Thursday, January 15, 2015

Squatters, Golf Cart Vandals featured in January Meeting

A good attendance at the special January meeting of the Lake Sarasota Community Group - largely due to the effectiveness of NEXTDOOR, the community communication tool that has shown itself to be quite useful. If you have not already signed up and you live in Lake Sarasota, go to

https://lakesarasota.nextdoor.com/

and so long as you live within the community, you will be welcome.

In brief:

1. Ellie says the Group's treasury amounts to $329, with $29 coming from contributions from participants in the last Garage Sale. (Good thing we're an all-volunteer organization).

2. The Next Community Garage Sale will be March 7.

3. Reports of teens on golf carts vandalizing property at the dead-end of Mauna Loa raised concerns. It is unclear how the golf carts are accessing Lake Sarasota, if in fact they are coming, as some have reported, from Bent Tree.

After some discussion, these solutions were suggested:

  • Resurrect Citizens Patrol and have one of its foci be the area at the end of Mauna Loa.
  • Install infra-red Trail Cameras that capture action without a flash and forward it immediately to a mobile phone. (A possibility for a County Grant?)
  • Urge the Sheriff to patrol the area.
4. Another issue: Squatters who take over abandoned houses. Apparently a few of these have been spotted recently. Squatters often use rental cars that change weekly; there are signs of drug sales; there has been evidence of domestic violence in at least one home.


Again, this is a job that alert residents can do something about: 
  • The addresses of known squatters' houses can be reported to Nextdoor.com
  • Criminal activty should also be reported to the Sheriff. 
  • An effort can be made to track down the property owner (or bank), who are usually unaware of the squatters.
  • Professional squatter-salesmen should be reported immediately to the authorities.
  • Such homes can contribute to area crime.
  • These homes can be ruined and affect the value of all the homes around them.

5. A Board was elected for 2015:

Bill P. - President
Francine B. - Vice President
Ellie H. - Treasurer
Heidi H. - Security
Joanna K. - Beautification
Tom M - Secretary


6.  Work on Bee Ridge might be retarded by Comcast, which has been slow to move its lines as required for the roadwork. On the positive side, the contractor has found a way to install a valve that will allow continuous water supply to Bee Ridge Neighborhoods.

No immediate project was chosen for a County Grant, but Black Flash Trail Cameras were suggested. Another option: planting more trees to block the light and noise from the Racetrac gas station.

7. The March 7th Garage Sale is in the capable hands of Joanna and her team. They will report back at the next LSCG meeting, March 12, Sarasota Alliance, 7 pm.


Thanks to all who came!


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