Feb. 2021

The Venice City Council will create a new charter review board.

VENICE — Rather than tweak a few provisions in the charter, the Venice City Council decided to put the entire document in the hands of another group for a thorough review.

First it has to create a new charter review board, though. Unlike the county, Venice doesn’t have a standing panel for that purpose.

The Council had previously identified some charter provisions it wanted to change.

But the last meeting in that regard was in October, before Brian Kelly was elected.

City Attorney Kelly Fernandez said she wanted to confirm that the Council still wanted to go forward with the proposed changes before drafting an ordinance. If approved, it would then be put to a referendum in November.

Council Member Nick Pachota said that the proposed changes at least should be vetted by a charter review board because “it’s the people’s document,” akin to the city’s constitution.

The more they talked about it, however, the more Council members came around to thinking it was time for a full review.

The Florida League of Cities recommends one every 10 years, Vice Mayor Rich Cautero said, and it’s been about that long since the last one.

Council Member Mitzie said there might be other provisions she’d be interested in hearing input on, but Mayor Ron Feinsod questioned whether everyone was prepared to make suggestions Tuesday.

The last charter review board took about 16 months to complete its work, according to City Clerk Lori Stelzer. The new one would have less than six, to meet the deadline for getting a referendum on the ballot.

Pushing the matter off until 2022 was seen as having benefits, however. The longer period of review would enhance public confidence, Cautero said, and help turn out voters in an election when there will also be more on the ballot.

The Council voted unanimously to appoint a charter review board.

Other business

Also on Tuesday the Council:

• Approved rezoning the Hurt property, 214 acres east of I-75 and south of Rustic Road, from Sarasota County Open Use Estate to Venice Commercial, General and Residential, Multi-Family 3.

• Approved creating a Mixed Use Transitional future land-use designation and applying it to the Hurt property.

• Approved including Joint Planning and Interlocal Service Boundary Agreement amendments into the comprehensive plan.

• Approved amendments to Chapter 46, Parks and Recreation, of the city code.

• Approved an ordinance giving the Council the authority to reduce valuation-based building permit fees by up to 20% to bring the city into compliance with state law. A fee schedule will be considered at a later meeting.

• Approved a budget amendment.

• Approved incorporating the 2019 City of Venice Water Supply Work Plan by reference into the comp plan.

• Approved renewing the Voluntary Cooperation and Operational Assistance Agreement with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office regarding Caspersen Beach.

• Decided there’s no need to create a rotation of Council members to ensure a physical quorum.

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


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