Two individuals reappointed to county’s Environmentally Sensitive Lands Oversight Committee and one person given second term on Board of Adjustments

County Commission approves staff recommendations as part of unanimous vote on Consent Agenda

Jono Miller addresses the County Commission in October 2015. File photo

In approving its April 22 Consent Agenda of routine business items, the Sarasota County Commission unanimously reappointed two people to its Environmentally Sensitive Lands Oversight Committee (ESLOC) and appointed a new person to its Building Code Board of Adjustments and Appeals.

With no discussion, Commissioner Nancy Detert made the motion to approve the Consent Agenda, and Commissioner Charles Hines seconded it.

For the ESLOC board, the commissioners had two seats to fill and two sitting members who wanted to keep them: Jono Miller and Tina Powell. Both submitted their applications in early February, a staff document showed, and those were the only applications for the positions, a staff memo said.

The ESLOC “makes recommendations and provides advice on land protection within the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program (ESLPP),” its county webpage explains. Member terms are for three years.

An at-large member of the ESLOC, Miller has been chair, the advisory board’s webpage shows. Miller is the retired director of the Environmental Studies Program at New College of Florida.

Powell, who is one of the environmental representatives on the ESLOC, is a North Port resident. She serves as the manager of Charlotte County’s Parks and Natural Resources Department, her application said. “I have 15+ years of local government experience in environmental land management and acquisition,” she wrote.

This box on the county website explains the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Acquisition Program. Image courtesy Sarasota County

Among her professional credentials, she listed her certification as a natural areas pesticide applicator and a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission gopher tortoise agent.

No application from Miller was included in the agenda packet. However, a July 27, 1997 bio for Miller on the county website says he is “an environmental educator, consultant, and columnist” who, as of that time, had served “in elected leadership positions with the local Sierra Club continuously since 1978 …”

Attendance records county staff provided the commission for the ESLOC, in advance of the April 22 meeting, showed Powell attended four of the six meetings in 2019 and was present for the only session thus far this year.

Miller had a perfect attendance record.

Board of Adjustments

A staff memo provided to the County Commission about the Building Code Board of Adjustments and Appeals appointment noted that the term of Orlando Priede of Englewood was due to expire in April, which would make two seats open. Although those vacancies were advertised on the county website, and staff “has continued to reach out to various construction industries,” Priede’s application was the only one received, the memo added.

The members of that board — which is non-advisory, the county’s website notes — “hear appeals of decisions and interpretations of the building official and consider variances from the technical codes (Sarasota County Code of Ordinances, Chapter 22); [and] grant variances to allow new construction, reconstruction and substantial improvements to be erected below the base flood level (Sarasota County Code of Ordinances, Chapter 54, Article XVI).” Those board members’ terms also are for three years, the webpage points out.

The seven members, the board’s webpage says, must “have knowledge of and experience in technical codes …” Among those qualified by their professional training to serve on the board are architects, civil engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, licensed contractors and building industry representatives, the webpage adds.

Each member is required to file a financial disclosure form.

Priede is director of quality assurance in construction management for Zilber Ltd. of Sarasota, he noted on his application. That firm, he explained, builds new single-family and multi-family dwelling units, as well as commercial buildings.

This is one of the homepage banners from the Zilber Ltd. website

He is a certified building contractor and an authorized trainer under U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines, he added. Further, he wrote that he has 26 years of construction management industry experience in Sarasota County.

The attendance chart for the Building Code Board of Adjustments and Appeals shows that it has met only four times since October 2016; the last occasion was in December 2018. Priede was present for both meetings after his initial appointment to the board, the chart shows.