There will be several strings attached, but Sarasota County staff expect to present a contract to buy the site for a homeless shelter during a May 20 meeting.
Commissioners will decide whether to purchase the property for $282,000 if the owners of 1800 N. East Ave. approve a draft of the contract. That agreement will be contingent on approval for a re-zone to accommodate a "come-as-you-are" homeless shelter, according to an April 28 memo from County Director of Homeless Services Wayne Applebee.
County Administrator Tom Harmer will submit the memo as part of a homeless services update during the board reports section of the commission meeting Tuesday.
The contract will also include contingencies for costs related to cleaning up the soil on the site and discussions with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on stormwater needs. Staff will also require approval for the site plan from nearby property owners, among other contingencies.
During a special joint meeting April 22, the County Commission and Sarasota City Commission both passed measures requiring the completed analysis of the two remaining viable sites for the shelter within 60 days.
That meeting focused on the results of preliminary feasibility studies on the two primary location options for the shelter, at 1330 N. Osprey Ave. and East Avenue, which homelessness consultant Robert Marbut and Applebee identified as the primary options for a proposed downtown shelter last year.
Potential problems with the East Avenue site include existing buildings on the site, utilities that would need to be adapted and negotiations that would have to occur with the site’s current condominium association. The Osprey Avenue site was considered potentially cost-prohibitive due to equipment and vehicles the city stores there, which would have to be relocated.
“I agree to moving forward to looking at both these sites,” said Sarasota Mayor Shannon Snyder. “Straightening out 1330 will probably be a little expensive … but let’s get a decision here in the next 60 days.”
The City Commission this afternoon will also discuss an update on the local homeless initiative, including statistics from Pinellas Safe Harbor, a shelter that Marbut helped implement in Pinellas County.
IF YOU GO
What: Sarasota County Commission meeting
When: 9 a.m. Tuesday, May 6
Where: R.L. Anderson Administration Center, 4000 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice