Siesta Seen

Commission renews Siesta Key Farmers’ Market TUP and approves Beachside sign; county engineer clears up reader’s question about lake names; SKA discussion focuses on help for residents; non-conforming Village newsracks to be addressed by Code Enforcement; and Chamber awards nomination deadline extended

Rachel Brown Hackney
Rachel Brown Hackney

Two Siesta Key items on the Sarasota County Commission’s Dec. 9 agenda were handled promptly under the new “Presentation Upon Request” policy for public hearings. They were the continuation of the Temporary Use Permit (TUP) for the Siesta Key Farmers’ Market for another year; and approval of a license agreement with Holderness Enterprises LLC so it can erect a subdivision entryway sign within the public right of way on Columbus Boulevard.

With no members of the audience seeking to address either item, Chair Carolyn Mason quickly opened and closed each public hearing before the board’s unanimous votes.

Davidson Plaza is on Ocean Boulevard in Siesta Village. File photo
Davidson Plaza is on Ocean Boulevard in Siesta Village. File photo

Commissioner Christine Robinson was the only board member to comment on the requests. After making the motion to continue the Farmers’ Market TUP, she said, “Great job; glad to have it.”

After Robinson seconded Vice Chair Al Maio’s motion to approve the license agreement with Holderness Enterprises, she told her colleagues, “I like the No. 1 Beach [notice on the sign]. That’s a nice addition to that.”

That sign, which will say, “Welcome to Beachside Siesta Key,” includes an arrow pointing toward Beach Access 3. The bottom line reads, “Voted #1 Best Beach,” referring to the honor bestowed on Siesta Public Beach in 2011 by Dr. Stephen Leatherman of Florida International University, who is known as “Dr. Beach” for his annual list of the nation’s Top Ten Beaches.

Michael Holderness of Holderness Enterprises represents several resort owners located within the Siesta Key Beachside community, which is west of Ocean Boulevard at Beach Access No. 3, according to a Dec. 9 memo to the board. The county’s zoning ordinance allows entry signs for residential and non-residential subdivisions, the memo continues, and the County Commission may approve such a sign within a public right of way, “via a contract (License Agreement).”

This new sign will be going up for Beachside. Image courtesy Sarasota County
This new sign will be going up for Beachside. Image courtesy Sarasota County

Holderness had obtained the required liability insurance and submitted the necessary documentation to support his request, the memo explained. Additionally, it noted, “Mr. Holderness and the other resort owners in this area are working with [the county’s] Neighborhood Services [department] to submit an application for the Neighborhood Grant Program to install landscaping to enhance this area approaching Beach Access No. 3.”

As for the Siesta Farmers’ Market: A memo to the board pointed out that the original TUP was granted on July 23, 2008. On each subsequent vote, the decision was unanimous to keep it going.

That memo added that the Farmers’ Market has been operating in Davidson Plaza on Ocean Boulevard since 2009 and the county has received no complaints about it since its inception. The memo also noted, “[T]he community has continued to support this effort.”

The market was the brainchild, so to speak, of longtime Siesta resident Bryan Eible.

In a September 2014 email exchange with county Zoning Administrator Donna Thompson, which was included in the board packet, Eible and his wife, Kate, reported on the variety of vendors at the market. Among the items for sale were beach blankets, olive oil, pickles, Siesta jewelry, pottery, painted tiles, rum cakes, green tea and candles.

A question about names

After reading my Dec. 11 Siesta Seen, a former Siesta resident who lived on Ocean Boulevard for decades sent me an email, wondering why Sarasota County stormwater engineer Ben Quartermaine used different names than she was accustomed to for a couple of bodies of water on that end of the island.

The reader wrote that what Quartermaine called “Lake Banan” in recent appearances before the Siesta Key Village Association and the Siesta Key Association is Lake Nancy, and the body of water in the next block, closer to Siesta Village, is Lake Norma. “Always have been since the ’60s,” my reader pointed out. “They were named after the developer’s family members. And across the street was always Fiddler Crab Bayou as there were hundreds of fiddler crabs on the beach,” she added.

The 1952 plat for part of Siesta Key shows Lake Norma. Image courtesy Sarasota County
The 1952 plat for part of Siesta Key shows Lake Norma. Image courtesy Sarasota County
A second plat shows the Fiddler Bayou subdivision. Image courtesy Sarasota County
A second plat shows the Fiddler Bayou subdivision. Image courtesy Sarasota County

When I posed the question about the names to Quartermaine this week, he kindly provided a quick response: “The Fiddler Bayou name goes back to the original plat in 1947,” he wrote in a Dec. 14 email. Further, he continued, “Lake Banan is Lake Nancy in the 1952 plat; we’ve used the term Lake Banan as a reference for the residents, because they were becoming confused with what body of water we were talking about when referred to it as Lake Nancy.”

Quartermaine added, “All formal references (i.e., permit submittals, etc.) will call out the correct name ‘Lake Nancy.’”

My reader is very happy about the county’s drainage proposal, she noted. “The plan is great and better than previously when [county staff] wanted to put a sidewalk there. That ditch was my only line of defense from cars careening [off the road as a result of their drivers’ inebriation],” she pointed out. “This should help the flooding issue a lot (I hope).”

What the SKA does

(From left) Siesta Key Association board members Joyce Kouba, Michael Shay and Helen Clifford enjoy a laugh before a recent meeting. File photo
(From left) Siesta Key Association board members Joyce Kouba, Michael Shay and Helen Clifford enjoy a laugh before a recent meeting. File photo

During the Dec. 3 meeting of the Siesta Key Association, discussion arose about the numerous actions the organization takes to help residents resolve problems.

One audience member — who has declined to be identified in this space — spoke up and told the board members that while she did not intend her remarks as criticism, she wanted to say, “Most of our agendas seem to focus a lot on beach issues.”

President Michael Shay promptly told her, “These beach issues do affect us as Siesta Key residents … From that perspective, it is important for us to be involved.”

He pointed out, for example, that homeowners in the Sunset Royale condominium complex are not happy with the County Commission’s approval of new picnic shelters on the west end of the beach park, because they fear late-night noise from users of those facilities. That is a problem they have been enduring because of the existing wooden shelters, they pointed out during the commission’s Nov. 10 regular session.

The residents recently voiced their concerns during a meeting with commission Vice Chair Al Maio, who represents the island on the board, Shay continued. Shay was asked to attend that discussion, he added, and he did. However, “We’re not getting involved at this point because we haven’t been asked,” he told the Dec. 3 SKA audience.

“This is more of a quality of life issue,” he said. If those homeowners ask the SKA for help, Shay pointed out, the organization will do its best to assist them.

Those pesky newsracks

Susan Stahley. File photo
Susan Stahley. File photo

During the Dec. 1 Siesta Key Village Association (SKVA) meeting, Code Enforcement Officer Susan Stahley reported that she had opened 14 cases of non-compliance with the county’s newsrack regulations under the Siesta Key Overlay District (SKOD). Eight cases had been closed already, she said. Most of involve racks at Turtle Beach, she added; others pertain to newspaper boxes at Beach Accesses 4 and 7.

“There are supposed to be no independent ones” in Siesta Village, SKA President Michael Shay pointed out, but a few remain.

Stahley asked Shay to email her their locations in the Village.

Shay replied that, as the liaison between the SKVA and the Siesta Key Village Maintenance Corp., he would be walking through the Village the next day with representatives of Buccaneer Landscape Management of Pinellas County, which has a $130,000 contract with the county to handle the Village upkeep. He would make note of the box locations and notify her, he added.

“We should be addressing them,” SKVA board member Russell Matthes of the Daiquiri Deck restaurants said of the non-compliant newsracks.

In my research subsequent to that meeting, I learned that one SKOD stipulation says that if newspapers are in “condos,” those multi-box structures cannot be closer than 250 feet apart, unless they are situated side-by-side. Additionally, the code notes that if a modular newsrack is erected in a location, “operators of all other types of Newsracks within 500 feet shall remove them within 30 days, unless the Operator of the Newsrack can demonstrate to the Zoning Administrator that display space is not available in the Modular Newsrack.”

Chamber business awards deadline extended

On Dec. 14, the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce sent out an email blast alerting members that the deadline for nominations for its annual awards has been extended to 5 p.m. on Dec. 18.

Submissions must be mailed, emailed or faxed, the email pointed out.

The awards will be presented during the Chamber’s annual meeting on Jan. 22, 2016, at TPC Prestancia.

An earlier notice to members said, “We are looking for nominations in the following categories:

  • Large Business of the Year.
  • Small Business of the Year.
  • Business Person of the Year.
  • Shining Star.

It might be said that the Shining Star is one of the more coveted honors. An email from Chamber Chair Alana Tomasso noted of that award: “A primary reason visitors return to Siesta Key time and again is the friendly, competent and helpful service they receive from frontline tourism business representatives. Staff members who provide an exceptionally high level of service deserve recognition. The Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce chooses to honor one such recipient each year. SKCC members, or their customers or employees, may nominate a partner, staff member or volunteer who serves patrons of their business with a ‘Shining Star’ attitude.”

A person may download a nomination form by clicking here or picking one up in person by visiting the Chamber office in Davidson Plaza.

Anyone with questions regarding the awards may email