Thursday, April 24, 2014

Free SCAT Friday, Free Play at Payne, Free Classes...more County updates



Welcome to Sarasota County's community e-newsletter. If you have questions, ideas for articles, or feedback on the system, contact us at pubcom@scgov.net.   
FRIDAY: Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) is holding its annual "Try Transit Day" Friday, April 25 , from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Payne Park in downtown Sarasota. The event, which will feature prizes, giveaways, a food truck and special exhibits, is free and open to the public. As part of the celebration, all day April 25, SCAT will waive all fares for the fixed-route service. All riders on fixed routes, including the Express routes, ride free.
FRIDAY: Sarasota County is hosting a "Free Play Day" at Payne Park Tennis Center, 2050 Adams Lane, Sarasota on Friday, April 25. From 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. all 12 clay courts, ball machines, instructional clinics and activities are free.
FRIDAY: Sarasota County, UF/IFAS Extension, FPL, and the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program are celebrating Arbor Day 2014 with two free educational events at the Sarasota County UF/IFAS Extension office at Twin Lakes Park, 6700 Clark Road, Sarasota.
SATURDAY: The 2014 Veterans "Stand Down" event, which connects veterans to vital services, will take place from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 26, at the William L. Little Health and Human Services Center (Health Department), 2200 Ringling Blvd. in Sarasota. Additional services will be offered at the Payne Park Auditorium, a short walk away. Veterans should bring their ID (VA card or DD-214 form), if available.
SATURDAY: In recognition of Earth Day, Sarasota County's Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Chapter will walk Siesta Key Beach picking up litter from cigarettes and other tobacco products on Saturday, April 26, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
SATURDAY: The Kentucky Military Institute will be honored during a historical dedication ceremony Saturday, April 26, at 3 p.m. at Centennial Park in Venice.
The 20th annual National Infant Immunization Week reminds parents that keeping children safe and healthy includes protecting them from 14 serious diseases before age 2.
The Sarasota Office of Housing and Community Development is offering zero-percent deferred loans for home repairs on owner-occupied homes throughout Sarasota County.
Local public health and school officials urge high school seniors to get their immunizations updated before they graduate in early June. The vaccines are available for free at the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County (DOH-Sarasota) clinics in Sarasota and North Port.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Letter to developers regarding Covenant

A letter requesting the developer of the Bee Ridge Park of Commerce was sent to the developer, TerraCap Management, to its agents, Peter Dailey and Richard M. Fischer, and to several members of the County's planning staff.

The letter asks that the BRPOC voluntarily sign a binding agreement, or Covenant, stipulating that they will not allow adult entertainment, shooting ranges, or other uses that could degrade or otherwise harm the property values and / or relative tranquility long enjoyed by residents of Lake Sarasota and other communities along the Bee Ridge Corridor. The uses identified as objectionable were determined through neighborhood polls.

A copy of the letter is here, or here. If neither link works for you, you can request a copy by writing to LakeSarasota@gmail.com.

The developers are seeking Sarasota County's approval to rezone a portion of their 40-acre site to Commercial Neighborhood. They come before the Board of County Commissioners at a hearing on May 21st. Related story here.

Rezoning portion of BRPOC

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Candidate to make second visit to Lake Sarasota

County Commission candidate Lourdes Ramirez will be back doing a second walking tour of Lake Sarasota this Friday, April 25th. She was in the community on April 14th and met a number of residents.

She plans to walk several streets east of Mauna Loa Blvd (Palau, Friendship, Lancaster, Westminster Drives). If time remains, she'll walk further east to Berkshire.

If you see a car with her nameplate, stop and say hello.

If you wish to sign a petition to get Lourdes Ramirez on the ballot, you can download a petition form here and mail it in. Deadline is May 9th.




Monday, April 14, 2014

Candidate to visit Lake Sarasota

County Commission candidate Lourdes Ramirez will visit Lake Sarasota Wednesday afternoon, April 16th.

Ms. Ramirez, a Republican, is the first candidate to come to the neighborhood this campaign season, and the visit is on her own initiative. She is president of the Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations, or CONA. Her candidate page is here.

One key issue of this year's County Commission campaign concerns the "2050 Plan" -- the County's directives for new development east of I-75.

The position of CONA is that new development should pay for itself. From CONA's home page:
NO new taxes for current county residents, especially to pay for new development.
Ramirez will be meeting residents of Lake Sarasota on Wednesday afternoon. Look for her car (with name signs) on Mauna Loa Blvd as well as other neighborhood roads. More about Ramirez and this year's issues herehere, and here.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Covenanting with the developers of the BRPOC

At a Planning Commission hearing on April 3, the agents for TerraCap, the owner of the Bee Ridge Park of Commerce, were directed by the Commissioners to work with nearby residents to establish an understanding of what the neighborhoods would consider friendly and welcome uses for the commercial spaces.

On May 21, the County Commission will be asked to approve the rezoning of the Bee Ridge Park of Commerce. About 7 acres of the 40-acre site will be converted from PCD to CN zoning. The rest remains PCD.

As the above link shows, PCD allows a very wide range of uses, from clubs to liquor stores to gun and archery ranges. Even under the narrower CN zoning, the range includes several uses that Lake Sarasota and other area residents cited as objectionable. These included:
  • Stormwater facility in different zoning district than principal use
  • Clubs & lodges
  • Day Care
  • Bars
  • Boarding House
  • Entertainment Outdoors
  • Animal Hospital
On April 3, TerraCap agents Richard Fischer and Peter Dailey were instructed by Planning Commssioners to work with nearby neighborhoods. If neighbors feel there are uses that could prove harmful to their values -- whether of lifestyle or of property -- they now have an opportunity to seek to work with the agents prior to the May 21 hearing.

There are recent local precedents for this. Neighborhoods worked with the Publix shopping center at the Bee Ridge Extension to limit undesirable or nuisance uses. They drew up a a set of Covenants signed by all parties. A facsimile of that set of covenants is here - see in particular the development restrictions on p. 2 and the land use restrictions on p. 3-4. Of special interest may be the article Under Land Use Restrictions B.2, where the developer agreed to not have
liquor stores, adult entertainment, bar/tavern, extreme sports, movie theater, animal hospital or veterinary clinic, and more.
Some idea of what the Bee Ridge Commercial area might turn out to look like can be gathered from a statement Mr. Fischer made at the Planning Commission hearing. He said he was the developer of CattleRidge at the northeast corner of Cattlemen Rd. and Bee Ridge, just west of I-75. That site will be familiar to folks who have been to the Sarasota Ale House, Joey D's, the Hampton Inn or any other of the 13 businesses there. The Bee Ridge Park of Commerce could be similar, he said.




Wednesday, April 09, 2014

County will continue to have Spine for now

A public hearing on the fate of Spine Road resumed Wednesday, April 9. The head of County Transportation presented the County Commission with a detailed history showing that Spine Rd. was originally put in the County Comprehensive Plan in 1989, but as a straight line that, if built, would have run through existing homes, he said.

Spine Rd. was removed in 1992 from the plan, but it was later realigned and put back into the Comp Plan by a 4-1 vote of the 1996 County Commission. The Transportation Dept. feels the road is buildable and will be needed in the future, and recommended the County take no action to remove it. The developers of the Bee Ridge Park of Commerce (BRPOC) had requested the removal, prompting the hearing.

The Board took no action Wednesday, but may revisit the issue on May 21, at a final hearing on a proposed rezoning of the BRPOC.

Jonathan Paul went on to say that the concerns expressed by community residents of Lake Sarasota had some justification.

"I've driven it; their concerns are legitimate."

When connector roads are built, it's necessary to make sure residential communities are not negatively affected. Residents had asked the County to make sure Mauna Loa Blvd. south of Bee Ridge would not be re-classified to a major connector, as that would intensify traffic through the neighborhood, where children are always playing, and where people are walking or riding bicycles. 

"We have no intention of converting any portion of Mauna Loa Blvd or any road south of Bee Ridge into any high order road," he said. "Based on land use pattern today, [Lake Sarasota] is essentially built out,"

In the coming months, the County will hold a series of workshops or hearings on future plans for roads east of I-75 at which concerns of residents can be addressed, he added. Residents of Lake Sarasota, for example, could request that Mauna Loa Blvd. south of Bee Ridge be given a status that would further discourage pass-through traffic. It’s inappropriate to see it as a continuation of an artery, he added.

"If the board directs us, we can require further analysis to make sure there's no impact south of Bee Ridge."

At a hearing on May 21, 9 a.m., the developers will seek final approval to rezone a portion of the BRPOC to Community Neighborhood. At that hearing, they will likely again raise the issue of Spine Road, which they wish to remove in order to accommodate road access to the future Racetrac gas station planned for their site, opposite the main entrance to Lake Sarasota. The Transportation Dept. has opposed the a median cut in N. Mauna Loa because it could create danger points for traffic.

Interestingly, Spine Road at the hearing was called "North Mauna Loa Boulevard." Should it perhaps be given another name?

County updates



Welcome to Sarasota County's community e-newsletter. If you have questions, ideas for articles, or feedback on the system, contact us at pubcom@scgov.net.   
SARASOTA: Sarasota County government provides essential services that the public relies on every day. Find out more from the staff of many Sarasota County departments at Gulf Gate Library in the Westfield Sarasota Square Mall on Saturday, April 12, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sarasota County libraries and the American Association of Retired Persons are offering free assistance with the preparation of 2013 tax returns throughApril 15
Sarasota County has been selected by the United Nations Environment Programme's Regional Office for North America (UNEP RONA) as the official North American host community for World Environment Day (WED) 2014. 
Your input will be taken into consideration leading to a possible amendment of the Air and Sound Pollution Ordinance No. 94-038 to allow for recreational warming fires on private properties. Enter your feedback in an online survey available on the county's website through Monday, April 21
Sarasota County and the city of North Port have begun an international campaign seeking prospective long-term vendors to operate and/or develop Warm Mineral Springs in North Port.
The Sarasota Office of Housing and Community Development is offering zero-percent deferred loans for home repairs on owner-occupied homes throughout Sarasota County.
National Library Week is April 11-18. Celebrate 
The national 2014 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps tool, released by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, addresses physical environments; social and economic factors; health behaviors, and access to clinical care.
Actress Janet Davies, of Sarasota and New York, will portray Emily Dickinson in "The Belle of Amherst" at the North Port Library, 13800 S. Tamiami Trail in North Port, Wednesday, April 16, at 6 p.m.
Real estate agents, landlords, property managers, architects, multifamily complex builders, permitting officials and all community members are invited to attend one of two free Fair Housing seminars Thursday, April 24.
The Venice Community Center, along with its partners, is offering a progressive dinner event Friday, April 25, starting at 6 p.m. for $40. 
About Us
Sarasota County Government 
1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, Florida 34236 

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Planning Commission OKs Re-zoning portion of Bee Ridge Park of Commerce to CN

The Sarasota County Planning Commission voted 6-1 to forward the re-zoning petition for the Bee Ridge Park of Commerce to the County Commission. That is, the Planning Commissioners, after about an hour of probing discussion and remarks from nearby neighborhoods, agreed to give Mr. Peter Dailey and Richard Fischer the right to convert 6.9 acres of the Park of Commerce -- adjacent to the north and east of the Racetrac parcel - to Commercial Neighborhood.

In a separate ruling, they allowed the agents to expand from CN's usual limit of 20,000 square feet to 37,000 square feet for one building, without committing to specific uses for it, or for two other parcels.

In return, Dailey and Fischer on behalf of TerraCap agreed to honor a 50' setback buffer along Bee Ridge Rd. The CN designation does not require that large a buffer, but it was already built into the plan and will remain intact.

Commissioner John Burrus cast the only dissenting vote, stating that the absence of specifics for parts of the 6.9 acre parcel, which could include restaurants or other retail and office space, was troubling. The whole matter of adequate parking was left in limbo, for example.

The Planning Commission also ok'd a right in/right out access point into the BRPOC from Bee Ridge, about 460' east of the Mauna Loa intersection.

Remarks to report the results of a neighborhood poll were submitted both orally and in writing, and can be read here.

Dailey and Fischer will next go before the County Commission seeking final approval for their rezoning.

A poll of Lake Sarasota residents done both online and via email found that many opposed what they would view as nuisances: noisy and unattractive outdoor sales, bars, liquor stores, boarding houses, clubs and lodges, and similar uses allowed under CN zoning.

Fischer and Dailey were instructed by the Planning Commissioners to work closely with Lake Sarasota and other Bee Ridge communities to find uses within the CN zoning that will be compatible with the desires of residents.


New bidding system, authors, library week, more: County Update



Welcome to Sarasota County's community e-newsletter. If you have questions, ideas for articles, or feedback on the system, contact us at pubcom@scgov.net.   
Sarasota County libraries and the American Association of Retired Persons are offering free assistance with the preparation of 2013 tax returns throughApril 15
Sarasota County has announced a new partnership with BidSync, a company that develops cloud-based procurement solutions for the public sector. The move marks an expansion by Sarasota County into electronic procurement, which began in 2011 with a system called "eProcure" that allows electronic filing and tracking of bids, requests for proposals and invitations for quotes.
In collaboration with the Asolo Repertory Theater's production of "The Grapes of Wrath," National Steinbeck Center playwright Octavio Solis will speak at the Selby Library on Monday, April 7, at 10:30 a.m. in the Geldbart Auditorium. 
National Library Week is April 11-18. Celebrate 
The national 2014 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps tool, released by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, addresses physical environments; social and economic factors; health behaviors, and access to clinical care.
Real estate agents, landlords, property managers, architects, multifamily complex builders, permitting officials and all community members are invited to attend one of two free Fair Housing seminars Thursday, April 24.
The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) has named Sarasota County a "Healthy Weight Community Champion," for its efforts to increase physical activity and improve nutrition. 
The Venice Community Center, along with its partners, is offering a progressive dinner event Friday, April 25, starting at 6 p.m. for $40. 
About Us
Sarasota County Government 
1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, Florida 34236