Sarasota News Leader

01/03/2014

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Sarasota News Leader January 3, 2014 During its Oct. 7 meeting, the Sarasota City Commission stops a "major encroachment" proposed at 1400 Main St. The item of greatest public interest is a proposal to wrap the old Kress Building at Five Points with "galleries." The structures would provide shade for the sidewalks and room for up to 78 café tables on a second-floor covered porch overlooking Main Street. A total of 21 people speak, most of them downtown residents opposing the plan. "This is probably one of the largest major encroachment permits we've had downtown," says city Development and Neighborhood Services Director Tim Litchett. It is also the first application ever for a "gallery." By a slim 3-2 margin, the commissioners turn it down, with Mayor Shannon Snyder and Commissioner Paul Caragiulo in the minority. Vice Mayor Willie Shaw joins Page 99 Commissioners Suzanne Atwell and Susan Chapman in opposing the request from businessman Chris Brown, who says he has been in discussions with a party that wants to put a "high-end restaurant" in the building. A combined session of the boards of the St. Armands Business Improvement District (BID) and the Sarasota Downtown Improvement District (DID) comes close to fracturing several state laws on Oct. 8. The two groups, meeting together on Oct. 8 for the first time, explore the idea of limiting the number of bars and restaurants in their two shopping districts. Both organizations represent commercial landowners willing to pay more property taxes to improve their shopping areas. "The two special districts are The Legacy Trail features educational signage. Image courtesy Sarasota County

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