Follow-up on Tanglewood Dr traffic calming

October 22, 2016

positive reaction from residents

Several of our neighbors have responded with emails to this site and to the County Commissioners.  The comments have been that we need speed controls not only on Tanglewood Dr, but throughout the neighborhood.  This is a good time to raise this issue as constructing speed tables or other controls in conjunction with the proposed road work will certainly reduce cost.  This is a pertinent point, as the neighborhood will be responsible for the cost (more on this below).

comments from Commissioner Robinson

Yesterday’s article encouraged residents to contact commissioners and let them know your interest.  Apparently there have been more than a few emails because Commissioner Christine Robinson asked that I clarify some aspects of this issue:

  • More emails to commissioners won’t make things happen more quickly. Unlike our sewer initiative there is a process in place for this type of project.
  • Speed tables or other traffic calming measures are processed via the Public Improvement District Program. Under this program, at least 67% of property owners within the neighborhood must sign a petition in favor of establishing a district for the construction of traffic calming devices.
  • Property owners are responsible for project costs via annual assessments.
  • Public Works Director Isaac Brownman will be available to provide guidance should we elect to proceed with this project.

next step

It looks like the next step will be for someone to step up and start a petition.  I’m certain that the commissioners enjoy hearing from us, but working thru the process will be more productive than piling on more emails.  If someone will contact Mr.Brownman ( and get the process started I’ll be happy to post your findings here.

Does Tanglewood Dr. need traffic calming?

October 21, 2016

Tanglewood Dr (south of Webber) has always had bicyclists, joggers, dog walkers, pedestrians, and children.  Recently we’ve had more young families either with children or planning to have children move into our neighborhood.  This all speaks well for the future of our community.

Several years ago the speed limit on our street was 20 MPH., but at some point the speed limit was increased to 25 MPH to conform with other residential streets.  Problem is the roadway has such limited sight distance it is virtually impossible to safely drive from Webber St. to Tuttle Ave (or vice versa) at the 25 MPH posted speed limit.  You can see that our street is a direct cut-thru to avoid the Tuttle/Webber intersection.  With no sidewalks or bike lanes we have been lucky not to have had an accident.



Within the next 3-4 months we should see construction begin on our sewer system (yea!).  The construction will necessitate extensive cutting and patching of the existing roadway.  We have been assured that at project completion the entire roadway will be resurfaced, so we’ll have brand new pavement throughout our neighborhood.

So here’s the question: What better time to design in some passive speed controls for Tanglewood Dr.?  There are a lot of techniques available: Speed bumps/humps/tables/cushions.  Do a Google Image search for “Traffic Calming” and see what’s available.


(Here’s a link to a successful installation of speed cushions)

Take a look and see what you think.  If anyone wants to start a campaign to slow the traffic on our street, the time is now.  You can contact county planners and/or email the Sarasota County Commissioners.  If you have ideas you want to share, send them to and I’ll publish them here.

N3 Neighborhood to present at annual Florida Neighborhoods Conference

October 12, 2016

Sarasota County is hosting the 2016 Florida Neighborhoods Conference and our friends Jane Grogg and Miranda Lansdale at the Sarasota County Neighborhood Services  have scheduled a presentation featuring our N3 Neighborhood sewer project.  Our success with county commissioners and staff was such that they want us to share our “win-win” strategy with other communities around the state.  The conference will be held at the Venice community Center and the presentations begin at 10:00 a.m. Friday Oct 14th (click on “conference information” on the conference website).

The N3 presentation is titled “Your Attention, Please!” (Session VI-No. 22) and is scheduled for Saturday Oct 15th at 11:00 a.m.  Our session will be moderated by Newton Conservation Historic District Project director Vickie Oldham.

Take a look at the conference schedule and see what looks interesting. Registration is preferred, but walk-ins will be welcomed based on available seating.

September 2016 Project Update

September 28, 2016

PCSSRP Status Report (link)

The above link will take you to the County’s August 31, 2016 Status Report.


  • plans and specifications are 100% complete.
  • bid documents will be submitted in September and advertised in October.
  • construction is expected to begin January 2017 and be completed by end of year.

Jaimol Charles, Project Manager, explained that there was some regulatory issues that took longer than expected to get approval.  The issues are now resolved, but the schedule may be extended by a month or so.

I know there are some neighbors having septic tank and/or drain field problems and hopefully this information will help in making decisions whether to replace or repair.  If you’ll refer to the January 13th post (“Drainfield Problems”) you’ll find ideas and resource links that may be helpful.

Red Bug Slough Air Potato Roundup

February 28, 2016

Fun Day at Red Bug Slough!

A very fun day last Saturday at the Red Bug Slough Preserve!  Kids, dogs, hamburgers… what else could you ask for?  Darcy Young with Sarasota Bay Estuary Program and Jeff Weber of Sarasota County hosted a morning of cool fresh air and an unlimited supply of air potatoes!  We had a couple of hours of gathering the offending spuds and then the awards: largest potato, smallest potato, most unusual, and total pounds gathered.  There were couples, families, and kids groups from local schools and churches.  The roundup concluded with a cook out courtesy of Sarasota County (thanks for the veggie burgers, Jeff).

Dioscorea bulbifera (say what?)


Lesson learned: Don’t put these things in your yard trash!  There have been times when I have filled an entire  trash can with air potatoes and vines and I always put them out with the yard trash.  Big mistake!  They get mulched and can spread back into the environment.  They should be placed in a black plastic bag and put out with regular garbage.

Future Events

There are more events coming up…  contact Darcy and get on the SBEP email list.

Darcy Young
Sarasota Bay Estuary Program


February 23, 2016





Now that our sewer is decided…

February 22, 2016

…maybe there are other things we can do to improve the health of the Phillippi Creek Watershed.  Certainly the conversion from septic tanks to central sewer will improve the water quality of the Creek, but can we do more?  Turns out the answer is “YES, WE CAN”.

Sarasota County FYN Program

So, what is the Florida Friendly Yards and Neighborhood Program?  My wife Lynne and I set out to see if we could find out. A couple of weeks ago we visited the UF/IFAS Extension office at 6700 Clark Rd (Twin Lakes Park) and spoke with Wilma Holley, the Florida Friendly Landscaping Program Specialist for Sarasota County.  After a pleasant visit and a tour of the grounds we went home, checklist in hand, and started a survey of our yard.  Things looked pretty good: our roof runoff is directed into rain barrels or landscaping, we use leaf litter or melaleuca for mulch, we have a porous driveway and a compost bin. We didn’t find any “prohibited” plants, so we called Wilma and made an appointment for an on-site audit.

A pleasant experience

Wilma paid us a visit last week and gave our yard a thorough evaluation.  She is a wealth of knowledge and very pleasant to talk to. She gave us some good suggestions and pointed out some invasive plants that we did not know were invasive (“prohibited” plants would be a disqualification; we’ll work on the “invasive” ones).  The end result was a Silver level certification and Florida Friendly yard sign!



Contact the Extension Office

Download the checklist and do a quick survey… it may take very little to get your yard certified.  Remember the “Dump the Pumps” yard signs?  Let’s see how many Florida Friendly signs we can get in the neighborhood (I’ll bet no one will steal them in the middle of the night!)  You can reach Wilma at 941-861-9812 or at

Wilma Holley and Lynne Scarborough

Wilma Holley and Lynne Scarborough

P.S. Air Potato Round Up at Red Bug Slough

The Sarasota Bay Guardians are sponsoring an Air Potato Roundup at Red Bug Slough on Saturday Feb. 27 from 9AM until 12 noon.  You can sign up here.





February 6, 2016

PCSSRP Status Report (link)

N3 Residents

Property owners within the boundaries of Area N3 will receive an invitation to attend a public meeting/open house scheduled for February 24, 2016. In the “open house” forum, property owners will be able to speak with county staff, one-on-one, about any site specific concerns relative to their individual properties. Opportunities to discuss funding options, septic tank decommissioning and other pertinent topics, with county staff, are available.

The project is anticipated to advertise for construction bids in the Spring of 2016. Construction is slated to begin in the Fall of 2016, reaching Final Completion approximately nine months later, or Summer of 2017. This is a fairly conservative schedule; construction completion could be achieved as much as six months sooner than the Summer of 2017.

D3 Residents

Some residents in D3 have been attending the N3 public meetings to keep abreast of the potential change in technology in providing central sewer service to the various neighborhoods. Any resident is welcome to attend county-sponsored events, however, residents within D3 will be invited to attend a separate public meeting, specifically addressing the needs of D3. Staff anticipates a public meeting for D3 to be held in the Summer/Fall of 2016. Property owners will receive an invitation for this meeting in the Summer of 2016.

Drain Field Problems

January 13, 2016

All of us are anxiously awaiting the installation of our central sewer system.  Those of us that are experiencing septic drain field problems are really anxious to be connected to the new system!  I have been fortunate to not have problems, but I’ve done some research and here’s what I’ve found:

The Indiana Health Dept. says “The main reason for failure of a leach field is plugging caused by a failed septic tank. Particles of non- decomposed septic material escape the septic tank outlet baffle and decrease the permeability of the leach field soil”.

An article from West Virginia University has this under “Short Term Solutions”… If the neighborhood is soon to receive public sewerage, it might be practical to use a short-term technique such as water conservation. This method obviously requires a good deal of homeowner commitment, as it usually takes a 30 percent reduction in water use to allow the drainfield to recover.

The Florida Department of Health has published a guide to Alternative Repair Methods, but it comes with this caveat: “The Department’s acceptance of an alternative repair product or method is not an endorsement or approval with respect to the benefit, effectiveness, or performance of the product or method”.

From The Laundry Alternative: “Some failed systems can be rejuvenated by fracturing the soil. This process utilizes a hollow tube inserted into the soil, then a 300 pound blast of air is injected into the soil creating thousands of tiny fissures. These fissures allow the drainfield to drain, creating an oxygen atmosphere and allow the aerobic bacterial colonies to repopulate. Aerobic bacteria, which require oxygen, typically live in the top 26 inches of the drainfield and process waste much more quickly than anaerobic bacteria. This process can be performed in a matter of hours with no digging or damage to the yard. One company which performs this service is Terralift International”.  Southern Sanitary Systems located at 4561 Ashton Rd is listed as a local provider of this service. You can call them at (941) 925-7867 to see if you are a candidate for their service.

And lastly, there is a provision in the PCSSRP (EXHIBIT “B” – CREDITS) that provides a schedule of pro-rated credits for repair/replacement expenses.  The County folks will be available at the February community meeting, so we can ask questions then.

If anyone finds more information to share, send it to and I’ll post it here.

I will add that I have had good experience with Bob Letterman Plumbing.  Bob and Janie live in SouthGate and can be reached at  For septic tank service I use Miller Bros. Contractors.  Miller Bros. also offers the septic tank-to-cistern conversion for irrigation.


Although listed on the Terralift website as a local provider, I received this information from Southern Sanitary Systems: “we no longer offer the Terralift repair option. In our experience, we have found that it is not as effective as drainfield jetting, which we do offer. Every property is significantly different and estimates are free, so if any of your neighbors would like us to look at their individual issue to see how we can help, they can call the office and we would be more than happy to set one up.”

January 2016 Project Update

January 13, 2016

Representatives of the N-3 neighborhood met January 7 with the Sarasota County Utilities Department for an update on the sewer installation project in our neighborhood.

​​We are happy to report that the design is far enough along that a public meeting has been scheduled at which the plans will be available for review. This meeting will be held the evening of Wednesday, Feb. 24, at the South Gate Community Center.

The meeting will be an open house rather than a presentation. ​You will have the opportunity to circulate and get information on various aspects of the project. ​County representatives will be available to discuss individual lot-specific issues. ​Detailed cost and financial information will be available. And Health Department representatives will be on hand to discuss issues related to septic tanks and their decommissioning.

The official notice of the meeting will be sent out this month to all affected residents. A separate notice will go out to residents of Mineola and River Ridge to hear ​about ​future plans for their areas.

We hope to see all of you at the Community Center on Feb. 24.

Best regards,
Peter Gentile, N-3 Neighborhood Committee