Support is withering for a move to allow outdoor displays of merchandise on Siesta Key, due to what some Siesta business and neighborhood association leaders call the "blatant disregard" of retailers for the existing laws.
Tensions came to a head at a Tuesday morning Siesta Key Village Association meeting, when SKVA President Cheryl Gaddie asked for an update on the status of a proposed amendment to a Sarasota County ordinance barring the outdoors display of merchandise, which a committee of Siesta businesses had drafted and presented to county staff for feedback this month.
Representatives of the committee of Siesta businesses pushing for the move were not in attendance at Tuesday's meeting, and the tone of the discussion quickly turned contentious as various SKVA board members expressed their frustration with what they perceived as the flouting of the existing laws by the same Siesta retailers pushing for the amendment.
The principal complaint from board members was that many Siesta retailers were not abiding by the standards they had outlined in the proposed amendment, taking advantage of Sarasota County's proclaimed moratorium on enforcing the outdoor display ban until a compromise solution was presented to and reviewed by the County Commission.
"They should at least comply with what they are proposing," said Gaddie, who facilitated the effort last October to form a committee of Siesta businesses to draft an amendment to the law.
Siesta architect Mark Smith, a SKVA board member, was instrumental in drafting the proposed ordinance amendment, synthesizing the needs of Siesta retailers into a proposal that would be approved for consideration by county staff.
Smith expressed his frustration Tuesday that the Siesta retailers pushing for the move were hurting their cause by not voluntarily abiding by the compromise restrictions they would like to see put in place, and taking advantage of the county's pledge to allow a consequence-free grace period while the changes were being considered.
"It would be much better for their cause if they would show the public how they would be in compliance with the new rules they have proposed," Smith said, adding: "Right now they are showing a blatant disregard for the ordinance."
The Siesta Key Village Association and the Siesta Key Association have both expressed their support for a proposed amendment to the county ordinance banning the outdoors display of merchandise. Under the direction of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce and the Siesta Key Village Association, Siesta retailers and rental shops formed a committee last October to poll Siesta businesses on their outdoor display needs, and draft a compromise solution for County Commission consideration.
In deference to the concerns of Siesta retailers, county staff annocuend that the existing law would not be enforced until the County Commission had considered the proposed compromise.
Also discussed at Tuesday's meeting:
- A proposed countywide noise ordinance change, which would alter, under certain circumstances, noise measurement locations from the emitting property line to the receiving property. "I don't see a problem with that," SKVA board member and Daiquri Deck co-owner Russell Matthes said.
- A move to install recycling cans in the village is being considered for next year's Sarasota County budget.
- Gaddie is pushing county staff for an updated timeline on a trolley service to the Siesta Key Village from mainland locations. The trolley is expected to be operational this year.
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