Siesta Key Round Up

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By Roger Drouin & Bob Stein

Dock permit application faces challenges 
Erika and Achim Ginsberg‐Klemmt want to build a dock on property they own on Siesta Key Circle. It’s turning out to be a very difficult task because of one problem — and that’s parking.

The Water and Navigation Control Authority (WNCA) has denied the Issuance of the boat-dock permit based on the lack of two parking spaces, according to a letter sent from the Ginsberg-Klemmts to county commissioners.               

Erika and Achim Ginsberg‐Klemmt were told they could not park on their parcel because it is submerged wetlands. So the couple were hoping to utilize public parking on the street, which is currently not allowed. But the County Commission on Dec. 8 upheld parking restrictions on both sides of Siesta Key Circle, making it more difficult for the Ginsberg-Klemmts to obtain permission to build that dock.

As a result, they will have to obtain permission to build the dock without the use of publicly available street side parking.


Coastal setback variance formally denied 
The Sarasota County Commission cast a second vote Dec. 8 against an appeal of a county variance for 162 Beach Road, thus formalizing an earlier Oct. 14 denial of the petition.

Ronald and Sania Allen submitted plans to build a 2,778-square-foot home at the 7,429-square-foot property at 162 Beach Road. The location of the parcel is what was at the heart of the issue. The land at 162 beach Road has been submerged under water intermittently, during past decades, and the entire property is located seaward of the Gulf Beach Setback Line (GBSL). The Allen’s were seeking a coastal setback variance and a second, 4-foot street-yard variance so the structure could be built closer to the street.

On Oct. 14, the County Commission denied the variances.

Granting the variances and allowing the property owners to build the home at 162 beach Road would have been precedent setting. “That lot is not only about that lot, Catherine Luckner, of SKA, told Siesta Sand previously, noting the 22 other properties located seaward of the coastal setback line.


Siesta Isle gets OK for tree improvements 
The Siesta Isle neighborhood will be able to start landscaping improvements.  That’s because the Sarasota County Commission unanimously approved an appeal of a county work-work order, thus allowing the neighborhood association to move ahead with its plans to plant trees at its entrances.

The Siesta Isle Association was in limbo before the meeting. It had secured two $20,000 Neighborhood Initiatives grants from the county to cover approximately half the cost of improvements, that met Florida Friendly landscaping standards, to the subdivision’s entrances. However, the county asked the association, to stop construction because it did not obtain a tree permit, needed to remove or alter trees in a public right of way.

The improvement project will install 10 royal palms and other Florida Friendly plants at two of five Siesta Isle neighborhood entrances.


Siesta Key Breakfast meeting announced 
The annual breakfast meeting for SKA will be held Saturday, March 5 from 8 a.m.-11 a.m. at St. Boniface Church on Siesta Key. The guest speakers will be County Commissioner Alan Maio and County Administrator Tom Harmer. The breakfast is free to all SKA members. The cost for an annual membership is $30.


Hammerhead shark spotted in Roberts Bay 
Island resident Dave Thomas took a video of a 3-foot shark behind his house in the Grand Canal in November. A friend responded to his email with: “And here's the kicker …  I just told my neighbor, Jim about seeing the shark.  He is a boater and fishes frequently.  Said that a week or so ago he was at the mouth of the Grand Canal, about half way out to Skier's Island.  He saw a hammerhead shark as big as his boat (8-10 feet).  Said he thought it was a manatee at first, but when it rolled, he noticed the fin was as tall as his forearm.  Needless to say, we probably won't be water skiing there anymore.”

DSC_2478According to Joe McVey, store manager of the 7-Eleven store located in the Village at 5232 Ocean Blvd, this store was sold in December and will close January 3.  At time of press the new owners have not made any public announcements as to future plans for this location. Siesta Sand also contacted the Sarasota County Appraiser’s office for more information regarding the transactions and was informed nothing has been filed in the public records.  This 7-Eleven store was corporately owned.   


Be good to yourself – Travel Light! 
The Mail Pack Center of Siesta Key is starting its 20th season serving Siesta Key residents and visitors with all shipping, mailing, packaging, moving and all business service needs. “Be good to yourself, travel light” has been the motto of the MPCSK Key for many years.

Besides shipping and packing, the store provides notary service,  computer-time rental, scanning, forwarding services , mailbox rental, copies, scan and e-mail, laminating, sell postage stamps, and provide fax service.

For Do-It-Yourself customers, they carry a complete line of packaging materials, including shipping boxes in dozens of sizes, photo mailers, envelopes, mailing tubes, packaging tapes, and cushioning materials. 

Large items are given custom handling, such as the provision of blanket wrap or custom cartons and crating. MAIL PACK CENTER OF SIESTA KEY specializes in the shipment of antiques, artwork, electronics,

Crystal, china and porcelain, Estate shipping. Call for free estimate.

“We ship by UPS, FedEx, USPS, DHL trucking companies and also international shipping by POLONEZ PARCEL SERVICE out of Massachusetts.  Goods are shipped by boat or air to Europe for very reasonable prices. It is very inexpensive compared to other ways of shipping: $2 or less per pound for shipping by sea, a little more for shipping by air,” says Jack, owner of Mail Pack Center.  Happy New Year! From Hanna and Jack.  Their mail center is located at 6547 Midnight Pass Road, the shop is open on Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and on Saturday from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.  Phone 941-346-3303, Fax 941-346-3996, (advertorial)


Welcome Back Snowbirds

The following briefs is a recap of what’s happened on Siesta Key while you were gone.


St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church 
Pastor Msgr. Joseph Stearns announced his retirement in February.  His official retirement was March 1st. Msgr Stearns was the Pastor for the past seven years. Father Leo Smith who was assigned to assist at the Parish was appointed as Administrator of St. Finbarr Parish in Naples and was with St. Michaels for the past 15 months. 

The New Pastor was announced on October 18.  The new pastor Reverend Michael Cannon assumed his new responsibilities on November 2. Father Cannon is a priest of the Diocese of Venice and was the Pastor of St. James Parish in Lake Placid.


New Boss on the Key 
This past Spring Sgt. Scott Osborne, with the Sarasota County Sheriff's Department, was reassigned from his duties at the Siesta Key Substation. His interim replacement was Deputy Chris Laster, a Mounted Patrol Officer. 

Wendy Rose, spokesperson for the Sheriff's Department, said Sgt. Osborne was asked to move to cover patrol in the North Sarasota area, due to a vacancy left open by a retirement. 

"We have several new supervisors, and Sgt. Osborne is valued for experience and was willing to help us out," she said. 

On September 18, Jason Mruczek became the new Siesta Substation sergeant. He had previously worked at the substation up until his promotion a few years ago and returned to fill the vacancy left by Sgt. Osborne.



Roundabout on the island? 
Last spring the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) conducted a study for a possible change to the intersection of Midnight Pass and Beach Roads citing safety issues following a review of accidents that have occurred at these crossroads. There are three plans being contemplated; one of which includes the construction of a roundabout. The other two plans are to do nothing or add a true 90 degree right turn and eliminate the Yield sign. 

Siesta Sand published the accident report that FDOT used.  The report goes back to 2006, covering a total of 23 documented accidents. Of all the accidents reported, (one not even in the intersection) four were documented as DUI, and seven as fled the scene. The rest were recorded as careless driving. The cost to convert the intersection to a roundabout is estimated to be around $2 million dollars. As of press, a decision has yet to be made.


Stickney Point Bridge repairs 
In mid-April FDOT along with its contractor, Coastal Marine Construction Inc., began making improvements to the Stickney Point Bridge. Built in 1968, the Stickney Point Bridge is approaching the end of its original service life. While the bridge remains safe to traffic, repairs are necessary to extend the service life of the bridge another 10 years until a long-term solution is determined. Completion of the $5.3 million repair project is expected in early 2016. 

During construction, traffic will be shifted overnight to one lane on the bridge between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. while crews work on the other lane. This will continue each night until repairs are complete. Additionally, extended bridge openings of up to 15 minutes will occur overnight while construction is underway.

Bridge repairs include: concrete repairs throughout the bridge, seawall repairs, improvements to the control/bridge tender house, painting, mechanical and electrical component repairs, bridge deck and grating repairs and sidewalk improvements.


Siesta Key Business Community loses a true gentleman 
Crescent Beach Grocery owners Nancy Connelly and Bill Singleton have dedicated themselves to providing great products, great service and an interesting shopping experience to the residents and visitors of Siesta Key.   A month after an article appeared highlighting Bill and Nancy, the business community was stunned to receive the news of his untimely passing on April 24. 


New restaurant on the Key 
In August, the owners of Javier’s Peruvian Restaurant, located in the Crescent Plaza just south of the Stickney Point Bridge, decided to retire and closed their restaurant. 

The Toasted Mango, a popular restaurant near downtown opened up a second restaurant in the vacated location in August. The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch daily from 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Toasted Mango owners Kimberly Duffy and Sandi Wagner purchased the property from Javier’s, so they anticipate a lengthy stay.


Intersection change 
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is considering some changes at the intersection of Stickney Point Road and Midnight Pass Road. At the September SKA monthly meeting L.K. Nandam, District Traffic Operations Engineer and Michael Kautz, Highway Safety Manager made an informal presentation.

The officials wanted to start a discussion about the possibility of removing the right-turn merge lane from Stickney Point Road onto Midnight Pass Road. This change would create a more traditional intersection and right-turn movement.

After the meeting, FDOT officials listened to the residents and business owners and will make modest changes to the intersection after Season. The merge lane will remain. The changes will create a true bike lane, raised area for traffic control and aligning the cross walk lines allowing better visibility for drivers.


Marina Jack comes to the Key 
On September 1, Marina Jack purchased The Turtle Beach Marina and Turtle Beach Pub. They renamed the Marina and Pub, Bayfront Yacht Works & Marina, and Turtle Beach Grill. 

The Pub received a new coat of paint, new roof, flooring, chairs, tables and a new Tiki roof. At the Marina, Bayfront Excursions plans are underway to renovate structures, boat racks, amenities, adding boats to the rental fleet with new services, including personal watercraft rentals. The real focus will be making Bayfront Excursions a top-notch haul-out facility. The location will have the capability of pulling boats up to 60-feet-long out of the water for repairs and maintenance.


Park Renamed 
The transition from “Bay Island Park” to “Nora Patterson Bay Island Park” is now complete. At a dedication ceremony Sept. 18, the just-recently improved park was renamed in honor of former Sarasota County Commissioner Nora Patterson. The dedication celebrated the renaming of the park, along with the completion of improvements at the park, which included the construction of a new sea wall and installation of new benches, fishing rails, signage and other improvements.

“We're honored to rename this beautiful facility after Nora Patterson, a retired beloved commissioner and excellent steward of public lands,” said Carolyn Brown, director of Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources. “We're also happy to unveil this newly improved park to the community, who are certain to enjoy this little piece of waterfront paradise. “Nora Patterson Bay Island Park is regularly used for recreational fishing, as a temporary landing spot for recreational boaters and an ideal place to take in great views of beautiful Sarasota Bay. Nora Patterson served as a Sarasota County Commissioner for 16 years as the commissioner for District 4. Long an advocate for public water access, Patterson said she was honored to have the park named after her. The current Board of County Commissioners unanimously voted to rename the park after her in May.


Siesta Key Marina under new ownership 
Throughout the more than 50 years the Siesta Key Marina has been in business, it has remained a favorite spot for both visitors and locals to store and rent boats for a day out on the water. But the new owners of the 3 1/2-acre property hope to turn it into much more than that. 

On November 10, Andy Eggebrecht, Maurice Dentici and their families took over ownership of the marina, and considering their backgrounds, it should come as no surprise that they have already started the process of expanding the business. The Dentici family owns the five area Rico's restaurants, while the Eggebrechts own Andros Boatworks, which designs and builds custom hybrid / bay and offshore fishing boats.  


For more Siesta Key news, click here to read the Village Blvd Buzz 










Siesta Sand
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