Sarasota News Leader

01/04/2013

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THE CHALLENGE STIFFENS No lobbying of city commissioners documented in advance of their Jan. 7 scheduled vote on whether to hear an appeal of the Walmart decision ��� Stan Zimmerman On Monday, Jan. 7, the Sarasota City Commission will be asked to consider hearing an appeal of the City Planning Board���s decision permitting a Walmart to be built in the nearly abandoned Ringling Shopping Center. The agenda item will focus only on whether an appeal will be heard. While the City Commission would not be able to schedule a hearing until February at the earliest, the Alta Vista Neighborhood Association is providing a peek at what it will argue if the appeal is granted. A cover letter on neighborhood association stationary says, ���The requested appeal is based on the outstanding contention and expert finding that the proposed use of the site for a Walmart store is not a permitted use in the CSC-N zone ���.��� The ���expert��� is Mike Taylor, who retired last October as the city���s general manager of neighborhoods, redevelopment and special projects. (Full story here) THE NEED TO CATCH UP Sarasota County Commission expected next month to address ways to accelerate its schedule for resurfacing roads in poor condition ��� Rachel Brown Hackney To maintain an ���Excellent��� rating for the pavement on two-thirds of its roads, the County Commission would have to authorize about $9 million per year for resurfacing, the county���s chief engineer, James K. Harriott Jr., says in a recent email exchange with the past commission chairwoman, Christine Robinson. For the 2013 fiscal year, the County Commission budgeted $6,889,291, Harriott added in a follow-up email to Commissioner Nora Patterson on Dec. 26. Harriott noted in a Dec. 21 email to Robinson, ���[A]t the current prices for the resurfacing work it would cost about $60 million to bring today���s roads that have an OCI of 60 to an excellent rating of OCI 90 or greater.��� ���OCI,��� which stands for ���Overall Condition Index,��� is the standard rating system for roads, Harriott and other Public Works Department staff explained to the commissioners during a May 7 budget workshop. (Full story here) Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article AT A GLANCE TOP STORIES

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