+ City withdraws from shelter conversation
Earlier this month, the County Commission drafted a letter to make sure it was still on the same page as the city regarding the pursuit of a regional come-as-you-are homeless shelter. In response to that letter, the City Commission revealed that it no longer was.
At its meeting Monday, commissioners voted to end their pursuit of a city-located shelter for homeless adults. The come-as-you-are shelter was the most contentious recommendation from consultant Robert Marbut, whom the city and county hired last year to address homelessness issues in the region.
With the potential sites for the shelter all turning up within city limits — a result of Marbut’s criteria that the shelter be centrally located to the jail and other service providers — many city residents, as well as two city commissioners, opposed the idea. Still, the majority of the commission voted to pursue all of Marbut’s recommendations.
On Monday, Commissioner Shannon Snyder — one of the three votes in support of Marbut’s plans — revealed he no longer believed a come-as-you-are shelter was the right solution for Sarasota’s homeless issues.
Snyder said there still needed to be a homeless jail diversion program in the area similar to the come-as-you-are Pinellas Safe Harbor in Pinellas County, but he feared a shelter that allowed people to come and go freely would attract an even larger homeless population from outside of the city.
Snyder said Sarasota County, which has worked with the city in the search for a shelter site, should be able to pursue a regional solution on its own.
“I think the county will be able to determine their own need,” Snyder said.
+ Planning Commission to consider 2050 tweaks
Neighborhood groups are rallying residents to attend a Sarasota County Planning Commission meeting Thursday, during which the advisory board will consider the most controversial changes proposed for Sarasota 2050.
The Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations (CONA) sent out an email Wednesday encouraging members to “stand up for fiscal neutrality” during the public hearing. Planning commissioners will consider the final round of tweaks to the county’s long-term growth plan.
For a new development project to receive initial approval, the developer must prove the project is fiscally neutral or beneficial — that taxes, fees, assessments and charges for services balance out new public facilities and services to support the development. The Sarasota 2050 plan, which guides building east of I-75 on specific tracts of land, requires developers to do that at the outset of a project and in subsequent phases.
Developers have criticized the current fiscal neutrality provisions as major hurdles in financing 2050 projects. The proposed changes would give more flexibility to staff and the administration in determining how, and how often, an analysis would be required to prove fiscal neutrality. It would also give the County Commission oversight to adjust such an agreement after seeing the results of the development.
+ City of Sarasota named among top small towns for luxury homebuyers
What do the Principality of Monaco and the city of Sarasota have in common? According to Christie’s International Real Estate, they are two of 10 of the most popular small communities for wealthy homebuyers.
In Luxury Defined, Christie’s report on the luxury residential property market in 2013, Sarasota is listed as a “Jewel Box Market,” which is characterized as a community with a population of less than 150,000 that has a large percentage of wealthy residents and “quality lifestyle offerings.” The report cites the 8% of the local properties worth $1 million or more and a positive trend in the luxury market last year as reasons for Sarasota’s inclusion.
“The encouraging pace at which luxury properties are selling has prompted many sellers who waited out the recession and list their properties this season,” said Michael Saunders & Co. founder and CEO Michael Saunders in the report.
+ Visit Sarasota County announces new locations
Visit Sarasota County has unveiled the new location of its visitors center.
The new space at 14 Lemon Ave. is smaller than its old place in the historical Chidsey Library, said Stephanie Grosskreutz, managing director of Visit Sarasota.
“It’s not about how much space you have, it’s about the information you provide,” she said.
The organization is hoping the new location will be more accessible to hotel guests and downtown visitors. Its lease at its current location ends Dec. 1, and Grosskreutz said the goal is to be up and running in the Lemon Avenue location by Thanksgiving. The Chidsey location will close Nov. 1.
Visit Sarasota wants to try out the new location for a year and gauge what the needs of the visitors downtown are, Grosskreutz said. Other businesses have suggested the organization needs a large welcome center in that area.
Visit Sarasota will also have a small location at the Mall at University Town Center when it opens in October. Grosskreutz said 14 million people are projected to visit the new mall, both locals and visitors.
The organization has a five-year lease for the mall location.
Meetings & agendas
City Commission special meeting — 5 p.m. Thursday, July 24, Commission Chambers, City Hall, 1565 First St., Sarasota.
Sarasota County Planning Commission meeting — 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 24, Commission Chambers, Administration Building, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota.