By Diana Colson
- Community Reports – Sheriff’s Office
Since this was First Responder Appreciation Week, Sgt. Scott Osborne was acknowledged by SKA for his outstanding contribution to the community.
Once again, Sgt. Osborne was pleased to report that there had been no real crime trends. A couple of Kayaks had been stolen at the south end of the key, as well as a couple of bikes. He said that Bike Rental Places have been told to record the serial numbers of their bikes. Thieves go to condos, cut locks, and take the stolen bikes to a pawn shop, where they get only $30 for a $500 bike. Serial numbers are needed to recover these stolen bikes.
The new parking lot at Siesta Key Beach is expected to be open before Spring Break. Sgt. Osborne admitted that the current set-up of the lot is indeed confusing: it is still under construction. Hopefully the situation will improve once construction is completed.
Sgt. Osborne predicted that January and February would remain quiet. March and April present a totally different situation because of the influx of Spring Breakers.
There have recently been problems at Siesta Key Beach on Sunday evenings after the Drum Circle. Family groups leave when it gets dark, and lately new groups have started coming in for a Rave Party after the drum circle is over. 300-400 people have been heading for the upper deck of new building, which has a maximum occupancy of 137. Sgt. Osborne says, “We’ve been shutting the electricity off, but now people are bringing in their own generators. I can see this becoming a problem if we don’t address it right now.”
It is illegal to have a vehicle in the beach parking lot from midnight to 6am. However, people may legally park elsewhere and walk to the beach. Sarasota County Commissioner Alan Maio said he has been meeting with the director of Parks and Recreation to find the best way to handle this situation.
- Siesta Promenade: Status Update of Project.
The presentation was given by Todd M. Mathes, Director of Development, Henderson Developmental Company, LLC. The company is planning a 250,000 square foot shopping center at the northwest corner of Stickney Point and 41. This development would include a grocery, restaurants, shops, and at least one hotel. The buildings would all be single-story, except for the hotel – which would probably be four stories. Todd Mathes said that the company had not yet filed formal application. Traffic studies are still being examined. To date, all that has been done is to count cars.
Henderson Development Company hopes to break ground in the fall of 2015, planning first to complete the one-story section, and later to add the hotel, which would take approximately one year to build. They expect the entire project to be completed within three years (2018).
In the coming weeks, there will be many formal neighborhood workshops and public hearings concerning Siesta Promenade. When those are over, Henderson Developmental Company will file formal application. The procedure is this: first a draft of the application is sent to County Staff, a process which is expected to take 30-120 days. Once County Staff approves, it will be sent to the Planning Commission. Finally it will be sent on to the Sarasota County Commissioners for approval.
- Old Business
Catherine Luckner gave an update on the Big Pass Project. She said that the Department of Environmental Studies is going through significant changes. Some of their guidelines are shifting, and all this is happening in Tallahassee. Says Catherine: “We are learning whether or not people can take sand from one location and move it to another. The Army Corps of Engineers has to redefine what they are doing. They are significantly changing their approach to dealing with the groins on South Lido. They have not yet requested a permit to dredge any sand from anywhere and move it to any other place. Until the Army Corps completes this part of their re-design, they cannot apply for a permit. SKA cannot do a review until we have something to review.”
Commissioner Maio added that anyone with questions could send an e-mail to him at email@example.com. He will copy it to his assistant who will get that e-mail onto the right desk. It is also possible to call 941.861-5000 where a trained individual will help get you to the right person.
- New Business
The old Wastewater Treatment Plant is being decommissioned in 2016. The County will be looking at possible options for the use of that site.
A Craft Fair will be held in the Village on February 7th and 8th. Streets will not be blocked off as all displays will be on the sidewalks.
The next meeting will be held on February 5th, 2015. The SKA Annual Brunch will be held on March 7th in place of the March meeting.