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SKA takes on parking concerns

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  • | 4:00 a.m. April 11, 2013
  • Sarasota
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Hulking tractor-trailers regularly stop to unload supplies to restaurants and convenience stores along Ocean Boulevard.

Record bed-tax numbers show business is booming in Siesta Key Village, which means more deliveries, fewer parking spaces and a renewed strain on nearby residential properties.

Because of the increasing frustrations, the Siesta Key Association has stepped in on behalf of residents to study ways to mitigate the negative impact of commercial activity on the island, such as overflow parking that blocks neighborhood driveways and lane blockages during truck deliveries.

Siesta Key Association President Catherine Luckner will address the subject April 15, during a Siesta Key Presidents Council meeting.

The Siesta Key Association voted unanimously April 4, to send a letter to Sarasota County commissioners in support of no-parking signs on Avenida de Mayo and examining alternatives to solve lane blockages semi-truck deliveries cause on Village streets.

Siesta Key Association board member Deet Jonker said he also wants to include parked landscaping trucks on Cape Leyte in Siesta Isles, as another safety hazard for SKA to consider. The two-lane road can become a one-lane obstacle course when seasonal residents return and park on the street, along with landscaping trailers.

The group will also consider trucks unloading on Avenida Messina, which SKA member Diane Erne said makes it nearly impossible to use the road to get to her condominium, which is on the west side of Ocean Boulevard.

“It’s embedded in the larger question: Where are we as a Village and an overlay district,” Luckner said.

The Siesta Key Overlay District binds all members of island organizations, including the Siesta Key Village Association and the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce. The document provides additional zoning restrictions to maintain a Village feel and promote pedestrian life.

But, recent and future developments, such as a Benderson Development retail expansion on Ocean Boulevard and new restaurant Eat Here, expand parking needs required in SKOD.

Eat Here needed to secure a parking agreement with nearby merchants to turn a retail store into a restaurant last fall. And the Beach Club recently renovated to include a bar at the front of the nightclub.

Restaurants can make deals with adjacent property owners who are open during different hours or use a valet company to meet parking needs after an expansion. The parking ordinance applies differently to valet businesses and allows stacked parking.

“There may be a necessary moratorium (on development),” said SKA President Catherine Luckner during the meeting.

The group will organize meetings with Sarasota County staff to develop recommended changes to ordinances that regulate island activity. SKA Secretary Peter van Roekens said lack of enforcement should be addressed, along with the current ordinances.

The County Commission was hesitant to add a full-time code enforcement officer during the 2013 fiscal year, and, instead, it added 15 hours of overtime work. Island code-enforcement veteran John Lally returned in April from medical leave, adding more support to complaint investigations.

“It’s not just a residential issue, it affects the people who work there, too,” Luckner said.


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