20180309-9 Mar 2018

Project to improve walkability of Fruitville Road between U.S. 41 and U.S. 301 added to City of Sarasota priority list for state funding

City commissioners first protest staff making request without their having discussed potential design options

A staff request to add a potential “road diet” on Fruitville Road to the City of Sarasota’s priority list for transportation funding from the state and federal governments led to almost 30 minutes of discussion this week, with the City Commission ultimately agreeing to accept a “placeholder” project. (Read more »)

City of Sarasota has greater legal latitude to regulate street setbacks than sidewalk width, city attorney advises

City staff to present more information on the issue within 30 days of release of new proposed zoning regulations, which is expected March 9

Because of federal case law that has been incorporated into state regulations, the City of Sarasota will have more latitude in seeking greater setbacks for buildings than it will in imposing rules requiring wider sidewalks. That was the essence of a presentation City Attorney Robert Fournier provided to the City Commission on March 5. His research followed discussions during a special meeting on Feb. 22, when the board first addressed sidewalk and setback issues in terms of the new form-based code a consultant has been working to complete. (Read more »)

Final report on Sarasota County’s response to Irma to be delivered to County Commission March 14

‘After-action review’ has determined a number of areas needing improvement, including communications about evacuation zones and shelters

On March 14, almost exactly six months after Hurricane Irma struck Florida, county, school district and municipal leaders in Sarasota County will hear a final report about what went well, what did not and what procedures should be implemented to improve the community’s response to a major disaster. (Read more »)

John Ringling Boulevard Multi-Use Recreational Trail project to get underway this summer

City Commission formally approves funding for project from Coon Key Bridge to Washington Drive

With $838,823 in funding assistance from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), the City of Sarasota will begin construction this summer of the West Area Multi-Use Recreational Trail from Coon Key Bridge along John Ringling Boulevard to Washington Drive on St. Armands Key. (Read more »)

City of Sarasota working on proposal to use sand from New Pass in emergency project on Lido

City manager optimistic that initiative could be undertaken ‘as early as this fall’

City of Sarasota staff is at work on an application for a state permit that would enable it to add about 200,000 cubic yards of sand from New Pass to South Lido Key Beach, City Manager Tom Barwin has reported. The hope is that that project can get underway “as early as this fall,” he said, characterizing it as a “kind of emergency repair.” (Read more »)

Negotiations authorized for lease of 17th Street building to house City of Sarasota’s Central Records Division

Email exchanges among city staff debate who is responsible for putting item on March 5 agenda and negotiating the terms

The Office of the City of Sarasota Auditor and Clerk generated some email exchanges ahead of the March 5 City Commission meeting, when Auditor and Clerk Pam Nadalini’s proposal for leasing a new city records facility was on the agenda. Nonetheless, the proposal won unanimous City Commission support, with no comment. (Read more »)

New SKA president points to preventing dredging of Big Pass, preserving island zoning regulations and reducing traffic as key continuing issues for organization

Gene Kusekoski addresses members during March 3 annual breakfast meeting

About 150 Siesta Key Association (SKA) members and invited guests — perhaps the nonprofit’s largest attendance figure ever — welcomed a new president on March 3 and provided rounds of applause as he discussed major issues on which the SKA will continue working. (Read more »)

New Venice Library construction well underway, with completion still planned for fall

Next community workshops on the project set for May 1

“We’re moving swiftly along,” Sarabeth Kalajian, director of Sarasota County’s Libraries and Historical Resources Department, summed up progress on the William H. Jervey Jr. Venice Public Library last week. Her remarks came during a joint meeting of the County Commission and the Venice City Council, which was held in Venice on Feb. 28. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

Saba Sands II application for home near Beach Access 10 close to deactivation; Crystal Classic’s economic impact grows; SKA seeking new volunteers; Sheriff’s Office aviation unit aids in prowler’s arrest; Condo Council to sponsor hurricane awareness meeting; recent Beach Road fire a planned incident; Old Stickney Point Road parking petition leads to different sort of County Commission questions; Easter egg hunt registration open; new Siesta Chamber board members announced; and Chamber working on new website

The application for construction of a house seaward of homes on Beach Road, near Beach Access 10, is facing deactivation if the attorney for the developer does not respond to Sarasota County Environmental Permitting Division staff by March 16. That was the notice Weiqi Lin, a technical specialist in the Environmental Permitting Division, gave Sarasota attorney Robert Lincoln in a Feb. 27 letter, The Sarasota News Leader has learned. (Read more »)

Turtles but one reminder of need to share the planet

Some cultures extol the creatures, while some individuals extol the species’ charms

This past January, driving east on State Road 70, I stopped on the bridge over Horse Creek and looked down to find three cooters wearing “overcoats.” They were covered in duckweed, a tiny plant that floats in ditches and other still waterways. (Read more »)

Sarasota County Schools planning March 14 observance in response to gun violence

Event will begin at 10 a.m. and last 17 minutes

The Sarasota County School District is working with students and school administrators to plan an observance in conjunction with walkout events scheduled to take place nationwide on March 14, the district has announced. “This is in response to students, faculty, administrators and employees wanting to lend their voice to remember those who lost their lives” at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland and around the country as a result of gun violence, a news release says. (Read more »)

CONA calling for return to smart growth

Efforts to amend Sarasota County’s Comprehensive Plan and initiative to implement single-district County Commission elections to be focus of March 12 session

On March 12, the Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations (CONA) will present the president of Control Growth Now, Dan Lobeck, to discuss recent and proposed changes to the Sarasota County Comprehensive Plan, the nonprofit has announced. (Read more »)

Pickleball Slam registration to end March 9

Event to be conducted at Englewood and Sarasota locations

The Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department is accepting registrations for its seventh annual Pickleball Slam, which will be held from March 27 through March 29 at locations in Englewood and Sarasota, the county has announced. (Read more »)

FDOT to host March 15 open house and public hearing on proposed improvements on U.S. 41 from Blackburn Point Road to McIntosh Road

Session will begin at 5 p.m. at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish

District One staff of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will host a public meeting on Thursday, March 15, regarding proposed median and access management improvements to U.S. 41 from Blackburn Point Road to McIntosh Road in Sarasota County, the department has announced. (Read more »)

Four sporting events in Sarasota County to benefit from state grant assistance

Three are rowing competitions at Nathan Benderson Park

Four sporting events that will be conducted in Sarasota County this year will receive an extra boost from grant funding provided by the Florida Sports Foundation (FSF), Visit Sarasota County, the county’s tourism agency, has announced. (Read more »)

Sarasota County’s 2018 Neighborhood Initiative Grant program underway

Up to $10,000 in matching funds available for projects

For more than 15 years, Sarasota County has provided matching grant opportunities to help neighborhoods improve their leadership, character, safety, health or environment through the Neighborhood Initiative Grant Program, a county news release points out. (Read more »)