Thursday, March 28, 2013

Community Connections

Greetings!

Welcome to Sarasota County Community Connections. Contact us if you have questions, ideas for articles, or feedback on the system, at communityconnections@scgov.net. 
Clerk's business offices closed to the public March 29
FRIDAY: The Clerk of the Circuit Court's business offices at the Historic Courthouse in Sarasota and R.L. Anderson Administration Center in Venice will be closed to the public on Friday, March 29. Normal business hours will resume Monday, April 1.
Summer Camp registration begins 
MONDAY: Registration for Sarasota County Parks and Recreation summer camps begins Monday, April 1. Summer camp programs are offered over 11 weeks for children entering grades 1 through 10.
Join the 2013 Great American Cleanup
Keep Sarasota County Beautiful needs volunteers for the 2013 Great American Cleanup April 27. 
www.scgov.net wins 'Sunny Award' 
Sarasota County's website, www.scgov.net, has been named one of the most transparent government websites in the United States.
Free tax assistance from county libraries and AARP
Sarasota County libraries has partnered with the American Association of Retired Persons to offer free tax preparation assistance with 2012 returns.
Eleven new companies join the Green Business Partnership
Sarasota County's Green Business Partnership has added 11 new members to a community of companies that are demonstrating their commitment to a healthy environment for employees and the community at large.
Libraries get new website design
The Sarasota County Library System debuted its redesigned website on March 26. The site includes new contents and features and provides quick and easy access to information.  
CHAT holds community forum
The North Port Community Health Action Team (CHAT) will host the "Coming Together as a Community for Our Children" forum at the North Port City Hall Commission Chambers, 4970 City Hall Blvd., North Port, at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10. 
Library system shares cultural treasures
The Sarasota County Library System, through a partnership with The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, will offer several cultural and education programs in April. 
Celebrate Manasota Beach Park
Members of the Sarasota County Commission and the Friends of Sarasota County Parks are inviting the community to join them for a celebration of the newly improved Manasota Beach Park in Venice on April 3. C

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fun Ride, 2050 Plan, Clean-Up

March 21, 2013
Greetings!

Welcome to Sarasota County Community Connections. Contact us if you have questions, ideas for articles, or feedback on the system, at communityconnections@scgov.net. 
Take the 'Tour de Parks Fun Ride' 
SUNDAY: The 16-mile Tour de Parks Fun Ride on March 24 celebrates the fifth Anniversary of The Legacy Trail. 
County and state host workshop to address concerns about coyotes
MONDAY: Coyotes are found throughout Florida. On March 25, get information on strategies to co-exist with the species.
Help create a 'Healthy Sarasota'
Local health and fitness experts will highlight practical ways to achieve a healthy lifestyle during "Healthy Sarasota County 5-2-1-0: What it is and Ways to Use it." The free seminar takes place March 27 at the Sarasota County Administration Center. 
County seeks input on Sarasota 2050
Sarasota County wants your feedback on Sarasota 2050, a long-range, overlay component of the county's Comprehensive Plan. Provide feedback online at www.scgov.net, keyword search "Sarasota 2050."
Construction contracts awarded for River Road and Red Bug Slough
The Sarasota County Commission has awarded construction contracts totaling $2.7 million for resurfacing an approximately 5.3-mile section of River Road and restoration of Red Bug Slough Preserve. 
Join the 2013 Great American Cleanup
Keep Sarasota County Beautiful needs volunteers for the 2013 Great American Cleanup April 27. 
www.scgov.net wins 'Sunny Award' 
Sarasota County's website, www.scgov.net, has been named one of the most transparent government websites in the United States.
Free tax assistance from county libraries and AARP
Sarasota County libraries has partnered with the American Association of Retired Persons to offer free tax preparation assistance with 2012 returns.
Stay alert to wildfire risk
It is everyone's responsibility to keep a watchful eye on the threat of wildfires. Sarasota County Fire Operations Chief Michael Regnier offers these tips to stay safe.
Fine art exhibit ends at History Center 
An exhibit of fine art photography called "Florida in Context" wraps up Sunday, April 7, at the Sarasota County Visitor Information Center and History Center Museum. 
Clerk's business offices closed to the public March 29
The Clerk of the Circuit Court's business offices at the Historic Courthouse in Sarasota and R.L. Anderson Administration Center in Venice will be closed to the public on Friday, March 29. Normal business hours will resume Monday, April 1.
  

Saturday, March 16, 2013

County Grants Available


Got a neighborhood project you'd like to lead? You can get a grant from the County, but act soon -- there's a very short window for the next grant.



Two useful links:

Neighborhood Grant Program

Here's the schedule for upcoming workshops - some in the next few days, and they are required. This is very important since the application has to be submitted by mid-April (a full month before due date which is May 13, 2013)

Grants are awarded two times each year. You can apply for a grant every six months to continue a project... or new project. Funds available for total of 'all' projects = $99,000.

For Landscape projects the contact for help with the grant application is Annemarie Post at apost@scgov.net or 861-9815.

Thanks to Francine for the above info.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Notes from LSCG Meeting of 3.14.13

Quick notes from the March 14, 2013 LSCG meeting:

16 attending.

1. Treasury currently has $439.20. Minor expenses approved for copying documents, and for renewing the 501(c)4, and for joining CONA ($35).

2. A slate of officers was nominated to be the board for the new year beginning at the time the corporate status is renewed, in May.

3. We continue to work with the County on a style of sign and placement for Lake Sarasota after Bee Ridge is widened. Several styles are being considered by the County, which can be seen here. Those in attendance expressed a preference for the "Silver Lake" sign.

4. The group voted unanimously to join CONA Sarasota.

5. A meeting with the County is being scheduled to discuss the traffic impacts of a planned Racetrac. Racetrac says it is considering pausing its construction due to the Bee Ridge road widening.

6. A meeting with Zoning will be considered to express our community's wishes regarding CN zoning stipulations on the TerraCap property, if and when that rezoning petition moves forward. The group also plans to follow the petition as it moves through the approval process. It has not as of this writing been formally filed, as far as we know.

7. Ted provided a detailed report on all reported criminal incidents in 2012.
  • 103 incidents reported -
  • 27 burglaries
  • 55 thefts (auto and building) 
  • 21 acts of vandalism
  • The busiest crime days were on average the first, second, and 23rd of the month.
The full report can be seen here.


8. Sandy reported that real estate here is booming. Few houses for sale, fewer being rented than in the past.
$100 per square foot had been the norm, now it's up to $120-130, she said, and has moved up rapidly. She is seeing a lot of buyers from out of state, and new families moving in. Prices are still half of where they were before the market collapsed. She is seeing folks from the North buying now although they won't be retiring for several years. They are getting in while the market is still relatively low. Currently housing inventory is around 5 months.

9. The group will explore a relationship with a company that designs carts for recycling bins. If purchasers mention our neighborhood, the group could earn a little cash. More on this to come.

10. The county will hold an open house at Twin Lakes Park about the 2050 Plan, which charts future development East of I-75. Very informative if you can get there next Wed. between 5:30 and 7:30.

The next regularly scheduled meeting will be Thursday June 13, 7 pm. The group will call a special meeting if warranted.

Follow Lake Sarasota on Facebook and on Twitter.




Saturday, March 09, 2013

General LSCG Meeting Thursday

Lake Sarasota Community Group meets Thurs. March 14, 7 pm at Sarasota Alliance Church, 7221 Bee Ridge Rd., Room C106.



Design of 6,000 s.f. Racetrac Gas Station at BRPOC

Agenda


1. Treasury (Ellie)

2. Racetrac update (Tom)

3. TerraCap Update
a. PCD vs CN (Sandy, Francine and Arnis, Tom, and anyone else).
b. Options allowed by the process.
4. Security - Citizens Patrol, Sheriff's Report - (Ted)

5. Activities (Sandy)

6. Current State of the Real Estate market (Sandy)



Wednesday, March 06, 2013

TerraCap: Acceptable Businesses Under CN Zoning

The next regular meeting of the Lake Sarasota Community Group is Thursday, March 14th, 7 pm, Sarasota Alliance Church offices (behind the church).

It has been suggested that we in Lake Sarasota identify what we consider as "acceptable kinds of businesses" for the TerraCap development.

Why? Because if TerraCap's petition to rezone to CN is approved, a lot of what is now supposed to be medical use can become any of a wide variety of other uses, in some cases needing no approval from the county or the neighboring communities.

TerraCap at Mauna Loa and Bee Ridge Rd.

Sandy has compiled a very good comparison of potential uses in PCD zoning (the current designation), and those in CN (the designation TerraCap is seeking). (More here.)

In general, PCD is much broader - e.g., light industrial uses are permitted, so are loud activities such as shooting ranges -- which are not allowed under CN. CN also requires more buffering and landscaping. Gluttons for punishment can refer to the entire zoning code here.

The tricky part is, with PCD, the developer must file a plan with a binding concept - i.e., if he says a parcel is for a coffee shop, it must become a coffee shop. Under CN, a space can be labeled "Coffee Shop" and, if they can't find a suitable client,  end up as a bar. CN allows developers more flexibility within a narrower range of options.

What can we do? Tell the County we will accept the CN Rezoning if and only if TerraCap stipulates to a set of potential business types that we, as a community, agree are acceptable to Lake Sarasota.

The list we submit should have 10 or 12 business types. Here are the uses under PCD vs CN - one is a table, the other is a text version, both should have the same data, just arranged differently:

PCD vs CN - Text Version

PCD vs CN (both marked in yellow) - Chart Version

The meeting on the 14th will be an opportunity to discuss and to vote on a final list that we can use as the TerraCap rezoning process goes forward.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Summary of meeting with Racetrac

The Bee Ridge Neighborhoods Committee met with Racetrac this morning to discussion ways to mitigate impacts of the planned 24-pump Racetrac gas station that is planned for the Northeast corner of Bee Ridge Rd. at Mauna Loa Blvd.

Here are some highlights -- more detailed report will follow.

Racetrac representative Tom Hardy fielded questions from the Committee for an hour, then addressed questions specific to Lake Sarasota, as this is the nearest and most exposed community.

The top items:

1. The company is looking at possibly reducing the size of the store from 6,000 square feet to 5,200 square feet. This is a result of the realization that the station will be on a "tight site" within a cul de sac. The smaller store will have all the same amenities, including window counter with wifi and a beer cave, that the larger, 6,000 square foot stores have.




2. Because Bee Ridge Rd. is due for widening, Racetrac is now thinking to push back its construction start until the 4th quarter of this year at the earliest. Construction normally takes four months, so the earliest it would open is in the first or second quarter of 2014. They don't want to open the store only to have road construction blocking folks from getting to it, Hardy explained. (As of now, the widening of Bee Ridge Rd. cannot begin before October 2013, and will probably not be complete until late 2014 at the earliest.)

3. Hours of operation: All stores are corporate-owned and operated. The company will not entertain anything less than 24-hour a day, 7 day a week operation, nor will it reduce the number of pump stations to fewer than 24.

4. Signage: The main sign will be 8 feet tall, 60 square-foot monument sign, with the name of the company and regular and diesel gas prices in lettering 24" to 28" high. The Racetrac logo will be visible (but not illuminated) on the tall canopy over the pumps, Racetrac sign above the door, a window sign will advertise yogurt, and a coffee sign on the wall. The building itself will be 27 feet tall at its high point. No car wash.



5. There will be highway signage advertising the Racetrac station.

6. Volume of business: According to Hardy, stations of this kind average fuel sales of 10,000 gallons a day. Both regular and diesel fuel will be sold, but the tight configuration will discourage large semis from going there for gas, he added.

7. Landscaping: Will include a 30-foot-long hedge, and three trees per 100 feet, along with rocks and ground plants. Trees will include East Palatka Holly, Red Maples, and Royal Palms.

8. Offsite Mitigation: The company does not feel that its responsibility extends to helping a Lake Sarasota with building a wall, or adding vegetation to help mitigate impacts of light, noise, etc. along the south side of Bee Ridge Rd. Hardy suggested that the neighborhood might want to take up the issue of offsite mitigation with TerraCap BP, the developer of 200,000 square feet of retail and offices around the Racetrac. (The committee also recommended that Lake Sarasota might discuss mitigation on the south side of Bee Ridge with the County as part of the road widening.)
     Hardy also noted that the County is buying many homes along the south side of Bee Ridge Rd. to make room for the road widening, which should leave room for a dense buffer. Here's a recent image of the road plan (click to enlarge):

Aerial view of Bee Ridge Rd. and Mauna Loa

9. Alcohol: Beer and wine are sold, but none is allowed to be consumed in the store or on the Racetrac premises.

10. Community involvement: Racetrac gets involved in its communities, working with local schools, law enforcement, fire departments. "I feel like we're a great corporate citizen."

11. Crime: "Our stance is being open 24 hours a day actually deters crime...the crime rate at a certain store always reflects the community it's built in. Since we have such a nice community we're building in, we're probably not going to have those problems."

12. Deliveries: All regular deliveries to supply the store take place during normal business hours, between 8 a.m. and 5 pm. Large gas tanker trucks come to refuel when needed. Average a truck a day, usually but not always during normal business hours.

13. Access from Bee Ridge Rd: Obtaining a right in/right out access from Bee Ridge Rd. to the station (at a point 440 feet east of the light at Mauna Loa) is important to Racetrac's success, he said. If the only access were from the Mauna Loa intersection, it would present more of a problem for the station to serve so many customers. (TerraCap is seeking approval for this right in/out access as part of its rezoning petition).


Racetrac at Fruitville Rd.