20180406-6 Apr 2018

Affordable housing project with units dedicated to homeless individuals cleared by City Commission

Motion to hold public hearing on appeal fails during April 2 board meeting

On April 2, only Sarasota Mayor Shelli Freeland Eddie supported Commissioner Willie Shaw’s motion for a public hearing on an appeal of the city Planning Board’s unanimous approval of a proposed Fruitville Road development. The crux of the issue is that half the residents will be homeless individuals transitioning into permanent housing. (Read more »)

Questions raised about how proposed Sarasota County/FDOT road swap could affect traffic planning in conjunction with Siesta Promenade

Benderson Development submits responses to most recent county staff comments about insufficiencies in details about the project

In its latest responses regarding the proposed Siesta Promenade project, filed with Sarasota County in late March, Benderson Development continues to propose the installation of a traffic signal at the intersection of Stickney Point Road and Avenue B and C. (Read more »)

Celery Fields advocacy group to present proposals to County Commission about potential uses of county land near popular park

Fresh Start plans roundtable beforehand to narrow down ideas offered by residents and business owners

On April 25, advocates for care in planning the future of Sarasota County property next to the Celery Fields will present proposals to the County Commission and seek direction going forward. That discussion will come about five months after the commissioners voted 4-1 last November to give Fresh Start for the Celery Fields six months to offer, as Commissioner Charles Hines put it, “some realistic options” for use of one county-owned parcel at the intersection of Apex Road and Palmer Boulevard. (Read more »)

With parties having proposed recommendations, state administrative law judge will have his say on whether Lido Renourishment Project can go forward

Attorneys for the SKA and SOSS2 point to unreliability of Army Corps of Engineers’ modeling for the project, among other issues of concern

The modeling the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and its consultants have performed for the Lido Renourishment Project “is unreliable as it is not properly calibrated, not validated, and has a 495% degree of error,” the Siesta Key Association (SKA) and Save Our Siesta Sand 2 (SOSS2) assert. (Read more »)

Big budget questions for County Commission in future years will be linked to homestead exemption referenda on November ballot

Efforts continue to sell surplus county land

As the chair of the Sarasota County Commission put it during the board’s latest workshop on finances, “Right now we’re looing at a bare-bones budget with existing funds [for the 2019 fiscal year].” That was Nancy Detert’s assessment after she and her colleagues reviewed projections for revenue and expenses for the next fiscal year and for the fiscal years from 2020 through 2023. (Read more »)

No SCAT bus routes can be eliminated before completion of ‘equity analysis,’ interim department director explains

Leaders of Town of Longboat Key plead with County Commission to maintain service on the county portion of the island

As staff of Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) continues to try to create a more efficient system that requires less of a subsidy from the Sarasota County General Fund, the proposed elimination of one route has prompted pleas from the Town of Longboat Key. (Read more »)

City Commission approves preliminary funding for emergency beach renourishment project on Lido Key

Boca Raton firm to handle design and construction engineering work, with sand to come from New Pass

It took about 13 minutes on April 2 for the Sarasota City Commission to approve spending $390,094.50 for a firm to handle design and construction work for an emergency renourishment project on South Lido Key Beach. The money will come out of Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax (TDT) revenue set aside for the City of Sarasota to use in such initiatives, City Engineer Alexandrea DavisShaw explained to the commissioners during their regular meeting this week. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

Condo Council preparing for continuation of public hearing on zoning setbacks; Breeze anniversary celebration rescheduled; Planning Commission set to hear application regarding redevelopment of Siesta Key Palms Hotel; and a new ice cream shop is planned for Davidson Plaza

In preparation for the continued County Commission public hearing on April 11 regarding street setbacks for commercial buildings on Siesta Key, the Siesta Key Condominium Council (SKCC) and a group of concerned island residents and condo owners worked on their own proposals. (Read more »)

Importance of the Sarasota County Comprehensive Plan to be focus of April 9 CONA meeting

Discussion also to be held on plans for expanding residential areas at Bath and Racquet Club

At 7 p.m. on Monday, April 9, the Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations (CONA) will host a discussion presented by former County Commissioner Jon Thaxton regarding the county’s Comprehensive Plan, the nonprofit has announced. (Read more »)

Dry conditions prompt Sarasota County fire chief to issue recreational burn ban

Only exception is cooking fires on outdoor grills

Sarasota County Fire Chief Michael Regnier has issued a countywide recreational burn ban effective immediately because of the dry weather conditions and an increased chance of wildfires. “In accordance with Sarasota County’s open burning ordinance the mandatory burn ban will remain in effect until weather conditions change and the chance of wildfire decreases,” a news release says. (Read more »)

Candidates sought to serve in new School Resource Deputy II positions with the Sheriff’s Office

Program to be implemented in the 12 elementary schools in unincorporated Sarasota County

On March 27, Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight announced that the Sheriff’s Office is seeking 14 candidates to provide campus security to 12 elementary schools in Sarasota County. The program comes a little more than a month after the mass shooting in Parkland that killed 17 students and teachers, a news release noted. (Read more »)

Free Earth Day event planned on April 20 at Five Points Park in downtown Sarasota

Tiny house tours and other activities to highlight ways to live more sustainably

The public is invited to a free April 20 Earth Day celebration planned in downtown Sarasota that will feature music, food for purchase, prizes, tours of a tiny home “and a wealth of information on how individuals can help the planet,” the county has announced. (Read more »)

Supervisor of elections recruiting poll workers for primary and general elections

Orientation sessions to begin later this month; no appointments necessary

The Sarasota County elections office is inviting registered voters in the county to become part of its Election Day team, Supervisor of Elections Ron Turner has announced. In preparation for the Aug. 28 Primary and Nov. 6 General Election, his office is recruiting new poll workers and has scheduled the following countywide orientation sessions for anyone who would like to explore the opportunity. (Read more »)

Executive director of Florida ACLU to speak in Sarasota

Howard Simon to discuss state’s Constitutional Revision Committee’s work during April 7 meeting

The annual meeting and board election of the Sarasota Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida will feature a talk by Howard Simon, executive director of the Florida ACLU, the chapter has announced. The meeting will be held on Saturday, April 7, at 1 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church, located at 3975 Fruitville Road in Sarasota. (Read more »)

Lee Hayes Byron accepts offer to become new director of UF/IFAS Extension and Sustainability program in Sarasota County

She has served with county government since 2005

Lee Hayes Byron has accepted a conditional offer to become the new director of Sarasota County’s University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Services (UF/IFAS) Extension and Sustainability program, the county announced on April 4. (Read more »)

Fitch affirms AA+ credit rating for Sarasota County’s utility system revenue bonds

Report covers $157.4 million in outstanding county utility system revenue bonds

Fitch Ratings recently affirmed an AA+ credit rating for Sarasota County’s utility system revenue and refunding bonds, “indicating a healthy financial position and a stable outlook,” the county has announced. (Read more »)