Sarasota News Leader

02/15/2013

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WHO ARE YOU GONNA BELIEVE? Walmart appeal to be a battle of the planners ��� Stan Zimmerman Over the weekend, diligent Sarasota City commissioners will be sorting through more than 300 pages of materials concerning a neighborhood appeal of the Planning Board���s approval of a new Walmart store on Charles Ringling Boulevard. The issue will be presented all over again, from the top. Fundamentally, the decision will hinge on differing interpretations of the term ���department store.��� City planners say the Walmart is not a department store. But a recently retired senior city planner is on the neighborhood���s side, and he says it is. The face-off is set for Tuesday evening, Feb. 19, at City Hall. Tim Litchett, director of the Neighborhood and Development Services Department, will defend the staff recommendation and Planning Board decision. He will be opposed by his former No. 2, Deputy Director Mike Taylor. (Full story here) THE OL��� ONE-TWO PUNCH City slammed with two injunctions over the homeless ��� Stan Zimmerman Two city responses to homelessness ��� one at the top of the ���food chain��� and the other at the grassroots level ��� have been halted by a pair of legal challenges. One judicial decision stops any meeting of City Manager Tom Barwin���s ad hoc committee looking for fast responses to homelessness unless its meetings are properly noticed under Florida���s Open Meetings and Public Records laws. The other decision stops the city police from arresting homeless people for using signs to solicit donations from motorists. On Feb. 13, the city agreed to a 60-day ban on enforcement of an already-repealed solicitation ordinance. In both cases, City Attorney Bob Fournier tried to head off court action but was stifled by bureaucratic inertia on one hand and Barwin���s reluctance to open up his meetings on the other. Barwin was unavailable for comment, away on vacation in Ireland. (Full story here) Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article AT A GLANCE TOP STORIES

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