Sarasota City Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to put less-strict parking enforcement in place downtown.
The vote Monday by the City Commission moves downtown closer to the pre-2011 parking-enforcement program.
Commissioners voted to:
• Eliminating timed parking enforcement on Saturdays.
• Eliminating timed parking enforcement after 6 p.m. from Monday through Friday. Currently, parking time limits are enforced from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
• Have city staff look into a paid-permit program that would allow employees to pay for a monthly permit in exchange for being able to park in parking areas without a time limit.
Commissioners also directed the city manager to consider eliminated timed parking enforcement in Southside Village after 6 p.m. on weekdays and on Saturdays.
They also approved a change in late fees meant to get ticket holders to pay their outstanding parking tickets.
In other business commissioners also:
• Held off on making a decision on a controversial Laurel Park development buffer zone, saying they want to consider more options.
The neighborhood was split over the idea of the buffer, which if approved would change the development process for projects planned within 100 feet of the walk-to-downtown neighborhood of Laurel Park. The neighborhood association took a vote supporting the measure, while several residents who spoke at Monday’s City Commission meeting spoke out against it.
Several variations of the buffer zone have been proposed. It would change the development process for projects near Laurel Park in two major ways: requiring developers to hold public community hearings before submitting applying for a building permit; while making it easier for residents to appeal nearby developments approved by the city.
Currently, city staff review and approve developments that meet the zoning code—without a public hearing.
Commissioners voted 4-1 to hear more options from city staff. They specifically wanted to know about ways to ensure that Laurel Park residents can appeal a project if they feel it does not meet the city guidelines set to manage developments in the area.