Sarasota News Leader

02/28/2014

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When discussion of the Siesta Public Beach Park improvements was under way at the Feb. 6 Siesta Key Association (SKA) meeting, one person took the opportunity to raise a matter she called "an old sore": paying for parking. The woman asked County Commissioner Nora Patterson — a member of the audience — why the county continues to let every- one park for free at the beach. Patterson replied, "I'm not the proper spokesman. I was on the other side of this issue." As she has pointed out in the past, Patterson was part of a 3-2 board majority in 2008 that did approve fees for parking at county beaches. Subsequently, Shannon Staub, then chairwoman of the board, changed her mind about the plan, and the commission scrapped the idea. Although the current board has "a little bit dif- ferent makeup" than it did in 2008, Patterson told SKA members, she doubted a revival of the proposal would win approval. "You Although parking remains free at all the county beaches, some residents say tourists should pay a fee. File photo A MAJORITY OF CURRENT COUNTY COMMISSIONERS WOULD CONSIDER CHARGING VISITORS, BUT NOT RESIDENTS, TO PARK AT THE BEACHES 'AN OLD SORE' I think we could be creative. Charles Hines Chairman Sarasota County Commission By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor NEWS & COMMENTARY

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