20180427-27 Apr 2018


County staff awaiting comments from FDOT regarding March traffic report for Siesta Promenade before considering rezoning application complete

Third northbound left-turn lane from Stickney Point Road onto U.S. 41 part of January discussions among FDOT and Benderson’s consulting firm representatives

Sarasota County Planning and Development Services Department staff has notified Benderson Development Co. that the firm still has not complied with all requirements for the proposed Siesta Promenade development. The latest insufficiencies staff noted pertain to Benderson’s request for a Critical Area Plan (CAP) designation for the project planned on an approximately 24-acre site at the northwest corner of Stickney Point Road and U.S. 41. (Read more »)

New mobility impact fee categories designed to encourage affordable housing developments

County commissioners also voice excitement about one potential project whose developer already has been working on a site plan

On Jan. 17, the Sarasota County Commission took its first formal step in adjusting fees it charges developers in an effort to spur more construction of affordable housing. That measure involved parking regulations. This week, the board took its second step, this one related to mobility impact fees. A third step — involving water and sewer capacity fees — is in the making, Commissioner Alan Maio pointed out during the commission’s regular meeting on April 24 in Sarasota. (Read more »)

Negotiations to begin again in effort to transfer ownership of Little Salt Spring to Sarasota County

University of Miami wants to donate the archaeologically significant site to the county

About four years ago, Sarasota County was unable to conclude negotiations to take over ownership of a significant archaeological site in South County. The opportunity has arisen once again. County Commission Chair Nancy Detert announced this week that University of Miami leaders have been talking about “giving us [the] 112 acres [of Little Salt Spring] for free.” (Read more »)

Advocates for Celery Fields given until July 14 to hone proposals for development on county-owned land

County commissioners ask county administrator to lend staff assistance to Fresh Start Initiative

After devoting almost exactly 57 minutes to the issue on April 25, the Sarasota County Commission voted unanimously to give a citizens group about three more months to fine-tune proposals for two county-owned parcels adjacent to the Celery Fields. (Read more »)

County budget in good shape at midpoint of fiscal year

Major revenues up 9.1% compared to same period of 2017 fiscal year and expenditures staying in check

Major Sarasota County revenues were up 9.1% compared to staff’s projection for the midpoint of the current fiscal year, and overall expenditures were at the 37% mark, county staff reported to the County Commission this week. Those numbers were part of a review of the status of the budget for the fiscal year that began on Oct. 1, 2017. (Read more »)

Annual count of homeless individuals shows 34% drop in Sarasota County from 2017 figure

City of Sarasota figure down 18%

The total number of homeless individuals counted in Sarasota and Manatee counties this year declined 18% from the figure for 2017, the Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness has announced. The figure for Sarasota County dropped 34%, while the number counted in the city of Sarasota declined 18%, the report says. (Read more »)

Letschert drops out of County Commission race to join board of Florida Democratic Party

Alan Maio far outpacing his Republican and Democratic challengers in campaign contributions

The last person to file for the Sarasota County Commission District 4 seat announced this week that he is withdrawing from the race. Jordan Letschert, who just announced his candidacy on April 10, reported that has accepted an invitation to join the 20-person Board of Trustees for the Florida Democratic Party. (Read more »)

‘Bed tax’ revenue up more than $1 million in the county year-over-year through February

Each month has seen an increase since fiscal year began on Oct. 1, 2017

During a March presentation to the Sarasota County Tourist Development Council, Assistant Sarasota County Tax Collector Sherri Smith remarked that the latest Tourist Development Tax (TDT) revenue report showed collections already “up almost $750,000” compared to the figure for the same period of the 2017 fiscal year. Make that a difference of more than $1 million in “bed tax” money year-over-year, according to the most recent Tax Collector’s Office report. (Read more »)

Coastal Setback Variance approved for new three-story, two-unit house on pilings at 657 Beach Road

Only Commissioner Maio votes ‘No’ on design that will put the structure 20.5 feet seaward of the Gulf Beach Setback Line

It took only about 16 minutes on April 24 for three members of the Sarasota County Commission to approve a new three-story, two-dwelling house built on pilings in the footprint of a 1930s structure at 657 Beach Road on Siesta Key. The house will be on the landward side of the road. (Read more »)

One new person named, 2 others reappointed to Environmentally Sensitive Lands Oversight Committee

County Commission approves applications from Joerger, Loraine and Burry

The owner of Acorn Property Management LLC in Sarasota has become the newest member of the Sarasota County Environmentally Sensitive Lands Oversight Committee (ESLOC). David Burry won appointment to the advisory council in a unanimous County Commission vote on April 10. (Read more »)


Editorial: Call 1-800-RUIN-SIESTA

Our last weekly issue before our hiatus in August 2014, coincidentally contained an endorsement editorial for the Sarasota County Commission races that year. Since there was no (or only nominal) Democratic opposition, the winner of the Republican primary would become the de facto winner in November. We endorsed Lourdes Ramirez over Al Maio, and Shannon Snyder over Paul Caragiulo. (Read more »)


St. Armands parking garage construction underway

North Adams Drive surface lot closed as of April 23

Construction of the St. Armands parking garage began this week at the site of the public surface lot, located at 73 N. Adams Drive, adjacent to Sarasota County Fire Department Station 3, the City of Sarasota has announced. To accommodate the construction, the surface lot closed to the public on Monday, April 23. (Read more »)

City to host Arbor Day celebration on April 27

Event to begin at 9 a.m. in Eastwood Park

The City of Sarasota will continue its longstanding tradition of celebrating Arbor Day with a tree-planting ceremony this week, the city has announced. This year’s event will be conducted on Friday, April 27, at 9 a.m. at Eastwood Park, which is located at 422 N. Cornelius Circle. (Read more »)

Public invited to attend information session on the William H. Jervey Jr. Venice Public Library project

Sessions planned in morning and evening on May 1

Sarasota County staff is inviting members of the community to learn about the progress of the William H. Jervey Jr. Venice Public Library project during two informational sessions on Tuesday, May 1. “These sessions, which will be held at the Venice Community Center, will provide updates from project partners and county staff about the library’s progress,” a news release says. (Read more »)

Gulf Gate Elementary kitchen manager recognized as School-Related Employee of the Year

Sarah Woods also a nominee for state honor

Sarah Woods, a kitchen manager at Gulf Gate Elementary School in Sarasota, has been named the 2018 Sarasota County School District School-Related Employee of the Year, the district has announced. (Read more »)

Sheriff’s Office and police departments to participate in April 28 event focused on proper disposal of prescription medications turned over by the public

Hours will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at various locations in the county

On Saturday, April 28, law enforcement agencies throughout Sarasota County will participate in the Drug Enforcement Association (DEA) national event to properly dispose of turned-in prescription medications. The hours will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has announced. (Read more »)

Tree giveaways on April 27 and April 28 to be part of county’s Arbor Day celebration

Longleaf pine saplings will be offered at several locations

Sarasota County will celebrate National Arbor Day with a tree giveaway April 27 and 28, part of a local “Treejuvenation” program, the county has announced. Individuals may visit any of five locations across the county on those dates to adopt a longleaf pine sapling for transplant, while supplies last. (Read more »)

Doctors Hospital of Sarasota earns ‘A’ grade for patient safety in report from national nonprofit

Facility marks the eighth consecutive year of receiving this recognition

When a patient comes to Doctors Hospital of Sarasota, he or she should feel secure in the fact that it is one of the safest medical facilities in the country, hospital staff says. On April 24, when Leapfrog Group — a national nonprofit that tracks safety — released its latest hospital safety grades, Doctors Hospital earned an “A” grade once again, a news release points out. (Read more »)