VENICE — Well past the 10-minute mark in City Engineer Kathleen Weeden’s 10-minute presentation on transportation Tuesday, Venice City Council Member Jeanette Gates said what some of her colleagues were thinking.

“To me this is a workshop issue,” she said. “I’m frustrated.”

Weeden’s presentation was planned as a companion piece to one by Development Services Director Jeff Shrum at the prior Council meeting. He talked broadly about the status of city roads and left a general discussion of funding and prioritization up to Weeden.

But after she had reviewed funding options and processes, talk turned to some specifics.

She said she’d been asked to clarify that the segment of Laurel Road between Knights Trail Road and Jacaranda Boulevard isn’t rated an “F” currently. The traffic volume number for the segment of the road west of Knights Trail that’s four lanes was erroneously applied to the two-lane segment to the east, making it appear deficient.

Shrum confirmed it will indeed be deficient in 2030 as projected, based on a 100% build-out of approved projects in the area.

He noted, however, that the county doesn’t see it as dropping to “F” status until 2045 and doesn’t see it as a priority. The different perspective is likely due to the county using a model based on future land uses and a different “absorption” rate of development.

“Our model is a bit more refined,” he said.

The Council had approved its Capital Improvement Schedule in May, making improving the intersections of Pinebrook Road with East Venice Avenue and Ridgewood Avenue its top priority. It’s got an agreement with the county to split the estimated $8.6 million cost, with the city’s share to come from road impact and mobility fees.

Since then, she said the Metropolitan Planning Organization, has said it may have money for the project. That led the county to pull back a request for bids for a design contract, she said.

To the extent state money would cover the city’s obligation, impact and mobility fees could be directed to another project, such as Laurel Road. But, Weeden cautioned, if the city asks the MPO for state funding for a county road it’s accepting the responsibility for getting the road built.

The consensus on Council was that sorting out road priorities will take a workshop. It’s likely to happen after the Nov. 5 election.

Other business

Also on Tuesday the Council:

• approved on first reading an ordinance correcting an omission in the recently adopted solid waste rate ordinance.

• adopted a resolution extending the expiration date of the Solid Waste and Recycling Program Operations Stakeholder’s Work Group by a year.

• adopted a resolution accepting utilities and improvements installed by Meritage Homes of Florida Inc. in Venice Woodlands.

• approved an agreement with Willis A. Smith Construction Inc. for preconstruction services for the Venice Fire Station No. 1 and City Hall Expansion projects.

• approved a work assignment amendment for Kimley-Horn & Associates Inc. to address Sarasota County-zoned properties in the city in the draft land development regulations.

• ratified a new collective bargaining agreement with Fraternal Order of Police (Officers unit) for Fiscal Years 2020, 2021 and 2022.

• proclaimed October 2019 as “Florida Archives Month.”

• proclaimed the week of Oct. 21-27, 2019, as “Florida City Government Week.”

You can watch the video of the meeting at under the “Meetings” header.


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