for public access to the Gulf of Mexico. (Read more »)

Riverview High Coach ‘BJ’ Ivey named Sarasota County Teacher of the Year for 2017

His mother is a past Teacher of the Year at the same school

Riverview High School social studies teacher and basketball coach William “BJ” Ivey Jr. was named 2017 Sarasota County Teacher of the Year on April 5. Schools Superintendent Todd Bowden made the announcement during the annual luncheon celebration held in the district. (Read more »)

Improvements at U.S. 41/Fruitville Road intersection to be at center of FDOT meting on April 11

Roundabout planned in conjunction with development of Quay Sarasota

On Tuesday, April 11, District One staff of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will hold a public information meeting as part of the project development and environment (PD&E) study regarding improvements to the intersection at U.S. 41 and Fruitville Road in Sarasota, FDOT has announced. (Read more »)

Proposed implementation of ranked choice voting in Sarasota to be discussed at April 9 meeting

Session to feature speaker from Minnesota who lead a successful campaign for such a system, organizers say

On Sunday, April 9, the Election Reform Committee of the Peace Education and Action Center will host an educational meeting at 3 p.m. at the Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center to explain how ranked choice voting works, review the current status of such a system in Sarasota “and examine the opportunities, challenges and next steps in implementation,” the committee has announced. (Read more »)

Surplus lands policies and zoning processes to be the focus of April 10 CONA meeting

Celery Fields’ proximity to site of proposed construction waste facility continuing to prompt public concerns

A town hall type of examination of Sarasota County’s surplus lands policies and zoning process will be the focus of the Monday, April 10, meeting of the Sarasota County Coalition of Neighborhood Associations (CONA), the nonprofit has announced. (Read more »)

Orioles achieve their second-highest attendance total for Spring Training baseball games in Sarasota

Only the 2013 figure was higher, the team says

With a March 30 crowd of 6,900 for this season’s Spring Training finale at Ed Smith Stadium, the Baltimore Orioles drew a total of 119,742 fans for 17 home games in Sarasota, the second-highest spring attendance in club history, the team has announced. (Read more »)

Bradenton man killed in single-vehicle crash on Higel Avenue where it intersects with Siesta Drive

Alcohol suspected to be a factor in the incident, which occurred about 2:15 a.m. April 3

A Bradenton man was killed about 2:15 a.m. on Monday, April 3, when a sport utility vehicle struck a tree at a curve on Higel Avenue, the Sarasota Police Department reported. The driver and a backseat passenger — both females — were transported to Sarasota Memorial Hospital with serious injuries. (Read more »)

Sheriff’s Office again participating with McDonald’s in Good Community Partner Program

Personnel to recognize children and adults ‘caught in random acts of kindness’

For the second year in a row, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is joining McDonald’s Good Community Partner Program, “a popular community service initiative sponsored by McDonald’s of Tampa Bay,” the office has announced. (Read more »)

County’s Big Truck EGGstravaganza set for April 15

Free event to be held at Twin Lakes Park in Sarasota

Big trucks and two egg hunts are in store for children on April 15 at the 21st annual Big Truck Day EGGstravaganza, sponsored by Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department. (Read more »)