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Siesta Key Village News

Siesta Key Village News February 2018
Staff Report

A ‘symbol’ of the holiday season

   Apparently, someone who may have been celebrating New Year’s Eve a bit too robustly hit the Village sign on the southern approach in the wee hours of Jan. 1.

   The collision destroyed the solar panel as well as the sign, Michael Shay, manager of the Siesta Key Village Maintenance Corp. reported. “The wooden light post and light are still standing!” he wrote in an email that morning to Maintenance Corp. directors and Lisa Cece, the county special district coordinator who supervises the Village upkeep. “In the dark the bushes didn’t look too bad but the sign is in pieces!” Shay added.

   The good news, though, he noted, was that all the bollards that light the Village crosswalks managed to survive the New Year’s Eve/New Year’s traffic.

   The Highway Patrol handled the Jan. 1 collision, but Siesta Sand was unable to obtain a copy of the report.

Again?!

   The landscaped medians and decorative signs that mark the entry to Siesta Village from both the northern and southern approaches just seem to be magnets for accidents.

   On Jan. 9, Michael Shay, manager of the Siesta Key Village Maintenance Corp., reported that the northern median was struck sometime after midnight. Signage ended up in the grassy area just east of the median, he added. “You can also see that the plants have been run over again!” he wrote in an email to Sgt. Jason Mruczek of the Sheriff’s Office, leader of the Siesta substation, and Lisa Cece, special district coordinator who supervises the Village upkeep for the county.

   On Aug. 27, 2017, a 26-year-old Sarasota man was charged with careless driving after he struck the welcome sign on the northern end.

Questions arise about new signs in the Village

   The second week of January, the manager of the Siesta Key Village Maintenance Corp. noticed small red-and-white signs attached to different structures while on his monthly walk-through to determine whether any upkeep issues needed to be addressed.

   One of the signs was at Big Olaf’s, Michael Shay reported.

   The top line on the signs said, “Protect Our Sea Life.” That was followed by the notice, “$250.00 fine for cigarette butts on the ground.”

   When Shay checked with Ann Frescura, executive director of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, about whether the Chamber staff knew anything about the signs, she responded in an email, “New to me!”

   By Jan. 11, the number of signs Shay counted had doubled, from three to six.

   Lisa Cece, the special district coordinator who supervises Village maintenance for Sarasota County, checked with Code Enforcement staff and learned that the posting of any signs on county property or rights of way is illegal. Additionally, she notified Shay and Chamber leaders, a county permit is required if a person wants to post a sign on private property. “This type of sign would not be approved,” she pointed out of those Shay had spotted.

   Moreover, Cece explained, no fine exists in the county Code of Ordinances for the offense of dropping cigarette butts on the ground.

   She also noted that the signage “creates a liability for the County, within the Siesta Key Village Public Improvement District,” where the county oversees maintenance. (The property owners in the district are assessed annually by the county for the Village upkeep.)

   In December 2012, after the City of Sarasota lost a lawsuit over its prohibition of smoking on Lido Beach, the Sheriff’s Office ceased enforcing the prohibition against smoking at Siesta Public Beach. Because of a state law, local governments cannot forbid smoking in public places, the Office of the County Attorney explained to the county commissioners.

   Therefore, Cece asked for the Chamber’s help in notifying its members and other business owners that the signs needed to be removed. If they were not gone in a week, she added, county staff would remove them.

   As a convenience to whoever had purchased, the signs, Cece added, the signs would be delivered to the Chamber office for return to the purchaser, if county staff had to take them down.

   Further, she suggested that if the Chamber leaders wished to communicate with the public about the proper disposal of cigarette butts, perhaps a discussion at an upcoming meeting for Chamber members would be the appropriate time for that.

   The next quarterly Chamber meeting for members will be in mid-February.

   Finally, Cece wrote that she would be happy to provide more information to the Chamber about the county’s Code of Ordinances and its permitting requirements.

Repaired at last

   It took about five months, but the streetlight that had been out at the intersection of Givens Street and Ocean Boulevard, just north of Siesta Village, finally is shining again.

   Michael Shay, manager of the Siesta Key Village Maintenance Corp., reported in August 2017 that the light was not working. In spite of several conversations and emails Shay conducted with Florida Power & Light Co. representatives, FPL was just slow in getting the streetlight operational again. Conversely, the utility company had streetlights put out by Hurricane Irma shining again in much quicker fashion, Shay noted.

Siesta Key dates to remember for February

   The Annual Siesta Key Village Craft Festival Sat. and Sun., Feb. 24 and 25, 10 am to 5 pm. Arts and crafts, music and great food make this two-day celebration the first popular event of the year.

   Village Valentine Stroll Wednesday, Feb. 14. Take a stroll through Siesta Key Village for sweets and treats. Look for pink or red balloons displayed outside participating businesses. Both events are sponsored by the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce. For more information, visit www.siestakeychamber.com or call (941) 349-3800.