20180914-14 Sep 2018



Fresh Start Initiative leaders plead for County Commission to undertake commonsense approach to future planning around Celery Fields, making use of connectivity and recreational opportunities

Commission Chair Nancy Detert rebuffs group for criticism of board and talks of future lengthy discussion with staff about ‘Quads’ parcels

More than nine months ago, the Sarasota County Commission invited a community group to suggest proposals for how two county-owned parcels near the Celery Fields could be used. The decision the board made on Nov. 28, 2017 followed an earlier months-long effort by community activists to protect those parcels from industrial development. (Read more »)

The Bay master plan wins unanimous City Commission approval, with project team authorized to begin work on first phase, in the southern portion of site

Vice Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch expresses dismay that project does not include former G.WIZ building in a new capacity

Through a series of votes, the Sarasota City Commission has given its approval to the overall master plan for a 53-acre bayfront park encompassing a new performing arts hall and plenty of public space — with access to come partly in the form of three pedestrian bridges over U.S. 41. (Read more »)

97% of county residents rate quality of life good or excellent in Citizen Opinion Survey

‘Population Growth/New Development’ remains top-ranked issue facing the county

Just as they did in 2017, 97% of the respondents to the 2018 Sarasota County Citizen Opinion Survey said their quality of life was good or excellent, according to research undertaken this summer by the Institute of Government at the University of South Florida, on the county’s behalf. (Read more »)

County Commission underscores support for Mote aquarium project at Benderson Park, including potential sale of 9 acres to the nonprofit

Board members voice concerns about how a proposed Charter amendment would hamper a property transaction

The Sarasota County Commission made it clear this week that it wants to sell or lease part of its land at Nathan Benderson Park to Mote Marine Laboratory, so the nonprofit can construct a $130-million aquarium on the site. (Read more »)

Mote red tide researcher tells Siesta Key Association members her theories about why current bloom has lingered and discusses potential remedies

Tracy Fanara also encourages use of Mote’s Beach Conditions Reporting System and citizens science program

As she addressed about 50 people during the Sept. 6 Siesta Key Association (SKA) meeting, Tracy Fanara, Mote Marine Laboratory’s Environmental Health Program manager, said she and other researchers were awaiting a clear satellite image to learn whether Tropical Storm Gordon had had any effect on breaking up the red tide bloom that has brought national attention to Southwest Florida. (Read more »)

County Commission asks staff to review fertilizer/landscape ordinance and to consider more strategies that can reduce nutrient runoff that fuels red tide blooms

After work has been completed, report will be presented to the board

As Sarasota County Commissioner Alan Maio pointed out this week, Sept. 11 marked the first time in his nearly four years on the board that the commissioners had engaged in extensive discussion on a topic raised by a person during the Open to the Public portion of a meeting. (Read more »)

County staff to prepare succinct educational card explaining proposed Sarasota County Charter amendments on Nov. 6 ballot

Commissioners ask staff to create the educational material to help citizens understand the purpose of the measures

Because of the number of proposed amendments to the Sarasota County Charter that will be on the Nov. 6 General Election ballot, the County Commission this week asked that staff prepare a succinct explanation of them for educational purposes. Commissioner Paul Caragiulo raised the issue during the board’s regular meeting on Sept. 11. (Read more »)

County’s tentative 2019 fiscal year budget approved unanimously on first reading

Final public hearings set for Sept. 27 in Venice

No member of the public appeared before them during the Sept. 12 public hearings, and no one offered any last-minute amendment. Therefore, the Sarasota County commissioners literally followed a script provided by staff as they worked toward unanimous votes that evening, approving the proposed millage rates and tentative budget for the 2019 fiscal year on the first reading. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

County seeking more funding to pay for last South Siesta Beach Renourishment Project; vacated North Beach Road segment length revised again; Mote scientist tells SKA members about a TV interview experience; drowning determined to be cause of death in May case; and Siesta homeowner pleads for county leniency on short-term rentals

Although it has been close to two-and-a-half years since Sarasota County completed the second renourishment of South Siesta Key Beach, the County Commission has authorized staff to apply for more state funds to help pay for facets of that project. (Read more »)


OPINION (free):

Cartoon of the Day

Commentary: The goal is to maintain a welcoming place

Commentary: Call it the agony of fandom


OTHER NEWS (free):

Small Business Administration offering disaster aid to small Florida businesses affected by red tide

Sheriff’s Office gets state grant to focus on pedestrian and bicycle safety in high-crash areas

Population up 2% year-over-year in city of Sarasota

Sheriff’s Office unveils drone it will be deploying