Highlights of October 16, 2023 Sarasota City Commission Meeting
DAYLIGHT ON SKYWARS?
The city administration denied two of the variances requested by the proposed Obsidian skyscraper on the basis of lack of compatibility with the retail frontage required for that downtown neighborhood street.
The planning board voted 3:1 against recommending that the city commission allow the Quay developer to change its development plan to facilitate the One Park project.
Building on the design characteristics (human scale, and shaded walkable streets) that make one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city a “new urban ideal,” Benderson held a design charette with Laurel Park to explore options for compatible redevelopment of the County Administration site.
In response to public concerns about giving up space on Payne Parkway for EV chargers for a private business, Vice Mayor Alpert asked the Ford Dealership to explain what public benefit there was to the encroachment. The Dealership proffered that at least 1 of the 4 hookups to the two encroaching charging stations would be made available for public use at all times.
A nearby restaurant proposed reserving spaces on the roof of the State Street Garage after 4:00 p.m. for valet parking. Because that garage has a 30% vacancy rate, the commission approved a 3 year lease, subject to subsequent review every two years.
Downtown property owners and merchants and visitors continue to push back on the idea of reducing the 2 hour free parking in downtown garages to 30 minutes. Although the proposed changes could turn parking from a $300K a year deficit to a $3M a year revenue stream, at their October 10 meeting, the Downtown Improvement District stressed that parking garages were intended to get people off the streets and into the shops and restaurants.
LAWN WAY HOME
Is 10% off for residents the right price for a public course? The dynamic pricing model proposed by the management company for 2023 could mean residents pay more green, but the cost of the bond to redo Bobby Jones Golf & Nature Park will necessitate higher rates for locals when the course reopens later this year.
The Lawn Bowling Club will relocate to Bobby Jones. Since the bowling green will necessitate removing over 20 trees at the nature park and watershed, Commissioner Ahearn-Koch asked that the lawn bowling club use a permeable shell surface for its parking lot.
The Bay Park is celebrating its one year anniversary this weekend with a 5 day celebration starting October 19th featuring a number of free community events.
COMING UP - BARS & NIGHTCLUBS:
Despite continued opposition from residents, retailers, and restaurant owners, the City Commission is scheduled to hear possible zoning changes which could relax requirements for bars and nightclubs at its November 6 meeting. Weigh in on this critical public safety & livability issue on CCNA’s Sarasota Public survey.