VENICE — Before the City Council approved the final reading of the amended sidewalk ordinance, a local business owner shared his disagreement with the change.

“This code actually touches my front door,” said Mark Andes, owner of Island Life Hammocks.

The ordinance, which passed with a 6-0 vote, will extend the public right of way to six feet on the sidewalk and require public property permits.

City Manager Ed Lavallee stated it was a “safety measure for pedestrians.”

Andes said he and other businesses did not know about the forum when the amendment was discussed. He asked for another forum with the businesses present.

After Andes’ remarks, the Council discussed the ordinance further. Council members explained why the ordinance was changed, citing American with Disabilities Act requirements for pedestrian pathways.

Council Member Joe Neunder asked if the city reached out to the businesses regarding the change.

Assistant City Manager Len Bramble said he talked to businesses and the only one that was against the ordinance was Andes.

Bramble stated it was the most anticipated change by the local businesses.

The Council also approved interviewing the top three candidates for the city clerk position as current City Clerk Lori Stelzer retires on Dec. 31.

However, later in the day, one of the three accepted another job, leaving two to be interviewed: Kelly Bogner, administrative officer, Topeka, Kansas, and Kelly Michaels, city clerk, Brookfield, Wisconsin.

Other business

Also on Tuesday the Council:

• Heard a presentation on COVID-19 from Chuck Henry, Department of Health-Sarasota.

• Approved the 2022 state legislative priorities.


• Heard Finance Controller Joe Welch, in place of Finance Director Linda Senne, on the quarterly financial update and a presentation on proposed changes to the draft Fiscal Year 2022 budget since June’s budget workshops. Due to absent council members, the Fiscal Year 2022 budget changes could not be approved and will roll over to the next meeting.

• Heard first reading of an ordinance modifying the amount the city charges the county for wholesale sanitary wastewater.

• Heard first reading of an ordinance amending the hours city beach parks and athletic parks would be closed to vehicles from midnight to 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., to match a change to county hours.

• Heard first reading of an ordinance eliminating city regulations pertaining to gas pumps, which are now solely under state regulation.

• Voted on an ordinance amending the city’s emergency management procedures to be consistent with state law.

• Voted on an ordinance amending code provisions related to the use of the public right of way and heard a presentation on an online park and public space reservation system.

• Voted on an ordinance amending code provisions related to the defense and indemnity of officers and employees.

• Voted on a budget amendment.

• Considered approving an amendment to the locally funded agreement with Sarasota County for the construction of Venezia Park.

• Reappointed Jon Steketee to the Architectural Review Board; Jean Trammell and Frank Wright to the Historic Preservation Board; and John Hinshaw to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board; and appointed Kirk Wilkenson to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

• Presented a five-year Service Award to Airport Director Mark Cervasio.

• Recognized Shawn Carvey on his retirement as fire chief.

• Recognized public safety leadership.

View the video of the meeting at VeniceGov.com under the “Meetings” header.

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