20180323-23 Mar 2018

March 23rd & 30th, 2018 Double Issue

Proposed roundabout at Gulfstream Avenue/U.S. 41 intersection in downtown Sarasota to be the focus of March 27 open house

FDOT to host session from 5 to 7 p.m. at Municipal Auditorium

The District One staff of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is inviting the public to a March 27 update on the proposed construction of a roundabout at the intersection of U.S. 41 and Gulfstream Avenue in Sarasota. The meeting, with an open house format, will be conducted from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Municipal Auditorium, which is located at 801 N. Tamiami Trail in downtown Sarasota, FDOT has announced. (Read more »)

County commissioners concerned about potential obligation to assist with funding for new school security measures approved by Legislature

Sarasota County Schools’ superintendent and sheriff reach agreement on plan for deputies in all elementary schools for 2018-19 school year

Before Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight and leaders of the Sarasota County School District settled on a new staffing plan this week to improve security in the schools, the County Commission asked its attorney to research whether it might be on the hook for funding new school safety measures. (Read more »)

City of Sarasota staff to research potential for consultant to assist with the next evaluation of charter officials

City manager, city auditor and clerk, and city attorney all get satisfactory reviews from commissioners, though Brody criticizes some of city manager’s actions

The Sarasota city commissioners voted unanimously this week to accept the evaluations each had completed of the city’s three charter officials. However, they split 3-2 on directing staff to research the potential of hiring a consultant to assist them with the process in the future. (Read more »)

Fewer riders and tips in first months of operation lead to projected $77,000 budget deficit for Sarasota’s free downtown transit service after initial two years

City commissioners ask staff to work with Gotcha Group to try to plug the hole

Because the service began at the end of high tourist season in 2017, and tips were not as plentiful as anticipated, the Gotcha Group had to end up paying the drivers of its i-Ride electric vehicles in downtown Sarasota, the firm’s CEO explained to the Sarasota City Commission on March 19. (Read more »)

Urban Service Area Boundary for Sarasota County to be moved to allow Lee Wetherington Homes to build a corporate headquarters on Fruitville Road

County planning staff and area residents voice support for a Comprehensive Plan change with restrictive criteria

On the recommendations of staff and their Planning Commission — along with support of people who live adjacent to the site at the heart of the request — the Sarasota County commissioners have voted unanimously to extend the Urban Service Area Boundary on Fruitville Road. The March 14 action necessitated a super-majority vote, as stipulated in the Sarasota County Charter. (Read more »)

Siesta Key property owner still intent on home construction west of Gulf Beach Setback Line, with use of Beach Access 10 as driveway

Attorney for Saba Sands II continues to make point that County Commission denial of the request for a variance would constitute a ‘taking’

Almost exactly 10 months after he submitted the original application to Sarasota County’s Environmental Permitting Division, the attorney for a Siesta Key property owner has provided new material maintaining his assertion that construction of a three-story house should be allowed fully seaward of the county’s Gulf Beach Setback Line. (Read more »)

FDOT and Sarasota County agree on spending $3.5 million each for River Road project as part of negotiations over potential road swap

Interim Sarasota County public works director provides update during joint meeting of Sarasota and Charlotte county commissions

More details emerged this week about the proposed swap of River Road to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) in exchange for Sarasota County taking over the portion of State Road 758 on Siesta Key, as well as part of State Road 72 (Stickney Point Road). (Read more »)

Baymont Inn redevelopment plans to move forward, thanks to City Commission action

Project designed to transform hotel into a Four Points by Sheraton property adjacent to Arlington Park neighborhood

Sarasota City Commissioner Jen Ahearn-Koch this week initially called for a public hearing on the proposed site plan and requested major conditional use for the remodeling of the Baymont Inn & Suites at 1425 S. Tamiami Trail. However, after hearing assurances about certain aspects of the project, she joined her colleagues on March 19 in unanimous approval of the petitions. (Read more »)

Results of analysis for potential beach renourishment on Manasota Key expected to be delivered to Sarasota County administrator in April

County commissioners continuing to explore potential of collaborating with Charlotte County on initiative

The president of a consulting firm that has been working with Charlotte County leaders on a beach renourishment project said this week that he expects to have a report finished by mid-April on an analysis for a potential project on Manasota Key in Sarasota County. (Read more »)

‘Bed tax’ revenue up almost $750,000 so far this fiscal year compared to same period in 2016

March and September 2017 especially strong months for collections, 2017 fiscal year report shows

Sarasota County’s Tourist Development Tax (TDT) collections increased 6.55% in the 2017 fiscal year compared to the 2016 fiscal year, and through January, they continue to beat the FY17 figures. In presenting the 2017 report for the TDT — or “bed tax” revenue — to the county’s Tourist Development Council (TDC) on March 15, Assistant Sarasota County Tax Collector Sherri Smith pointed out that collections for FY18 “are already up almost $750,000.” (Read more »)

New zoning regulations for Pinecraft win Sarasota County Commission approval

Bicycle rental businesses in residential areas and new setback requirements compatible with the nature of the community, board agrees

It happened so fast — with no comment from any member of the public — that Sarasota County Commissioner Alan Maio called it “almost anticlimactic.” After the second required public hearing, the County Commission voted unanimously on March 14 to approve the Pinecraft Neighborhood Overlay District for the Amish and Mennonite community just east of the city of Sarasota. The area is bound primarily by Bahia Vista Street and Beneva Road. (Read more »)

Sarasota School District special 1-mill tax wins renewal

Voter approval hit the 78.63% mark

Only one precinct in Sarasota County had a majority vote opposing the renewal of the Sarasota County School District’s special 1-mill tax on March 20, the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections has reported, based on unofficial results. That was Precinct 427 at Nokomis Beach Plaza, where 12 people voted “No” and nine voted “Yes.” (Read more »)

Commentary: It takes fortitude to live in the ‘war zones’ scattered around Siesta Key

Smaller homes continue to be demolished to make way for far bigger ones

I do not know about you and where you live, but I am positive my beautiful, well-established, upper middle-class neighborhood has turned into a war zone. Older houses (built in the 1970s) have been torn down to make way for mega structures that really belong on Casey Key or Malibu Beach. (Read more »)

Evening and weekend workshops on flood zones added to encourage more public participation

Goal is to educate people

Sarasota County has added evening and weekend flood zone workshops to its 2018 workshop schedule, it has announced. The sessions, which originally were scheduled just from 10:15 a.m. to noon on weekdays, are intended to educate residents, lenders and insurance and real estate agents about flood risk, zones, maps, regulations and mandatory insurance purchase requirements, a news release explains. (Read more »)

Active Mobility Weekend to be celebrated March 23-25

Events planned at Laurel Park and Payne Park, along with Tour de Parks on March 25, which will begin at the Venice Train Depot

Active Mobility Weekend — three days of free events, beginning March 23 — will celebrate the community’s commitment to an active lifestyle, Sarasota County has announced. (Read more »)

Sarasota County wins award for best drinking water

Region X of Florida Section of the American Water Works Association conducted the competition March 9

Sarasota County is the winner of this year’s Best Tasting Drinking Water contest, held by Region X of the Florida Section of the American Water Works Association (FS/AWWA), Sarasota County has announced. The competition was held earlier on March 9 “to promote water resources and the importance of safe, clean drinking water,” a county news release says. “Region X of FS/AWWA represents Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota counties, the release adds. (Read more »)

Orioles teaming up with charities to help feed the hungry in Sarasota County and West Africa

Fundraising event and All Faiths Food Drive set for March 24 at Ed Smith Stadium

The Baltimore Orioles will be teaming up this weekend with charitable organizations that have global and local operations that feed the hungry, the team has announced. Two events are planned for Saturday, March 24, at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. (Read more »)

Variety of tips offered by Sheriff’s Office to ensure a safe spring break season for residents and visitors

March and April the primary months for enhanced patrols in effort to try to prevent problems

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is enhancing crime prevention efforts and patrols in anticipation of spring break visitors coming to town and local students enjoying time off from school, the office announced this week. (Read more »)

Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix announces changes

‘Hotelplanner’ added to event name for this year; CBS Sports to broadcast hour-long program featuring July 1 races, after the fact

Organizers of the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix, which will mark its 34th year from June 23 to July 4, have announced three changes for the 2018 festival. First, the event has a new name, a news release says: Hotelplanner Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival. (Read more »)

Digital signage installed at Sarasota City Hall

Video monitors provide wide array of information

Digital signage has come to Sarasota City Hall, thanks to Carousel Digital Signage Solution, the City Auditor and Clerk’s Office has announced. Four large-screen video monitors have been installed in the main lobby of City Hall “to welcome visitors and provide a wealth of information” about the city, increasing accessibility to a wide range of city services “with the touch of a finger.” (Read more »)