County staff estimates the cost of 90 spaces at $100,000; private landowners would have to be willing to offer more spots to reach the 300 mark a Siesta architect’s research shows to be feasible
It would cost about $100,000 to create less than 100 new parking spaces in rights of way around Siesta Village, and the owners of property in the Public Improvement District (PID) would have to be willing to pick up the tab: That was the news Siesta Key Village Association (SKVA) Vice President Mark Smith of Smith Architects reported during the organization’s monthly meeting on Feb. 2.
The figure is an estimate for a feasibility study and the laying of decorative pavers in rights of way, he pointed out.
Last month, Smith told The Sarasota News Leader his research indicated about 90 spots could be carved out of right of way. Altogether, he said at that time, he had found enough space — including private property — to support 300 more spaces.
During a Jan. 5 interview with the News Leader, Smith explained that one of those privately held parking areas is a shell-covered lot next to The UPS Store on Beach Road. On Feb. 2, he told the SKVA members, “It’s really up to [that] property owner to apply for a special exception” from the county to enable the parking spaces in that lot to be used for the public.
Other areas in the Village that Smith examined in working on the parking plan also are owned by private individuals or groups, he noted in January, so it would be up to them, as well, to choose whether to allow extra public parking spaces.
Counting all legal parking spots within the Village and its immediate surroundings, including spaces in the Municipal Lot, 999 are available, a 2008 county study determined. That number has not changed, county staff confirmed for the News Leader in January.
During an interview after the Feb. 2 meeting, Smith said he first will talk with board members of the Siesta Key Village Maintenance Corp. (SKVMC) to gauge their interest in the plan, given its projected expense. However, he already is expecting a lot of pushback, he pointed out, regarding county staff’s indications that the county will not be willing to cover any of the cost.
In a Feb. 3 email to the News Leader, Lisa Cece, the special district coordinator in the county’s Transportation and Real Estate departments who oversees Village maintenance for the county, affirmed that the county’s regular assessment of the PID property owners does not provide for or fund any parking areas — new or existing ones. She made a similar comment during the SKVA meeting.
Smith told the News Leader he probably will call a meeting soon of the SKVMC board. After that discussion, he will talk with a contractor to get a better projection of the expense of putting down the pavers in the rights of way.
However, he pointed out, if the board members are not interested in paying for the extra parking, “it doesn’t matter how much it costs.”
The SKVMC board represents all the property owners in the Siesta Key Village Public Improvement District (PID). The PID was established in 2006 to fund ongoing maintenance of the Village after the county agreed to pay for the beautification of the area. The SKVMC board normally meets once a year, Smith told the News Leader.
In a July 2011 email regarding PID matters — a copy of which the News Leader has in its records — Smith noted that 60 individuals or groups owned the 92 parcels that made up the district at that time.
In response to a request after the Feb. 2 meeting, Cece provided the most recent graphic she has in her office that shows the PID parcels and the property owner count. That graphic has 50 parcel identification numbers, she pointed out, and one of those covers multiple units.
As for property owner pushback, Jim Syprett, who, with business partner Jay Lancer, owns a number of parcels on Ocean Boulevard, told the News Leader in a Feb. 3 telephone interview that he would offer a general statement about the matter: “I have always been extremely disappointed in the county’s support of the Village as compared to the [City of Sarasota’s] support of St. Armands Circle.”
For many years, Syprett added, the situations have been “like night and day.”
Syprett pointed out that the county’s property tax revenue from Siesta Village is significantly larger than the amount of money the county spends on services to the Village area on an annual basis.
In response to a News Leader request for information, Rana A. Moye, deputy tax collector for Sarasota County, undertook research that showed the original certified amount of ad valorem tax revenue to be collected for 2015 in the Siesta Key Public Improvement District is $154,954.92. She noted that differences in the actual money collected might be based on corrections to the tax roll and discounts, which could be as much as 4 percent.
Cece said in response to a News Leader question that the county provides emergency services, solid waste collections and stormwater services for Siesta Village, but she did not put an annual value on them.
Village business owners also have pointed out for years that the county receives a significant portion of its Tourist Development Tax revenue from the island. During the 2015 fiscal year, which ended on Sept. 30, 2015, Siesta accounted for almost 32 percent of the total collections: $6,076,806.75, according to the records of the Sarasota County Tax Collector’s Office.