Island Chatter

| October 1, 2014

Siesta Key Association meeting notes
By Diana Colson

COMMUNITY REPORTS:

Sheriff’s Office— Sgt. Scott Osborne reported “Avenida De Mayo is a hot area: several parking citations have been issued.

A question was posed to Sgt. Osborne regarding regulations pertaining to fishing on the beach. “People can legally stand and fish as long as they are not fishing inside the swim zone.

Another question concerned witnessing juveniles partying and drinking at a neighbor’s home. Don’t try and handle this yourself. “If juveniles are drinking, call us. We have laws in place to handle situations like that,” said Osborne.

Code Enforcement—John Lally: “The number of illegal rentals has mushroomed. There were 56 cases filed in July and August, and it has been very time consuming. Websites advertise all over the world. Properties are offered for rent for the week or the month. They give the picture on the website, but not the address, so we’ve had to track illegal rentals by their picture. Many realtors have been written up. They do not seem to ‘know the rules’. Illegal Rentals have gone from monthly to weekly to nightly. We are now addressing these as ‘Transient Accommodations’ because those laws have more teeth.

“The owner gets the fine on illegal rentals: $250 a day. The fine rises to $500 a day on reoccurrence. Code Enforcement’s goal is to get the owners into compliance, then keep them that way.” For more information on Short Term Rental Rules, contact JLally@SCGov.net.

Community Policing—Captain J. Walsh, Patrol Division, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office was the guest speaker: Capt. Walsh’s philosophy is to “go with the ebb and flow. Be proactive. Keep things as ‘in control’ as possible. ” He introduced several of the men and women of his team. These personnel are moved around when the Sheriff’s Office sees the potential for crime going up in an area. (Example given was Englewood’s PIONEER DAYS.) Key points from Captain Walsh. “Not everybody can work on Siesta Key. We look for people who have the right skills to serve this community. “We take input from citizens, and then use it. We want to know what is going on. When a citizen confronts a problem, it’s always better for them to call us. “We’re putting the right people in jail. Our jail population has decreased, and that’s because we are putting the right people in jail.”

Questions/public comments:

A member of the audience asked if there was any interest in incorporating Siesta Key as Longboat Key has done. Michael Shay responded it had already been tried with no success. Joyce Kouba added: “When Longboat Key was incorporated, the regulations were different. Today it would not be as economically advantageous as when Longboat Key incorporated. Taxes would go up.” Michael Shay said he would discuss the question of incorporation with Catherine Luckner after she gets back.

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

SKA Environment reports, Big Pass / Lido Key renourishment

On August 20, 2014, the Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved funding to support an independent peer review of the most recent Army Corps of Engineers proposal.

The independent peer review will be chosen from a library of existing approved Coastal Resource Engineers who are not dependent on the Army Corps of Engineers funding. The focus and method will be a review and interpretation of the project scope, methods and professional opinion, not a “repeat” of the Army Corps’ specific studies.

The BCC authorized the expenditure up to $50,000. They will choose an Engineering firm from 7 current ‘listed’ in the approved library of firms (7 to choose from).

In addition, SKA advocated with the city and county staff to remedy the existing damage on Lido’s shoreline caused by Tropical Storm Debby in 2012. The shoreline damage has worsened since the original permit was approved. The original approved FEMA repair does not have sufficient funds or sand allocated to complete the repairs. Our hope is that a modified project, scheduled to be initiated after turtle nesting season 2014, will ease the critical urgency and provide relief as the larger Lido Key ACOE plan is reviewed. 

Environment committee

Turtle Lighting: experiment. In case you’ve seen some colored lights on the south end of Siesta.

When traditional street lights must be off during turtle nesting, the south end of Turtle beach is extremely dark. During the new moon, FPL installed prototype LED bulbs and shields on eight street lights in Bradenton Beach and four at Turtle Beach. FWC Marine Turtle permit holder volunteers isolated a few turtle nests predicted to emerge on the night of the test, and using 30 hatchlings at each control site, released them individually and observed their reaction to the prototype LED light. If the

experiments show that the new LED lights do not disorient or mis-orient turtle hatchlings, then FPL will begin using the new lights state wide in sea turtle sensitive areas.

CHINESE SKY Lanterns; Many ads are appearing online stating you can use Chinese Sky Lanterns at your Siesta Key vacation rental. Wedding planners for Siesta Key beach weddings are likewise stating that Sky Lanterns can be used on the beach.

Chines Sky Lanterns are illegal in Sarasota County; At an SKA meeting one year ago, Fire Marshal John Reed stated that Chinese Sky Lanterns are illegal as are all personal fireworks. We’ll be inquiring if there are any conditions under which these can be used.

Due to rain, the International Coastal Cleanup, was postponed until Saturday, Sept. 27, 8 am to noon.

The next SKA Monthly Meeting is Thursday, October 2nd, at 4:30 pm.

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