20180720-20 Jul 2018




Citizen-initiated petition drives at heart of County Commission proposals to amend the county Charter

One amendment would raise signature threshold from 5% to 10% of registered voters, while another would place all successful measures on General Election ballots

With a unanimous vote, the Sarasota County Commission has approved draft language for a number of changes to the Sarasota County Charter involving citizen-initiated petition drives. Among the changes would be increasing the percentage of signatures of registered voters necessary to place a citizen-initiated measure on a ballot. The current level of 5% would double, to 10%. (Read more »)

Siesta Promenade formal review process underway

Benderson still proposing traffic pattern changes, including signal at Stickney Point Road/Avenue B and C

The application for the proposed Siesta Promenade project on the northwest corner of the intersection of U.S. 41 and Stickney Point Road has been deemed sufficient, Sarasota County Planning and Development Services staff has announced. (Read more »)

Decide the Date Sarasota do-over vote taken to avoid potential for legal action

City commissioners split in choice of one option and then approve series of corrective votes on advice of city attorney

First the Sarasota City Commission voted 3-2 on July 16 to approve one option for ballot language reflecting the success of a citizen-initiated petition drive to change the city’s elections from a spring schedule to an August and November schedule. (Read more »)

Change in method of electing Sarasota County commissioners to be focus of Aug. 29 public hearing

Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections gains enough signatures on petitions to put single-member district issue on November ballot

Instead of voting for all Sarasota County Commission candidates in races on future ballots, citizens may be choosing only those candidates in the districts in which the citizens and the candidates reside. (Read more »)

Siesta Key Association disagrees with Sarasota County attorney’s interpretation of county policy regarding public dredging projects

Nonprofit to proceed with July 23 hearing in Circuit Court

Regardless of the Sarasota County Stephen DeMarsh’s assertion last week that a county Comprehensive Plan policy is not intended to cover public dredging initiatives, the Siesta Key Association (SKA) will continue pursuit of a 12th Judicial Circuit Court case related to that policy, its vice president told The Sarasota News Leader this week. (Read more »)

On another split vote, City Commission approves tentative citywide millage rate increase

Commissioners Brody and Freeland Eddie again raise objections

With Commissioners Hagen Brody and Shelli Freeland Eddie reprising comments they made during earlier sessions on the City of Sarasota’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year, the board members split 3-2 this week in approving the tentative millage rates for FY19. (Read more »)

Desire for more details about maintenance expenses among issues leading to City Commission continuance of discussion about St. Armands public restrooms

Commissioner Shaw questions whether the new parking garage will have enough restrooms, and Commissioner Brody calls for restrooms in the middle of the Circle

It took almost exactly 49 minutes, with multiple failed motions, before the Sarasota City Commission this week unanimously voted to continue until a future meeting a discussion about taking on the expense of maintaining new restrooms proposed on two medians on St. Armands Circle. (Read more »)

County Commission splits 3-2 on allowing construction of new Sanderling Road home 111 feet seaward of Gulf Beach Setback Line

To build a new house on site of current lagoon-front structure, applicants also would need a variance, their attorney says

On a 3-2 vote, the Sarasota County Commission has approved a Coastal Setback Variance so owners of a home on Heron Lagoon in the Sanderling Club can demolish it and construct a new home on the Gulf of Mexico that will be 111.2 feet seaward of the county’s Gulf Beach Setback Line (GBSL). (Read more »)

Maio continues to lead the way in fundraising for District 4 County Commission race

In District 2 race, Ziegler has close to three times as much in contributions as closest competitor, Jouniari

Sarasota County Commissioner Alan Maio of Nokomis continues to outpace all other candidates for County Commission this year — not just in the District 4 races but also in comparison to the District 2 candidates — in terms of fundraising, the latest reports show. (Read more »)

Two young men arrested on multiple charges — including handgun theft — after Siesta Center tenant finds them unconscious

Sheriff’s Office links 15- and 19-year-olds to burglary cases and charges 19-year-old with drug possession

Siesta Village business owners were abuzz on July 7, The Sarasota News Leader learned, after a tenant at Siesta Center called 911 early in the morning to report two unconscious people at the shopping plaza in the heart of the Village. (Read more »)

South Tamiami Trail McDonald’s to be rebuilt, with reopening planned for December

County Commission approves rezoning of two parcels for the project

The South Tamiami Trail McDonald’s, located near Stickney Point Road, will be rebuilt for the second time since it opened in 1970, thanks to a unanimous Sarasota County Commission vote on July 11. The restaurant has not been remodeled since 1990, Michael Motta, McDonald’s regional development director, told The Sarasota News Leader this week. (Read more »)

Siesta Key resident arrested after allegedly shooting multiple rounds inside his home

Suspect blames medications for inducing hallucinations

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a 69-year-old Siesta Key resident after he allegedly fired multiple bullets out of his Siesta Isles home, the office has reported. The suspect, Thomas Kavanaugh Dudenhoeffer of 1007 Contento St., told an officer he was firing at people believed to be breaking into his house. (Read more »)

Fruitville/U.S. 41 roundabout funding transfer formally approved by County Commission

Timeline calls for project to be completed by Oct. 1, 2021

Among numerous items the Sarasota County Commission addressed during its last two meetings before starting its traditional summer recess, the board voted unanimously on July 11 to approve a funding agreement with the City of Sarasota for the design, right of way acquisition and construction of the planned roundabout at the intersection of U.S. 41 and Fruitville Road. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

Siesta Key Breeze gets new operator; expanded trolley operations just one facet of latest County Commission paid beach parking discussion; Siesta property owner urging County Commission action to preserve Big Pass; snowy plover update a positive one; second Audubon Beach Walk planned on Siesta; and Village Improvement District property value down a bit for formal July 1 report

The Siesta Key Breeze will have a new operator as of Aug. 29. On July 10, as part of their Consent Agenda of routine business items, the county commissioners approved a contract with C.P.R. Medical Transportation LLC of Washington, D.C., for the continued operation of the trolley. (Read more »)

OPINION (free):

Cartoon of the Day

OTHER NEWS (free):

Sample ballots for Aug. 28 primary available online

Sarasota County earns 28th Distinguished Budget Presentation Award

Carol Kay Brown named director of leadership at Sarasota County Schools

Reverend Barry and the Funk to headline Friday Fest at the Van Wezel on July 27

Junior Beach Tour volleyball teams playing in Nationals events on Siesta Key