Island Chatter

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By Diana Colson

Community Reports:

  •  Code Enforcement:

John Lally is still hard at work on illegal rentals.

  •  Beach Improvements Update: Brad Gaubatz, AIA LEED AP,  Facilities Manager, Public Works – Capital Projects for Sarasota County

The new parking lot at Siesta Key Public Beach is open. Now they are working on the west parking lots. The project is moving a little faster than expected, and 105 new spaces will be available for the Crystal Classic event in the middle of November. After February of 2015, the beautiful new facility will be open. Between November 2014 and February 2015, however, construction will be in the “awkward phase.” At the end, the flow and layout of parking will be greatly improved, and 140 new spaces will have been created. For the first time, Public Works is trying out pervious concrete in the space where the old tennis courts used to be. “We’ll see how it works,” said Mr. Gaubatz.  “It is quite a bit more expensive, but rain simply disappears on the surface.” (With hard concrete, the rain just bounces.) “The drainage system works on the west end of the parking lot, so we will not be changing that.” One additional entrance to the parking lot will be added, which should help with the flow of traffic.

New decks are being constructed at the new facility. They overlook the volleyball area and the view is spectacular! Concessions and restrooms will also be up on this observation level and tables will not permanent. No surveillance cameras are currently planned, but conduits have been installed in the event cameras need to be added.  Amber LED lighting will be installed, as all lighting in the park was dictated by the turtle codes. According to Mr. Gaubatz, “It was a delicate balance to provide safety for both people and turtles.”

  •  Questions/Public Comments:

What is the Homeless Policy?  This really is a question for the Sheriff’s Office. They were hoping for a new Homeless Facility in Sarasota County which to date has not happened. The Sheriff can’t take action unless a homeless person is breaking the law. If a person is camping on private property, the owners of that property have to make the complaint. Unfortunately, many owners live far away and are unaware of the situation. Once notified, however,  the Sheriff can say to the homeless person: “You can’t be on the property. It’s private property. If you come back, we will charge you with trespassing.” The Sheriff’s Office takes the position that it is important to not give homeless people handouts: it only encourages them to stay.

Poor condition of Bike Trails: Many are overgrown around Sanderling. Trees are growing out over the white line, and many of the branches are too low.  There is also crab grass growing out over the bike trail.

Truck Parking: Sheriff’s Department says that there is nothing in County Ordinances to prevent a truck from being parked in the village as long as it is moved every 72 hours. SKA is working with Siesta Key Village Association to put new ordinances in place to solve this problem.

  •  Committee Reports:

Environment —Catherine Luckner: Not much change. The county did approve funding for an independent study, and 7 firms are being considered, one of which will run the study. That decision will probably be made at the end of October.  SKA is open to dredging so long as it will not harm anything. Nothing will happen fast, as no monies are available until 2015 at the earliest.

Post Disaster Redevelopment Place: The County does not want this issue to come up until 2015, when they will bring other parts of the County into the plan. Catherine Luckner feels badly that Siesta Key does not yet have this plan in place. Many commissioners who have supported this plan will soon be leaving,

International Coastal Cleanup: Michael Shay reported that the last Cleanup went well in spite of rain. 20 volunteers showed up to pick up cigarette butts, water bottle caps, plastic covers for straws, etc.

Stand Up Paddleboards: Michael Shay emphasized that SKA is not against the sport:  “We are concerned for the safety of the swimmers on our lifeguarded beach. “ SKA takes the position that these Stand Up Paddleboards should not be allowed at beaches with lifeguards.

Happy Hour Proposal: Beverly Arian is heading up a proposal to create a gathering for SKA members. Last month, SKA discussed having a Happy Hour at a Restaurant and charging $5.  They are still looking for a place.

New Business: The next SKA Monthly Meeting will be Thursday, November 6th, at 4:30 pm.  Someone from the Florida Department of Transportation will be at this meeting to discuss the issue of ROUNDABOUTS on Siesta Key.

Siesta Sand
Author: Siesta Sand

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