North Beach Road lawsuit finally served on Sarasota County

| November 1, 2016

Deadline actually was Oct. 8, assistant county attorney acknowledges

By Rachel Brown Hackney

Late on the afternoon of Oct. 5, Sarasota County finally was served the Petition for Writ of Certiorari Siesta Key resident Michael Cosentino filed in June, alleging the County Commission violated the county’s Comprehensive Plan in voting on May 11 to vacate a portion of North Beach Road. Robin Bayus, administrative specialist for members of the commission, responded to a SNL request to be notified after the service took place.

Cosentino also has been seeking signatures of registered county voters on two amendments to the County Charter. One would rescind the commission’s 4-1 vote to vacate the 357-foot-long segment of North Beach Road at the request of three couples who own property on that part of the road, or require the county to buy the property back. The other amendment would make it impossible for a future County Commission to vacate any segment of county road on a waterway.

The easement matter

In a related matter, the new owners of the property at 99 Beach Road and a submerged parcel west of it — Holderness Enterprises LLC and Siesta Beach Lots LLC, respectively — appear to have been the hold-up in the filing of easements proffered by the original parties to the petition for the road vacation.

One “perpetual, nonexclusive access easement” was to allow continued public use of the road segment except by means of motor vehicles. Driving on the section of road has been prohibited since 1993 as a result of repetitive storm damage the county never repaired. A second easement provided for a 5-foot-wide public path across part of the property seaward of the road section. Other easements pertained to county utility lines in the immediate area.

County staff finally had given Charles Bailey III of the Williams Parker firm — the representative of the petitioners — a Sept. 26 deadline to provide the easements in recordable form to the county’s Real Estate Department.

On Sept. 27, County Administrator Tom Harmer emailed the commissioners, saying, “[T]he County received materials from Mr. Holderness yesterday afternoon regarding the public easement. The staff will evaluate the materials and provide an update to the Board.” In response to the our request for a copy of the documents Harmer had referenced, staff emailed four pages with the heading Exhibit “C” and the notation that the materials were prepared by and should be returned to Bailey at his downtown Sarasota office.

The grantors identified in the Public Access Easement are Holderness Enterprises and Siesta Beach Lots LLC, both with a mailing address of 7333 N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota.

Siesta Beach Lots was established on Aug. 9 by Mike Holderness, state Division of Corporations records show. Holderness also is the principal of Holderness Enterprises.

Although Christy S. Ramsey owned the house and land at 99 Beach Road when Bailey filed the paperwork with the county for the road vacation, Ramsey sold the property to Holderness Enterprises on Aug. 12 for $3 million. The same day, Ramsey sold her parcel seaward of the road to Siesta Beach Lots for the “recorded consideration” of $100, Sarasota County Property Appraiser Office records show.

The 2016 value of the 4,824-square-foot Gulf-side property is $500, county records note. It is just to the south of the seaward parcel owned by Dennis and Wendy Madden, who also were among the May 11 petitioners for the road vacation.

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