20180525-25 May 2018


Office of the County Attorney directed to draft ordinance outlawing recreational marijuana in Sarasota County

Commissioners approve the action on 4-0 vote, with Chair Detert absent

On a unanimous vote this week, the Sarasota County Commission asked County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh to work with County Administrator Jonathan Lewis on a zoning text amendment “to prohibit recreational marijuana in Sarasota County,” as Commissioner Michael Moran put it in his motion. (Read more »)

SKA and SOSS2 seek FDEP agreement to eliminate two sand borrow areas proposed for Big Sarasota Pass

Brief filed this week responds to Florida administrative law judge’s recommended order in case involving project planned for Lido Key

The Siesta Key Association (SKA) and Save Our Siesta Sand 2 (SOSS2) are using the recommendation of a state administrative law judge as the basis to ask the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to eliminate two areas of Big Sarasota Pass as potential dredging sites for the renourishment of South Lido Key. (Read more »)

School Avenue to be closed through Sarasota High campus until 10 p.m. on school days

City Commission approves School Board request on 4-1 vote

After almost an hour of discussion and public comments, the Sarasota City Commission voted 4-1 on May 21 to approve a new interlocal agreement that will keep School Avenue closed to 10 p.m. through the Sarasota High School campus when school is in session. (Read more »)

Submission of hundreds of pages of materials into public hearing record leads to delay in votes on Grand Lakes project proposed for Sarasota County

County commissioners say they never before encountered a situation like the one that arose May 23

What portended to be a routine public hearing before the Sarasota County Commission ended on May 23 with board members agreeing they never before had encountered a situation like the one that arose that day. The commissioners ultimately voted to continue the hearing for the second time since March, and one suggested a change in board policy regarding the manner in which speakers at any public hearing enter documents into the record. (Read more »)

Road swap proposal wins formal County Commission approval, with letter going to FDOT

Deal expected to be finalized before end of September, with state taking over River Road and county getting roads on Siesta Key

Before the end of September, Sarasota County is expected to take ownership of Midnight Pass Road from the intersection of Stickney Point Road to the intersection of Higel Avenue; Siesta Drive west of U.S. 41; parts of Bay Road and Osprey Avenue, which are designated State Road 758 west of Bee Ridge Road; and the segment of Stickney Point Road west of the U.S. 41 intersection. (Read more »)

City Commission asks staff to schedule workshop on the future of the Van Wezel as bayfront planning continues

Commissioner Ahearn-Koch also points to more community interest in repurposing the former G.WIZ structure than the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization has heard

As planning proceeds toward the creation of a draft master plan for transforming Sarasota’s bayfront, the City Commission this week asked city staff to schedule a workshop on the future of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Commissioner Shelli Freeland Eddie made the request after A.G. Lafley, chair of the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization (SBPO), told the board members that his organization needs to know whether the city plans to “move ahead with a new performing arts facility for the community.” (Read more »)

Visit Sarasota County board upset over potential loss of funding for promotions to cover stadium repairs

Tourism office leaders also voice worries to advisory council about need to submit $750,000 bid in June for World Rowing Championships youth event at Benderson Park

Among its responsibilities, Sarasota County’s Tourist Development Council (TDC) each year reviews the proposed Visit Sarasota County budget and makes a recommendation to the County Commission on whether to approve it. Typically, Visit Sarasota County (VSC) President Virginia Haley and members of her staff offer details about marketing plans, for example, and special events scheduled for that next fiscal year. (Read more »)

2017 Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival had economic impact of $36.2 million on Sarasota County

Proceeds go to facilities and services for people of all ages with special needs

As Suncoast Charities for Childrenprepares for its 34thannual Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival this summer, Executive Director Lucy Nicandri has pointed to the $36.2-million economic impact of last year’s event on Sarasota County. Addressing members of the county’s Tourist Development Council (TDC) on May 17, Nicandri noted that research undertaken during and after the 2017 festival show that it was responsible for 18,500 room nights in accommodations. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

Siesta wastewater flowing to the mainland for treatment; SKA president learning a lot about crosswalks; drawbridges’ opening durations questioned; Village garbage volume underscores how busy season was; Village apparently is a sleepy place near dawn; a different type of ‘sex tape’ discussed; and the Siesta Chamber welcomes a new staffer

The target time for the Siesta Key Wastewater Treatment Plant to cease functioning in its original capacity and begin operating as a master pump station was early May, Sarasota County staff reported earlier in late winter. Dave Cash, the Water/Wastewater Division manager, explained to The Sarasota News Leader that one could not simply turn a switch. (Read more »)

OPINION (free):

Cartoon of the Day:






Editorial Redux: County Commission should use excess tourism taxes for asset development

In the decades following World War II, northern manufacturers were looking for locations in the south, where the weather was more moderate, property taxes were considerably lower, and average wages were a lot less than those paid to a mostly-union workforce in their current locations. Southern states reacted by establishing offices for economic development, which would work with companies contemplating a new plant location in the south. (Read more »)

OTHER NEWS (free):

City and county offices and facilities to close for Memorial Day, May 28

City of Sarasota to host Memorial Day parade on Monday, May 28

Road closures announced for Memorial Day Parade in downtown Sarasota

Booker High School teacher named winner of national Barnes & Noble competition

School district’s safety and emergency management director promoted to executive director

Recreational burning ban lifted countywide