Sunday, June 27, 2010

Culled from Community Connections

Community Connections 
is a very nicely done electronic newsletter that goes out weekly. Oddly, the County does not post it on a blog or site where one could link to it. If you wish to sign up to receive it, go here.

Here are excerpts of this week's mailing:

County partners with EPA's WaterSense program 

Sarasota County has joined with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) WaterSense program to help consumers save water for future generations and reduce
utility bill costs.
WaterSense reduces indoor and outdoor water use through water-efficient products and simple water-saving practices. The program encourages customers to look for WaterSense labeled products, which have been independently certified for efficiency and performance, and promotes water-saving techniques that reduce stress on water systems and the environment.


Mobile health services offered at 15 county sites in July   

Blood pressure screeningThe Sarasota County Health Department's Health In Motion Mobile Medical Unit will travel to 15 sites in Sarasota County during July. (MORE)


Facing Foreclosure?
Join a community conversation with Chief Judge Lee Haworth and a panel of experts about the housing crisis, Thursday, July 1 at Selby Library. Click here for additional information. (MORE)


National Night Out
National Night Out logo2010 National Night Out Against Crime is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 3 from 6-9 p.m. at Payne Park in Sarasota. (MORE) 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lakeview Park Clean-Up - This Coming Sunday Morning

This Sunday the Sky Pilots -- the Disc Golf club -- will be in Lakeview Park doing some trimming and tidying up of the park areas. Those who have been out there recently will have noticed that while the canals seem less clogged with duckweed, there are some "issues": trees have fallen, air potatoes are on the rebound, among other things.

If you have a few hours, they'll be in the park from 9 a.m. to noon, Sunday, June 27. If you do come out, bring some clippers, gloves, a garbage bag, and if you let a club member know you're there and working, you'll probably get invited to a picnic lunch at the pavilion, and maybe to a game of disc golf afterwards.

July 24th is the Lake Sarasota Community Cleanup

Saturday, July 24, 2010, 8 – 2:30 p.m.

Bring your discarded household items, yard waste,
tree trimmings, junk & any other garbage or refuse.
Free dumpsters will be available for your
convenience at the following locations:
Tora Place and Brentford Road (NW Corner—by the Fire House)
Tires and appliances will be accepted at this site only


7100 Lago Street (front of the dog park)
Hazardous materials, autoparts, electronics, TV’s and computers WILL NOT BE
accepted at either location.
Sponsored by Sarasota County , Planning & Development Services/Code Enforcement.
For more information, please call 861-6403

Hazardous waste may taken to
8750 Bee Ridge Road,
Wednesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.mee Ridge Road,
Wednesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m
PDSBC—Code Enforcement
1301 Cattleman Road, Bldg. A
Sarasota, FL 34241
Community Clean-Up

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Natural Sarasota

Interested in parks and recreation in Sarasota County? Check out and bookmark Discover Natural Sarasota County - a superb site full of rich information on the embarrassment of riches in Sarasota.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Brief Update on Fruitville Comp Plan Amendment

The Sarasota county commission voted unanimously today to continue a public hearing regarding creating a special planning area for the eastern quadrants of I-75 at Fruitville road until July 14. (For more on this, click here.)

The commissioners heard from residents, attorneys and their own staff and after four hours decided unanimously to put off until then a final vote on the proposal, thus giving residents, planners and representatives of the land owners time to address some of the key questions that came up. These include concerns that the amendment would open up the way for harsher impacts on the neighborhood's roads, rural nature, wildlife, and tranquility.

We'll continue to follow developments, and will soon post a more detailed look at some aspects of this very interesting effort to bring disparate interests into dialog.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

More enlightened development, or just more development? A Test Case

Next Tuesday, the Sarasota County Commission will vote on whether to go forward with a planning change or to put it on hold. Here's why we're watching it.

The land in question consists of 325 acres, the north and south quadrants to the east of I-75 at Fruitville Road. Six substantial property owners currently have rights to develop their holdings into whatever might fit the definition of "Major Employment Center." To effect these changes, north-south roads would connect this area -- some of it bordering the lovely, quiet residential neighborhoods on and off of Richardson Road -- to Lakewood Ranch to the north.

There are two reasons for non-residents to be interested: First, thanks to active citizen organizing, those at a meeting of the Fruitville 210 Community Alliance Tuesday night got to hear from and respond to representatives of both sides, in advance of the County Commission's vote next Tuesday. Second, the county's decision involves amending its Comprehensive Plan in a way that will encourage the property owners to cooperatively innovate -- i.e., to find ways to be economically productive, clean, aesthetically pleasing, and sensitive to the priorities of the residents most affected.

At the Alliance on this Tuesday evening, the question came down to whether the Comp Plan amendment, which proposes to create an overlay called a "Special Planning Area," would result in wiser, more coherent planning that benefits from citizen and neighborhood input, or instead, as attorney Dan Lobeck argued, whether it would open the door to a level of development densities and intensities beyond anything allowed by the existing Comprehensive Plan.

Many present expressed concern that Lobeck was right: that the amendment would result in a harsher impact upon the existing residents. But some seemed willing to listen to engineer Stephen Suau and planning consultant Anne Merrill, who both said the special planning area designation could result in a unified design that would bring clean, high-tech jobs to the area, and possibly even offer an example of a new form of highway quadrant design -- both smart and sensitive.

We'll follow to see whether open dialog at the grassroots level can help both to inform citizens and to facilitate consensus on relatively complex land use decisions. What's more, if the county commission approves the change, we'll want to see how well it fulfills the underlying claim that empowering developers need not lead to ugly over-development, but rather to more enlightened development.

The County Commission is set to vote on the proposed amendment on Tuesday, June 22, at 1:30 p.m.

A copy of proposed policies that would be binding on the developers can be found here.

Monday, June 14, 2010

County seeks input on Benderson Park

Questions about Benderson Park? That's the park where the racing regattas took place this spring - plans call for the raceway to be expanded. Here's an opportunity to be informed on what could be a major economic attractor for the area:

Nathan Benderson Park public meeting scheduled

Benderson Park
Benderson Park
Sarasota County and Benderson Development will host a public meeting to provide background information on Nathan Benderson Park and seek public input on the park concept plan.
Date: Thursday, June 24, 2010
Time: 6 p.m.

Place: Meadows Community Association,
         2004 Longmeadow, Sarasota
For a map and more information, click here.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Emergency Recovery Chief Speaks

Scott Montgomery Recovery Chief Sarasota Emergency Management spoke to the Lake Sarasota Community Group on June 10th.

His EOC responsibilities are, in the event of a disaster:
  • set up points of neigh distribution - free water, mre's blue tarps.
  • damage assessment
  • preparedness

On the Oil spill - "lots of rumors going around"

Only report of oil reaching Florida coast so far is in Pensacola 

Oil plume is 200 miles from St. Pete, 250 miles from Sarasota's shoreline. 

Current projections: the giant oil is moving south and away from us.

If BP were to abandon the recovery effort, the county has a contingency plan and response organizational chart.

Florida beaches are open. If oil reaches us, it will be weathered, i.e., tar balls or patties, not a sheen.

We are in a "forbidden zone" which means, currents don't naturally push things to our shore.

Emergency Management Plans for Hurricanes

Every county has an emergency mgmt plan

Public Safety Advisory Group

Policy Group - the key agencies and cities and town.

Hurricanes: The prognosis is not good.

We're looking at an active season
  • 14-23 named storms
  • of which, 8-14 hurricanes
  • of which, 3 to 7 intense hurricanes.

El Nino warms the Pacific - winds blow from the west - pushes hurricanes canes away
Now it's gone away - things are in a neutral state
The Atlantic is a bit warmer than usual, suggesting a more active season.

Be prepared. One way is to familiarize yourself with the county's online resources (see also links to weather and storm info on right).

The County has a Disaster planning CD - plan pre-during-after storm. 

we have about 206 neighborhoods that have completed their disaster plans

5 are pet friendly - dogs and cats only, no snakes, etc.
The county doesn't open all 38 at once - it open some, then more as necessary, depending on location of storm, etc.

Neighborhood Preparedness Program - Neighborhoods can sign up to hear five talks about all aspects of preparedness, of which tonight's talk by Scott was one.

All Hazards brochure.

Be prepared for 7 days.

Things to have on hand:
  • cash
  • prescriptions
  • gas
  • food
  • water

Emergency kit:

  • first aid
  • water 1 gal. per person per day
  • foods
  • batteries
  • non electric can opener
  • flashlights wi/batteries
  • mosquto repellent 
  • fire extinguisher
  • instant tire sealers
  • whistle and distress flag
  • 2 coolers (1 food/1 ice)
  • flashlights with batteries
All Hazards Emergency Car Kit

NOAA radio is recommended.

After a disaster, if you're ok, put a green ribbon on your door.

If you're going to evacuate, tell your neighbors your plan - where you plan to evacuate to.

Means of Communication after a catastrophic event:
ham operators
walkie talkies

Scott also gave several Handouts, which can be obtained from the county:

2010 Hurricane Guide

Home Safety Planner

Homeowner's insurance

FEMA - individual insurance 

Scott can return to talk about individual assistance plans.

HIghlights of June Meeting

Welcome to the new faces at our June meeting!

Sarasota County Emergency Recovery Chief Scott Montgomery provided an overview of the oil spill, and helpful hurricane preparedness information. This will be posted separately (link pending).

Meeting Highlights:

Treasury: $790.89 total - no outstanding bills

Three new Yards of the Month were selected - you'll be hearing from Renee.

Sheriff's Report: There was an uptick in incidents in May, from 7 in April to 11. Two on Jarvis, one on Brentford. Most occurred during the afternoons, and a number of break-ins took place on May 17th, suggesting these may be related incidents.

Citizens Patrol: Ted indicated he's looking for volunteers for the rest of June and the first week of July. He can be reached at , or 379-0758. Citizens Patrol is a proven way to keep neighborhoods crime free. A resident whose home was burglarized on Wake Ave. urged everyone to look out not only for their own homes, but for those of their neighbors. If you seen an open shed or gate, do something about it.

Richard Fischer property (some background here): The matter is pretty much where it was left last time. Mr. Fischer might return in July to update us. One resident suggested that it could become a "solar park" that would generate electricity. One question is, given the proximity to I-75, is there not reason to think the Florida Department of Transportation would be interested in what becomes of the land?



Sandy announced that 1200 business directories were distributed - she has a few left if your house did not get one.

Sandy also presented a set of dates for future events:

June 17 - social at the alehouse from 7 to 9 pm

July 8 - county may be at LSCG meeting to talk about park

July 17 - potluck at park, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Neighborhood Clean-up with dumpsters is Saturday, July 24.

Aug. 12 free pizza

Sept 9 LSCG meeting: lady from consumer credit - foreclsore prevention

Oct. 14 LSCG meeting: spaghetti - credit counseling class

Nov. 6 - Next Community garage sale

Nov. 11 LSCG meeting: class on identity theft

Dec. 9 LSCG meeting: walmart gift card, maybe pot luck

Dec. 18th - Santa (tentative)

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

LSCG Meets this Thursday

The next General Meeting of the LSCG is this Thursday, June 10, at 7 p.m. at Sarasota Alliance Church.

Special feature:
  • Hurricane Preparedness Seminar presented by Sarasota County. All facets of preparation, from Family Disaster Planning to evacuation strategies.

So far, the regular agenda includes:
  • Treasury Report
  • Sheriff's Report, Citizens Patrol
  • Beautification
  • Yard of the Month

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Oil Spill Update from County Emergency Services

Good Morning,

Due to a shift in winds, tar patties and tar balls have begun impacting some panhandle counties.  Cleanup is ongoing.

The State EOC is now at a Level 1 (Full) Activation.  Hours will be 0700-1900 each day.

As this event progresses, there may be an increased number or recon flights flying off of our shores.  

At this time there are still no projected impacts for SW FL over the next 72 hours (see NOAA trajectory link below).

New Health Information and Advisories page added. Information on potential health impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Primary Deepwater Horizon Response Website:

USCG Sector St. Pete Area Contingency Plan:

Florida SERT Natural Resource Damage Assessment:

Phone for the Joint Information Center at Sector St. Pete Unified Command: (727) 820-3714. 

Image from Friday, June 4, 2010. County EOC says the indication is the oil is more than 160 miles from Sarasota's  coastline.