20170609-9 Jun 2017

Destruction of wetlands denied for proposed expansion of Aviva senior living facility in Sarasota

County Commission agrees with staff’s view that the existing wetlands continue to function, even though the project team’s proposed mitigation plan would have created new wetlands encompassing triple the space of the current ones

They agreed in late March to give the applicants an opportunity to persuade the county’s environmental staff — and them — that a mitigation plan would be superior to leaving existing wetlands in place. This week, the Sarasota County commissioners remained unconvinced that the mitigation proposal submitted by Kobernick-Anchin-Benderson, The Meadows Community Association and The Meadows Country Club was sufficient. (Read more »)

County commissioners voice vexation over City Commission’s delay of CRA discussion

County board members agree that the transfer to the county of the former Sarasota Police Department site on Ringling Boulevard be part of the resolution of the dispute

Several of his colleagues voiced anger this week, but Sarasota County Commissioner Michael Moran was the bluntest: If the Sarasota City Commission wants to negotiate a resolution of the dispute over a payment it says the county owes it, its first step should be to “drop any threat of litigation … Otherwise, frankly, I say we call their bluff.” (Read more »)

City Commission votes 3-2 to pursue collection of $9,200 in court costs a 12th Circuit judge already has approved in the Chapman Sunshine Law case

Board agrees to decide later whether to go after almost $400,000 in attorneys’ fees, based on whether it can succeed in getting money from Citizens for Sunshine

For almost 85 minutes late on the night of June 5, the Sarasota city commissioners asked questions and debated whether they should spend more taxpayer money to collect the almost $400,000 in legal fees the city has paid in a Sunshine Law case. (Read more »)

County Commission chair acknowledges shock after North Port vice mayor suggests part of Orange Hammock Ranch should be developed

County board has been working with Southwest Florida Water Management District to conserve the entire 5,744 acres if the county and the district can purchase the land

The vice mayor of North Port caught Sarasota County commissioners off-guard during a joint meeting on June 6 when she announced that she was conflicted about the plan to conserve the entire 5,744 acres of Orange Hammock Ranch. (Read more »)

Call to Artists for State Street garage cancelled in wake of conflict-of-interest situation

City Commission immediately votes to issue a new advertisement for proposals for the garage

On the recommendation of City Attorney Robert Fournier, the Sarasota City Commission this week voted unanimously to cancel the Call to Artists it issued almost exactly a year ago in an effort to feature public art that also would serve a wayfinding purpose in the State Street garage. (Read more »)

County Commission learns Illinois company has renewed effort to create public-private partnership to operate Sarasota and Manatee bus systems

County administrator cautions that staff will have to pursue a competitive bid process, regardless of details of the promised proposal

In 2013, the Sarasota and Manatee county commissions discussed the potential of allowing a private firm to take over the management of their two transit systems. Ultimately, while the Manatee board was ready to move ahead, the Sarasota County Commission chose to wait. (Read more »)

Hours of operation expected to be posted soon at Sarasota County parks, thanks to revised law

Commissioner Alan Maio applauds staff for changes that will enable sheriff’s deputies to cite vagrants lingering at night on county beaches

As soon as Sarasota County Administrator Tom Harmer has settled on the operating hours — and appropriate new signage has been posted — new rules will go into effect at the county’s parks, thanks to a unanimous County Commission vote this week. (Read more »)

Petition for boat dock and lift on Siesta Key’s Grand Canal denied after County Commission agrees site is too constrained for the construction

Petitioners’ boat is 27 feet, but staff says 17 feet would be appropriate for the space

Adjacent neighbors refused to support the plan, and a county environmental specialist explained why it did not conform to standards for such projects. That led the Sarasota County Commission to unanimously deny the request of residents on Siesta Key’s Lotus Lane to construct a dock and boatlift on the canal in front of their house. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

Parking and towing issues prompt lots of SKA questions; morass of Memorial Day beach garbage decried; county’s new cigarette butt receptacles being installed; July Fourth fireworks fundraising and beach parking updates provided; help sought for Crystal Classic founder Brian Wigelsworth; Siesta Key Environmental Defense Fund gets two noteworthy donations; and SKOB gets a new executive chef and updates its menu

When exactly is a parking situation illegal? That was the question Sgt. Jason Mruczek, leader of the Sheriff’s Office substation, made an effort to explain during the June 1 Siesta Key Association (SKA) meeting. (Read more »)

Traveling these days in France means navigating numerous new security steps

Every hotel proves to have its set of quirks

Nowadays, when you travel to foreign lands and stay at various high-end hotels, you practically need the skills of a safecracker to figure out the various security systems and internal operations (i.e., how to make devices work in bedrooms and bathrooms). (Read more »)

Planning Commission’s June 1 vote on project near Celery Fields to be focus of June 12 CONA meeting

Discussion also will focus on how the public can influence public policy on the sale of county surplus lands

On Monday, June 12, at 7 p.m., the Sarasota County Coalition of Neighborhood Associations (CONA) will feature an assessment of the June 1 Sarasota Planning Commission decision to recommend the County Commission deny petitions related to a recycling facility next to the Celery Fields, CONA has announced. (Read more »)

Work beginning this week on stabilization of shoreline in front of O’Leary’s in Bayfront Park

City of Sarasota collaborating with Mote Marine on a living seawall

Crews began mobilizing on Monday, June 5, to construct Phase I of a living seawall project along Sarasota Bay adjacent to O’Leary’s in Bayfront Park, City Manager Tom Barwin announced in his June 2 newsletter. “The shoreline has been eroding significantly,” Barwin pointed out, adding that “this work is necessary to stabilize and protect this special area of the heavily visited Bayfront Park.” (Read more »)

Lawn watering being limited to once per week for homeowners because of drought in the region

Southwest Florida Water Management District imposing restrictions through Aug. 1

New lawn watering restrictions throughout southwest Florida began on Monday, June 5, because of the ongoing drought and water shortage, the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) has announced. (Read more »)

Use of fertilizers with nitrogen and phosphorus prohibited in Sarasota County June 1 through Sept. 30

Regulation designed to protect water quality in the rainy season

Sarasota County staff is reminding community residents to skip using fertilizer with nitrogen and phosphorus from June 1 through Sept. 30. Enacted in 2007, the restriction protects water quality and natural habitats in creeks, lakes and other waters by reducing the nutrients in stormwater that goes into them, a news release explains. (Read more »)

Selby Library to host Community Volunteer Fair

June 13 event to feature representatives from about 20 nonprofit organizations

Individuals may find out how they can put their time and talents to good use when the staff of Selby Public Library in downtown Sarasota hosts a Community Volunteer Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, June 13, Sarasota County staff has announced. (Read more »)

FDOT to conduct June 13 meeting about planned improvements to Circus Bridge in Venice

Session to be held at Venice Community Center

On Tuesday, June 13, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will hold a public information meeting regarding upcoming improvements to the Circus Bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway in Venice, FDOT has announced. (Read more »)

City of Sarasota Finance Department honored with prestigious budget award for 27th year

Honor accorded by the Government Finance Officers Association

“[F]or an impressive 27th consecutive year,” the City of Sarasota Finance Department has received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association, the city has announced. (Read more »)

NBC Sports announces details of plan to televise World Rowing Championships at Benderson Park

Network has committed to more than 10 hours of coverage

NBC Sports Group and the World Rowing Federation — FISA — have signed an exclusive U.S. media rights agreement for coverage of the 2017 World Rowing Championships, both parties announced on June 5. NBC Sports Group will present more than 10 hours of the rowing event at Nathan Benderson Park beginning Thursday, Sept. 28, a news release says. (Read more »)

An important note to SNL Tinypass (paid) subscribers:

If, in addition to your Sarasota News Leader Tinypass subscription, you also subscribe to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, you have been notified by the SHT 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!