15 Mar 2019



SCAT privatization put on hold as County Commission agrees to in-depth workshop on variety of issues regarding public transit

After about two-and-a-half hours of staff presentations, public comments and their own discussion about options, the Sarasota County commissioners voted unanimously on March 12 to hold an in-depth workshop on how best to proceed with the handling of Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT).

County commissioners voice reservations about committing to funding for The Bay project on City of Sarasota waterfront

Sarasota County Commission Chair Charles Hines was blunter than his colleagues this week in conveying concerns about a nonprofit organization’s desire for the county to contribute to the potentially $100- to $150-million creation of new park and cultural and arts facilities on 53 bayfront acres the City of Sarasota owns.

750-square-foot homes to be allowed in multi-family zoning districts, with doubled density called an incentive to developers to create affordable housing projects

With Commissioner Alan Maio pointing out that it was the sixth action the Sarasota County Commission has taken to try to encourage development of more affordable housing units in the county, the board this week unanimously approved provisions for 750-square-foot homes. The formal amendment to the county’s Unified Development Code of land and zoning regulations will allow the half dwelling units to be constructed in districts where multi-family structures already are allowed.

CRA settlement with the City of Sarasota wins County Commission approval

One vote down; one to go. On March 12, with no comment, the Sarasota County Commission unanimously approved a four-part settlement with the City of Sarasota related to a nearly three-year-old dispute over the dissolution of the Downtown Sarasota Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) Trust Fund. The county expense will be about $2.63 million, according to a memo from County Administrator Jonathan Lewis.

Complaints about dogs on Siesta Key beach arise again

At least once a year, the issue arises. Most often it comes during a meeting of the Siesta Key Association (SKA). This time, it came up during a Feb. 19 session of the Siesta Key Condominium Council. Following a presentation by Sarasota County Administrator Jonathan Lewis and two county department leaders, an audience member who identified himself only as Rod explained that he had been coming to Siesta since 2006. Signage, reflecting county regulations, says, “No dogs on the beach,” Rod told Lewis. Yet, at Beach Access 2, around sunset, “There’ll be at least 20 dogs on leash …”

Terms of Holderness’ release on bond eased

Although no trial date has been set yet in a felony case pitting two Siesta Key residents against each other, the 12th Judicial Circuit Court has modified the terms of release for the defendant, The Sarasota News Leader has learned. On March 6, Michael Holderness appeared before Circuit Judge Stephen Walker as Holderness’ attorney, Varinia Van Ness of Sarasota, argued for the easing of Holderness’ terms of release, according to a court document.

Renovation of fields, installation of new irrigation system planned to begin this summer at Ed Smith Stadium

As the Baltimore Orioles continue their 2019 Spring Training season at Ed Smith Stadium, Sarasota County is preparing for a $2.3-million project to renovate the practice and primary playing surfaces, as well as install a new irrigation system, before the 2020 Spring Training season begins. With a unanimous vote of approval as part of its Feb. 26 Consent Agenda of routine business items, the County Commission approved three steps to make the improvements possible.

Siesta Seen

Out of the 63,426 incidents countywide last year to which Sarasota County Fire Department vehicles rolled, Siesta Key’s Fire Station No. 13 handled 1,520. That was just one of multiple statistics Fire Chief Michael Regnier provided members of the Siesta Key Condominium Council during their Feb. 19 meeting.

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OTHER NEWS (free):

A&E: ‘Liberty’ excels while melodrama of ‘Poetry’ proves a bit over the top for Sarasota Ballet

County libraries launching interlibrary loan program

Venice Bypass improvements between Center Road and Gulf Coast Boulevard to be focus of March 19 meeting

Sarasota and Bradenton to host Baseball World Cup for 16- to 18-year-olds in September 2021

Sarasota Memorial again earns highest rating from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for overall quality and safety

Sarasota Farmers Market attendance up 31% in five years, latest count shows

New wastewater pipeline being installed along Osprey Avenue north of 10th Street

Sarasota County earns 2019 supply chain award