Commission to discuss St. Armands event moratorium


Commission to discuss St. Armands event moratorium


Date: March 14, 2014
by: David Conway | News 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

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Currently 2 Responses

  • 1.
  • Not sure you've thoroughly thought this true. You speak of economic benefits, if you've every been to one of these events, you know that the vast majority of sellers are not local, that means that proceeds, apart from sales tax do not flow to our community. Secondly, maybe we should give some consideration to the folks who live on these keys and who suffer massive gridlock and significant delay of emergency services during that time. Also, how many events is enough? There are only so many $'s available for discretionary spending and it seems there is an art fair about every 3 weeks here. (just one downtown this weekend)
    I think your charges of myopic and poorly reasoned." are unwarranted.
    A moratorium to discuss what is the optimal number of events in any restricted area sounds like a decent plan.
  • Bob Z
    Sun 16th Mar 2014
    at 8:30pm
  • 2.
  • My first question is: can we assume all the events listed on this following St. Armands website are now cancelled: as most all have dates in March ? They are, after all, during the moratorium that is in place, are they not? Though I see no indication they have indeed been cancelled. Perhaps there is more to this moratorium than first meets the eye? Are certain groups or organizations or types of events exempt from the moratorium? Those sanctioned or hosted by the St. Armands Association?

    Curious to think who would WANT to hold an event after the moratorium if all the tourists are gone and seasonal residents headed back north? Who would be the audience for an event? Merely locals? Could an event have much prospect of success?

    The most fundamental question seems to be: since when do events have to compete with local businesses? Why cannot events be structured to be mutually beneficial to both the local business community and the event, even during the height of the tourist season? Is the crux of this issue not efficient and effective event management? Coordination between the event, the City and the local business community? Approaches and plans that would include such aspects as traffic management and parking?

    Events are held throughout Florida in the winter and across the U.S. throughout the year attracting huge crowds and wonderful success. They have for decades, seemingly without such issues. Usually welcomed by the local community because of the revenues derived from the event. Why is St. Armands unable or unwilling to do likewise? If an event brings in 15,000 people on a weekend to St. Armands, why and how is that construed to be a bad thing? Especially during the tourist season when benefits to the local community are potentially maximized! Is it not shortsighted to ignore how businesses, the city and the state could all benefit from sales, meals in restaurants, hotel/motel lodging and the associated tax revenues generated from successful, well-planned and well-coordinated events? Not to mention the longterm benefits of acquainting tourists and seasonal residents from throughout the region while here, thru such events, to the City of Sarasota and specifically to St. Armands?

    This approach of a moratorium, as is or extended, seems myopic and poorly reasoned. Almost a case of insularism. Somewhat blind to the benefits that should be derived from the season of maximum tourism to the area. Especially in our current economy - this approach seems poorly reasoned.
  • Ron Mellott
    Sat 15th Mar 2014
    at 9:28pm
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