Island Chatter SKA

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By Diana Colson

Michael Shay called the meeting to order, and April Minutes were approved.

Community Reports – Sheriff’s Office

Deputy Chris McGregor said there were no big crime trends going on. There were some “cases of opportunity” going on in South County— a couple of residential burglaries where people were gone for less than one hour. He advised to lock your door, lock your car, and set your alarms if you have them.

  • Code Enforcement

John Lally will be retiring in 11 days. John said he had 5 illegal rentals going to Special Magistrate. He introduced Susan Stahley, who will be the new Code Enforcement Officer with Planning and Development Services. She gave her e-mail: should you wish to reach her.

There was some discussion about the deteriorating property at 722 Siesta Key Circle. John Lally said his department only has the power to enforce the laws. He said that the Commissioners need to change the laws to encompass such deteriorating properties.

  • Junior Lifeguard Program

Richard Hinkson is the director of the Junior Lifeguard Program. He said they had their first graduate going to the Kona Ironman Event. This program is voluntarily operated by the County Life Guards, and the group works with Parks and Recreation. Michael Shay presented the Junior Lifeguard Program with a $500 check from SKA, and said it would be used to buy more equipment for the program.

Sarasota County Update: Big Pass Independent Peer Review Scope:

  • Matt Osterhoudt, Manager of Sarasota County Environmental Protection Services, was introduced by Catherine Luckner. Matt, in turn, introduced Laird Wreford, Project Leader. Laird gave information on the scope of what is going to happen with the upcoming Independent Review. He said that this 3rd party review is designed to bring good scientific data to the table. Although this is a City of Sarasota & an Army Corps Project, the County also has a stake. The most appropriate thing the County can do is have an impartial reviewer—an expert—take a critical look at the proposal. The goal is that this reviewer would talk to Community Leaders, ask the right questions, and come to the right conclusions.

The Army Corps of Engineers has revised some of their plans. A peer review cannot be launched until these revisions have been completed. The County has 3 major concerns:

1.)What effect will this project have on navigation in Big Pass?

2.) What effect will it have on shorelines and beaches of Siesta Key? 3.) What effect will it have on the County Park on South Lido?

ATKINS NORTH AMERICA is currently at the top of the list of companies being considered to do this review. They have offices here in Sarasota. They have provided an initial proposal, which the County is reviewing. In the near future, the County should know the cost, the time line, and exactly what is going to be looked at and measured.

A question came from the floor: “One of the key clients on the ATKINS website is the Army Corps of Engineers. Isn’t that a conflict of interest?”

Laird Wreford replied that ATKINS has no current contractual ties with the Army Corps. Catherine Luckner added that Audubon and Mote Marine also often do work with the Army Corps of Engineers.

Another question from the floor: “What was the total ATKINS bid?” Laird responded that it was still under negotiation, but it was in the $15,000 to $50,000 range. Nora Patterson chimed in: “We are spending 20 million just to put a frame around that beach. Don’t skimp on this one. Let’s make this a really important thing.”

SKA’s official stance is to Do No Harm to Siesta Key. The volume and scope of the project is not yet clear. President Michael Shay added that we all understand Lido needs sand. This has never been a Sand War. We are simply concerned about where the sand will come from, and the effect that has on Siesta Key.


  • Big Pass Dredge Project:

Catherine Luckner reported that the Department of Environmental Protection was very responsive on sending her information. On April 15, the DEP said “you have exactly 14 days to print a public notice.” However, the link they provided on their web site went nowhere. She advised people in the audience to send certified letters of concern, and handed out a sample letter to those who asked for one.


  • Roundabout: Bob Stein reported that no decision had yet been made. Another mailing will soon be made by the FDOT to nearby residents.
  • Post Disaster Redevelopment Plan (PDRP) will be voted on by the County Commissioners in the month of May. This plan outlines the rules on what to do, how to be ready, and whether or not you will be able to rebuild.


  • Pedi Cabs: Michael Shay reported this is still a work in progress. SKA is looking into what should be the regulations, talking to the tax collector, etc.

Next SKA monthly meeting is Thursday, 6/4, at 4:30 pm.

There will be no SKA meeting on Thursday, 7/2.





Siesta Sand
Author: Siesta Sand

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