+ City rejects Club Ivory complaint
The city of Sarasota has rejected an appeal from residents of Plaza at Five Points to shut down Club Ivory.
Deputy City Attorney Michael Connolly, in a Jan. 13 letter, called the issue between the two tenants of 50 Central Ave. a private dispute, which the city and taxpayers should not have to pay to resolve. Connolly denied claims the nightclub violated its conditional-use permit, deprived residents of their right to quietly enjoy their units, lowered their property values and operated as an “adult cabaret.”
Plaza at Five Points residents had asked the city to revoke the club’s permit.
“There was always something new as a motivation to shut us down,” said Club Ivory owner Ambrish Piare in a Jan. 15 interview with the Sarasota Observer.
Stephen Thompson, the residents’ legal representative, leveled the first three complaints in a Sept. 25 letter, and the claim about the “adult use” in a Jan. 2 follow-up.
“Activities that are adult in nature do not make an adult use,” Connolly wrote. “Obviously, all bars are for ‘activities adult in nature.’”
Piare doesn’t expect this to be the end of disagreements between the club and residents.
+ USF Sarasota-Manatee chancellor to retire
Arthur Guilford, the regional chancellor of the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, announced Tuesday that he will step down from his position at the end of July.
Guilford, who will continue working with the university until officially retiring in January 2015, has served as USF Sarasota-Manatee’s chancellor for the past seven years. A university release announcing the retirement mentioned the accreditation of USF Sarasota-Manatee, the recruitment of the school’s first four-year freshman class and the creation of a learning center in North Port among the noteworthy accomplishments during Guilford’s tenure.
Guilford said he is retiring in July to allow for the university to find his replacement because the traditional hiring cycle for higher-education administrators takes place in June and August.
+ Community Foundation undertakes Legacy Trail
On Tuesday, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation posted a Web page aimed at raising $75,000 to pay for half of a feasibility study to pave the way for an eight-mile extension of the Legacy Trail. Entrepreneur Jesse Biter had approached the organization about being the project’s fiscal agent and building a website to collect donations in early January. Twenty donors pledged nearly $2,000 in the first 24 hours since the Web page went live.
The Legacy Trail includes more than 10 miles of recreational trails stretching from Venice to just south of Clark Road and the city of Sarasota. In August, Sarasota County commissioners earmarked $75,000 from the Trails Master Plan capital improvement project for the study, which county staff expects to cost about $150,000.
“The study is much like a set of plans an architect does for a house prior to construction,” Biter said in a Jan. 15 email.
“(The Legacy Trail is) used by many thousands of Sarasota residents and it remains an attraction to visitors and potential residents.” Biter said, adding that extending the Legacy Trail is important for safety, convenience and economic value. The extension would stretch north to Fruitville Road near U.S. 301.
“Once the study is complete, I will work with my state and federal connections to secure the monies needed to make the extension a reality,” Biter said.
+ County approves parking restrictions on Siesta street
Sarasota County commissioners approved a resolution Tuesday that bans parking on certain parts of Avenida de Mayo, which had become a popular overflow parking option for beachgoers and patrons of Village restaurants and shops. The resolution bans parking on both sides of the street from Canal Road to Avenida Cortez, and implements staggered 500-foot no-parking zones from Avenida de Cortez to Avenida Del Norte.
Sarasota County Fire Chief Mike Tobias noted in a staff report that parking in the right-of-way limited access for emergency vehicles. Residents lobbied the Sarasota County Traffic Advisory Council March 8 to prohibit parking, which they said had become a safety concern.
Eat Here Manager Stefan Waiss spoke against the petition. He said the No. 1 beach ranking from Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman has made Siesta a year-round destination with year-round parking shortages.
Meetings & agendas
The Sarasota County School Board will hold a work session at 10 a.m., followed by a 3 p.m. board meeting on Jan. 21, at the Landings Administrative Complex, 1980 Landings Blvd., Sarasota. Residents can call 927-9000 for more information.
Siesta Key Condominium Association meeting — 3:30 p.m. Tuesday Jan. 21, Siesta Key Presbyterian Chapel, 4615 Gleason Ave., Siesta Key.
Regular City Commission meeting — 2:30 and 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, Commission Chambers, City Hall, 1565 First St., Sarasota.