Later live music at Gilligan’s denied

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By ChrisAnn Allen

It’s not sounding good for Gilligan’s.
Following more than a year of hearings and negotiations, Sarasota County special magistrate Scott Steady on Jan. 12 issued a recommendation stating that Nocturnal Properties — owner of Gilligan’s Island Bar & Grill — should not be given another chance to provide live music as late as 2 a.m.
“… the magistrate finds that the denial was not unreasonable and did not unfairly burden the use of the property,” Steady stated.
The recommendation comes after a failed mediation attempt at a settlement between attorney Casey Colburn, who represents Gilligan’s, and assistant county attorney David Pearce. Gilligan’s, located in the Siesta Village at 5253 Ocean Blvd., had hoped the Sarasota Board of County Commissioners would reconsider its request after first denying it Jan. 31 of 2023.
Currently, Gilligan’s must cease live music at 10 p.m., per county ordinance. It would need a special exception to have it go longer. The establishment closes at 2 a.m.
The application for the special exception was initially heard by the Sarasota County Planning Commission on Dec. 1, 2022, where it was unanimously approved by five of nine members present. According to Colburn, changes to the application, which did not make it into the report presented to planning commissioners, were made between staff and Gilligan’s representatives, eliminating use of a back parking lot that faces a residential neighborhood. This was explained by Colburn to the planning commission, which then approved the application with stipulations.
However, when the application was next presented to the county commission, changes to the staff report were not completed and the parking lot was still included, Colburn said. The commission voted it down 4-1, with Commissioner Mark Smith, a Siesta Key resident, casting the sole supporting vote. Then, near the end of the meeting, an additional motion for reconsideration was voted down 3-2.
Steady’s response to this concern stated, “Although I acknowledge the staff report could have been clearer and more accurate, after a number of viewings of the video of the Jan. 31, 2023 hearing, I believe it was clear to the board …” that the special exception excluded the back parking lot.
During a Dec. 19 mediation session, Colburn also challenged the county commissioners’ individual statements for denial, and asserted none of the commissioners provided evidence that live music would be any louder than recorded music, which currently is permitted past 10 p.m..
Steady’s response stated the resolution adopted by the board to deal with the matter “lists the lack of mitigation efforts to address certain compatibility issues and states ‘specifically no enhanced buffers, noise mitigation or set location areas for music outdoors.’”
When asked if Gilligan’s would continue to pursue later live music, Colburn wrote “TBD.”

Gilligan’s is located at 5253 Ocean Blvd. (file photo)
ChrisAnn Allen
Author: ChrisAnn Allen

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