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Longboat Key
Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Letters to the Editor week of November 12, 2021

Roundabout construction work at the Vue

To: Editor

Today, Friday , four of us men returning from golf drove the construction work at the Vue roundabout at 2:10 p.m. Lots of equipment stationary and not one single person working at the site that we could see as we waited 15 minutes to travel the construction site from Marina Bay to Ringling  with the traffic lights.

I can’t believe there is no construction activity. I would think this project with high visibility and critical need would be a six (6) ten-hour day project. And we are not yet in high season.

Does the contractor get a day bonus for each day he completes the project ahead of the completion date?

Paul B. Ahern

Longboat Key

 

FPL Placement of Transformers

To: Longboat Key Commissioner Debra Williams

As part of the undergrounding project, my small 8’x4′ patio at 3710 Gulf of Mexico Dr., Lot C24, in the 55+ Gulfshore community was chosen by FPL to have a transformer placed on it. This transformer box is just 5′ from my front door and 3′ from my neighbors bedroom window. We live on a very small property and have very limited outdoor space. We live in a 650 sq. ft. home and having space outdoors is valuable. I’m hoping you can bring this issue up at the next board meeting and assist in finding other options.

The current electrical poles are located across the street from our homes and the meters are placed by the bathrooms between homes and do not interfere with any living outdoor space.

As a suggestion, to keep them further from our living spaces, the proposed transformers for South Street could be placed on the south side of the fence between our property and Buttonwood Cove. This was suggested at one time, but I’m not sure why there was no follow through.

I have attached a map of the current proposed placement for the meter boxes, showing the majority of these transformers being placed directly on outdoor spaces and a picture of my patio marked for a transformer box.

I’m hoping this can be resolved without having to give up what little space we have to enjoy our patios. We never imagined that the money we are paying for the undergrounding special assessment would cause us to lose a piece of patio. Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

Deborah McGillen

Longboat Key

FPL Placement of Transformers

To: Deborah McGillen

Thank you for your email regarding the placement of transformers in your neighborhood.  I can appreciate your concern for their proximity to your living space(s).  I don’t know how or why the locations were chosen.  I am copying our town manager and public works director on this email so they can address your concerns.

Debra Williams

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Proposed Verizon Tower 3 at 6900 Block GMD
To: Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier

I am writing to express my strong opposition to the proposed location of Tower 3.  The proposed tower is right next to my condo, 6925 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Unit 11 at Sea Pines.  In other words, I will be directly impacted by your decision, as will my neighbors.

We are asking that the proposed location be moved across the street to Whitney Plaza, in keeping with the character of that area.

More importantly, I am concerned about the health risks of living so close to a cell phone tower.  The American Cancer Center website states the following:

“At this time, there’s no strong evidence that exposure to RF waves from cell phone towers causes any noticeable health effects. However, this does not mean that the RF waves from cell phone towers have been proven to be absolutely safe. Most expert organizations agree that more research is needed to help clarify this, especially for any possible long-term effects.”

If the shoe were on the other foot, in other words, if you were sitting in my shoes, would you vote to put the tower right next to where you live?  Would you tell your kids and grandkids not to worry because “there’s no strong evidence?”

I also concerned about the impact on our property values. I am also concerned the proposed location is situated in a drainage ditch. I first came to Longboat Key in 1981 and have owned at Sea Pines since 2003.  We have learned to live with the spotty cell phone service.  I have a land line and use WiFi calling.  I agree service should be improved, but if the cost is our health, none of us think it’s worth the risk. Thank you for considering my views.

Matt Schroeder

Longboat Key

 

Proposed Verizon Tower 3 at 6900 Block GMD

To: Matt Schroeder

Thank you Matt for your letter and call. I will ask more questions at the Commission meeting Monday that you are attending. We need better cell service and of course also need to get the process right as it appears other national carriers will follow suit.

And I did make my flight!

Maureen. Merrigan

Commissioner

Longboat Key

Proposed Verizon Tower 3 at 6900 Block GMD

To: Longboat Key Commissioner Maureen Merrigan

I am happy with the existing cell coverage.  We’ve all learned to live with it.  None of us want the towers and expose our families to the health risks.  How would you like it if someone constructed a 35-foot tower in front of your home?  This is being rushed.  Slow down.  I just spoke to someone who lives in the Village and knows nothing about it.  Why are you rushing it?

Matt Schroeder

Longboat Key

 

Verizon Towers/Poles on LBK North

To: Longboat Key Commissioner Maureen Merrigan

Thank you Maureen. I have asked for a map of where the FPL posts will be located on GMD. I have not seen it yet. If that is something you have access to can you share it?

They were doing some major digging in front of BeachWalk today. Buried some boxes! Progress I hope.

Cyndi Seamon

Longboat Key

 

Town Center Video- Upcoming Events

To: Longboat Key Commission

See link to the latest video the staff produced on events planned for the 2022 Season at the Town Center.  The video will be posted to the Town’s website, shared on social media, and distributed to our residents through various email groups.

Thanks again to Barry for producing the video and for Carolyn’s participation and efforts to activate the property this year.
Tom Harmer

Town Manager

Longboat Key

 

Gas generator noise

To: Longboat Key Commission

I live across the street from 660 Cedar Street, where John Cannon Homes has a very loud gas generator running 8 to 5 every weekday.

I cannot enjoy my own porch without breathing in fumes from the nearby gas generator.

I am not permitted to sleep beyond 7:30 a.m. when loud diesel trucks sometimes show up, leaving their engines running with open windows. Polluting the atmosphere and disturbing the neighborhood.

The EPA report estimates that modified diesel trucks are responsible for an additional 570,000 tons of NOx and 5,000 tons of diesel particulate pollution over their lifetime.

The builder, John Cannon Homes has been repeatedly asked for months to spare the earth and the neighbors by using electric equipment at the building site, like many other thoughtful contractors. A Cannon Homes representative said that they only use gas equipment.

The vast majority of human beings see that global warming, and the emission of greenhouse gases is threatening the future of our children.

Yet the Longboat Key town government has repeatedly refused to do anything to curb the huge amount of greenhouse gases that come from gas powered lawn equipment and construction site gas generators and compressors.

It is time to demand that the town finally take action to reduce emissions on the island by mandating electric and battery-electric mowers/string trimmers/leaf blowers/generators/compressors, instead of noisy and polluting small gas engine equipment.

Fact: one half hour of using a two-stroke leaf blower creates as much greenhouse gases as a Ford F150 pickup driving from Houston Texas to Anchorage Alaska.

Whereas the Ford has all sorts of pollution reduction devices and computers, a small gas engine is inefficient and totally unregulated.

Fact: California is banning all small gas engines less that 25 horse power.

Lawn maintenance and construction site equipment tends to be used many hours a day, every day. The resulting greenhouse gas and noise pollution are unmeasurable.

It is time to act. If everyone expects everyone else to solve the global warming threat, then nothing will happen and our children will experience a different world.

Dolores Kelley

Longboat Key

Not enough

To: Longboat Key Planning and Zoning Director Allen Parsons

Allen, the proposed construction site noise ordinance revisions are commendable. But my experience is that the current general noise ordinance is ineffective. Following the problems confronting Jewfish Key residents comes to mind. Will enforcement of a 55 db noise limit require officers and staff to carry calibrated sound pressure (SPL) meters, to be unable to issue tickets?

But noise is the lesser of evils when it comes to small gas engine equipment at building sites. Greenhouse gas emissions are far worse and pose a real threat to our planet.

Small gas engines need to be banned for all commercial lawn and construction activities.

How dirty is the best-selling gas-powered leaf blower? The California Air Resources Board (CARB) says if you use it for an hour, it emits as much smog-forming pollution as a 2016 Toyota Camry does driving for 1100 miles. That explains why California has passed a new ban on highly polluting small engines, setting up for quieter and cleaner lawn work across the state starting in 2024. The new law takes aim at the small gas engines that can be found in residential and commercial lawn and garden equipment, federally regulated construction and farming equipment, and other machines such as generators.

The new law was driven, in part, by the efforts of the powerful California Air Resources Board (CARB), which has worked for decades to clean up the state’s air. CARB says there are almost three million more small gas engines in California than light-duty passenger cars (16.5 million vs. 13.7 million). CARB makes a good case for the need to regulate these gas engines, given that the lack of pollution control devices on the machines that use small gas engines emit way more pollution than a passenger car over the same time period.

Allen, if the town government does not become part of the global warming solution, who will stop the rapid rise in greenhouse gases and global warming? We no longer have the time for leisurely debate and half measures if we are going to avert very difficult times.

Given that there are economically viable, non-polluting, alternatives to small gas engine use, isn’t it time to take action?

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

OSHA Noise Level Chart

To: Longboat Key Code Enforcement Officer Chris Kopp

Chris, below is an OSHA chart showing maximum allowable noise exposure.

I measured noise levels from the 660 Cedar Street construction site, from my property, at 94 db and brief peaks of 99 db, using an SPL meter. We are being exposed to 94 db or more noise levels for nine hours a day, which far exceeds federal limits. Please have the builder, John Cannon Homes, desist immediately.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

OSHA Noise Level Chart

To: Gene Jaleski

Thank you for this additional information.  The Town Staff has inspected the site and met with the contractor.  They were informed of the complaints and provided alternatives for mitigating the noise on the site.  These were all recommendations, and not requirements.  The contractor is not violating any Town codes at this time.

As stated in my last email, Section 130.02(C)(2)(f) states, unreasonable sound is prohibited by “engaging in construction or demolition on Sunday, on any holiday, or between the hours of 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. Monday through Saturday except for emergency work by a public service utility or by other permit approved by the town.” We do not currently regulate sound decibel levels.  The Town is reviewing our current sound regulations and looking to make changes.

OHSA regulations, such as Occupational Noise Exposure, are federal laws which are not enforced by the Town.  You can file a complaint with OSHA against the contractor either online, mail, telephone, or in person.  You can find more information on their website at https://www.osha.gov/workers/file-complaint.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me by email or phone if you have any further questions or concerns.

Chris Kopp

Code Enforcement Officer Planning, Zoning & Building Department

Town of Longboat Key

 

OSHA Noise Level Chart

To: Longboat Key Code Enforcement Officer Chris Kopp

Chris, several weeks ago, while voicing our concerns about unnecessary air pollution and neighborhood noise levels with a John Cannon Homes supervisor, my neighbor and I offered to let the builder use electric power from our homes. Of course we would expect to be paid for the additional energy use, determined by year-to-year FPL billing information.

Since we never heard back from the builder, and John Cannon Homes is running multiple generators and compressors, nine hours a day, at the 660 Cedar Street building site, one might assume that John Cannon did not wish to work with the surrounding neighbors to moderate either noise or greenhouse gas emissions from his building site.

We have had numerous discussions, over the past five months, with onsite management, as well as numerous emails and phone conversations with Cannon Homes staff, We have seen absolutely no cooperation from the Cannon company.

The owner has made several requests, over the past five months, that only non-polluting electric equipment be used in the construction of their home. They wish to be good neighbors and good shepherds of the earth. Cannon Homes has ignored even the owner’s requests for months.

The offer to use our electricity, while Cannon Homes finally applies for FPL service and town permits, still stands. It is unfortunate that we have spent so much energy, over the past six months, to work with Cannon Homes people, only to discover that they have not yet, last we heard, applied for FPL service to the building site or for a town permit. It’s not that they have not had almost a year to make arrangements with FPL and the town. We certainly tried to get them to act over and over again for many months.

So there is an immediate solution. My neighbors and I sincerely hope that John Cannon chooses to minimize the negative impacts of the construction site on the surrounding homes and the environment.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

OSHA Noise Level Chart

To: Gene Jaleski

Gene – This was an extremely kind offer.  Did you get any response from Cannon Homes?

BJ Bishop

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

OSHA Noise Level Chart

To: Longboat Key Commissioner BJ Bishop

Thanks for responding. We have hopes that Cannon Homes will expedite getting FPL power at the building site, now that everyone realizes just how much greenhouse emissions are produced by small gas engines.

When my research unearthed the enormous problem with small gas engines, I was totally taken aback. Prior to then, I had never considered small engines as being a large source of pollution. It is the high level of emissions, along with the sheer number of gas mowers/string trimmers/leaf blowers/generators/compressors,  running for extended periods of time, that pose such an urgent problem.

I see municipal governments being in a pivotal position to effect real change in emissions from small gas engines, because of their ability to regulate through codes and ordinances.

Perhaps it is time for the town, all towns, to consider joining the process to limit, and hopefully reverse, global warming. LBK being an island community, we have an unusual relationship with sea rise and extreme weather. I believe prevention is far less costly than remediation.

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

EDC Finance Items for Framework Task Force

To: Longboat Key Commissioner Penny Gold

As promised here is the link to the doc with questions, answers, and links to supporting documents having to do with the EDC finances as discussed and shared with you this morning:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1PRJuLiuAdZyfdIQ6CY0_DQkrayutXXmpDm9k8F266Gc/edit?usp=sharing

If the google doc doesn’t open for you, I’ve attached a PDF version.

I do have a few items that I will be following up and reporting back to you via email once I have those items answered. Thank you again for joining us this morning. We appreciate your time, dedication, and support of the EDC!

Kate Atkin
Director of Investor Engagement
Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County

 

Redevelopment

To: Longboat Key Commission

I would like to thank you for your dedication and time spent on all issues that arise on Longboat Key.  Recently, you evaluated the redevelopment of the Stone Cottages as it related to CORD.  We appreciate your diligence reviewing the CORD requirements, guidelines and criteria as it related to this development and  your understanding of CORD.  This knowledge was invaluable when determining  this property did not fit the true intent of CORD.

Once again, we appreciate all you do for Longboat Key and the residence that call this Key their home.

Becky and Benny Parrish

Longboat Key

 

Longboat Key 2022 Legislative Report

To: Longboat Key Town Commission

Attached for your information is a copy of the most recent Legislative Report for the 2022 Legislative Session from your lobbyists at Ramba Consulting. Should you have any questions or concerns regarding this report, please do not hesitate to contact me or the Town Manager.

Maggie D. Mooney

Town Attorney

Town of Longboat Key

 

Longboat Key 2022 Legislative Report

To: Longboat Key Attorney Maggie Mooney

We need to set up a meeting with Jim Boyd about insurance rates.  It was one of the priorities at the Federal SMART meeting yesterday.

BJ Bishop

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Follow-up to this evening’s town hall

To: Sarasota City Commissioner Liz Alpert

Thank you Commissioner Alpert for participating in this Town Hall.  I brought up the issues around bicycle infrastructure for those of us who wish to use a bicycle for on-road transportation.  You asked for items you can follow up on. Here are some specific items –
1) None of our in-ground traffic light sensors respond to bicycles at intersections. As I understand this, these can be adjusted.  I have submitted this to the previous versions of click-fix several times over the years.  I received a response once – Michael Mathew said “the work order number is 109904” and “open in workforce #210318063545”. Please follow up for me.
2) Legacy Trail is not geared toward commuters, as it closes at sunset.  If you have a 9-5 job downtown, how do you get home in December?  Please let it be legal to ride a bike there after sunset.  Perhaps just require cyclists to have lights (I believe this is already required, so you should only have to make it legal to ride there after sunset).
3) Every few years, City staff tries to remove the bike lanes from Fruitville Rd. This is probably the best bike route we have in the City. Don’t get rid of it. And don’t mush it into a recreational bike-ped trail that is so difficult for cyclists to maneuver when pedestrians are present. There is a document up for consideration by the City Commission, “SR 780/Fruitville Road Corridor Vision Plan”.  Some of the options in that document include removal of bike lanes and replacing with multi-use bike-ped sidewalks.  I would ask that you not approve this plan, until it is amended to keep existing bike lanes.
4) I know there’s probably nothing you can do about the lack of ability to bicycle around the roundabout under construction at Gulf Stream and 41, but if you think of something, please have at it.  In Appreciation of your Town Hall,
Diane Desenberg
Lido Key

 

Follow-up to this evening’s town hall

To: Diane Desenberg

Thanks for sending this, Diane. I am copying the city manager, deputy city manager, and planning director so the appropriate staff can address your concerns.  Thanks for participating in the town hall.

Liz Alpert

Commissioner

City of Sarasota

 

Home Sharing: Five Scenarios that need to be discussed

To: Sarasota City Commission

The following are five scenarios that I ask you to discuss with the City Attorney, City Manager and City Staff in advance of (or at) the Monday, November 15 Commission Meeting in regard to Unfinished Business IX.5 – “Home Sharing” (aka “Hosted Rentals” or “Owner-Occupied Rentals”).

 

Scenario #1 – Any Vacation Rental in the entire City of Sarasota

CODE ENFORCEMENT:  Your online ad says your house can be rented for less than one week.  The City has a one week minimum occupancy requirement.

ANY VACATION RENTAL IN THE ENTIRE CITY:  We Home Share now, so there is no minimum stay.

CODE ENFORCEMENT:  Home Sharing requires an on-site host.  Who will that be?

ANY VACATION RENTAL IN THE ENTIRE CITY:  Home Sharing does not specify who the host must be.  We change the host weekly, at the last minute.

CODE ENFORCEMENT:  Oh. I don’t believe you, but there is nothing we can do about it.

 

Scenario #2 – Hotel Houses in the City’s Coastal Islands Overlay District

CODE ENFORCEMENT:  Your online ad says your house can sleep 25 people.  The City’s Vacation Rental Ordinance says you can only advertise that you can sleep 10 people.

HOTEL HOUSE OPERATOR:  We Home Share now, so there are no limits on occupancy.

CODE ENFORCEMENT:  Home Sharing requires an on-site host.  Who will that be?

HOTEL HOUSE OPERATOR:  Home Sharing does not specify who the host must be.  We change the host weekly, at the last minute.

CODE ENFORCEMENT:  Oh. I don’t believe you, but there is nothing we can do about it.

 

Scenario #3 – Tax Issues & Lost Tax Revenue to the City

CITY OF SARASOTA LOCAL BUSINESS TAX DIVISION:  You owe local business tax for your vacation rental or rooming house. (see Sec. 19-11. – Local business tax schedule. (a) 47)

ANY VACATION RENTAL IN THE ENTIRE CITY:  We Home Share now, which is an accessory use and not a defined business, so we no longer have to pay this local business tax.

SARASOTA COUNTY, STATE OF FLORIDA, and IRS:  Call it what you will, and, regardless of whether or not your City wants to collect the local business tax that they are due, we still expect you to pay County Business Tax, County Tourism & Development Tax, State Sales & Use Tax, and Federal Income Tax, respectively.

ANY VACATION RENTAL IN THE ENTIRE CITY:  I know that for those occasions when I book a Home Sharing client on AirBnB that they automatically charge Florida tax as described here.  But what about all the other occasions? Am I committing tax fraud/evasion by not reporting my Home Sharing income?  Do I have to hire an accountant to advise me on this?

STATE OF FLORIDA DBPR (Dept of Bus. & Prof. Regulation):  That’s right, and then we’re going to come after you for operating without a license which will cost you another $170 per year.  It doesn’t matter to us that your City calls this an accessory use and chooses not to collect a Local Business Tax; from our point of view you are a business, you need a State license to operate, and you must pay the corresponding taxes.

 

Scenario #4 – Property Tax Exemption Issues

SARASOTA COUNTY PROPERTY APPRAISER:  We found an AirBnB listing for your property indicating that you charge money for people to stay there.  Because of that, you forfeit your Save Our Homes Exemption and Homestead Exemption.  Up to now, you’ve been paying taxes on a $100,000 valuation.  Now, after forfeiting these exemptions, you have to pay taxes on a $200,000 valuation.  That’s an additional $1,000 in annual property tax that you owe.  We expect this amount to significantly increase each year for the immediate future as City-wide property values continue to rise, and are likely to rise more than the Homestead Exemption’s 3% cap per year that you’ve previously been accustomed to.

HOME SHARING PROPERTY OWNER:  Are you kidding me?  I only home share once in a while and I’m not even making that much money doing it.  Thanks a lot City Commissioners.  I wish I understood this before I started home sharing.  Everyone told me that I should take advantage of home sharing to make some extra money to help pay my mortgage, but no one told me about this!

COMMENT:  I don’t know if this is true.  I’ve been told that it is true, but I have not independently confirmed it.  Has the City?

 

Scenario #5 – Residential Property Insurance Issue

RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY INSURER:  We found an AirBnB listing for your property indicating that you charge money for people to stay there.  Because of that, your insurance premiums are going way up.  Or worse:  we only insure primary residences, and, under our definition, you no longer qualify and will have to immediately find a new insurance provider.

HOME SHARING PROPERTY OWNER:  Are you kidding me?  I only home share once in a while and I’m not even making that much money doing it.  Thanks a lot City Commissioners.  I wish I understood this before I started home sharing.  Everyone told me that I should take advantage of home sharing to make some extra money to help pay my mortgage, but no one told me about this!

COMMENT:  I don’t know if this is true.  I’ve been told that it is true, but I have not independently confirmed it.  Has the City?

After discussing the above, if this Commission still decides to move forward with an ordinance that will allow or legalize the practice of Home Sharing, I ask you to amend your instruction–to have the City Attorney draft an ordinance to allow Home Sharing–by adding the following three controls:
(1) There has to be some occupancy limit and there should probably be a bedroom limit to distinguish the practice of Home Sharing from a Bed & Breakfast.  If the occupancy limit when renting out your entire house out here on the barrier islands will be 10 people, then it makes sense that the limit when sharing only part of your house should be fewer than 10 people.
(2) The host—ideally limited to an actual property owner, but whoever you decide to allow—has to be present after 10pm when the City’s noise ordinance goes into effect.  Because that’s the whole reasoning behind Home Sharing, right?  That an on-site host will keep renters under control?  (i.e. no loud parties outside after the working adults and school children who live next door go to bed)  The host’s name and contact info must be on file with the City in case police or code enforcement need to get in touch.
(3) What happens if someone breaks these first two rules?  The City needs to be able to revoke the ability to Home Share from an offender.  The City needs an enforcement mechanism. Perhaps a nominal $10 fee for an annual registration that can be revoked by the City for rule violations?

If it turns out that the City cannot require a registration or license for an “accessory use” (home sharing), then everything falls apart.  The person sharing their home can continue to break the rules and get away with it; the City will have no enforcement mechanism. What will you be imposing on all the people throughout the entire City of Sarasota who just want to live in peace without the threat (and soon the reality) of what are effectively unlicensed mini-hotels popping up all over their neighborhoods?
I’ll be sharing this email with interested parties throughout the City.  Thank you for your time and consideration.
Chris Goglia

President
St. Armands Residents Association

Florida League of Mayors

To: Sarasota City Mayor Erik Arroyo, Boca Raton Mayor Scott Singer
It was nice seeing you both this week in Orlando, and compliment you both for your great work as President and Director of the Florida League of Mayors.
I have cc’d my friend and new Mayor of Sarasota Erik Arroyo on this email.
He reached out to me this morning, and would like to become a member and get involved with the Florida League of Mayors as soon as possible. I sincerely appreciate you and the FLM reaching out to him and getting him involved. He will be a very valuable addition to the team! Thank you very much.
Peter Simmons
Senior Advisor
Woodard & Curran

 

Florida League of Mayors

To: Sarasota City Mayor Erik Arroyo

Peter, thanks for the introduction. Mayor, congratulations on your historic selection by your colleagues!  It would be our pleasure to have you more involved and I look forward to talking soon.  Please let me know if I may be of any help to you or how can I best share with you more info about the FLM. Our executive director, Scott Dudley, will be happy to help as well.  Looking forward to connecting!
Scott Singer
Mayor
City of Boca Raton

 

Florida League of Mayors

To: Boca Raton Mayor Scott Singer

Pleasure being in a chat with you all! You may have recalled that I spoke about wanting to get involved a couple of months ago at the Orlando convention.

Erik Arroyo

Mayor

City of Sarasota

 

Florida League of Mayors

To: Sarasota City Mayor Erik Arroyo

We are excited that you are interested in becoming involved in the Florida League of Mayors. Currently, Sarasota is not a member of the League of Mayors. I have attached a dues statement for your review and consideration.

I hope you will consider joining the FLM and benefit from the great programing we have lined up for the mayors across the state.

  1. Scott Dudley

Director, Field Advocacy and Federal Affairs

Executive Director, Florida League of Mayors

 

Arlington Park Neighborhood

To: Sarasota Deputy City Manager Pat Robinson

I am reaching out because I would like to set up a time to meet with you regarding a few issues we have in the Arlington Park neighborhood. I have included a few others in this email as I’m not sure who is best to discuss the below topics.

Not only is the Arlington Park neighborhood the cut through for everyone avoiding the traffic congestion on the main roads, but we are also the cut through for the high school kids. Everyone speeds. Just last week we had some kids speeding over 50 mph down Floyd St. We contacted the high school, and the vice principal was very receptive.

As you are aware, my house is a few doors down from the foot bridge to Arlington Park. Very few cars actually come to a complete stop at the stop sign. The Sarasota High School cross country teams also run through the foot bridge and a few weeks ago they almost got hit by a car speeding down the street. Someone is going to get hit/killed. I would like to discuss putting in some signage to bring awareness of the foot bridge.

We also have utility poles that have been replaced in the neighborhood, but the old poles were never removed. The old utility pole on the corner of Floyd St and Jefferson Ave is leaning because it was hit by a car. How can we get the old poles taken down?

I’d also like to discuss a hotel house on the corner of Floyd St and Euclid Ave.

Please let me know the best way to proceed to set up the meeting.

Thank you to all of you for your time and service to our city. Congratulations Mayor Arroyo on your new position. Happy Friday!

Flo Entler

Sarasota

 

City Commission One on Ones – Follow Up – October 28

To: Sarasota City Staff

Some of you have already responded immediately after our meeting. So truly awesome and thanks:

Commissioner Battie:

Lucia – Asbestos Permits – I know you verbally mentioned the need for asbestos permit but can you provide me something in writing so I can forward to Commissioner Battie.

Steven/Stevie – Miss Susie’s – Commissioner Battie would like to know how the City’s $150,000 loan for Miss Susie’s was spent to include receipts/invoices.

Lucia/Chief Troche – Ronique Hawkins Trash Issue – Lucia, thanks for your response.

Commissioner Ahearn-Koch:

Herminio –Redistricting of Commission Election Districts – is there a layer in GIS for the election district map and precincts? Thanks for working on this and please let me know when completed.

Lucia – Hosted Rentals – this is coming back on November 15. You may need to get with Bob to discuss.

Lucia – Garfield Drive Rental Issue – Thanks for your response.

Lucia –  Consent 1 agenda item VI.1 – 200 S. Washington –  Is this an historic building? Thanks for your response.

Steven (Mark L.) – Unfinished Business agenda item IX.1 – Open Air Trolley – Does the $4.3 million include paratransit? It is confusing when the Explanation says it does but the back up has the $4.3 million separated out from the paratransit costs

What are the metrics/measurements to be used to decide reductions in the program? Are there ridership targets?

What does the County use for their transit? Ridership or revenue?

Will an app be used and ready for launch at the same time as the trolley?

What are our plans if there is another Red Tide event and ridership is severely impacted?

The FDOT agreement that is in the agenda back up was to be changed per the last City Commission meeting/direction but it wasn’t.

Vice Mayor Arroyo:

Stacie – Consent 1 agenda item VI.2 – Stop/Loss – this item is being pulled. Issue with BlueCross/Blue Shield as explained this morning and shopping our insurance.

Steven (Ryan) – Ryan, thanks for the street vacation forms.

Mayor Brody:

Jerry –Payne Park Tennis/Sarasota High School – please keep me informed on the progress of these discussions on adding courts for the High School. Thanks all and have a great weekend.

Marlon Brown

City Manager

City of Sarasota

 

City Commission One on Ones – Follow Up – October 28

To: Sarasota City Manager Marlon Brown

I hope your day is going well.  I just spoke with Mr. Jody Dumas about the potential donation of 4 tennis courts (hard courts) to the City by the Sarasota County School Board.  The potential partnership between the Sarasota County School Board and City would allow for the tennis courts to be utilized by Sarasota High School for practices and games, along with the public.

Mr. Dumas will be presenting this idea to the Sarasota County School Board on Tuesday, November 16.  Mr. Dumas mentioned that they have a lot of projects and funds are tight.  I mentioned that the City is familiar with that situation.  He will let me know whether or not the Sarasota County School Board supports the concept.  The funding won’t be available until July 1, 2022, if Sarasota County School Board supports the design and construction of 4 tennis courts (hard courts) at Payne Park. I will keep you updated.

Jerry Fogle

Parks and Recreation Director

City of Sarasota

 

Your misguided suggestion regarding downtown entertainment noise

To: Sarasota City Mayor Erik Arroyo

I’m commenting on the following suggestion put forth by a commissioner for a future commission agenda item: “Great idea to have builders provide a notice to would-be purchasers about the construction materials being used and it’s ability to insulate sounds and the nature of living downtown.”

That notice is not a solution. It is misguided at best; a subterfuge at worst. The solution to downtown event noise is very simple. No one is calling for a stop to events. Just establish reasonable criteria for the events, then enforce implementation of the criteria, both at the event approval phase and during the performance phase.

Criteria should include limits on frequency, duration, lateness, and decibels. Lateness and decibels should be limited to something like 9 p.m. and 75 decibels.  (11 p.m. is too late).

Why is a notice to buyers not the solution? Because it supposes the residents are the problem. Residents are not the problem. The unreasonable noise is the problem.

  1. City officials encouraged and approved downtown residential development. You’ve got it. Guess what! you now have more residents downtown. The ones who say “bring it on” can have their entertainment, just have it end earlier and enforce the sound ordinance. Be reasonable!
  2. We absolutely expected “vibrancy” when we moved downtown 5 years ago. “Vibrant” when we moved here was the Saturday morning Farmers Market, the Palm Ave First Fridays from 5-8 p.m. (o/a), proximity to art festivals, galleries, restaurants, and cultural performances.  There were few problems with downtown entertainment noise at that time.
  3. The increasing problem with downtown entertainment noise originates with this commission’s push for anything goes open air entertainment late into the night. The problem is not with construction of the residential buildings.
  4. Just use some common sense, be reasonable, and be considerate of the residents you brought downtown. Limit the open air entertainment to a reasonable hour and decibel level and enforce it. Of course, a couple exceptions would be a good compromise, e.g. NYE and Halloween. But not every weekend or every first Friday.
  5. Then we can all enjoy downtown open air entertainment. I repeat: no one I know is calling for an end to the entertainment. The attacks on those who complain about the late night noise are unfair. Don’t attack the people, solve the problem of the noise. It’s not that hard.

Shirl Gauthier

Sarasota

 

Your misguided suggestion regarding downtown entertainment noise

To: Shirl Gauthier

There have been downtown events since I moved here in 2002. So, downtown events are nothing new. The events often used to go until 12 a.m.  Many of them were on Lemon Avenue. The improvements the City made to Lemon Avenue were to accommodate the Farmer’s Market and other events. In other words, it was created to be our event space. The Kolter staff were asked to make sure that those purchasing in The Mark were aware of this.

The issue of what is reasonable is an ambiguous term that can be interpreted differently by different people. You define a reasonable ending time as 9 p.m. and others may define reasonable as 11 p.m.

Also, vibrant can be interpreted differently, by different people. Some may define it as you have. Others would define it as having more open air events, as well as lots of activity for the shops, bars, and restaurants.

While it is important to create an environment for our downtown residents to enjoy, the idea is to have activities and offerings in our downtown to appeal to all segments of our population. This is a downtown for everyone.

Liz Alpert

City Commissioner

City of Sarasota

 

Proposed donation by Scott Gerber

To: Sarasota City Attorney Robert Fournier

Please see attached letter outlining my understanding of our city’s public art acquisition processes and requirements.  I am not clear if the majority vote by the Public Art Committee on November 1, 2021 counts as an official recommendation for acceptance since the specified criteria the committee must use were not met (and, I believe, cannot be met given the IP issues inherent in the design).

A portion of the municipal code regarding public art provides for an appeal of the Public Art Committee’s recommendation to the City Commission within 30 days of the committee’s oral motion, so in the event you do view the majority vote on November 1, 2021 as a valid acceptance process, I would like to ask that an appeal to the full City Commission be scheduled, and that the legal questions I have raised about Mr. Gerber’s ability to warrant clear IP rights to this creation be addressed by the artist and the New York State Department of Economic Opportunity, which holds the trademarks to “I [red heart shape to denote love] NY”. Thank you, in advance, for your thoughts on this matter.

Kelly Franlkin

Sarasota

 

Proposed donation by Scott Gerber

To: Kelly Franklin

Although I have some thoughts on this, I believe I should wait to respond until I have had the opportunity to discuss with staff.  I note that there is no written back up information for this item in the record of the November 3 PAC meeting.  I will follow up by the end of the week.

Robert M. Fournier

City Attorney

City of Sarasota

Fresh Fridays

To: Sarasota City Commissioner Hagen Brody

I thoroughly enjoyed the first Fresh Friday event in spite of the weather. I’d like to bring something to your attention so it may be resolved for future events.

We were charged $5 upon entering the State ST Garage. However, in the City’s communication it stated the first two hours of parking were free, $5 may discourage people from participating and defeat the purpose of “Fresh Fridays.”

Furthermore, this is not the first time we did not receive 2 free hours of parking at the State Street garage. The sign states:

“Public parking is available at the State Street Garage with the first two hours free. Entrances to the Fresh Fridays pedestrian area will be located at both ends of State Street including the breezeway at The Mark, Lemon Avenue/Main Street, and Lemon Avenue/Pineapple Avenue.”

Thank you for looking into this matter.

Susan Cohen

Sarasota

 

Fresh Fridays

To: Susan Cohen

Absolutely will. I saw that too and was shocked.

Hagen Brody

Commissioner

City of Sarasota

 

Parking downtown

To: Sarasota City Manager Marlon Brown

We have to talk about parking.  I saw at least five parking employees hovering around the pay station at the state street parking garage last night. Taking $5 upon entry.  Who makes that call to charge residents an extra $5? And what is the rationale?  Why do that on the inaugural first Friday? Who monitors the cash to ensure there is no theft?

I want some numbers for a discussion. I’d like a breakdown of the types of tickets we give.

A copy of all appeals made and disposition.  Granted and denied.

The parking program was sold as a way to create turnover.  I’d like to know how many are tickets based on time and tickets of what I call technical violations (backed in, over the lines, no parking on the first floor between obscure hours).

My feeling is our parking dept is attempting to bleed a dollar out of every conceivable situation at the hassle of our downtown visitors. Mark even has a request in for the dining spaces our restaurants are using for covid?  It’s too much.  I predicted an overly aggressive parking program and I think we got one. I’d like this on the next available agenda but I need those records and data beforehand.  Thank you.

Hagen Brody

Commissioner

City of Sarasota

 

Parking downtown

To: Sarasota City Commissioner Hagen Brody

We will prepare it for the December 6 City Commission meeting. We will get you the information beforehand, however, as it will be information for City Commission discussion, the information provided will also be shared with all City Commissioners in preparation for the Commission meeting.

Marlon Brown

City Manager

City of Sarasota

 

Planning Department Update Nov. 5

To: Sarasota City Manager Marlon Brown

Here is the summary for this week:

-Boulevard of the Arts- We met with representatives of property owners on the Boulevard of the Arts to discuss parking, service deliveries and a new design for BOTA, and the meeting was quite successful, resolving all issues discussed and we secured support for the street design.  The design was forwarded to Kimley Horn today, and they will prepare final drawings for the street project.

-FPL Program- FPL will be presenting the current results and changes of the Solar Together Program at the CC Meeting on 11/15.

-Gulfstream Roundabout- The CC decided to proceed with the current design of the roundabout.

-Historic Preservation Board- The policy for interior review will be discussed in the future.

-Newtown CRA Advisory Board- Attended the meeting on Thursday night, and Commissioner Battie spoke at the end of the meeting.

-Plan and Permit Reviews- Planning staff and I continue to review plans, permits and provide comments at DRC Meetings.

-Planning Website- Active Zoning Text Amendments are posted on our website so that citizens can get the latest on what’s being proposed and scheduled for upcoming PB and CC Meetings.

-Public Art, 10th and 14th Streets- Due to construction and the artists’ issues with material costs, the installation of the two art pieces is projected to take place in July of 2022.

-Public Art Committee- Made recommendation for 3 finalists for the Fruitville Roundabout public art piece.

-Quay Commons/Boulevard of the Arts Intersection- Still waiting for FDOT on the design option.  In addition, we performed a review of the Quay’s proposal for blocks 1 and 9, both fronting on BOTA, and forwarded comments to DS.  We have some concerns as to what is being proposed, especially as it relates to BOTA.

-St. Armands ZTAs- Nothing has been formally submitted yet in respect to the ZTA requests.

-St. Armands/Downtown Trolley – The recommended vendor and funding ($4,397,337 over 3 years) were approved at the CC Meeting on 11/1.  We are currently working with our consultant to finalize a brand and a marketing plan for the Trolley.

-Scooter/Bikeshare Program- We have selected a vendor, and our recommendation is projected to go to the CC soon for confirmation.

-Staffing- We recently hired Corinne Tucker for our Transportation Planner position, and she started this week.  We have also extended an offer to fill our Chief Transportation Planner position.

Project Update

-Bahia Vista Apartments (2750 Bahia Vista Street) Amendment to the Future Land Use Map from Multiple Family Medium Density to Multiple Family High Density was reviewed at the DRC Meeting on 6/16.

-DS Generated ZTAs- We met with the DS Team about issues they’ve been having with zoning, and we will continue to meet and prepare a schedule for these proposed ZTAs.

-Hansen Street Housing (1707, 1715, 1721, 1735, 1743, 1803, and 1807 Hansen Street) Amendment to the Future Land Use Map from Neighborhood Office to Multi-Family Medium Density.  A Community Workshop was held on 7/22.

-Lime Avenue Partial Alley Vacation- This is projected to go to the PB Meeting on 12/14, and the CC Meeting on 1/18/22

-Primary Street ZTA- We held a meeting to finalize our recommendations.

-Recurring Community Services ZTA was recommended for approval by the PB on 5/12, and was continued to a future date at the CC Meeting on 7/20.

-Sarasota Kennel Club Property (5400 Old Bradenton Road) Amendment to Future Land Use Map from Community Commercial to Multiple Family-Medium Density was reviewed as a pre-application at the DRC Meeting on 6/16.  A Community Workshop was held on 7/1.

-St. Armands Comp Plan Amendment to the Coastal Islands Maximum Building Height Overlay from 35’ to 45’ was reviewed as a pre-application at the DRC Meeting on 6/16.  A Community Workshop was held on 8/5.

-School Signage ZTA related to banners for public/private elementary, middle and high schools- This was recommended for approval by the Planning Board on 10/13.

-Strategic Zoning Code Request from Commission- We are continuing to work on this.

-Whitaker Lofts (1400 N Tamiami) Site Plan that proposes a 4 story structure with 19 residential units and 8,795sf of commercial- A Community Workshop was held on 10/27.

Have a great weekend!

Steve Cover

Planning Director

City of Sarasota

 

S Pineapple Ave 11

To: Sarasota City Commissioner Jen Ahearn-Koch
Should have demanded an answer as to why fresh Friday is 8-11. Not sure who is benefiting from this. No stores participated. But worse is the country band. They are playing at well over 109 decibels. Lucky it rained earlier no one could have heard the jazz group. Total disappointed. Some of us are coming off the Halloween block party and get another heavily amplified band tonight. This was supposed to light music and some snacks. Not even close. They lied to us. Nothing but a loud terrible band and the bars love it.

Don Costantino

Sarasota

 

S Pineapple Ave 11

To: Don Costantino

Thank you, Don for sharing this. I have copied the City Manager on this email along with members of the Downtown Improvement District (do not “reply all”) as this is primarily the DID’s event and I am sure they welcome all feedback. I have also copied some merchants and residents. Thank you again for sharing your experience,

Jen Ahearn-Koch

City Commissioner

City of Sarasota

 

S Pineapple Ave 11

To: Sarasota City Manager Marlon Brown

A re-think of Fresh Friday is in order.  An 8 to 11 event is not compatible with downtown’s residential population of 12,000 60 to 85-year-olds.  The shift from 6 to 9 to attract younger attendees was flawed.

Additionally, a trigger for cancellation/rain date due to weather for safety of the public should be considered.  We had rain and lightning up to 7:00.  Our event organizer insisted the show go on. (Lakewood Ranch cancelled their First Friday due to the weather forecast). And then there was the $5 charge for parking in the State Street garage. Lots to discuss and adjust.

John Moran

Operations Manager

City of Sarasota

 

Noise at O’Leary’s

To: Sarasota Police Captain Robert Armstrong

Enforce the sound/noise volume regulations, codes and statues immediately. Issue violation tickets, close down the venue for said violations. The city government refuses to enforce their mandate and statues. Only multiple lawsuits and class actions through the court system will rectify the systemic violations. Residents are preparing this.

Robert Livingston

Sarasota

 

Noise at O’Leary’s

To: Robert Livingston

It seems there was an issue with the noise at O’Leary’s on Friday night.  Is there anything we (SPD) can do to assist you?  We are here 24/7, please feel free to contact me so we can be of assistance to you.

Robert Armstrong

Captain

Sarasota Police Department

 

Noise at O’Leary’s

To: Sarasota Police Captain Robert Armstrong

O’Leary’s music is 42 decibels tonight above code. My elderly parents can no longer tolerate the booming bass. Our entire building has had enough. Fine them. We are using sound measuring devices to record violations. Please do your job and enforce the laws.

Robert Livingston

Sarasota

 

Noise at O’Leary’s

To: Robert Livingston

If you would like to discuss any of these issues, feel free to call me or email me a contact number. Have a great day!

Robert Armstrong

Captain

Sarasota Police Department

 

Noise at O’Leary’s

To: Sarasota City Manager Marlon Brown

Patrol has been dispatched.  The PD has attempted to reach out to the complainant to discuss the issue.  He has not accepted their offer to discuss the situation by phone or in person.

Patrick Robinson

Deputy City Manager

City of Sarasota

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