Showing posts from 2012

Lake Sarasota's Fantasy Beginnings

Lake Sarasota began as Sunshine Springs and Gardens, a kind of fairie world complete with water-skiing aqua-belles and aqua-beaux, and, yes, an aqua-elephant. There were swan boats, exotic plants, arching bridges, water-curtains and picnics. Here's a slide-show from that time, with thanks to Laura Blackman (better known to many as Laura Mathis), the former president of the Lake Sarasota Community Group:

More about the attraction from the 50's and "Florida's largest man-made lake" here.

Update on Signs and Meetings

Several Lake Sarasota residents met with county road managers and zoning and real estate specialists Tuesday to discuss the design, placement, costs, and maintenance of new Mauna Loa entrance signs.

The meeting was preliminary. In outline, Lake Sarasota folks indicated that the community would be agreeable to the removal of old walls and signage at Westminster and possibly at Wake (the wall there is apparently on a private easement), if some signage can be placed either at the Aberdeen Roundabout, or at the eastern end of Lake Sarasota to inform drivers coming from the East that they within the precincts of the Lake Sarasota community.

Those present from the County agreed in principal to pay for a monument-style sign at Mauna Loa and Bee Ridge Road, so long as Lake Sarasota assumes responsibility for maintenance of it, and to explore what kind of signage might be suitable, and where, for those approaching from the East.

Details all remain to be worked out as the planning for the widen…

Styles of Entrance Signs

A few sample entrance signs found via a Google search:

There's no assurance any of these will be affordable, feasible, or what we want. But if you did want to express a preference, the poll to the upper right will afford that opportunity for a few days.

Large turnout says "NO" to Developers

An unusually large number of Lake Sarasotans turned out Thursday evening to the quarterly Community Group meeting, and they made their feelings regarding a proposal for intensified development loud and clear: A straw vote was unanimously opposed to any enlargement of the "Park of Commerce" directly across from the main entrance to the neighborhood.

The group was also largely supportive of focusing on working with county planners to create a well-designed front entrance as Bee Ridge Road is widened. On a third topic, there was vocal opposition to expanding SCAT bus routes through Lake Sarasota, but some supported the idea. Most said they'd want to see clear evidence that buses would be needed and used by the community before agreeing to an expansion.

The meeting drew so many people that it was moved to a larger hall offered by Sarasota Alliance Church in the same building to accommodate everyone. 

The proposed enlargement of the commercial plan at the Park of Commerce site f…

Neighborhood Meeting to Address Front Entrance, Development, SCAT

The upcoming Lake Sarasota neighborhood meeting this Thursday, Dec. 13, is set to discuss these items:

The style of entrance we'd like after Bee Ridge Road is widened. A possible expansion of SCAT routes through the neighorhood A recent proposal to make the real estate development directly opposite our entrance on Bee Ridge Road larger and more intense.

On this last item, I attended the development review meeting this past Thursday about enlarging the commercial development. Here's a very brief recap:

TERRACAP’s Proposed Rezoning

A private group of Canadian investors (Terracap, a Canadian group that bought the land from Horton in 2011) is now asking the county to expand their original agreement, which was made in 1997, and which allowed for four (4) acres of commercial space on the Bee Ridge Park of Commerce (zoned PCD), opposite the front entrance to Lake Sarasota at Mauna Loa and Bee Ridge.They wish to rezone it to Commercial Neighborhood (CN) and develop a full  ten (10) acres.

Speculators buying up homes for rentals

According to one of our resident real estate folks, this group of speculators has purchased the home at the entrance of Lake Sarasota - on the right on Mauna Loa as one is exiting Lake Sarasota onto Bee Ridge:

The Blackstone Group and its partners have bought another 39 rental homes in Sarasota and Manatee counties. (Shutterstock photo) By  Published: Monday, December 3, 2012 at 1:01 p.m. Last Modified: Monday, December 3, 2012 at 1:01 p.m. During the past three weeks, the Blackstone Group and its partners have bought another 39 rental homes in Sarasota and Manatee counties. The company and its subsidiaries paid $3.5 million, or an average of $117,300 per house, for 31 houses in Sarasota. Blackstone and its partners paid another $1.65 million, or an average of $207,000 per house, for eight properties in Manatee, records show. That brings the total number of houses purchased in the two counties by Blackstone and its partners to 76 since the beginning of October. All the b…

Meeting Dec. 13 to discuss new developments

The Lake Sarasota Community Group - a volunteer group for the neighborhood - plans to meet on Thursday, Dec. 13th at 7 pm at Sarasota Alliance Church - the meeting rooms are in the building behind the church, which is at 7221 Bee Ridge Road, across from Chaucer.

Three items up for discussion address potentially significant changes to the area east of  I-75:

1. New Look for Front Entrance

The existing entrance to Lake Sarasota at Mauna Loa and Bee Ridge Rd. will be removed when Bee Ridge is widened, beginning a year from now. County planners working on the project wish to meet with representatives from Lake Sarasota to get a sense of what our community would like to see at that entrance after the project is complete. Walls? Fencing with landscaping? Signage?   We welcome ideas and want to know your thoughts. If you can't make the meeting, please share your input with us at
2. New Commerce

Several proposals for a new RaceTrac gas station and convenience store, …

Retail, drugstore, restaurant space proposed

In addition to the super-sized RaceTrac that is proposed at Mauna Loa and Bee Ridge Road, there are plans to build 100,000 square feet of retail space, and a drug store, and a restaurant.

Here's an image filed with the county that marks out the area for these proposals. All are directly north of the front entrance to Lake Sarasota at Mauna Loa and Bee Ridge:

RaceTrac planning large gas station at Lake Sarasota's Entrance

On Wednesday, November 7 several members of the Lake Sarasota Community Group and the Bee Ridge Neighborhoods Committee met with Tom Hardy, project manager of RaceTrac gas stations for Southwest Florida.

Mr. Hardy confirmed that the privately-owned RaceTrac Corp., which is based in Atlanta, is “rolling out aggressively” in Florida. Over the next few months the company plans to open 30 new gas stations around the state. While most Floridians are familiar with the current RaceTrac format, these 30 stores will use a new design sporting a substantially larger footprint.

An example of the current design is found on Fruitville Rd., just west of I-75. That station has a 5,000-square-foot footprint for its store. The new models will have a 6,000-square-foot floor plan.

New, Larger Format

The new stations will have 24 pumps, open 24 hours a day. The larger structure will enable RaceTrac to offer a broader variety of foods, including hot dogs, sodas, burritos, chicken parmesan, quesadillas, yogurt,…

October 2012 Crime Report

Here's Ted's breakdown of the October 2012 Sheriff's Dept. Crime report for Lake Sarasota:

Vandalism-2; Burglary-5; Theft-6 By street: 
Bikini             3 (thefts; 6407, 6408-2) Brentford       1 (burglary at 6920) Honolulu        1 (burglary at 4105) Java              1 (vandalism at 7214)  Lancaster      3 (1 vandalism at 4221, 2 burglaries at 4118, 4272) Lanai             1 (theft at 4203) Marlborough  1 (theft at 3916) Mauna Loa    1 (theft at 7271) Tarawa          1 (theft at 6585)

By Day of Week                  By Date Monday - 2                           4 - 1 Tuesday - 3                          7 - 1 Wednesday - 1                    12 - 1 Thursday - 1                        14 - 1 Friday - 2                             15 - 1 Saturday - 1                         22 - 1 Sunday - 2                           23 - 3               24- 1               26 - 1               27 - 1               31 - 1 By Time Reported: 2am    2-4am     4-6am    6-8am    8-10am    10am-   1…

Siesta Beach, Tree Workshop, Mobile Health, more


Welcome to the new Sarasota County Community Connections. Contact us if you have questions, ideas for articles, or feedback on the system, or just let us know how you like the new look, at Tree Advisory Committee seeks public input at Nov. 8 workshopTODAY: The Sarasota Tree Advisory Council will host the first-ever Tree Convocation public workshop from 3-5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, at Twin Lakes Park, 6700 Clark Road, Sarasota.Residents invited to view Siesta Beach Park improvement design on Nov. 13The design of the Siesta Beach Park improvements will be the subject of a public meeting Tuesday, Nov. 13, at St. Michael the Archangel Church, 5394 Midnight Pass Road on Siesta Key.

There will be no formal presentation at the open-house-style meeting so residents are invited to come anytime during the
5-7 p.m. event hosted by Sarasota County Public Works and Parks and Recreation.County government office closings for Veterans DayAll Sarasota County gover…

September Neighborhood Crime Analysis

The Sheriff's Dept. Crime Report for Sept., 2012 for Lake Sarasota.

Here's Ted's analysis:

The bad news is that crime is up--twelve incidents (three burglaries, eight thefts, and one juvenile disturbance).

The breakdown by street is as follows: Allan Drive (2 incidents--2 thefts; 3915 and 3920) Honolulu Drive (1 theft; 4035) Lancaster Drive (3 incidents--1 burglary,                                2 thefts; 4117, 4051, and 4043)  Marlborough Drive (1 incident--theft; 3123) Middlesex Place (1 incident-- juvenile disturbance) Palau Drive (3 incidents--2 burglaries, one theft; 4198, 4193, 4103) Rangi Drive (1 incident--theft; 7234)

By day of the week the breakdown is as follows: Mondays--  4 incidents Tuesdays-- 1 incident Fridays   --  3 incidents Saturdays-- 3 incidents Sundays  -- 1 incident

By date: Sept. 2  --  1 Sept .7  --  1 Sept. 10 -- 1 Sept. 14 -- 1 Sept. 17 -- 1 Sept. 21 -- 1 Sept. 22 -- 3 Sept. 24 -- 2 Sept. 25 -- 2

The breakdown by time of dayreported is: M-2am …