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Editorial Letters – Week ending August 21, 2020

Longboat Key News encourages Letters to the Editor on timely issues. Please email to: letters@lbknews.com or mail to PO Box 8001, Longboat Key, FL 34228. We also print letters sent to Longboat Key Town Hall that address Longboat Key issues as well as Sarasota City Hall that address Sarasota issues. We reserve the right to edit.

Defund the House and Senate

To: Editor

One question, maybe you know from reading your last article. Is Mike Hutchinson a Republican funded by the Democrats or is this more propaganda?

I propose a new slogan —Defund the House and Senate

I believe the last time the House and Senate got together without politics involved to represent the people of the United States to solve problems was during the Eisenhower presidency.

The legislative branch or the Congress of the United States is to solve problems for the people. Not to go on leave during a pandemic and turn into a total political organization.

If irrational people suggest defunding or disbanding the police or not pay school teachers for not teaching; why can’t we suggest defunding the Congress?

You notice I am not picking sides. I just want to point out how useless a partnership company would be if both partners ran a company against each other.

What do you think? I am sure this thought is nothing new but the propaganda and political indoctrination we see over the last three years is astounding. Where is the upside to running a country like this?

Can we start this slogan to get people thinking about defunding Congress if they don’t achieve much and only enact legislation for their benefit?  Should we pay them to be out of town and disagree and run amuck giving all the benefits and the perks they receive.

For example, some of their perks:

Children of congress members and their staffers do not have to pay back their college student loans.

They politicize extreme propaganda.

Members of congress can retire at full pay only after one term.

Congress members can exempt themselves from laws they impose on us.

If we don’t work, we don’t get paid.! If they don’t work their pay continues with the perks.

They exempt themselves from the healthcare they impose on us, but they get the gold standard policy and we pay for it.

They rob the Social Security fund and we the people have to invest in our own private plans where they get their pensions totally funded.

Why are all legislators’ multiple millionaires?

They always ride first class and only they can approve their pay raises.

There are so many other perks I could indicate, but you get my point.

How can you get the 28th amendment to the United States Constitution publicized?

Defund the House and Senate/ The People matter!

Barry A. Popkin

Sarasota

 

Celebrate the ‘Greatest Generation’

To: Editor

Excuse me…but have you all gone “nuts?” Who would want to take down a statue that celebrates the end of the war?  You do realize the price that was paid in blood, sweat, tears and human loss. This was not meant to be a classic piece of art by a famous sculptor…it was made to show the joy and excitement at the end of a horrific time for our country.  Let’s celebrate the Greatest Generation, and the men and women who sacrificed their lives that we might have the freedom to argue this question. Do you not see the insanity of this? Think long and hard before you destroy a symbol of hope and American spirit.

Carol Brush

Sarasota

 

Regarding Dean Congbalay letter

To: Editor

I am sorry you lost two friends, but I think that they were actually rather smart to leave you. The point is that being a fan of Tucker Carlson indicates a certain mind-set which is anathema to people who believe in the truth, American values, love of country, and reasonable argument.  I am not alone in despising Carlson as you can see by this story:

In June 2020, Carlson’s on-air criticisms of the Black Lives Matter movement led corporations such as The Walt Disney Company, T-Mobile, Papa John’s, and Poshmark to pull advertising from his program. In July 2020, after combat veteran Senator Tammy Duckworth called for a “national dialogue” about the removal of monuments to founding fathers such as George Washington who owned slaves, Carlson referred to her as a “coward”, and “moron” for not joining his show without first receiving a public apology. Carlson’s comment that “she was once injured while serving in the Illinois National Guard” was critcized, and he was accused of trivializing her military service; Duckworth in fact lost both her legs while serving in Iraq. A data firm estimated that nearly 38% of Carlson’s 2020 advertising revenue had come from MyPillow at half-year. Carlson remained the most-watched cable news host, garnering 680,000 viewers among audience members 25-54. These advertisers had not entirely pulled away from Fox News, according to the television network, but only from Carlson’s show.

Stephen Cooper

Longboat Key

 

The Villages (the truth)

To: Editor

Your article is the definition of political propaganda.  Which means it is meaningless garbage. Let’s look at where you have misused the data to try and paint The Villages as the root of all evil for COVID-19.  You state “Last week, overall cases rose to 7,936 in the tri-county area, where The Villages are located – an increase of 300 from Thursday to Friday.”  What you do not mention is that 240 of the 300 cases were in Ocala.  Yes, I have been paying attention to the numbers in the Press. And No, The Villages is not part of Ocala.

As of 9 Aug., Marion County has 6,511 cases of which Ocala has 5,165. The Villages in Marion county has less that 5.  Lake County has 5161 cases of which Clermont has 1350 followed by Tavares (612), Eustis (434), Groveland (368) and Mount Dora (346).  The Villages in Lake County has less than 100.  Now let’s look at Sumter County where the largest community is The Villages proper.  Sumter has 1,303 cases of which The Villages has about 400.  I say ‘about’ because villages-news.com is no longer breaking down the count between the 3 counties.  Last count for The Villages proper is 456 which includes parts of Marion and Lake.

So why are you pointing the finger at The Villages and not Ocala and Clermont?  Could it be that there is no political reward for pointing out that Ocala (pop. 61,000) counts towards 79% of Marion counties cases?  Whereas The Villages counts towards 6% of the cases between Marion, Lake and Sumter counties.  So where is the article about the skyrocketing cases in Ocala?  Ocala also accounts for 40% of the tri-county total.  A far cry larger than The Villages.

My numbers come from villages-news.com, an independent news organization that often criticizes The Villages.

True news is where a news organization reports just the news and lets the people decide.  True news doesn’t skew the numbers to make their political party look better than the other.  Where is the true news in this country?  It sure doesn’t exist at Longboat Key News. Nor does it exist at Fox News, CNN, MSNBC or any other network news organization.  This country is starving for real news.  But all we get is propaganda.

John Schlotter

Resident of The Villages

 

Why not open beach parking?

To: Longboat Key Commission

Why are the parking lots closed to the beaches? The restaurants, shops, schools, etc. etc. are open. It’s about time to open the lots!

Lisa Smith

Bradenton

 

Why are the lots closed when everything else is open?

To: Longboat Key Commission

Please have the town manager contact me. That is an illogical reason without a doubt! I don’t think most tax paying residents of Sarasota and Manatee county realize that those lots are still closed.

Lisa Smith

Bradenton

 

Why are the lots closed when everything else is open?

To: Lisa Smith

Thank you for your inquiry. As long as the Covid numbers remain so elevated, and given the high percent of residents over age 65, the Town manager has determined that the prudent and caring  course of action for the time being is to close beach parking.

Sherri Dominick

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Why are the lots closed when everything else is open?

To: Lisa Smith

Mrs. Smith – the first responsibility of elected officials is the health, welfare and safety of our citizens. My highest priority is those Longboat Key citizens who communicate regularly they are appreciative we have been aggressive in keeping Covid cases off Longboat Key.  Manatee and Sarasota have large public beaches. Our parking is quite small and social distancing is  an issue. Unlike those beaches we do not have lifeguards or others to insure safety of residents from those who do not adhere to Covid guidelines.

Our population is majority over 70 years of age, highly vulnerable to Covid.  Our citizens are fortunate that the beach is walking distance from most homes so parking is not an issue.  I encourage you to find a beach location close to your home here on LBK. I am enjoying the one-mile walk from my home to the beach and it is keeping me healthier.

BJ Bishop

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Tropical storm updates

To: Longboat Key Commission

As we enter the peak of the hurricane season, the Town continues to monitor the activity in the tropics. The most immediate threat to our area is Tropical Depression 13.  It is still too early to have an accurate forecast and the models have some uncertainty and variation on track and intensity over the next few days.  But, there is a potential for the storm to head into the Gulf and impact the west coast of Florida early next week.  The latest update is included below.

The departments are taking early precautions and we will be carefully monitoring the current track of this storm.  There is a potential for wind and rain events in our area over the next week associated with several of the tropical fronts.

As we are entering the peak of hurricane season, the Town is also setting up a sand station at 100 Broadway St. this afternoon for Longboat Key residents and businesses. This will allow residents and businesses to proactively prepare for potential storms this season.  It is a self-filling sand station and the sand will be available for them to access for their own sandbags.  As we have in the past, we will also publish information on when Town staff will be available on site with shovels and sandbags (up to 10 per household and business) for their use.

It is important for our residents to continue to monitor the weather and any updates from the Town and the local emergency management officials.  We will provide updates as necessary on Tropical Storm 13 as the track and forecast develops.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Draft Village Resident-Only Parking Ordinance

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

As discussed, we’ve received requests from interested members of the public to view the draft ordinance language, that would provide the requirements for a potential Village area Resident-Only Parking Permit program (RPP), once it’s been developed.  The attached draft has been put together for the Commission’s consideration at their Sept. 29th Regular Workshop meeting.

Highlights of the draft proposed ordinance include:

It defines the area where the RPP would be applicable (Longbeach Village neighborhood only), with the exception of on-street, open-to-the-public parking adjacent to the two restaurants.

It provides the opportunity for residents of the Longbeach Village neighborhood to purchase 3 different types of permits: 1) One resident parking permit (affixed to a resident’s vehicle); 2) One guest parking permit (a reusable permit available for a resident to provide their guests throughout a program year); and 3) a temporary parking permit (as currently drafted, unlimited in number or number of times per year), valid for 1-day, that a resident can purchase for special private events (e.g. birthday party, etc.).

It establishes a program year, that resident and guest parking permits are valid for, of Jan 1-Dec. 31 each year.

It provides exceptions for: government and utility vehicles; persons performing work at residents’ properties that have identifiable vehicles; persons performing construction work; and authority for the Town Manager to suspend resident-only limitations for special events or circumstances.

It maintains all existing parking requirements such as no overnight parking, intersection setbacks, no parking locations, etc. And it doesn’t guarantee or reserve parking spaces to any holder of a permit. I will be sharing with members of the public this afternoon.

Allen Parsons

Director Planning, Zoning & Building Department

Town of Longboat Key

 

Village Resident Permit Parking

To: Longboat Key Commission

The PZB staff has completed their draft of the Resident Permit Parking Ordinance in preparation of the September 29th Commission Workshop.  See attached.

This item is scheduled to be heard in workshop session on September 29th and based on Commission direction at the workshop will be scheduled for 1st Reading and then final public hearing at two subsequent regular meetings.

The Town has received several requests for advance copies of the Draft ordinance from residents.  As requested, the staff is distributing this early release of the document in advance of the workshop agenda packet.

If an individual commissioner has any questions regarding the draft ordinance, feel free to let me know during our regular one on one briefings and I can help make sure the staff is prepared to address those questions at the workshop.

As you may receive input from residents in advance of the meeting, especially with the early release of the draft, I would offer a friendly reminder of the Town Attorney’s previous correspondence and advice on issuing a position paper in advance of the public meeting.  Her previous communication is attached.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Emergency mask ordinance extension

To: Longboat Key Commission

Commissioners,  FYI.  An emergency meeting has been scheduled for August 31st at 1 p.m.  It will be in a virtual format. The Emergency Mask Ordinance will be back on the agenda for the Commission’s consideration.  It is set to expire on August 31st and the Town Attorney is preparing an update that would extend the Ordinance for an additional 60 days. We will finalize the agenda and publish the Ordinance and virtual meeting instructions as required.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Red tag the Mar Vista construction

To: Longboat Key Planning and Zoning Director Allen Parsons

Allen, since Mr. Chiles does not appear to be interested in obeying our municipal codes and ordinances, when it comes to using the property on GMD illegally for a parking lot on C2 zoned land, and because many residents are tired of incessant abuses by various commercial interests, I am requesting that the town “Red Tag” the Mar Vista construction site and revoke the development permit for that property, as the town has done elsewhere, until the violations are remedied.

That the construction site gates remain open, after the town has requested their closure, would seem to indicate a lack of communication between the town and Mr. Chiles. Simply closing the gates would easily solve the illegal parking problem. Why hasn’t this happened?

I am aware of numerous other instances of the town closing construction sites for a single code violation, the Preserve being one. I see no reason to not apply our laws equally to all villations, especially when there have been repeated instances of the same violation, as is the case with the Mar Vista development site.

Please inform me of what actions the town takes in the next few days to remedy the situation at the Mar Vista site. The violations have been allowed to continue for several months now.

I am requesting that our codes and ordinances be enforced, and enforced now. Or show cause why the town is not protecting the best interests of taxpayers.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Flooding on Broadway

To: Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier

My name is Matthew Schroeder and my wife and I own a condo at Sea Pines on the north end of Longboat Key since 2003. She began coming to Longboat Key in 1973 and myself in 1981 while we were dating in college. Hopefully that gives you a sense of how special Longboat Key is to us.

I’m also a member of the Sea Pines Condominium Association Board and also serve as Treasurer. I know you and the entire Town Commissioners and Staff are focused on hardening our infrastructure in response to climate change and its associated effects, including flooding.

Attached are photos of flooding on Broadway in front of Sea Pines that resulted from the multi day rainstorm we just experienced. As you know, the rainstorm was primarily caused by the recent tropical depression/storm centered over New Orleans approximately 900 miles away. One wonders what the impact might be if the storm was stronger and closer to Longboat Key.

One of the photos is of a storm drain that was overwhelmed by the flooding. I’m asking if the Town can add this drain and its related piping and pumping to the list of locations the town is improving/hardening etc., to increase our resiliency to flooding.

More broadly, we would also welcome any assistance the Town can provide regarding what we can do as an Association to help increase resiliency.

Matt Schroeder

Longboat Key

 

Flooding on Broadway

To: Matt Schroeder

I drove the north end on Saturday and saw the flooding in a number of areas, including yours.  We have installed Wastop valves recently in the Village and Sleepy Lagoon and are looking at whether these measures or others can be used to help mitigate these issues on Gulf of Mexico Drive and west.  I have forwarded your note and photos to Town Manager Tom Harmer and Public Works Director Isaac Brownman who are working on this problem.

We are also working on a comprehensive plan to address sea level rise throughout the Town. This is a high priority and one whose progress we will share with everyone.

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Flooding on Broadway

To: Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier

You may recall the flooding issues on Broadway we discussed.

Our Association was informed by LBK Public Works that the drain in front of our Association is in fact blocked. They also told us the drain is on Sea Pines property and it is our responsibility to fix it.

We agree the drain is on Sea Pines property. The issue is the drain has lost much of its effectiveness because the drain pipe ends in the sand frontage between our Association and the Gulf. The drain only clears as fast as the sand absorbs it.

When the drain was first installed decades ago, the pipe ended in the Gulf. Over the years, about 300 feet of sand frontage accumulated between us and the Gulf.  We have cleaned out the drain box and pipe before but cleaning only provides a slight and temporary benefit because the length of the drainpipe is relatively short.

We believe Longbeach may have the same issue but have not formally confirmed.

It would seem connecting our drain pipe to the Town is the best solution. In a big rainstorm or coastal flooding, it could take a long time for the sand to absorb the water. In an emergency situation, the delay could be critical. How best to proceed?

Matt Schroeder

Longboat Key

 

Flooding on Broadway

To: Matt Schroeder

I do remember our earlier conversation about this, and it’s good to be addressing it while we’re not in mid-downpour.  I have to say this is one of the few issues we have seen where increased sand on the beach may have negative consequences.

As you see, I have forwarded your note to Tom and Isaac to see what remedies may be available.  It occurs to me first that the Town system you refer to handles wastewater island-wide from within the home and not storm water run-off, which is addressed more locally as a function of the affected property’s proximity to a receiving body of water, but I will let Public Works give you and me a more complete answer.

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Flooding on Broadway

To: Matt Schroeder

Thank you for reaching out. The best approach would be to hire an engineer with experience in stormwater system design and permitting to review your current system and intended gulf side discharge, and see if it makes sense to improve/enhance the existing discharge point, or redirect the runoff to a different location, for example, to the Town system.  To tie into the Town’s stormwater system, your engineer would need to review both your current stormwater system to determine how much and at what rate storm runoff comes out of the system and then also analyze the Town connection point and downstream network to see if the Town system has any capacity to receive the runoff without creating adverse impacts downstream (and whether or not the downstream system would require additional improvements to accept the runoff).

As an alternative, your engineer may look at your current outfall to the gulf and suggest leaving that in place if there is a way to modify the gulf side opening to allow the continued use of the gulf outfall with a different structure and/or endpoint configuration to minimize the blockages.  The challenge with that is today’s regulatory environment related to gulf discharges and what modifications may be allowed by the state permitting agency.  A good engineer with experience in both stormwater design and gulf side permitting should be able to answer those questions, or at least know whom/what group to speak to with the state to get the answer to those questions.   

Those are my next step suggestions, primarily to meet with an engineer initially onsite to have a look at your system and discuss options from there.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you.

Isaac Brownman

Director Public Works

Town of Longboat Key

 

Please eliminate mask ordinance

To: Longboat Key Commissioner BJ Bishop

Please end the mask mandate.

This is hurting businesses. I, for one, avoid going into businesses and restaurants where I have to put on a mask. So I avoid those places or buy from Amazon or online. There must be many others who feel as I do. We are all adults. It is time to let people make their own decisions about whether and the when of masks. Thank you very much for reading my message.

Diane Mason

Longboat Key

 

Please eliminate mask ordinance

To: Diane Mason

I have read your message.

BJ Bishop

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Please eliminate mask ordinance

To: Diane Mason

Thanks for your note.  While I understand your point of view, the overwhelming majority of LBK residents have supported the mask ordinance.  It has increased compliance at Publix and other venues to almost 100%, resulted in few if any confrontations and, we strongly believe, contributed to LBK’s extremely low infection experience.  I expect the ordinance will be renewed for another 60 days at our special meeting on August 31, but I hope conditions allow its safe removal in the near future.

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Masks

To: Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer. Since the Publix mask thing is Publix policy, could that not continue alongside LBK relaxing the rest of it? Just thoughts.

In my opinion do think that the low incidence is due to distancing, which certainly could continue for while, I agree.

Anyway, just thoughts. I am glad to hear that the Commission has the aim to remove the policy in the nearest possible future. We need to get back to some sort of normal life.

Diane Mason

Longboat Key

 

Masks

To: Diane Mason

Although Publix has required all employees to wear masks, it was unwilling to impose a mask rule for customers. As a result, compliance by customers was much lower than it is now.  The company was happy for us put the ordinance in place, as it took the onus off them; however, they are fully cooperating by offering masks to customers who enter without.

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Thank you for protecting residents

To: Longboat Key Commission

I congratulate the commission on effectively protecting Longboat residents. We feel safe. Thanks.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Thank you for protecting residents

To: Gene Jaleski

Thanks, Gene. We’ve been lucky to have responsible neighbors–no cases on the island for more than two weeks.

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Extend mask ordinance

To: Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier

Thank you for your efforts to keep Longboat Key safe by leading the commission to issue the mandatory face mask ordinance.  Please extend as necessary.

Lynn and Bill Cook

Longboat Key

 

Extend mask ordinance

To: Lynn and Bill Cook

Thanks.  It’s worked out well and I’m sure will be extended on August 31.

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Rescind mask order

To: Longboat Key Commission

It has come to my attention that the mandatory mask order for Longboat Key will be expiring at the end of August.  I sincerely hope you will not renew it. Not only is it an inconvenience, it is actually unhealthy for healthy people to wear one. Those who are elderly or with co morbidities can choose to stay home or socially distance. Also, the beaches should be re-opened. One of the least dangerous places people can be is outdoors in the fresh air. Let’s use some common sense! Thank you!

Sally Rauch

Longboat Key

 

Rescind mask order

To: Sally Rauch

Sally:  1. The town mask ordinance has had near unanimous approval by Longboat Key residents and has resulted in almost 100% compliance in Publix and other local outlets while resulting in no reported confrontations.  Infection rates on the island continue to be among the lowest in the State.  2. Our beaches have never been closed.  Beach parking has been restricted to prevent off-island crowds from endangering resident beachgoers.  I think the common sense is all on our side.

Ken Schneier

Mayor

Town of Longboat Key

 

Extend mask ordinance

To: Longboat Key Commission

Wearing a mask to limit the spread of COVID-19 is mandated in many states.  Please extend our local mandate to protect our health.

Karen Fors

Longboat Key

 

City roundabout updates

To: Longboat Key Commission

Yesterday, the Mayor and I participated in a call with the FDOT District Secretary and the Mayor and Deputy City Manager from the City of Sarasota.  The FDOT provided an update on the plans for the Gulfstream and US 41 Roundabout.

We were advised that the State went through a process to review potential modifications to the ultimate roundabout design based on the alternative concept developed for Maintenance of Traffic (MOT) during the construction phase.

Ultimately, they determined that the two designs- the roundabout and the alternate MOT concept version- were similar in performance at 2040 (their benchmark).  They said they then did an additional analysis of a life cycle review that indicates the roundabout performs better than the alternative.  Based on their review they advised the City and the Town that no change in design for the roundabout is warranted.

They did notify us that they are moving forward with the “Alternate MOT” concept during the construction phase.  They stated that plan reduces the construction contract from 550 days to 450 days and also provides for less disruption and better flow and capacity during the construction phase.  They also advised that the contract that will be awarded will include incentives for faster construction and disincentives for any delays in construction.  As you are aware, the alternative MOT design was previously reviewed by the Town and believed to be a significant improvement to the original construction plans.

We also discussed an elevated pedestrian crossover during the construction phase.  This is an issue the Town has advocated for as helpful during the construction phase to help keep traffic moving, enhance pedestrian safety, and also a good opportunity to pilot the concept for future consideration of permanent crossovers.  The City has been supportive of FDOT’s efforts as well. The FDOT indicated that they have included one in their plans but that it will be dependent on support from the Ritz to accommodate ramping necessary to meet ADA requirements.  They are meeting with the Ritz this afternoon to present the concept.

The State indicated that they are now moving forward with the overall project and provided the following general schedule:

October 6, 2020                              Advertise for contract

November 11, 2020                        Award Contract

Mid January 2021                           Pre-phase construction

April 2021  (Post Season)               Initial Traffic Shifts

We did request that the FDOT come before the Town Commission to publicly explain the MOT plan and how the ultimate roundabout would operate.  They have agreed to do that this coming season before the construction phase impacts are started.

The City is working with FDOT on a FACT Sheet for the project that they will share with the Town. Please feel free to contact me if you have any question regarding the status of their project.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

City roundabout updates

To: Longboat Key Town Manager Tom Harmer

Thanks for the update, Tom. With respect to the potential elevated pedestrian walkway you referenced; as we have discussed many times, I feel strongly that they represent one of the most significant recommendations included in the BITS recommendations; which will enhance pedestrian safety in Sarasota while mitigating automobile traffic congestion to and from Longboat Key through the US 41 corridor . We need to continue our support of the efforts of FDOT and Sarasota, including with respect to the Ritz, if necessary. Please continue to timely report on this important matter.

Mike Haycock

Vice Mayor

Town of Longboat Key

 

Planning Department Update

To: Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin

Here is the latest update:

-Arlington Park- Held conference call with Marlon and the Mayor to discuss the requests from the Arlington Park Community.  Those items will be discussed on Monday at the CC Meeting.  Bigger picture issues, as they relate to public input, will also be discussed.

-Boulevard of the Arts Roundabout- City staff held a Zoom Meeting with FDOT and Kimley Horn to review the latest roundabout concept at the intersection of 41 and BOTA.  The meeting went well, and FDOT will review and get back to us.

-CCNA- We are looking to give CCNA a presentation on affordable housing on 10/3.

-Curbside Program-  Staff discussed locations for pilot runs, and will be finalizing the list in the near future.

-DS/Planning Coordination- Had good kickoff meeting with Lucia on how Planning & DS are going to work together.  We have Briana’s transition schedule worked out as well.

-Gulfstream Roundabout/Alternative Design- We received word from FDOT that they will continue to move forward with the roundabout design.

-Legacy Trail/Sarasota Ford- Staff met to review all issues on the site.  We’ll be getting with Parks to get their feedback, and then we have a meeting with you on 8/24.

-Newtown Food Truck Park Concept- Staff held a WebEx Meeting to discuss how to implement this, and it went very well.  EconDev will be submitting a package for review by DS.

-One Stop Shop Submittals- The 4 finalists were interviewed this morning, and, subject to review and verification, the panel recommendation was the Willis Smith/Hoyt Architects Team.

-Plan Reviews- We continue to review plans and the DRC Meetings are going well.

-Planning Board- The PB will meet next on 8/27.

-Planning Staff- Briana Dobbs moved permanently to DS on Wed, so Planning is now down 2 permanent full-time positions, dropping from 11 to 9.

-Public Art Committee- The PAC recommended to move “Unconditional Surrender” to the Shriner’s Site on Beneva.  I will be giving a presentation to the PREP Board on 8/20 to update them on its status, and to request a recommendation from them before we go to the CC in September.

-The Bay- Staff discussed the ZTAs submitted by the applicant, and had a follow-up meeting today with the City Attorney.  Bob F will be presenting them at the CC Meeting on 8/17.

-Water Taxi Report- We reviewed final draft, and will be finalizing it over the next month or two.

-Zoning Code- Reviewed Articles 4-6  after reviewing 1-3 last week.  Hope to finish next week and then consolidate comments for staff review.

-Zoning Text Amendments- Most of our ZTAs are ready to go to the DRC, PB and CC. Staff has done some great work on these 16 significant Zoning Text Amendments that include the following: Affordable Housing; Accessory Dwelling Units; Administrative Height Adjustments; Food Trucks; Definition of Hotel (to deal with the hotel house situation); the definitions of night clubs, micro-breweries, bars, taprooms, etc.; Open Air Market Bazaars; a complete rewrite and updating of our parking regulations; photometrics (lighting brightness and direction); water taxi station setbacks; Gateway Overlay (301/Fruitville corridors); uses allowed in ILW (Limelight District); Missing Middle Housing (Park East); TDR; and two significant efforts to reformat the structure and update definitions of the Zoning Code.

Project Update

-Accessory Dwelling Units ZTA to allow ADU’s in certain areas of the city and the regulations that go with them.  This will go to the PB on 9/9 .

-Arlington Commons (2750 Bahia Vista Street) Comprehensive Plan Amendment, Rezoning and Site Plan for a 233 unit multi-family building with 15% affordable units and refurbishing the existing parking garage. This is on hold pending CC’s action on 19-ZTA-07.

-Attainable Housing ZTAs to create two new zoning districts (RMF-6 and RMF-7), change parking requirements for attainable housing, and allow cottage courts in multi-family zoning districts. This is expected to go to the CC on 10/5.

-Bayou Office Building (1751 Mound Street) Rezoning for an existing 3 story office building from CRT to DTE was approved by the PB on 2/12 and plans to go to the CC this fall.

-Circle K (Dog Track Site, 5400 Old Bradenton Road) Site Plan request for a motor vehicle fuel station with 4,351sf of retail, self-service car wash and 7 fuel pumps.  This will go to the PB on 8/27.

-Citadel LLC (2040 6th Street) Site Plan and Minor Conditional Use to locate a Suncoast News Network (SNN) Office on the property.  This is projected to go to the PB on 9/9.

-En Pointe (509 Golden Gate Pointe) Site Plan to build a 5 story multi-family building with 4 units.  This is projected to go to the PB on 9/9.

-Executive House (1000 N Lockwood Ridge Road) for a rezoning from RMF-3 to RMF-5.  This will go to the PB on 8/27.

-Harvest Tabernacle (3650 17th Street) Site Plan and Conditional Use to construct an 11,000 sf recreation building- This is expected to go to the PB in the fall.

-Misc ZTAs including revisions to the ILW zone, open air market/bazaars, administrative height adjustments for rooftop appurtenances, photometrics and minor RROD edits.  These are expected to go to the PB on 10/14.

-New College Campus Master Plan Update will go to the PB on 8/27.

-Newtown CRA Plan Update is projected to go to the PB on 9/9.

-Parking ZTA to modify and update the parking requirements will go to the CC on 8/17.

-Primary Street Grid Map Comprehensive Plan change to have it removed from the Comp Plan and inserted into the Zoning Code. This was approved by the PB on 2/12. This is planned to go to the CC on 10/19.

-Quay Sarasota Blocks 4 and 5 (333 N. Tamiami Trail) Site Plan and Administrative Adjustment for an 18 story multi-family building with 150 units.  This is projected to go to the PB on 9/9.

-Raffurty’s (1888 Main Street) Site Plan and Major Conditional Use for a night club. This will go to the PB on 8/27.

-Ringling College Overlay District Zoning Text Amendment to expand the Ringling College Overlay District by 8.58 acres.  This is projected to go to the PB this fall.

-Seeds Avenue Vacation (between 10th and Margaret Streets)- This was approved by the PB on 3/11 and the CC on 7/6.  The 2nd reading at CC is TBD.

-711 S. Osprey Rezoning request for a 0.86 acre property from CND to DTE, and it was approved by the PB on 2/12, approved by the CC on 7/6 and going for 2nd reading at the CC on 10/19.

-Selby Gardens (926 S Palm Ave) Rezoning, Comprehensive Plan Amendment and Zoning Text Amendment- This was denied by the CC on 11/5. The new submittal is expected to go before the PB this fall.

-The Bay, Phase One (1001 Boulevard of the Arts and 803 N Tamiami Trail) Site Plan, G Zone Waiver and Conditional Use for the 10-acre site proposing a food and beverage structure, restroom structure, ecological shoreline and boardwalk- This will be reviewed again by DRC in August.

-2nd Street Renovation Motor Vehicle Sales Agency (2221 and 2277 2nd Street and 2280 Aspinwall Street) Site Plan and Major Conditional Use to adapt an existing 8,866 sf building and construct a new 5,380 sf building for motor vehicle sales.  This is projected to go to the PB on 9/9.

Steven R. Cover

Planning Director

City of Sarasota

 

Planning Department Update

To: Sarasota City Planning Director Steven Cover

Thanks! This update is so helpful! I really appreciate receiving these on a regular basis.

Do you think I can get an idea of what kind of neighborhood outreach, specifically, for each ZTA occurred? I know there has been some outreach efforts and I wanted to get more clarity on that so we don’t duplicate efforts. I have received significant interest from a variety of constituents, neighborhood leaders, and business wanting to provide input as our ZTA process was put on hold for ten years because of the Form Based Code. It is essential citizens are a part of this conversation early enough in the process to have meaningful dialogue. See below, and let me know when you can please.

Again, thank you for this and all the great work!

Zoning Text Amendments- Most of our ZTAs are ready to go to the DRC, PB and CC. Staff has done some great work on these 16 significant Zoning Text Amendments that include the following:

Affordable Housing;

Accessory Dwelling Units;

Administrative Height Adjustments;

Food Trucks;

Definition of Hotel (to deal with the hotel house situation);

the definitions of night clubs, micro-breweries, bars, taprooms, etc.;

Open Air Market Bazaars;

a complete rewrite and updating of our parking regulations;

photometrics (lighting brightness and direction);

water taxi station setbacks;

Gateway Overlay (301/Fruitville corridors); uses allowed in ILW (Limelight District); Missing Middle Housing (Park East);

TDR; and two significant efforts to reformat the structure and update definitions of the Zoning Code.

Jen Ahearn-Koch

Mayor

City of Sarasota

 

Homeless problem in park

To: Sarasota City Commission

My wife and I are distraught as are others in the building and neighborhood as to what is happening in our park. You have seen the photos. Right now, laying with no shirts, no shoes, all their baggage. It is as if the homeless can do whatever they want. No repercussions. They own the place and no officials seem to want to do anything. They appear afraid of the homeless. Watch them walk Lemon amongst the restaurants, lay on Main Street sidewalks. So sad. These kids want no help. They are a different and dangerous group from many of the homeless I have encountered. Actually, scare other homeless from the park.

I give up. Maybe time to leave before all is lost. If we cannot control one park, we have serious problems. I may be a lonely voice right now but as residents return in the fall the concerns will certainly escalate. If the city commission cannot write or find loitering or vagrancy laws to apply is there another avenue for citizens to request assistance?

I suggest you and Kevin spend some time at the park some afternoon and imagine investing the money we have to live next door to this terrible situation. This will be my last email, since I doubt anyone I send them to reads them or cares.

Don Costantino

Sarasota

 

Homeless problem in park

To: Don Castontino

I am as disturbed by those pictures as you are. I agree, this can’t be okay. But, I am at a loss as to what to do. That’s why I am copying the city managers, Homeless Coordinator Kevin Stiff, Parks Director Jerry Fogle, City Attorney Bob Fournier, Chief DiPino, and Deputy Chief Pat Robinson so that somewhere can help find a solution to this situation. I will forward your other emails as well that have the pictures.

Liz Alpert

Commissioner

City of Sarasota

 

Homeless problem in park

To: Sarasota City staff

This situation can’t be okay. I know we are constrained in what we can do, but it apparently has gotten out of hand.

Liz Alpert

Commissioner

City of Sarasota

 

Emergency Mask Ordinance – Expiration/Extension

To: Dr. James Fiorica, Dr. Washington Hill

I hope this finds you all healthy and well. I wanted to reach out to you all for your recommendations per masks and any other COVID related issues.

The City Commission is due to discuss the extension (or not) of the City’s Mask Ordinance (attached) soon and I wanted to know if your ad hoc advisory group had any specific recommendations to make to the City Commission re face coverings. Also, should you have any additional recommendations or information you would like to share, please let me know.

As always, feel free to reach out to me directly should you need to talk to me.

Thank you all!

Jen Ahearn-Koch

Mayor

City of Sarasota

 

Emergency Mask Ordinance – Expiration/Extension

To: Sarasota City Mayor Jen Ahearn-Koch

It was nice to speak with you today. Our Covid leadership includes myself as CMO, Dr. Gordillo, our epidemiologist and infectious disease specialist, and Dr Joseph Seaman, our past Chief of staff and Critical Care pulmonologist.  We hold weekly meeting with a larger MD Covid leadership team of physicians. This involves a multidisciplinary group of physicians throughout the hospital.  We discuss ongoing and new Covid-19 data and developments.

Regarding your question today about the usage of face mass, the SMH leadership team recommends the continued usage of facemasks to minimize the spread of Covid-19 in the community.  The hospital continues to mandate facemask and eye protection for everyone in the hospital.  Facemasks and good hand hygiene are the most protective measure available at this time to control this disease. We will continue to meet weekly and let us know of any changes or suggestions.

James Fiorica, MD

Vice-President and Chief Medical Officer

Sarasota Memorial Health Care System

 

Emergency Mask Ordinance – Expiration/Extension

To: Dr. James Fiorica

Thank you so much for letting me know your recommendation. I have copied the City Manager, Deputy City Manager, City Auditor and Clerk, and the City Attorney so they are aware. I would like the City Auditor and Clerk to please read this into the record for today’s meeting.

Jen Ahearn-Koch

Mayor

City of Sarasota

Emergency Mask Ordinance – Expiration/Extension

To: Sarasota City Attorney Robert Fournier

I have discussed with the Mayor and she requested that the ordinance be placed on next Wednesday’s special CC meeting to discuss the extension. Will you handle? Let me know. Thanks Bob.

Marlon Brown

Deputy City Manager

City of Sarasota

 

Emergency Mask Ordinance – Expiration/Extension

To: Sarasota Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown

If we can get a revised ordinance reflecting the extension over to you, would you be able to submit the agenda request?  It should probably have the Mayor listed as the presenter.

Robert M. Fournier

City Attorney

City of Sarasota

 

Emergency Mask Ordinance – Expiration/Extension

To: Sarasota City Attorney Robert Fournier

Thanks Bob. Will do.

Marlon Brown

Deputy City Manager

City of Sarasota

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