Island Chatter

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SKA Meeting Notes
By Diana Colson


 SHERIFF’S OFFICE, SIESTA KEY:  Lieutenant Debra Kaspar reviewed recent events on the island.

  • A number of deputies worked hard on Siesta Key during Spring Break to keep visitors and local citizens safe. There were a couple of incidents involving Aggravated Batteries. In all but one case the suspects were arrested. We have one ongoing open investigation with an identified suspect.
  • We have had a number of reports in which children were separated from their parents at the beach. With observant lifeguards and deputies on horseback or ATV, we are quickly able to locate the juvenile and re-unite the family.
  • We have had several arrests concerning possession of alcohol by a minor, mainly occurring at the public beach.
  • The Sheriff’s Office asks our beach visitors to obey all posted signs that relate to parking. Our local residents would really appreciate that.

SIESTA KEY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: Debra Lynn-Schmitz, the new Executive Director, was introduced.  

POST DISASTER REDEVELOPMENT PLANNING (PDRP): HOUSING AND REBUILDING: Key speaker was Laird S. Wreford, Sarasota County Coastal Resources Manager.  He and his team were here to explain the intricacies of the plan.

  • A PDRP identifies policies, operational strategies and decisions that affect long term recovery and redevelopment after a disaster
  • The county has developed a PDRP so as to place us in a better position in the event of a disaster.
  • Over 2/3 of Sarasota County’s Gulf shorelines are critically eroded shorelines, and would be potentially affected by storm
    surge. The challenge is to have a well developed PDRP plan in place before disaster happens.
  • It is essential to make proactive decisions with community input, instead of reactive decisions in the midst of panic and chaos. This will avoid unintended consequences.
  • Public outreach is a major component. It is an issue fraught with legal, political, social and economic issues. Communication is the key!
  • Following a natural disaster, the aim is to get people back to work again, get kids back to school, and get tourism churning.
  • It is important to develop a level of certainty for the issue of rebuilding. This is a very complex issue. The Florida building code trumps our PDRP: whatever they dictate will be the law. Decisions should be made to the largest degree possible before a disaster occurs.
  • Some sort of rapid/streamlined permitting process needs to be established. i.e.: assisting residents with updated records and requesting assistance from out-of-area inspectors.
  • This plan is absolutely considered a work-in-progress. It will be an evolutionary kind of plan, updated as needed.
  • PDRP is a long term recovery plan.  Emergency Management has a short term recovery plan which has been in place for years. So does the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
  • Two public workshops pm Sarasota’s PDRP are being held the end of April.
  • A copy of the PDRP is available at Click the link to services A-Z, and select “Post Disaster Redevelopment Plan.” From there you can download a draft and provide comments to

Deet Jonker pointed out that just because storm water has gone away, people will not be allowed back into their homes until the sewage system is back up and running.

Commissioner Nora Patterson fielded a question about the rebuilding of condos. She said that if destroyed by a major storm, most condos would be able to rebuild to the same density. However, they would be required to obey current building codes.


MEMBERSHIP:  Deet Jonker reported that there would be a final mailing to 397 people who did not rejoin. The mailing was sent in mid-April.

ZONING:  On the subject of allowing a paddle board concession, Catherine Luckner reported that SKA was not against paddle boarding, but was concerned about it being done on a high density beach. The lifeguard group was not in favor of a concession as it would intensify the risk factors in high density areas.  Paddle boards are currently allowed to go out on private property. The issue had died for now.

ENVIRONMENT: Marker #1 is still missing in Big Pass. It has been promised to be replaced.  17 Snowy Plovers have been spotted, but apparently there were no nests as yet.

ADOPT A ROAD/GREAT AMERICAN CLEANUP: Michael Shay said that 76 volunteers showed up for the Keep Sarasota County Beautiful—so many they decided to incorporate Adopt a Road with Great American Cleanup.  On March 22, the group collected 300 pounds of recyclable materials, and 200 pounds of garbage.


BIG PASS DREDGING: Nothing has changed as yet, said Catherine Luckner. An Army Corps of Engineers had a barge-looking vessel out collecting daily core samples. They are due to have a report of this new data out by the end of April. The county wants to study this data before showing it to the County Commission, probably in mid-June.

AVENIDO DE MAYO PARKING: Michael Shay reported that cars are parking there every day. Signs are being ignored. Residents are calling daily and the Sheriff’s Department keeps coming out. It is a simple $25 fine, an amount which some drivers do not take seriously.

VILLAGE OUTDOOR DISPLAY STATUS: Michael Shay reports this is an ongoing issue. The Village recently finalized a proposed ordinance, and a walk-through is planned to see which businesses are complying. The key will be enforcement.

COUNTY NOISE ORDINANCE: Shay reported that the change is minimal. The daytime noise used to go to 11, and now it goes to 10.  The major part of this ordinance will help people around Bob’s Boathouse. For those of us on the Key, it is really not much of a change.

STICKNEY—NO RIGHT TURN ON RED: Bob Stein reported that drivers can no longer make a Right Turn On Red at Stickney Point and Midnight Pass. Traffic is really backing up.  The County had nothing to do with this, and was probably caught as off-guard as we were. SKA has received multitudes of  e-mails concerning this change.


PURCHASING PAVERS FOR SK BEACH PAVILION: Catherine Luckner said Parks and Recreation is inviting people to purchase papers for the Pavilion at Siesta Key Beach. Pavers are $200. They are tax deductible, and may have 3 lines of copy, with 20 characters per line, including spaces.  Pavers will be installed after May first. For more information, go to, and follow the link to SIESTA BEACH RECOGNITION PAVERS.








Siesta Sand
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