Siesta Key Round Up

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Compiled by Debbie Flessner / Bob Stein  

Squatters in Siesta Key foreclosed homes

Showing quite a bit of ingenuity, some folks have been researching which homes on Siesta Key and countywide are in various stages of foreclosure. Once they discover that the home is empty, they then move right into it.

Sgt. Scott Osborne, of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, said that in the limbo that exists between the time an owner loses possession of a house and when the bank gets it back, is when this practice is most used. Depending on what part of the foreclosure process the home is in, squatters can end up not only staying a long time, but also even entering into the landlord/tenant protection territory, which could allow them to live there indefinitely.

If you suspect squatters may be in a home in your neighborhood, contact the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office at 941-861-5800.

162 Beach Road Petition Delayed

The August 5 hearing originally scheduled on the Request for Relief by Ronald and Sania Allen, owners of the parcel at 162 Beach Road, was postponed until September 16. This decision to reschedule resulted from a private mediation session between the Allens and county staff. It was determined that additional information was needed beforehand, but could not be accomplished by the August 5 date.

This is the third petition brought by the couple, with the previous two petitions of January 9, 2013 and April 23, 2014, unanimously denied by the Sarasota County Commissioners.   Prior petitions submitted by the couple requested a Coastal Setback Variance allowing them to build on the lot.

This latest petition, filed on May 21, known as the Florida Land Use Environmental Dispute Resolution Act (FLUEDRA), says that the board’s denial of their variance petition in April left them not only unable to construct a house on the site, but also unable to “make any other beneficial use of the Property.” 

Outdoor Dislplay/SKOD update

Executive Director for the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce Debra Lynn-Schmitz spoke in favor at the Planning Commission meeting Augusta 7 with Wendall (Beach Bazarr) and Mark (Robin Hood Rentals). They all spoke to support the outside display issue and it passed through the Planning Commission unanimously. The Planning Commission will forward their recommendation to the County Commissioners for approval. That means the new regulations are not in effect yet, but according to the Planning Commission office, the recommendation will likely be viewed favorably by the County.

If passed, the amendment would allow business owner to display items outside their businesses, for a fee of $25 per year. There would also be restrictions on the displays, such as the size (can’t be more than 240 square feet) for bike rental retailers.

When and if the new ordinance takes effect, the, Siesta Key Village Association plans to make sure current Village business owners fully understand it, and create and distribute packets to new businesses to educate them about the various display rules that apply to Siesta Village.

Sarasota County has scheduled two more Public Hearings on the proposed text amendment to allow outdoor displays for retail and rental businesses on Siesta Key. The hearings will all take place at 1660 Ringling Blvd., in the County Commission Chambers. The dates and times are as follows: Wednesday, September 24, 9:00 a.m.; Tuesday, October 21, 1:30 p.m. Please note that this is one of numerous items scheduled for each hearing.

Plane crashes on Siesta Key beach

In the afternoon on August 12 there were numerous fire trucks and sheriffs vehicles racingplane crash towards the 7900 block of Sanderling Road. As residents and visitors to the Key soon discovered that a small two-passenger plane had just crashed on the beach.

The pilot Earle Swan, 75, of Bradenton, told officials that the engine on the certified commercially-manufactured biplane just cut out and he landed on the beach. The passenger Martin Thomas, 51 from Cape Coral received minor injuries.

Swan a pilot for more than 50 years was taking Thomas for his second ride in the 1986 Pitts 52B biplane when the plane developed engine trouble. Thomas also holds a private pilot’s license and had flown with Swan before.

The Sarasota Bradenton International Airport received the mayday call and reported it to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Public Safety Communications Center.

New maintenance company for Siesta Key Village

August 20 was the last day of Championship Landscape Management Professionals’ contract for the upkeep of Siesta Village. And by August 26, ( at the time of press ) it is expected that Buccaneer Landscape Management, from Pinellas County, will have been named the new contractor for the Village’s maintenance.

The 65-employee company’s bid of $129,041.50 was in fact the only proposal submitted for the job. Buccaneer Landscape will be performing all of the duties that Championship Landscape did, but with at least one additional one that Siesta Village previously had to hire an additional contract for–power washing.

There will be a two-week lapse between the end of one contract and the beginning of another, but Sarasota County will be accepting bids for contractors to handle the Village garbage pickup during that time.

The Chamber is looking for volunteers for the Visitors Center

If you know of anyone who would be a great fit for a volunteer position at the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce office, please have them go to the office and fill out an application. This position is open to all members as well. If you have any questions, please feel free to call Chastanna or Desiree at 941-349-3800. The office is located at 5114 Ocean Blvd in the Siesta Key Village.

August SKA Environment Report:

Least Turns had a surprising good year on Siesta Key. Last year there were only 6 Terns that hatched and survived. This year there were 20. Bob Luckner reported that we have had vandalism. Both a motorcycle and a golf cart had driven across the nesting area, causing distressed birds to fly to Lido abandoning their nests. Over the 4th of July, SKA hired a security guard, which helped to avoid vandalism. Big-footed person/persons have been tearing down the buffer protection for the nests. One vandal has left size 13 footprints. There is a $50 reward leading to this person’s arrest. Cameras and overtime police shifts have been watching for the culprit. A special thank you to the condos at Access #3 & #5 has really been helpful. They have allowed buffers to be built. They did not groom the area during nesting season so as not to disturb the birds.

The election process: How it works in Sarasota

Ron Turner, Chief of Staff for Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections, spoke at the August SKA monthly meeting. He covered how the process works here in Sarasota. As he was covering the August 26th primary elections most will still be relevant for the November elections.

•The position of supervisor is an elected office. It comes on the ballot every 4 years, along with the Presidential Election.

•29 people work permanently for the Supervisor of Elections. There are 99 precincts. In addition to 100-200 temporary staff, 700+ poll works are hired to work on Election Day. There are offices in Sarasota at the Terrace Building, and also in Venice and Northport.

•There are 3 ways to vote: 1.) on Election Day at your precinct; 2.) during “Early Start”, which lasts 8 days from Saturday through Saturday before the election; 3.) by Absentee Ballot.

•There are 7 ballot styles county-wide, based on political party affiliation. (Democrat, Republican, or Non-Partisan.)

•Universal Primary Contest: That means ‘decided in primary”, not in the later election. For example, the Hospital Board is decided in the primary.

•There are new Electronic Poll Books. These are I-pads. The advantage is that these are very quick. They replace provisional ballots in Sarasota County.

•With Absentee Ballots, many come back unsigned. (Voter forgot to sign envelope.) With the new Electronic Poll Books, that can now be cured.

•For information on candidates, go to There is also information on Facebook and Twitter.

•Voter ID consists of a Driver’s License or Florida Identification Card. Passport and/or Student ID are also accepted.

The Ohio State University, Buckeyes Football games

Attention all Ohio State Alumni. You can bond with other Ohio Football Buckeye fans this fall. Captain Curt’s Crab & Oyster Bar located at 1200 Old Stickney Point Road on Siesta Key is the place to watch your favorite team play. Members from The Ohio State University Alumni Family in Sarasota-Manatee are there every week during season.

PHOTO Note same photo from last month

Don’t be a Grinch, participate

grinchThe Siesta Key Village Association has already been gearing up for the Light Up the Village 2014 event taking place Saturday, Nov. 29 from 6-9 pm. Volunteers and parade participants (floats, marching bands, etc.) are needed. For more information contact either Rosalind Hyman at 941-349-2770 ext. 227 or email her at or

Signs, signs, and more signs

Questions about Sign placement: signs, political or otherwise, cannot be placed on right of way or public property. This includes county and state roads where the row is 30ft on either side of the center line.

Sarasota County code enforcement officer John Lally said he’s already removed more than 130 signs in a couple of days prior to the primary election. Seventy five signs were on the County courthouse property. Lally didn’t say whose signs but sounds like everyone.

The county tries to be lenient if the sign placement is on the far side of electrical poles and to the far side of sidewalks no medians, and not inside people’s property. Some signs are being placed on property where there’s construction or abandonment with no owners on site to give permission. These are illegal.

Code enforcement will pick up signs that are violations.

Siesta Sand
Author: Siesta Sand

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