20171124-24 Nov 2017

Permit fee study and potential revisions of regulations related to tiny homes and parking requirements among county steps to spur affordable housing

Staff report provides update on initiatives

Sarasota County staff has been negotiating with a firm to undertake a permit fee study as one step in a multi-pronged effort to create more affordable housing in the community, the director of the county’s Planning and Development Services Department has reported to the County Commission. (Read more »)

With staff supporting it, Lido Beach Pool and Pavilion lease wins City Commission approval on a 4-1 vote

Over almost five hours, board, public and project team members debate proposed improvements

Almost exactly three years after it responded to a City of Sarasota Invitation to Negotiate regarding improvements to the 2.42-acre Lido Pool and Pavilion property, Lido Beach Redevelopment Partners LLC won City Commission approval of a lease so it can proceed with its proposal. (Read more »)

City of Sarasota renews contract with Salvation Army for emergency shelter beds for the homeless

New coordinator of homelessness response for city says 20 beds per night have remained at 85% capacity so far this year

On a unanimous vote this week, the Sarasota City Commission approved the renewal of a contract with The Salvation Army in Sarasota to provide up to 30 beds a night for homeless individuals at a maximum cost of $319,200 for the remainder of this fiscal year. (Read more »)

Sarasota County expenses linked to Hurricane Irma have climbed to the $8.2-million mark, as staff works with FEMA on reimbursements

City of Sarasota has completed its storm debris collections, while county prepares for second pass starting Nov. 27

s of Nov. 21, the projected total cost for Sarasota County’s response to and recovery from Hurricane Irma was approximately $8.2 million, including $600,000 for the Sheriff’s Office’s efforts, the county’s Emergency Services director reported. (Read more »)

Total economic impact of tourism expenditures in county close to $3 billion for the 2017 fiscal year

Number of visitors who stayed in paid lodging in county grew by 4.2% during 2017 fiscal year, with their direct spending up 6%

The overall number of visitors to Sarasota County in the 2017 fiscal year was 2,710,300, research undertaken for Visit Sarasota County has shown. Even more noteworthy was the fact that their spending created an economic impact on the county of $2,989,923,750, Phillip Downs, senior partner of Downs & St. Germain Research of Tallahassee, reported on Nov. 16. (Read more »)

World Rowing Championships produce overall economic impact of $22.6 million on state of Florida

World governing body of rowing has asked to meet with local tourism leaders to discuss long-term plans for Benderson Park, Visit Sarasota County president reports

The World Rowing Championships held at Nathan Benderson Park in late September just missed the $25-million goal for economic impact on the state, research undertaken for Visit Sarasota County showed. The grand total was $22,613,500, Joseph St. Germain, president of Downs & St. Germain Research in Tallahassee, told members of the Sarasota County Tourist Development Council (TDC) on Nov. 16. (Read more »)

Staff directed to undertake more research into how best to deal with through truck traffic on neighborhood streets within the city of Sarasota

Commissioners question legality of some measures staff has proposed

A staff proposal for a revised City of Sarasota ordinance to prevent through truck traffic in neighborhoods has raised City Commission concerns about potential legal ramifications. As a result, the board unanimously approved a Nov. 20 motion by Mayor Shelli Freeland Eddie, asking City Attorney Robert Fournier and his staff to research other communities’ ordinances regarding truck traffic and questions of the constitutionality of stopping drivers. (Read more »)

Film rebate cap raised for production of documentary about golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez

Director of Sarasota County Film Commission explains to County Commission the details of process staff uses to determine reimbursements

After praising the director of the Sarasota County Film Commission on Nov. 14, the County Commission unanimously approved a filmmaker’s request to raise the cap for his potential county rebate from $25,000 to $80,000. (Read more »)


Many four-footed and winged neighbors survive Irma, while others have yet to reappear

This evening, as I was drying the dishes, I heard them softly hooting. The eastern screech owls, which have lived in my yard for many years, were back from the dead. After more than two months, I had given up hope they had survived Irma’s 80 mph winds. (Read more »)

Intersection of Orange Avenue and Ringling Boulevard to close Nov. 27 for roundabout construction

Detours to be provided along State Street and Lemon and Pineapple avenues

The intersection of Orange Avenue and Ringling Boulevard in downtown Sarasota will be closed starting Monday, Nov. 27, as work begins to transform the signalized intersection into a single-lane roundabout, the City of Sarasota has announced. (Read more »)

‘Santa’ desperately seeking warehouse in Sarasota

Salvation Army needs space for its annual Angel Tree program for children and seniors

To provide Christmas gifts for more than 2,000 children and seniors, The Salvation Army in Sarasota needs approximately 20,000 square feet of space for the annual Angel Tree distribution center and Toy Joy shop, the nonprofit organization has announced. (Read more »)

Light Up Siesta Key festivities to kick off holiday season on Saturday, Nov. 25

Village Holiday Parade to begin at 5:30 p.m. on Ocean Boulevard

With the Thanksgiving celebration set for Nov. 23, Siesta Key businesses are preparing to host their traditional holiday season kickoff on Saturday, Nov. 25. The Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce has renamed the annual event Light Up Siesta Key, as visitors will be welcome from 5 to 9 p.m. on both ends of the island. (Read more »)

Improvements for safety along U.S. 301 between Fruitville Road and 10th Street to be focus of FDOT open house on Dec. 7 at City Hall Annex

Installation of medians the primary facet of project tentatively planned for 2018-19 fiscal year

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will host an open house on Thursday, Dec. 7, concerning plans for safety improvements along U.S. 301 (Washington Boulevard) from Fruitville Road to 10th Street, the City of Sarasota has announced. (Read more »)

Atomic Holiday Bazaar preparing for 12th season

Event to be held Dec. 9-10 at Municipal Auditorium; other nearby North Tamiami Trail venues participating in weekend sales as well

The Atomic Holiday Bazaar will mark its 12th season on Saturday, Dec. 9, and Sunday, Dec. 10, organizers have announced. This holiday “indie” craft show will be held at the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, located at 805 N. Tamiami Trail, as well as in the Bay Front Room and as a street fair located on Plaza De Santo Domingo, the street between the Municipal Auditorium and the Art Center Sarasota. (Read more »)

Sarasota County School District to hold its second Digital Town Hall on Wednesday, Dec. 6

School safety and security to be topic for first half of program

The Sarasota County School District will host its second Digital Town Hall from 7 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 6, Superintendent Todd Bowden has announced. “This technology-enhanced public forum is a key part of our ongoing efforts to reach families where they are and engage in two-way communication via the devices we all use every day,” Bowden pointed out. (Read more »)

Sarasota County announces holiday closings

Garbage and recycling collections pushed back a day from Thursday and Friday

Sarasota County Government offices, including libraries, recreation centers and the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County, will be closed Thursday, Nov. 23, and Friday, Nov. 24, for the Thanksgiving holiday, the county has announced. (Read more »)

‘Old-fashioned Holiday’ planned at North Port Library

Celebration of holidays in Florida in the 1800s to be the focus

The North Port Public Library will hold its annual holiday celebration from 2:30 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 3, county staff has announced. The “Old-fashioned Holiday” is an educational and historical presentation focusing on how holidays were observed in Florida during the 1800s. (Read more »)