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Sarasota Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010 8 years ago

Observer updates

by: Rob Roy

+ Mattison’s City Grille’s extended hours approved
City commissioners approved a request Jan. 19 to extend the hours for amplified music in outdoor restaurants.

That request came late last year from chef/owner Paul Mattison, who said police cracked down on his restaurant, Mattison’s City Grille, after they received an anonymous complaint in November about the live music played there.

City code had specified that amplified music could not be played in outdoor establishments after 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends.

Mattison asked the City Commission to change the code to allow him to play live music one hour later, which coincides with the City Grille’s closing time.

More than a dozen downtown residents and business people told commissioners that they supported the extended hours, because Mattison’s City Grille has revitalized what had been a rundown corner of Main Street and Lemon Avenue.

Some Palm Avenue residents, though, wanted to make sure the later hours didn’t spread to other restaurants and bars. City staff is working on re-wording the ordinance to limit its geography.

Mattison attended the commission meeting and said he was appreciative of the support.

“Thank you for all the support tonight,” he said. “It’s a bit humbling.”

+ Placing affordable housing in new garage defeated
At the suggestion of Sarasota Housing Authority Executive Director William Russell, Vice Mayor Kelly Kirchner asked his fellow commissioners to support a major change in the Palm Avenue parking garage.

Russell wanted to explore the possibility of placing affordable housing in the garage. The builder’s contract calls for construction to begin April 1.

Michael Beaumier, Suffolk Construction vice president, said including affordable housing would add up to four months to the project.

Ten 400-square-foot units could be placed on the garage’s second floor, but it would result in the elimination of 41 to 44 parking spaces.

It would cost $400,000 to build the apartments and $150,000 for separate stairwells and an elevator for the residences.

Steve Stancel, the city’s project manager, valued the loss of up to 44 parking spaces between $615,000 and $660,000.

Russell told commissioners that there was a possibility of collecting federal subsidies to keep the units affordable.

But Kirschner’s fellow commissioners felt it was too late to bring up such a change and did not support the move.

“I’m quite concerned about making a change this late in the process,” said Commissioner Terry Turner. “This would have been a fabulous idea last February.”

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