The DSCA Board is supporting and providing public input at the City Commission Meetings in support of several new ordinances and policies including a ban on smoking. Elsie Souza of 100 Central and Parks Advisory Board Member appeared at the April 4 City Commission Meeting to support the Parks Advisory Board’s recommendation for a NO SMOKING POLICY in all city parks. DSCA also encouraged the City Commission to accept this policy as well as expand it to include all adjacent sidewalks to the parks. The City Commission agreed.
Although the DSCA recognizes that in some instances this will be a difficult policy to enforce, it is committed to working with the Sarasota City Police Department in cleaning up the City while making it a healthier place to live.
Also, in the works, based on a petition signed by many of our residents and supported by the DSA as well, is a proposed ordinance to establish procedures and written policies for groups who want to provide food for the homeless in the downtown area. The new ordinance would require that any such group would need to get a permit if they expect to have more than 12 people participate in the feeding activity, and that each group would be limited to three permits per year.
Finally, the DSCA is working with its member condominium associations in the Selby Five Points Park area to make sure that benches are available in the park and throughout other areas of the City for visitors and residents to use. The City, at the request of some of the DSCA member associations, has been removing benches in an effort to reduce the impact of persons who practically camp out on the benches to the exclusion of residents and visitors. The position of the DSCA that has been accepted by other groups is that the benches are an amenity that are available to all persons and that residents through the responsible use of their tax dollars want to have such amenities available.
However, because the present situation has become intolerable and is creating a security issue for downtown residents, the DSCA has agreed to promote the removal of the three remaining benches at Selby Five Points Park for a period of three months. During the three months, the DSCA will work with other groups to establish enforceable policies that promote the use of benches and other amenities in a socially responsible manner. At the conclusion of the three-month period, the DSCA will work with downtown associations and representative to put the benches back in place.