Sarasota County Sheriff’s deputies often warn people to keep their vehicles locked on the Key. Open doors just tempt would-be burglars, they say.
Yet, just last week, Sgt. Scott Osborne told the Siesta Key Village Association members that about 20 vehicle burglaries were reported in July in the Village. In almost every case, he said, the drivers had failed to lock their doors.
Fortunately, those thefts seemed to have stopped abruptly following arrests in unrelated matters, Osborne said.
At the public beach, burglars have proven even more brazen. Osborne said deputies had investigated several incidents in which young women leaving vehicles had returned to find windows smashed and purses stolen.
Valuables need to be locked up out of sight, deputies say, because electronics and purses are prime targets for thieves.
Quash those rumors!
A couple of weeks ago, a good source told me that the Hyatt Siesta Key Beach Resort had lost its Hyatt affiliation following a change of ownership in June.
“Shame on those individuals” who are spreading that news, Ed Braunlich, the resort manager, told me last week.
“Hyatt” is still up on the sign, he said; he was looking at it while speaking with me on the phone. And the resort is still listed as a Hyatt property at www.siestakeybeach.hyatt.com
According to news reports, The Carlyle Group sold the Hyatt Siesta Key Beach Resort for $32.3 million to NS/CSE Siesta Key LLC early this summer. The fractional ownership complex is located on Crescent Beach. It has 44 two-bedroom units ranging from 1,865 feet to almost 3,000 feet.
All the news that fits
After more than a year’s worth of meetings and phone conversations, John Lally, the county’s code enforcement officer on the Key, told the SKVA members last week that he finally had overseen the move of almost all the available publications from freestanding racks on the island into the new modular units.
As of Aug. 1, he had been unable to contact responsible parties for only two of the old boxes. “I removed (them) myself yesterday,” he said Aug. 2.
“USA Today really made a mistake by not getting back with the St. Pete Times” regarding space in the new modular racks, Lally said. (Staff at the St. Petersburg paper had coordinated efforts for the switch to the new units as replacements for individual publication boxes on the Key. The Sarasota County Commission approved the change to improve the appearance of the island.)
No space remains in the modular units for USA Today, Lally added, but the two freestanding boxes will have to be moved.
Lally pointed out that the new county ordinance stipulates that a publisher’s unwillingness to pay for putting his product in one of the modular units is no excuse for inaction.
Patterson recommended Lally send a letter to USA Today advising that more modular space will be available in the future. “I don’t want to get in a lawsuit,” she added.
SKVA President Russell Matthes promised to assist Lally with the matter.
On a side note, SKVA member Mark Smith said someone had complained to him that the new modular units have sharp edges. The person had suggested the county use rubber to solve the problem. Smith said he had explained to the person that, given the intensity of the sunlight on Siesta Key, that rubber wouldn’t last long.
Change of owners
The 820-square-foot UPS Store at 221 Beach Road, next door to the Foxy Lady boutique, changed hands July 25.
Beach Road LLC paid 221 Beach LLC, a firm managed by Cheryl Gaddie and Dave Magee, $925,000 for the property, according to Sarasota County Clerk of Court records.
Gaddie is owner of CG Designs in Siesta Village; Magee runs the UPS Store.
Gaddie and Magee’s firm paid $1,005,000 for the store in January 2008, records show.
Attorney Peter T. Currin, of Williams Parker, represented new owner Beach Road in the transaction.
Change of mind
During the Aug. 2 Siesta Key Village Association meeting, President Russell Matthes told the group he had had a change of heart about the 15-foot esplanade that is part of the new design for Siesta Key Public Beach.
Matthes explained that he had participated in a late-July stakeholders meeting about the beach plans. During that session, he said, county staff made a good case for the esplanade as an improved safety feature.
In fact, when John McCarthy, the county’s manager of recreational tourism development, addressed the annual meeting of the Siesta Key Association in February, he said one primary goal in the redesign was “to create some safer walking areas.”
As it stands now, McCarthy said, after people park, they wander haphazardly toward the beach, dodging cars. (Of course, as deputies readily point out, visitors also can dodge a few fistfights on their way to the beach, especially during the height of season when folks are prone to fight over parking spaces as they come open.)
The esplanade, McCarthy said in February, would enable someone to walk safely from one end of the beach park to the other on an attractive pathway. The esplanade would hug the west end of the parking lot. “This is something that has had fantastic results up in Clearwater Beach and other places,” he added.
As for the ongoing parking discussion regarding the beach plan, County Commission Chairwoman Nora Patterson told the group she is hopeful the county will be able to accelerate the expansion of spaces.