Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Letter to Sarasota County Neighborhood Services Re: Mowing

Latest update:
At today's meeting at Frutiville Library, Spencer Anderson of Public Works stated that four of the five Lake Sarasota locations listed by Public Works were not relevant and would be removed from the list. (The four were: Luzon Way, Hand Road, Lago St. and Mauna Loa Blvd.) 
The fifth location is one bit of turf near the end of Jarvis Rd. at 6268 Molokai. The County had been paying a contractor to mow it, and will cease, if the Commission approves the plan. A public hearing is Aug. 24, and anyone may speak. If approved, the new plan with fewer rights of way mowed by county contractors (especially in Sarasota Springs) will begin Oct. 1.

Update: Some clarification this afteroon from Public Works:
The target for our effort is the small amount of space between private properties and their adjacent local or residential roadways.  I've attached a draft exhibit illustrating these areas. In general most residents already maintain these areas, as is done in Lake Sarasota, but we do have a wide distribution of individual properties which do not which has led to the County employing contractors to perform very inefficient mowing services at a reasonably high cost.  The County would continue to maintain all collectors and arterials, medians within roadways where they exist, and right-of-way adjacent to undeveloped properties.  There will also be a proposed exception provision for significantly unusual conditions within the right-of-way that may be considered unreasonable for the adjacent property owner to maintain. 
We were also told that the medians on Mauna Loa would continue to be maintained by the County. 

A further update in response to a few more questions, accompanied by a map file.
I've attached a file with maps of the roads within Lake Sarasota outlining specific areas currently maintained by the county's mowing contracts.  Aside from one small area of right-of-way along Jarvis Road (see note on map), I do not anticipate your community will see any change to the level of service currently provided as the areas we currently maintain are either 1) adjacent to County property (Lago and Hand), 2) undeveloped right-of-way (Jarvis and Luzon), 3) a median (Mauna Loa-South), or 4) does not fit to the intended purpose (Mauna Loa-North).  
Hopefully this information further assists with your questions.  Honestly, I appreciate the inquiry as it shows we need to further refine our draft list of assets (roads, ponds, etc.) potentially affected by the proposed change.  The current published list is an initial review of assets by name which appear to be subject to the proposed change.  Further review is needed to ensure none of the assets are simple areas we would continue to maintain as you have brought to our attention.  
Again, thank you for the dialogue and please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

This morning we received last-minute notice via email from Sarasota County Neighborhood Services of a meeting to be held today. It seems the county will consider turning over mowing responsibilities to neighborhoods, as a cost-saving measure.

One news story, published today, is here.

We are seeking more information. Here's a letter we've just sent to Neighborhood Services:

Hello Miranda, Jane and Megan, 
Perhaps you've sent previous notices of meetings about making mowing the responsibility of communities. Today is the first we've heard about this, and the only meeting scheduled in North Sarasota takes place today, at Fruitville Library (see references below). 
Although your notice does not list potentially affected streets, we note that Mauna Loa Blvd. in Lake Sarasota is on the list published by Public Works. 
It's our sense that  
  1. The information is last-minute and incomplete, yet could affect the wallets of our homeowners. 
  2. We now must attend this meeting in order to understand what is being proposed.  
Perhaps you might offer some indication in advance of how this new arrangement would work. Would communities be required to find their own mowing contractors and make contracts? What about communities like ours that have no formal HOA? 
This is all rather sudden, and raises large questions that make it necessary to bring this to your attention. 
Please advise as we hope to get word to our community ASAP. 
Thank you.  

WTSP News Story
Mowing Notification with map
County Proposal - overview
Streets proposed for removal 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Have questions about gardening? Food? Pests?

Lake Sarasota residents with questions about plantings, gardens, bug control, mulching, growing food, native species, etc. may find a useful resource in IFAS Sarasota, the local branch of the state's extension service that offers a library and consultations to residents for agricultural and gardening needs.

From their site:

UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County is a partnership between Sarasota County, theUniversity of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), and theUSDA. Our mission is to translate research into community initiatives, classes, and volunteer opportunities related to our three program areas: food systems, water and environmental resources, and youth and community resource development. Part of the national Extension system founded in 1914, we provide practical education to build a better future. View a timeline of our history.
AddressUF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County
Twin Lakes Park, Green Building
6700 Clark Road
Sarasota, FL 34241
Office Hours8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday

Bee Ridge Update: Saturday work east of Wake

Crews to work Saturday, July 23, east of Wake Avenue.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Bee Ridge Update - median landscaping and more

Gator warming

An alligator is blamed for the death of a medium-size dog around July 4th at Lakeview Park. Though there were no witnesses, some disc golfers were out playing in the afternoon with their dog, a sort of medium-size ridgeback, when it disappeared. The man returned later with a kayak and found the dog floating in the lake. Dog owners and parents are advised to be very careful - keep dogs on leash near Lake Sarasota.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Updates from the County

Dear Lake,
Welcome to Sarasota County's community e-newsletter. If you have questions, ideas for articles, or feedback relating to this newsletter, contact us atcommunications@scgov.net
Get ready to discover your superpowers this July with Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources and the National Recreation and Park Association. Check out the Friends of Sarasota County Parks as well!
Sarasota County Health and Human Services is continuing to recruit a team of volunteers to manage and run Volunteer Reception Centers during a time of disaster.
Keep your home looking spiffy by taking part in the Pinecraft/Sarasota Springs and Southgate Community Cleanup, 8 a.m. - noon,  Saturday, July 16.
Sarasota County's Health in Motion staff will provide free and low-cost public health services during July.

About Us
Sarasota County Government 
1660 Ringling Blvd., 
Sarasota, Florida 34236 
TTY: 7-1-1 or 1-800-955-8771

Sarasota County prohibits discrimination in all services, programs or activities. View the complete policy at https://www.scgov.net/ADA/Pages/default.aspx.
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Friday, July 01, 2016

Bee Ridge: Trees going in median - no work July 4

Drivers advised to exercise caution as landscaping crews will be installing trees in the median in the coming week.