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Sarasota Friday, Mar. 14, 2014 3 years ago

Commission to discuss St. Armands event moratorium

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by: David Conway Deputy Managing Editor

In December, the City Commission approved a temporary moratorium on special events in St. Armands Circle Park during the height of the 2014 tourist season. Now, Mayor Shannon Snyder wants to discuss the possibility of extending that moratorium.

At Snyder’s request, Monday’s commission meeting will feature a discussion regarding the event moratorium, put in place after landowners, merchants and residents on the Circle expressed a series of concerns. Circle stakeholders feared the events caused traffic congestion and competed with local businesses during the busiest part of the year. The commission unanimously approved a ban on events from Feb. 1 to April 20 this year.

Now, Snyder is bringing the topic back before the commission because he feels the moratorium could stand to be longer. He said the traffic on the Circle is a public safety concern. Considering the success of the shopping district, he questioned whether the benefits of special events in the park outweighed the negatives.

“If there's a fire out there, an ambulance needs to get out to Longboat Key, there could be a problem,” Snyder said.

In December, city staff was working on a new ordinance that would regulate special events on city property, serving as a more comprehensive policy beyond 2014’s tourist season. Staff expected to complete the ordinance and bring it before the commission in winter or spring of 2014.

Also at Monday’s meeting:

• Staff will seek approval to negotiate with Mattison’s City Grille to extend the terms of the restaurant’s lease agreement. The lease is currently set to expire on Sept. 30, but Mattison’s has the option to extend the lease for another five years. Mattison’s is requesting an extension beyond that five-year term before going forward with restaurant improvements.

• City Attorney Robert Fournier will seek direction from the commission regarding the city’s efforts to manage the homeless population, citing allegations that recent activity from the city has been inappropriate.

Contact David Conway at [email protected].

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