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Siesta Key – Outdoor Display – SKOD Update

Wording for the Zoning Code is now in the hands of Sarasota County working the language into an Ordinance.  The intent is to allow retail outdoor displays only on properties zoned Commercial General within the overlay district.  This will apply for both retail and bike/scooter rental businesses.  this does not apply to restaurants and signage.

The cost associated with a citizen initiated text amendment to the Zoning Code was $1,000 for processing the change, and there will be additional costs associated with advertising for the public hearings.

There will be a public hearing before the Planning Commission and at a minimum, one hearing before the County Commission.

Based on the County Commission agendas, this matter is expected to come before the County Commision well after their July recess.

Scooter Coupes legal on all Siesta Key roads

At the April SKA meeting, several attendees voiced concerns that they have encountered Scoot Coupes driving on Midnight Pass Road and Higel Ave., where 40 mph speed limits are posted.  Residents requested that the sheriff’s office ticket these drivers when they are on Midnight Pass Road and Higel Ave.  Sgt. Osbourne addressed this concern at the meeting stating that the cars were not legal.

However, this issue was originally discussed in a previous SKA meeting and determined at that time that the Scoot Coupes, being gas powered and able to reach between 35 -40 mph, were legal on all Siesta Key streets.

When we contacted Sgt. Osbourne for clarification, he indicated that the vehicles he referred to at the meeting was the street legal electric vehicles that only reached maximum speeds of 25 mph, not the gas powered Scoot Coupes or scootercars.

In checking with the island rental shops, they confirmed that the Scoot Coupes they rent out on Siesta Key are legal on all streets.  These are 50cc gas powered engines.  According to mark Toomey, owner of Robin Hood Rentals, “Scoot Coupes are motorized vehicles with 50cc engines, therefore legally, they are allowed on any road (other than highways).  However, personally, I do not allow my customers to take the coupes off Siesta Key”.

Siesta Sports Rentals have been renting scootercars since 1995.  Owner, Mike Lewis indicated that, “The Scootercars have proven to be very popular and people enjoy driving around the Key in a ‘convertible’. Depending upon a variety of conditions, they are typically capable of between 35 and 40 mph and so are ideally suited to the posted speed limits on the Key.  Of course, some of the drivers want to take a more leisurely drive but that is a function of the driver not the vehicle and I’m sure many of us have followed regular cars driving slower than we’d prefer”.

Save Our Siesta Sand 2 Event

On May 14th at the best Western Plus-Siesta Key, Maria Bankemper hosted a “meet and greet” for those who oppose the dredging of Big Pass.  The invite read, if you have an interest in understanding the threat to the island and the Army Corps’ plans and how it affects you, or if you are ready to support SOSS2 (Save Our Siesta Sand 2), please mark your calendar and attend this very important presentation.

On hand to present important information was Justin Bloom, Esq. – Environmental Attorney, Jono Miller – Environmental Activist, Rob Patten – Former Services Business Center, Dr. David Schafer – {opilation Ecologist, Peter van Roekens – Environmental Activist and Founder and Chair of the Boaters’ Coalition.

The event drew over 60 residents. The attendees had the opportunity to ask questions and meet with those who do not believe that dredging Big Pass is Lido Key’s answer to acquiring their necessary sand for the next 50 years.

Donald Hemke, attorney with Carlton Fields/Jorden Bert, on behalf of SOSS2 and its collaborative group submitted a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers, City Commissioners, County Commissioners and many others regarding the Army Corps plans and its compliance with several acts, such as the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species, NEPA and the Water Resources Act.

If you wish to donate, you can write a check to Suncoast Waterkeepers and mail to: SOSS2, Inc., 6600 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34231.