Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Citizens Patrol Training Thursday

Those who have volunteered for Citizens Patrol will have a brief training session tomorrow -- Thursday, Nov. 30th at 6:30. It will be in our regular room at Sarasota Baptist Church - Room 100.

George Morgan is still looking for a few people who can give a couple of hours every other month to looking after the neighborhood. Vandalism drops by 30% in areas with active patrols. Email or call him: 377-4437

Also: The next Community Group General Meeting will be Dec. 12 at Sarasota Baptist, 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Contact Info for LSCG

The Lake Sarasota Community Group now has a postbox and an email address:

PO BOX 21983

And make a note: Next general meeting of the Lake Sarasota Community Group is Tuesday, Dec. 12, 6:30 p.m. at Sarasota Baptist Church, Proctor and Hand Rds.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Residents invited to help plan for the next decade

The county is reaching out to residents, asking them to provide input about where it should put its tax dollars. Neighborhood associations along Bee Ridge Road are asking their residents to attend one of the meetings listed below, and to fill out the forms that will be available (they're in the libraries also) with the request that the county give priority to the widening of Bee Ridge, and to making it a Corridor project. Doing so will enable residents to have more say in what can be developed along the road.

Here's the county press release:
SARASOTA COUNTY (MONDAY, NOVEMBER 06, 2006) - The public is invited to a series of meetings to help develop a project list for the next phase of the penny sales tax for unincorporated Sarasota County.

On Nov. 6, 2007, Sarasota County officials plan to place on the ballot a referendum asking residents to continue the penny sales tax from 2010 through 2019. At the same time, voters will be asked to approve a list of projects that will be constructed with the revenues generated from the tax.

Since the surtax was extended for 10 years in 1997, the penny sales tax has provided funding for badly needed roads, new libraries, new parks and new fire stations, among many other projects throughout the county. Those facilities came from a project list created and approved by residents. The next list of projects will come from the lists developed by people during the upcoming meetings.

All of the meetings begin at 6 p.m. on the following dates:

* Nov. 14, Englewood Sports Complex, 1300 S. River Road, Englewood.
* Nov. 16, Jacaranda Public Library, 4143 Woodmere Park Blvd., Venice.
* Nov. 28, Twin Lakes Park, 6700 Clark Road, Sarasota.
* Nov. 30, Fruitville Public Library, 100 Coburn road, Sarasota.
* Dec. 5, Commission Chamber, Sarasota County Administration Center, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota.
* Dec. 7, North Sarasota Public Library, 2801 Newtown Blvd., Sarasota.

Residents who cannot attend one of the public meetings may offer suggestions by completing a citizen infrastructure survey located at a neighborhood public library or by visiting The deadline to submit project ideas is Dec. 8.

For more information about the penny sales tax meetings, call the Sarasota County Call Center at 941-861-5000.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

November Activities and Upcoming Events

The November 14th General Meeting offered news and updates on several fronts, and set dates for some future events.

Laura Mathis began by offering a mission statement for the Community Group: "The Lake Sarasota group's purpose is to enhance the beauty, safety and sense of community in a positive way through working together in positive roles."

  • Volunteers are needed on Sunday, Dec. 7th at 9 a.m. to finish landscaping the Westminster Entrance. The letters are up, the wall is painted. Bring gloves, long sleeve shirts, and a truck if you have one -- the work will involve moving some bricks (that used to be at the Mauna Loa Entrance) into place. The Beautification Committee also seeks a volunteer to water and keep the Westminster entrance clean.

  • A sign for the Mauna Loa entrance, paid for by the County with a generous additional donation from Mickey Schweitzer, should be ready by the end of the year. Here's a sketch of what it will look like:

  • Citizens Patrol: George Morgan plans to schedule a class for the week after Thanksgiving for the 30 or so volunteers. He's still looking for people who can give a couple of hours every other month to looking after the neighborhood. Vandalism drops by 30% in areas with active patrols, he added. Email or call him: 377-4437
  • Mauna Loa should have two more stop signs by January. Signs were approved at Luwana and at Lago Way by the county's Traffic Advisory Council. The Board of Commissioners still has final say, and could add one or more locations, says Debbie Marks.
  • A petition has begun to tell the county that residents of Lake Sarasota wish Bee Ridge Road to be properly widened before permitting further residential or commercial development on Bee Ridge Road at Mauna Loa. See this and this for background on proposals that could impact our traffic and general quality of life.
  • The Yard of the Month Program is set to start in December -- look for more info in your mailbox.
  • Mark your calendar for Jan. 20 -- that's when the Neighborhood is planning a Lake Sarasota-wide Garage Sale, complete with maps, refreshments, raffles and more. Organizer Dawn Steele needs helpers -- contact her at 377-4710.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Lake Sarasota Community Meeting

The next general meeting of the Lake Sarasota Community Group will be at Sarasota Baptist on Tuesday, Nov. 14, at 6:30 p.m.

Issues for discussion will include Beautification, Winter festival plans, traffic calming, developments east of I-75 with potential impact on Lake Sarasota property and quality of life.

Mauna Loa traffic calming: Monday Meeting

The Sarasota County Traffic Advisory Committee meets Monday, Nov. 13, at 1:15 p.m., in the Board Chambers of the Sarasota County Administration Building, 1616 Ringling Blvd.

The meeting will address proposed traffic controls for certain intersections on Mauna Loa Blvd. -- specifically, stop signs.

More info: 861-5000.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Strong opinions on proposed apartments

Residents of Lake Sarasota and other areas adjacent to a 39-acre parcel on the Mauna Loa Extension expressed their opposition to a plan that calls for putting 15 three-story buildings on the land, with 22 rental units per building.

Stephen Rees, attorney for the developer who is seeking rezoning to residential multifamily (nine units per acre) from the county, outlined the plan Tuesday evening at a neighborhood workshop.

Among the concerns voiced:

"You're going to kill my property value," one Lake Sarasota resident said, after Rees explained that some undetermined portion of the apartments might fall under the "affordable housing" designation.

"'Affordable' gives you latitude and gives us nothing," said a woman who lives on McKown Rd., which runs north of the project.

Residents along McKown spoke about noise, light, and the abrupt juxtaposition of the apartments to their five-acre estates, some of which include horses, barns and stables.

Residents of Lake Sarasota talked about traffic intensity on Bee Ridge Road, and also about impacts on roads within Lake Sarasota that could become conduits between Bee Ridge and Proctor Road. Bee Ridge traffic is already so intense that the road fails to meet county standards, according to Joe O'Hara of the Bee Ridge Neighborhoods Committee.

Rees said a consultant is doing a traffic study. He also indicated that both the primary and secondary entrances to the apartments would open onto the Mauna Loa extension.

O'Hara stated that his group, which represents neighborhood associations along Bee Ridge east of I-75, wants to see the county dedicate tax monies to widen and landscape the Bee Ridge Corridor before it would support further development along the road.

Rees noted that the county might be more readily persuaded to devote dollars to the Bee Ridge Corridor if projects like his client's apartments supported it.

Which leads to a chicken-and-egg predicament: Bee Ridge Corridor improvement might benefit from the support of developers, but developers say neighborhoods first need to support their plans.

Many of the 40 or so residents at the workshop asked Rees to consider scaling back the complex -- reducing the density, and the height, of the structures. Rees said his client will be looking for ways to find common ground for compromise. If his client does consider any changes to the proposal, residents and those who attended the workshop will be notified, he added.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Apartment Complex Workshop Tuesday Hampton Inn

Below are the most recent Sarasota County land use maps for the Ansin parcels, which would be the site of the 330-unit apartment complex proposed for property on Mauna Loa north of Bee Ridge Road -- directly opposite Lake Sarasota's entrance.

A county Workshop on this proposed development will be held this Tuesday evening at the Hampton Inn, 5995 Cattleridge Rd., in the Roosevelt Room. It begins at 6p.m. It is imperative we have a strong showing for the first session.

Hopefully we will be able to learn what other potential plans might be coming down the pipe for this property and neighboring parcels. Click on the images for a larger size: