Persistent pothole problem leaves residents in Sarasota County calling 8 On Your Side for help

Sarasota County

SARASOTA COUNTY (WFLA) – Residents on Damariscotta Place in Sarasota County say coming home some days isn’t a pleasant experience because as soon as they turn on to their street, they’re faced with countless potholes.

“The minute you get here it is like OK, here we go.. Slow it down and see if you can try to minimize the bumping and the damaging and the bouncing around as you are driving down the road,” said resident Jeff Mara.

Mara has lived on Damariscotta Place for the past five years. He says the pothole problem has been a recurring issue.

“It is terrible. I mean, the potholes are huge. The county does grade the road maybe once a year when we complain enough that they finally send somebody out, but that lasts for maybe four months before the potholes start coming back again and then within six or seven months the potholes are terrible once again,” said Mara.

Kimmie Hanshaw has lived on the street for three years and says driving down the street feels like she’s on a carnival ride.

“With my Camaro, I can barely drive down having it even in first gear. I have to have it in neutral and just roll through the bumps. It is very treacherous,” said Hanshaw.

She says during the rainy summer months, the issue continuously gets worse.

“It is just so bad,” said Hanshaw.

Hanshaw, Mara, and multiple other residents we spoke with said they’ve called Sarasota County officials to come out and make repairs.

“I have noticed them do it maybe once a year since I’ve been here. It’s not enough. I would really like to see it paved, but I don’t know who has to pay for that,” said Hanshaw.

Mara said residents had a glimmer of hope two years ago when he said he received a note stating the road would soon be paved, but still nothing.

“We actually got a flyer on our door from the county saying your road is going to be paved, we are going to be here in the next 6 to 8 weeks or something like that. After about three months, nothing had happened so I called the county to find out what was going on and was told no, your road is an un-maintained road and we are not going to be paving it,” explained Mara.

8 On Your Side brought the residents’ concerns to officials with Sarasota County.

We received this response:

Damariscotta Place is a county owned, non-maintained road. This means, by code the county is only responsible to ensure viable access for emergency and public service vehicles. This generally involves a resident requesting the road be graded, then Public Works coordinates with Fire/EMS to check the road. If Fire/EMS determine the roadway cannot adequately be navigated by emergency vehicles, then the county schedules repair work for the roadway. If Fire/EMS deem the road is passible then homeowners are responsible for improvements.

The last time we provided maintenance on this road was November 2019. Staff received a service request for pot hole repair in August and two more recently, in the month of September. Staff also confirmed Damariscotta Place does have quite a few pot holes on it caused by heavy summer rains but does appear largely passable for emergency vehicles.  However, based on previous property owner requests and worsening conditions, the road had already been scheduled for grading tomorrow (Friday).

Residents are glad to learn their roadway will soon be repaired, but are hoping for a long-term solution.

“I feel like unless we complain, we are just kind of forgotten and nobody worries about it. We plan to live here indefinitely, and I don’t want to have to once a year, once every six months start raising a stink and have to worry about it. I would like it to just be taken care of and not be a constant hassle that we have to deal with,” said Mara.

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