Tuesday, February 27, 2007

SOS Recommends "YES" on County Charter Amendment

The SHT recommends voting "YES" on the referendum question concerning requiring county approval for land use changes for annexed land outside the urban service boundary.

Sarasota County voters will soon be asked: Should the County Commission have the ability to approve proposals that would make annexed rural lands ripe for city development?

The case for voting "yes" is compelling, especially since county approval would only be required if the land isn't covered by a city-county planning agreement.

A voter-approved amendment to the county charter is necessary to give the commission a say in city-initiated changes to lands lying outside the "Urban Services Boundary" and designated by the county plan as rural.

Likewise the Pelican Press recommends a "YES" vote:

Let's cool the overheated growth in South County

Voters countywide have a chance March 13 to slow the growth that is exploding in southern Sarasota County, as Venice and North Port expand their tax bases by bringing formerly rural lands into the cities and permitting massive, sprawling developments.

Fortunately for the cities, the residential streets from all these projects empty onto county roads - rural county roads - and ultimately onto state roads, which the cities have no obligation to improve or maintain. That falls to all county taxpayers.

The same is true for providing schools for these residents' children, water and sewage treatment, drainage, storm sewers, parks ... The list goes on.

Since 2000, North Port has increased its size by more than 18,000 acres and has rezoned land to accommodate 26,520 new homes or apartments. County Planning Department calculations say that ultimately will mean 253,796 more vehicular trips and a demand for 3,276,500 additional gallons of water - per day.

A proposal worth venturing to the polls for - it may be the only thing on the ballot in many precincts - is a proposition that would in effect give Sarasota County veto power when cities attempt to annex rural county land for expansion, stemming this growth before it is too late.

Developers, big landowners and their legal, banking and business allies are expected to mount a late, negative campaign against the measure. Don't believe it.

The Pelican Press strongly urges all county residents to go to the polls and vote "Yes" on the county charter amendment.

Save Our Sarasota agrees with these recommendations.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Garden Club

Below are excerpts from a recent SHT article about the Sarasota Garden Club - one of Sarasota's great spaces.

Article published Feb 24, 2007

Andy Papineau, the new president of Sarasota Garden Club, has something in common with and something in contrast to his predecessors. Like other presidents, he's vigorously dedicated to preserving and promoting the 1.4 acres of city-owned lushly planted parkland on Boulevard of the Arts near busy U.S. 41.

Papineau is the first male ever elected to Sarasota Garden Club's highest office. Mable Ringling established the organization in 1927. Papineau, a Wisconsin transplant, wasn't looking to break an 80-year-old tradition. He was just looking for a garden to putter around in.

"When my wife, Mary Fran, and I moved to Sarasota five years ago, we settled in Village Walk, which is a no-maintenance, gated community," he said. "I missed my garden. Back in Sun Prairie, I had vegetable and flower gardens, as well as a rock garden; working in those spaces was stress relief from my job. Even though I retired to Florida, I didn't want to retire from gardening."

Architect John Crowell designed the [main building] structure in 1959 in the Sarasota School style with wide overhangs, a discreet profile and a Japanese feeling with the inclusion of shoji screens. Three sides of the function room are walls of sliding glass and when they open, interior and exterior spaces merge and the architecture disappears.

Other garden spaces to enjoy include a butterfly garden (25 varieties), cactus garden and a bromeliad garden. An exotic garden of hybrid hibiscus is dedicated to the military dead of World War II, and throughout the various specialty gardens are comfortable benches that have been given to Sarasota Garden Club as memorials to loved ones.

The potting shed, with its vivid blue-tile roof, reminds visitors of a Japanese teahouse and was a gift to the property from Marie Selby. Bert Brosmith was the architect."Some mornings, artists come to sketch or paint," said Papineau. "Other times, residents from the local high-rise apartments will wander over just to sit and listen to the waterfall and look at all the flowers. I call this place one of the hidden treasures of our town. It's here for the citizens of Sarasota to enjoy, and it's free."

Papineau believes his job as president is to promote Sarasota Garden Club's botanical property as one of the city's attractions and to insure that it remains an asset to the town. "We're in the part of Sarasota slated to change with the expanded cultural district," he said. "I've been attending city meetings to make sure that proposed roadways don't compromise this green space. This special land belongs to the City of Sarasota, but Sarasota Garden Club owns the buildings and leases the property on a five-year renewable contract. We're vigilant about wanting to preserve it."

All Sarasota Garden Club members (there are 185) take turns working at the Boulevard of the Arts property. To be part of Sarasota Garden Club, you join one of eight garden circles, based on interest in the specific activities of the circle. Some circles are craft oriented, others general purpose, others take on community projects. Driftwood Circle, for example, maintains Mable Ringling's secret garden at Ca d'Zan as one of its projects.

Membership in Sarasota Garden Club is $50. These dues support the club's scholarship program and help maintain the botanical park. Additionally, each garden circle has a membership fee. Circle members meet in private homes, but circles meet at Sarasota Garden Club for special events.

Besides maintaining the facilities, Sarasota Garden Club is actively engaged in community outreach through an annual flower show in March, scholarship programs, fee-based educational events, lectures, demonstrations, social activities and a variety of civic beautification projects through its circle members and through Sarasota Garden Club at large.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Saving Sarasota

An interesting approach to saving an historical home can be seen at 1386 5th St in the Rosemary District.

A new condo building is being built next to the home and it surrounds the home on three sides.

We applaud the effort to save this historic home.
The home was built in 1901.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ringling Removes Neighborhood Nuisance

The Ringling School of Art and Design recently acquired the Shell Station at the corner of N Tamiami Trail and Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. This station had been a hangout for drug dealers for years and the activity could not be stopped.

That is until RSAD bought the property.

After letting the students do a little art work on the building, it was leveled.

RSAD has not yet determined the future of the site but have indicated it could become the location of a signature campus entry building.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Seminar: Managing Mangroves for Shoreline Health

Managing Mangroves for Shoreline Health
Homeowner Seminar
Bayfront Community Center
803 N. Tamiami Tr, Sarasota, FL 34236
Wednesday, 7 March 2007
9:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Pre-registration required as space is limited.

9:30 - 10:00
10:00 – 10:50
The Importance of the Mangrove Habitat John Stevely, UF/IFAS Extension Service – Agent, Sea Grant Marine Program
11:00 - 11:50
Protecting our Community’s Mangrove Resources Matt Osterhoudt, Sarasota County Natural Resources – Manager, Resource Protection
“Managing Mangroves for Shoreline Health”

Send Registration to: UF/IFAS - Sarasota County Extension, Attn.: Robin Welsh
Twin Lakes Park, 6700 Clark Rd., Sarasota, FL 34241
Phone: (941) 861-9900 FAX: (941) 861-9886

Mailing Address: City/State/Zip:

Directions to Bayfront Community Center:
From Interstate 75, take exit 210 ( Fruitville Rd.) and go west to Tamiami Tr. (U.S. 41), turn right. Turn left into 10th St. and left into van Wezel Way. Bayfront Community Center is located behind the Municipal Auditorium.

Speaker Biographies:
Matt Osterhoudt graduated from North Carolina State University in 1997 with a BS in Natural Resources, Marine and Coastal Resource Management. After working with the Sarasota Bay National Estuary Program for two years, he has spent the last eight years with Sarasota County’s Resource Protection program, Natural Resources Department. At the County, he has worked in several different environmental permitting programs, supervised the Water & Navigation Control Authority dredge and fill program, and held the role of Project Scientist managing a variety of environmental projects including the Manatee Protection Plan, Habitat Conservation Plan for the Florida Scrub-jay, and the new partnership with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to enhance mangrove protection throughout the County. He is currently the Manager of the County’s Resource Protection program. He believes that education is the key to striking a balance between natural resource protection and the needs of our growing community.

John Stevely graduated from Gettysburg College in 1972 with a BS in biology. He subsequently pursued graduate studies at the University of South Florida and received a MS in Marine Science in 1978. He has served as a regional Florida Sea Grant Marine Extension Agent for the past 27 years. During this tenure he has worked on a number of marine resource management issues, including habitat restoration, artificial reefs, waterway management, fisheries management, and trimming mangroves. He has witnessed a number of changes in the mangrove trimming regulations during his career and has worked closely with all facets of the Extension Service, including the Environmental Horticulture Program. Over a decade ago he played a founding role in the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program in Sarasota Bay. He strongly believes that the actions we take within our watershed and along our shorelines will affect our fishery resources.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Florida House to Move

Schools and county to facilitate discussion by community, stakeholders on future of Florida House After 13 years at its current location, the Florida House Learning Center, a demonstration home and garden for Florida-friendly, "green" residential building and landscaping, will move to a new site within the next 12 months.

Florida House, 4600 Beneva Road, is on the northwest corner of the SCTI campus at Beneva and Proctor roads. The relocation of the Florida House is necessary because the Sarasota County School Board plans to open a new technical high school by 2009 on the campus of the Sarasota County Technical Institute (SCTI).

Plans call for the new high school to share the campus with the existing adult technical school. The decision to proceed with the new school and the need to relocate the Florida House were confirmed at a school board meeting Tuesday. "We will work closely with Sarasota County government and with the many individuals and community organizations that support the Florida House to help facilitate a conversation about its future," said Dr. Gary Norris, superintendent of Sarasota County Schools.

"All of us are committed to helping find a new home for this important local and international resource, but the community must take the lead." Florida House opened in 1994 as a "guest" on the SCTI campus created by a partnership of non-profit organizations, businesses, government agencies and individuals.

It has seen more than 140,000 visitors in its 13-year history, including county residents and visitors, students of sustainability from governments and universities nationwide, and delegations from China, Egypt, Jordan, Mexico and Russia. The model Florida home and yard is a showcase for sustainability, teaching people about environmentally friendly lifestyles, landscape elements and building materials.

Florida House, funded by Sarasota County government, is staffed and operated by the University of Florida-Sarasota County Extension and volunteers. Anyone who has questions or suggestions about the future of the Florida House may send an e-mail to flhouse@scgov. net.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

City Commission Elections

Save Our Sarasota does not endorse political candidates, but at this critical moment in our City's history encourages everyone to vote in the upcoming non-partisan City Commission election.

The following is a list of forums at which you can acquaint yourselves with the candidates and ask them questions about the crucial issues facing our City. Information on additional forums will be sent as it becomes available. Below you will also find voter information and a list of candidates.

Public candidate forums:
Monday, February 12 - 7:30 PM - Coalition of County Neighborhoods (CONA)
Waldemere Fire Station, 2070 Waldemere Street, one block east of 41
All candidates

Tuesday, February 13 - 6:30 PM - Bayou Oaks Neighborhood Association
North Trail United Methodist Church
Candidates Atkins, Clapp, Daniels, Kowal, Servian, Sheffield

Thursday, February 22 - 7:00 PM - Alta Vista Neighborhood Association
Payne Park Auditorium, 2100 Laurel
Candidates Bilyeu and Kirschner

Friday, February 23 - 7:00 PM - Bellevue Terrace Neighborhood Association
Waldemere Fire Station, 2070 Waldemere Street, one block east of 41
Candidates Bilyeu and Kirschner

Sunday, February 25 - 3:00 PM - Avondale & Hudson Bayou Neighborhood Associations Corner of Irving and Yale
Candidates Clapp, Daniels, Kowal and Servian

Monday, February 26 - 11:30 AM - League of Women Voters, Boxed lunch - $10 members/$12 non-members Reservations Required - 921.9778
Community Foundation of Sarasota, 2635 Fruitville Road, between Tuttle and Lime
All candidates

Tuesday, February 27 - 6:30 PM - Laurel Park Neighborhood Association
Payne Park Auditorium, 2100 Laurel
Candidates Bilyeu, Clapp, Daniels, Kirshchner, Kowal, Servian

Wednesday, February 28 - 4:00 PM - Arts Council Forum
1226 North Trail (SCOPE Building - 1st Floor conference room)
All candidates

Candidates: District 1 - Fredd "Glossie" Atkins, April Sheffield
District 2 - Richard "Dick" Clapp, Andrea Daniels, Denise Kowal, Mary Anne Servian
District 3 - Danny Bilyeu, Kelly Kirschner
You may vote only in your own district race. You can find your district at http://sarasota.perfectvote.com/FindPollPub.asp Fill in your address and scroll down to "City Officials," where it will show your district number.

Voting information:
February 12 - Last day to register to vote
February 26 - Early voting begins
March 7 - Last day for absentee ballot requests
March 13 - Election Day for 3 district seats - 4-year terms
Absentee ballots. Contact Sarasota County Elections office with a:
Phone request: 861-8618;
Mail request: PO Box 4194, Sarasota, FL 34230-4194;
Fax request: 861-8609;
or E-mail request: absentee@srqelections.com.

Information required for each of the above methods is name, address, date of birth, address where absentee ballot should be mailed and signature if mailed or faxed. All requests must be received by the Sarasota County Elections Office no later than Wednesday, March 7th, for the March 13th City Election to allow enough time for mailing.

Janice Green, Chair
Save Our Sarasota Steering Committee

Saturday, February 10, 2007

North Lido - A Lasting Legacy

Laura Sperling has written another excellent column - this time about a really special place in Sarasota. She writes:

I walked back to the shore, where stillness reigned and a local Audubon club observed the skittering sandpipers. It is this side of North Lido -- improbably remote despite its locale in the heart of condo country -- that made it such a family favorite. I can't objectively state that it's superior to South Lido Park, the environmentally vital acreage whose earlier public acquisition is a story for another day. But with South Lido's crowds and boats and barbecue grills and cars, it has a different character entirely.

To my untrained eyes, today's North Lido -- which like many beaches has seen controversial "renourishment" over the decades -- looks broader and healthier than in the past.

North Lido is a wonderful, natural beach. It gives me a vision of what Florida beaches used to be like.

Take a moment to read her column and learn a bit about how this great space came to be preserved for all of us.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

School Board Accepts National Trust's Offer for Independent Review

Today the Sarasota School Board voted 4-1 to accept the offer made by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to facilitate an independent review of the Rudolph buildings on the Riverview site.

The review will likely be a three-day workshop at no cost to the community or the Sarasota County School Board and will focus on the feasibility of rehabilitating the original Paul Rudolph courtyard buildings and incorporating them into the campus of the new 21st-century Riverview.

We are pleased that the School Board took this step.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Good News

Article published Feb 3, 2007

PODCAST: Riverview debate continues01/21/2007
Saving school may be studied

SARASOTA COUNTY -- School Superintendent Gary Norris agreed Friday to recommend an independent study to see if some parts of Riverview High School can be spared the wrecking ball.Norris met with the Save Riverview Committee and said he would talk to School Board members about allowing the National Trust for Historic Preservation to study the viability of saving some of the original courtyard buildings, designed by architect Paul Rudolph.

School Board members voted in the fall to demolish the buildings and use the land for parking and a bus loop once the new school is built.Mold, drainage and other problems have plagued the school for years, and school officials have maintained it would cost too much to save them.

But architects and preservationists say the district didn't do enough to try to save the buildings designed by Rudolph, one of the founders of the Sarasota School of architecture.

They recently nominated the part of the Rudolph campus to be included on the list of "America's 11 Most Endangered Historical Sites."

"We're pleased that an organization of this stature will be looking into how the Rudolph courtyard buildings can really be used," said Mark Smith, a member of the Save Riverview Committee. "The National Trust will be picking up the costs, and we'll be working in close cooperation with the associate superintendent to make this happen.

"If the School Board agrees, the National Trust will bring in an architect to hold workshops and look at factors such as safety, costs and security.

The National Trust is a nonprofit preservation organization with about 250,000 members.The district hopes to have the new three-story campus building completed by August 2009.