Siesta Promenade applications still incomplete, county staff decides after wrapping up review

Feb. 1 letters to Benderson Development cite missing information, including an updated traffic impact analysis

Once again, Sarasota County staff members have cited a number of insufficiencies in documents Benderson Development Co. has submitted regarding its proposed Siesta Promenade mixed-use project. Among the information missing from materials the firm provided the county in December 2017 is an updated traffic impact analysis, “which addresses all FDOT [Florida Department of Transportation] comments as discussed” during a Jan. 24 meeting, says a Feb. 1 county letter to Todd Mathes, Benderson’s director of development. (Read more »)

Draft of form-based code not expected to be released to Sarasota city staff before March 9

Mayor expresses dismay with another delay in the completion of the document

The mayor of Sarasota repeatedly expressed dismay this week after learning that the completed draft of the city’s new form-based code would not be available until March 9. The date falls two weeks after the city commissioners will hold a special meeting on setback and sidewalk provisions in the document, which will be a comprehensive revision of the city’s zoning regulations. (Read more »)

Responding to neighbors’ concerns, Sarasota City Commission agrees to change in proposed zoning district for Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Metropolitan-Regional designation would necessitate public hearings on any new development if the land should be sold at some future point

In response to concerns expressed by neighbors of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, the Sarasota City Commission this week voted unanimously to authorize a process that will allow the Gardens to pursue the creation of is own zoning district, similar to the one encompassing the Sarasota Memorial Hospital campus. (Read more »)

Sarasota mayor credits city and county groups, well as Florida League of Cities, for restoration of local government authority in state tree-trimming bill

Sen. Greg Steube, who introduced the bill in October 2017, filed an amendment preserving home rule

A bill that would have pre-empted municipalities and counties from regulating the trimming, removal or harvesting of trees and timber on private property has been amended to allow local governments to take such action, Sarasota Mayor Shelli Freeland Eddie reported to her colleagues this week. (Read more »)

Medical marijuana dispensaries legalized in specific City of Sarasota zoning districts

City Commission approves ordinance on final reading; law went into effect Feb. 5

It took only about 18 minutes on Feb. 5 for the Sarasota City Commission to unanimously clear the way for the operation of medical marijuana dispensaries in the city. St. Armands Circle and Newtown are among the areas where the businesses will be allowed to function as accessory uses within drugstores and grocery stores, as outlined in the new regulations. The ordinance went into effect immediately after the Feb. 5 vote. (Read more »)

City Commission splits 3-2 on contract for UCF researchers to work on improving city’s water quality

Mayor Freeland Eddie and Commissioner Brody oppose the $197,265 expense for differing reasons

Sarasota City Commissioner Hagen Brody maintained this week that he never has encountered a problem with the taste of the city’s drinking water. Mayor Shelli Freeland Eddie said she felt that if staff does believe problems exist, the city needs to advertise bids to seek consultants to remedy the situation instead of pursuing a no-bid contract with a group of faculty members and students from the University of Central Florida (UCF). (Read more »)

Legal bills in Big Pass case approaching the $900,000 mark for City of Sarasota and two nonprofit organizations on Siesta Key

City already has paid close to $490,000

The City of Sarasota and two nonprofit organizations altogether have paid close to $900,000 in legal fees as they have wrangled over the proposed dredging of Big Sarasota Pass to renourish a 1.6-mile stretch of South Lido Key Beach, The Sarasota News Leader has learned. (Read more »)

County commissioners direct staff to simplify process for residents to install sandbags to protect homes from severe shoreline erosion

Proposed amendment to Sarasota County’s emergency variance process to be rewritten and addressed again during April 10 hearing

First, they made it clear to staff that they want the process to be easier for the public. Then the Sarasota County commissioners continued until April 10 a public hearing on an amendment to the county’s Coastal Setback Code regarding the handling of emergency measures property owners may take to protect homes in the face of severe erosion produced by storms. (Read more »)

Firms approved to handle design and preconstruction work for Sheriff’s Office’s new fleet facility on Laurel Road

County staff hopes to include the construction project in the Capital Improvement Program for fiscal years 2019-2023

Almost exactly 14 months after the Sarasota County Commission authorized the rezoning of the site for the project, it has approved architectural services and preconstruction services agreements for the Sheriff’s Office’s new fleet facility on Laurel Road. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

County Commission chair applauds citizen participation in SKOD hearing; Condo Council provides bus for SKOD hearing attendees; man threatens woman driver with gun on Stickney Point Road; 168 Beach Road negotiations end unsuccessfully; Sheriff’s Office has an especially popular patrol unit; island crime statistics mostly down in 2017; arrest made in Siesta Beach parking lot

When County Commission Chair Nancy Detert opened the afternoon session of the Jan. 30 meeting, she looked out over a proverbial sea of Siesta residents in the Commission Chambers in downtown Sarasota. “It’s always great to see so much public participation in our meetings,” she said, pointing out that the board members do not often have that many people at their sessions. “Every seat is full,” Detert continued. “This is super. Thank you.” (Read more »)

Orioles to host annual Sarasota Springfest for the public on Saturday, Feb. 17, in Sarasota

Fans to have opportunities to play catch on Ed Smith Stadium field and to attend Q&A session with 2017 American League Rookie of Year Finalist Trey Mancini

The Baltimore Orioles are inviting fans of all ages to celebrate the start of Spring Training by attending Sarasota Springfest, a free family-friendly event that will be held at Ed Smith Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 17. Along with watching Orioles pitchers and catchers practice on the backfields, fans may enjoy games and interactive activities in the stadium from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., a news release says. (Read more »)

Big Truck Day moving to Benderson Park this year

Anyone interested in showcasing a big truck is asked to contact Sarasota County staff

Big trucks will be rolling into Nathan Benderson Park this March for the annual Big Truck Day, “and Sarasota County wants your truck to be part of the action,” a county news release says. (Read more »)

Scholarships available to boost number of Suncoast nurses with bachelor’s and higher degrees

Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition focusing on improved health care through assisting students

The Suncoast Nursing Action Coalition (SNAC) is offering $50,000 in scholarships to encourage more area nurses and prospective nursing students to earn their bachelor’s degrees in nursing (BSN) “and ensure safe, high quality nursing care” in Sarasota, Charlotte, Manatee and Desoto counties, the organization has announced. (Read more »)

STOP! to host ‘walkshop’ for members of public interested in how the City of Sarasota is developing

Event planned for 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 12

STOP! will host a “walkshop” on Monday, Feb. 12, for members of the public interested in how the City of Sarasota is developing. STOP! members will use examples in the city “to illustrate the good, the bad and the ugly, with a special focus on sidewalks,” a news release explains. (Read more »)

Black History Month displays on view at City Hall

This is the 10th consecutive year for the exhibit

For the 10th consecutive year, educational materials are on display at Sarasota City Hall to commemorate Black History Month. “The displays include photographs and newspaper articles charting African-American trailblazers in Sarasota and their achievements as athletes, elected officials, military personnel, teachers and others, as well as the history of racial integration in Sarasota County,” a city news release says. (Read more »)

Bill Riebe joins City of Sarasota staff as the new director of the Utilities Department

Mitt Tidwell retiring after more than five years in the position

Bill Riebe has joined the City of Sarasota staff as the new director of the Utilities Department, the city has announced. Riebe is a registered Florida professional engineer and a certified general contractor who “comes to us with extensive experience in the public and private sectors,” City Manager Tom Barwin wrote in his Feb. 2 newsletter. (Read more »)