20181012-12 Oct 2018



With Commissioners Caragiulo, Detert and Hines in the majority, county ordinance banning sale and cultivation of recreational marijuana fails

Commissioners learn that their medical marijuana regulations violate federal law, though staff admitted to being unaware of that before speakers brought it up at the hearing

After learning from public speakers that the Sarasota County medical marijuana ordinance, dating to 2014, violates federal law in regard to certain of its provisions, and then debating whether they should even act on something that is not a pressing issue, the county commissioners voted against passage of a new ordinance that would ban the sale, cultivation and processing of recreational marijuana in the county. (Read more »)

County attorney asked to prepare draft of terms, by Oct. 24, for lease and eventual sale of county property to Mote for new aquarium

County commissioners discuss need for rezoning of land prior to sale and concern about completing some sort of agreement before a proposed Charter amendment could thwart Mote’s plans

With Sarasota attorney John Patterson representing Mote Marine Laboratory during an impromptu exchange on Oct. 9, the Sarasota County Commission authorized County Attorney Stephen DeMarsh to proceed with drafting a “term sheet” outlining facets of a deal designed ultimately to enable Mote to purchase the site of a new aquarium on county-owned land at Nathan Benderson Park. (Read more »)

County Commission calls for thorough staff analysis of ‘Northwest Quad’ near the Celery Fields, and surrounding area, before beginning rezoning

Workforce housing among options board members cite for potential uses of the 7 acres available

Sarasota County Commissioner Paul Caragiulo won the unanimous support of his fellow board members this week to direct staff to begin analyzing the potential rezoning of a county-owned parcel near the Celery Fields as part of the Fruitville Critical Area Plan (CAP). (Read more »)

Sarasota city staff pushes back start of Lemon Avenue Streetscape project until after Mother’s Day

Business owners had lamented prospect of more construction during tourist season

After the City Commission heard merchants’ pleas during its Oct. 1 meeting — and the Downtown Improvement District board (DID) addressed the same concerns the following day — City of Sarasota staff has decided that no road or sidewalk closures for the Lemon Avenue Streetscape Project will begin until after Mother’s Day (May 12) of 2019. (Read more »)

County staff asked for report by Oct. 23 on measures to better handle violations of short-term rental regulations

Commissioner Alan Maio suggests fines as a potential new enforcement tool

Given growing constituent consternation over illegal short-term rentals in neighborhoods with single-family homes, Sarasota County Commissioner Alan Maio has won approval of his fellow board members for county staff to provide a report within two weeks on measures that could ease the concerns. (Read more »)

Educating the public about how to reduce nitrogen in waterways a key to mitigating red tide blooms, former county commissioner says

Replacement of septic tanks and upgraded stormwater systems also would make big impact, Jon Thaxton tells Siesta Key Association members

Education is perhaps the biggest key to mitigating red tide blooms, former Sarasota County Commissioner Jon Thaxton told about 45 people at the Oct. 4 Siesta Key Association (SKA) meeting. “I think ignorance is probably our greatest enemy in this fight,” he said. (Read more»)

County Commission formally approves funding agreement with FDOT for work necessary to River Road project between U.S. 41 and I-75

Road swap still on schedule to be completed by end of calendar year

With a unanimous vote on Oct. 9, the Sarasota County Commission took another step forward in the process to achieve improvements of River Road that have been sought for decades. The board formally approved an agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) for project development and environmental re-evaluation (PD&E), right of way acquisition, and the design for the improvements to River Road between U.S. 41 and Interstate 75. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

County Commission candidates forum set for Oct. 31; Safe Treats planned on Halloween; Light Up Siesta Key coming after Thanksgiving; Crystal Classic’s music lineup announced; driver wreaks damage after losing control of car in Higel/Siesta Drive curve; look of new FPL pole criticized; and former Commissioner Thaxton offers SKA members glimpses into his childhood

The candidates for the District 4 seat on the County Commission this year — Democrat Wesley Anne Beggs of Sarasota and Republican Alan Maio of Nokomis, the incumbent — have been invited to appear during a forum scheduled at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 31, in the Community Room at the Gulf & Bay Club. (Read more »)

OPINION (free):

Cartoon of the Day

Commentary: Just call me everybody’s playmate

OTHER NEWS (free):

Venice couple begins 82-day adventure

State House and Senate candidates invited to appear at USF Sarasota-Manatee forum on Oct. 20

Players Centre sells downtown Sarasota property to limited liability company