Friday, January 20, 2017

2nd meeting on Gabbert's Recycling facility next to Celery Fields

For those who missed the first Neighborhood Workshop for Mike Gabbert's (TST Ventures) proposal to put a recycling facility on a 16-acre site near the Celery Fields, a second meeting is planned for Jan. 30, 6 pm, at the Church of Hope (1560 Wendell Kent Rd).

At the first workshop, it was reported that the facility would precipitate 100 trucks a day of additional traffic, and have 35-foot-high piles of construction materials visible behind 8-foot walls, waiting to be recycled.

The proposed site is currently owned by the County. How long will our Commission and EDC avoid looking for higher, better uses for our land, especially land so near the Celery Fields, a green space, bird sanctuary and Audubon Nature Center that is garnering a national and even international profile for avid birders and eco-tourists?

The second neighborhood meeting has to do with a "critical area plan," according to one planner. The sale of the county's 16 acres is reportedly contingent upon approval of the development.

Here is the workshop data.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Two ways to help stop Mosaic

On January 26th, the Manatee County Board of County Commissioners will be holding a public hearing to decide whether or not to approve Mosaic Co.'s request to rezone 3,841 acres of land for phosphate mining.

The people of Florida and Manatee County are against the destruction of our land, the poisoning of our water, and the production of millions of tons of radioactive toxic waste, all for the sake of profit.

Mosaic's Wingate Facility
Photo: Hannah Morse, Bradenton Herald

Here are two ways you can help stop Mosaic:

1. CALL and EMAIL the Commissioners on Monday January 23rd:

On January 23rd we want to flood the phone lines and inboxes of the Manatee County BoCC to let them know that the public does not approve of the Wingate expansion, and we do not want Mosaic Co. in our community!

If you are not a resident of Manatee County you can call the general number: 941-748-4501 ext. 3716

Please send an email to all the commissioners as well!,,,,,,

If you are a resident of Manatee County, you can figure out your district from this map and call the representative from your district.

District 1: Priscilla Whisenant Trace
District 2: Charles B. Smith
District 3: Stephen R Jonsson
District 4: Robin DiSabatino
District 5: Vanessa Baugh
At Large: Carol Whitmore
At Large: Betsy Benac

Suggested Call/Email Script:
Hello, my name is _________. I am calling to inform the (Board of County Commissioners/Commissioner ______) that I oppose Mosaic Co.'s request to rezone 3,800 acres of land in order to expand their phosphate mining operations in Manatee County.  
Phosphate mining produces millions of tons of radioactive waste per year which contaminates air and water. It also destroys ecosystems and land, which is never returned to its previous state. In the best interests of the people of Manatee County, I urge (the Board of County Commissioners/Commissioner ____________) to vote against Mosaic's request on January 26th.
Thank you. 

Mosaic New Wales

2. Attend the public hearing on January 26th -- sign up here:

Mosaic is asking again for permission to destroy another 4000 acres of our mother earth in eastern Manatee County. They will present their request to the Manatee County Commissioners on January 26th. The last time they did this they bused their entire company of 200 employees to the hearing, arriving at 7:30 am and filled the chamber.

This is a call to action, to those of you out there to join together in opposition to their request. We can no longer allow forces to divide and conquer us. The time has come to unite and prevail. We must recognize the urgency of the battles appearing before us and respond in mass protest. "Numbers of people are the currency of movements, while money is the currency of the status quo. "If we don't support each other in bolder ways, we are bound to continue to fail.

Please go to this link and sign up to attend. All we need is 180 people to be there at 7am to fill the seats, and then others to relieve them later on in the day. Come when you can and stay as long as you can. Bring a painting mask with "NO" written on the front to show solidarity to the cause of protecting our land and water from this corporate monster.

We must think of attending not as a casual "come if I can" event but rather an obligation to protect the rights of nature, and commit to a day of service and stewardship. Only a large gathering will draw a reluctant media and jolt an apathetic public to wake up to the damage this corporation is doing.

For more information or questions contact:

Jaime Canfield

Monday, January 16, 2017

Manatee County: Jan. 14 demonstration against Mosaic Mining

Please read: Two more ways to resist Mosaic

Growth eruption: The city of Sarasota

via the Herald Tribune:
Your visual guide to all of the completed, underway or planned projects in downtown Sarasota.

Call it the billion-dollar boom.
Construction is completed, underway or planned on projects that will bring more than 4,200 new apartments, condominiums and hotel rooms in and around downtown Sarasota.
Developers and their lenders are betting heavily that Sarasota is ready to handle such an eruption of growth, which also includes new office and retail spaces.
Dozens of projects, some spanning the maximum 18 stories, will permanently change the appearance of the city, a post-recession surge of building fueled by pent-up demand and confidence in the future.
The city has issued building permits valued at more than $1 billion in the past three years. While that total include all types of construction, such as repairs and renovations, the new projects are the top-dollar draws.
In the 2016 fiscal year alone, the city processed $442 million worth of permits.
The Elan Rosemary apartment, at $33.6 million, the Embassy Suites hotel, at $25 million, and the DeMarcay condo and retail, at $23.7 million, were among the largest.
1500 State Street
1500 State St.
20 condominiums, 4,699 square feet office space, 3,708 square feet retail space
$4.2 million
State Street Partners SRQ LTD.
The Jewel
1301 Main St.
19 condominiums, retail space
$19.4 million
Main Street J Development
The DeSota
1401-1445 Second St.
180 apartments, 15,000 square feet retail space
$40 million
Carter Acquisitions LLC
Hotel Sarasota
1255 N. Palm Ave.
163 rooms, 10,000 square foot ballroom, restaurant
$13 million
Floridays Development Corp.
Embassy Suites & Spa
202 N. Tamiami Trail
180 rooms
$40 million
JEBCO Ventures
1 N. Tamiami Trail
141 condominiums, 255 hotel rooms, 14,000 square foot ballroom
$120.7 million
Kolter Group
Valencia at Rosemary Place
Cocoanut Avenue
30 townhomes
$3.38 million (first 18 units)
Icon Residential
700 Cocoanut Ave.
489 apartments, 8,700 square feet commercial space
$25.7 million (phase 1 of 229 units)
Rosalyn Holdings LLC
Vanguard Lofts
1343 Fourth St.
Six townhomes
$2.4 million
Tetra Terra Development
Risdon on 5th
1350 Fifth St.
22 condominiums, 7,000 square feet office and retail space
$6 million
Steven Bradley
Rosemary Square
1440 Blvd. of the Arts
39 apartments, 30,000 square feet retail and office space
$6.2 million
Rosemary Square LLC
Elan Rosemary Apartments
710 N. Lemon Ave.
286 apartments
$33.6 million
Greystar GB II LLC
Citrus Square, phases 2 and 3
505-555 N. Orange Ave.
28 condos, 4,200 square feet commercial space
$4.4 million
Urban Flats
1401 Fruitville Road
228 apartments, 3,700 square feet retail space
$30 million
Framework Group LLC
School Avenue Townhomes
41 School Ave.
37 residential units
$4.3 million
Icon Residential
Sabal Palm Plaza
1936 Ringling Blvd.
28,660 square feet office space
$5 million
Mark Kauffman
The "Q"
1750 Ringling Blvd.
39 townhomes
$8.4 million
JEBCO Ventures
300 S. Pineapple Ave.
17 condominiums, 2,632 square feet commercial space
$11 million
MK Equity Corp.
Orange Club
635 S. Orange Ave.
15 condos, nine townhomes
$8.7 million
Vandyk USA
624 S. Palm Ave.
17 condominiums
$20 million
The Ronto Group
688 Golden Gate Point
Eight condominiums
$8.6 million
Vandyk Sarasota-Golden Gate Point LLC
Lemon Avenue Pad Site
Lemon Avenue at Pineapple
4,310 square feet of retail/restaurant, 4,310 square feet office space
State Street Partners SRQ Ltd.
The Mark
1400 State St.
157 condominiums, 35,000 square feet of retail, 11,000 square feet office space.
Kolter Group
33 S. Palm Ave.
39 residential units, 2,400 square feet retail space
$23.7 million
XAC Developers
Quay Sarasota (See also SRQ: Another Day, Another Quay)
N. Tamiami Trail
695 residences, 175 hotel rooms, 38,972 square feet office space, 189,000 square feet retail space
$1 billion
GreenPoint Communities LLC
The Sarasota Modern
1242 Blvd. of the Arts
81 hotel rooms
$17 million
Cocoanut Arts LLC
1329 Fourth St.
62 residential units, 2,820 square feet commercial space
$4.2 million
DRAPAC Capital Partners
1542 Fourth St.
Six condos, 5,150 square feet retail space
$4.8 million
Rosemary District Development LLC
Florida Studio Theatre
751 Cohen Way
Five residential units
$1.2 million
Florida Studio Theatre
Office building
2010 Main St.
3,370 square feet retail/restaurant space, 3,370 square feet office space
The Schimberg Group
Fruitville Hotel
1351-1365 Fruitville Road
118 rooms
Choice Hotels International
Azure on Palm
711 S. Palm Ave.
15 residental units, two guest suites
$9.4 million
Thirty-Four-Seventy-Five LLC
Enclave at Laurel Park
1938 Laurel St.
17 single-family and attached homes
$1.2 million.
David Weekley Homes
HUB Building
1697 Second St.
97 residential units, 6,271 square feet office space
$14.9 million.
Biter Idea Vault
Sarasota Station
2211 Fruitville Road
393 apartments
S.S. Sasquatch (Vengroff)
111 Golden Gate Point
10 townhomes
$7 million
JEBCO Ventures
609 Golden Gate Point
609 Golden Gate Point
8 condominiums
Golden Gate Point Ventures LLC
280 Golden Gate Point
Eight condominiums
$11.0 million
280 Golden Gate Point LLC
Hampton Inn & Suites
1330 Fruitville Road
162 rooms
JEBCO Ventures
Payne Park Village
295, 301, 325 and 601 South School Ave.
135 townhomes
David Weekly Homes
State Street Garage
1538 State St.
395 parking spaces, 13,873 square feet retail space
$11.3 million
Garage by city of Sarasota, retail by WMR Consulting
Aloft Hotel and apartments
1 N. Palm Ave.
138 hotel rooms, 139 apartments, 6,000 square feet restaurant, 2,175 square feet retail space
$31.1 million
JWM Management

Friday, January 13, 2017

A citizen asks . . . Sarasota County and the Benderson Agreement

This request to Sarasota County for detailed information regarding commitments and funding for the rowing facility at Nathan Benderson Park is from a citizen, Pat Rounds:

To the Sarasota County Commission, SANCA and Benderson Foundation Officials: 

According to the $5+ million World Rowing Championships (WRC)/Bi-County Reimbursement Agreement signed in 2013, parties to the agreement, including SANCA, must comply with public meetings/open records law (See attached, Sect 3Q). SANCA is also required to provide quarterly updates on fund-raising for capital projects to the WRC Events Committee (See attached Sect. 3M--Fundraising). Requests for details about the time/place of WRC Events Committee meetings have gone unanswered.

In the last two years, I have requested updates from Sarasota County, SANCA (Paul Blackketter) and/or Benderson Corp. (Todd Mathes) regarding private/corporate funding for the construction of Phase III structures/Capital Projects at Benderson Rowing Park (e.g., state-of-the-art finish tower, boat house, grandstands, and other amenities). These structures were noted in a Sarasota County press release in early September, 2013 after Benderson Rowing Park was selected to host the 2017 WRC. (See statement from press release* at the end of this message.)

Other than a copy of an e-mail message (See attached Aug 4 email/2015) containing a pledge of funding for the finish tower, no Phase III/Capital Projects funding data have been provided. In response to my last public info request, I was told that SANCA officials would be presenting an update at a BoCC Meeting in late October, 2016.

Below is a link to the video of the BoCC Meeting on 10/25/16. Item #24 is a presentation by Messrs. Robinson and Sullivan of SANCA:

While various park-related issues were discussed, there was no mention about the status of private/corporate funding for Phase III structures. Please indicate where the Phase III fund-raising update is on the video tape.

In the 2013 bid package presented to the FISA/WRC site selection committee, an aerial-view graphic was shown depicting the rowing park which included a boat house projected to cost about $10 million. (See schematic below.) Over $40 public millions have been invested in ongoing park operations/management, WRC event prep, and FISA-approved infrastructure (Phases I/II) at Benderson Rowing Park in advance of the 2017 WRC (including a man-made regatta island).

A public/private partnership is only successful if both partners meet their obligations as pledged. The costs of Phase III structures have been estimated at up to $22 million. Thousands of international rowers and visitors are expected to participate and/or attend the WRC this fall. They expect and deserve to view the WRC at a premier rowing venue.

Nearly a year ago, SANCA Board Chair Bill Robinson noted the following in the Herald Tribune:
".....The finish tower project is estimated to be ready for use by the fall. The planning for the multi-purpose boat house is underway...."
Below, note the statement about the boathouse on the Nathan Benderson Park Foundation website:

The Boathouse, also designed by Guy Peterson, will be located on the south end of Regatta Island, opening out into the widest expanse of Nathan Benderson Park Lake. It will consist of two stories. The Boathouse will feature a variety of rowing and boating bays, supplemented by fitness facilities, dressing rooms, offices and more. The boathouse will commence construction in late 2015 and will be opened prior to the World Rowing Championships in 2017.
As of today, the finish tower is still under construction. There is no boat house, and the rickety grandstands seat about 150 spectators. (See photo below.) Any notion that temporary boat storage tents, grandstands, and rower changing rooms/shower facilities should suffice at a "world-class" venue chosen to host the prestigious World Rowing Championships is unacceptable. Not another nickel in public funding should be used or approved for Phase III structures.

Requests for information: 
  • How much private/corporate funding has been raised to complete the world-class structures depicted to win the bid to host the 2017 World Rowing Championships? 
  • When and where are the WRC Events Committee meetings held? Over $5 million in public revenue is being spent to host this event. Open meetings and public records statutes apply to this project and local residents should have a front row seat as plans are finalized for this international competition. 
  • Please provide evidence that FISA awarded the 2017 WRC to Benderson Rowing Park with the understanding that a permanent boathouse would be optional. Plovdiv, Bulgaria, the other venue competing for the 2017 WRC, already had a fully equipped rowing facility with permanent structures when a venue was selected in 2013. At the bottom of this message, note the boat house requirements for a major international rowing event listed in the 2010 FISA Manual**, Section B.7, starting on Page 100. A copy of the FISA Manual is available upon request. 
  • Please explain the meaning of the following statement below. It appears on P.23 in the Appendix of the attached Bi-County/SANCA WRC Reimbursement Agreement scribbled under the list of capital improvements, e.g, finish tower, boathouse, etc.: 
"SANCA and Benderson Development CCC shall have no obligation for these capital improvements."
It’s incomprehensible how a bid to host a major international rowing event could be submitted apparently without a binding agreement between local parties to deliver the requisite funding to complete the structures and improvements presented to the FISA/WRC site selection committee, the media, local residents, and the rowing world before the event. If Phase III funding goals have not been met, the private sector needs to step up now and finance the permanent structures depicted in the WRC bid presented by SANCA over three and a half years ago.

I hope to hear good news that funding goals have been met to construct a permanent boat house and grandstands in time for the 2017 WRC.

Your prompt response is appreciated.

Pat Rounds
District 1
Sarasota, FL 34235



*From a Sarasota County Press Release posted after FISA chose Benderson Rowing Park to host the 2017 WRC (Sept. 2, 2013):
"....More than $40 million in public and private-sector funds have been committed to help transform a former borrow pit into Nathan Benderson Park, the premier rowing venue in North America, capable of hosting an Olympic-caliber event. Sarasota County's investment, $19.5 million, comes from a Tourist Development Tax (TDT), which is paid by visitors to the area. Those funds have paid for Phase I (dredge and fill) and Phase II (installation of park amenities, hardscaping and landscaping). Phase III of the project, construction of a state-of-the-art boathouse, timing towers, grandstands and other amenities, will be funded by SANCA and corporate support..."

**From the FISA Manual, 2010, starting on P.100:

B.7. boathouse area - Team Facilities and Services
B.7.1. boathouse area »» Planning
• Permanent rowing venues are usually developed with at least basic permanent boat storage infrastructure.
• If canoeing is developed (or might be in the future), then the needs for both canoeing and rowing have to be accommodated.
• For major rowing events, much more extensive boat storage facilities need to be provided.
• The required space for the entire boathouse area (permanent and temporary) for a major rowing event is approximately 10,000m2.
• There should be adequate covered areas in and around the boathouse area for the Competitors to shelter in the event of rain.
• Olympic Games - in the preparation period before the rowing regatta and during the Olympic Games, separate boathouse facilities have to be provided for canoeing and rowing.
• A large, general storage area must be provided, at least 120m2.
• A high standard of security must be provided during the regatta events.
• A number of water supply points, clearly marked, should be provided for the Competitors where they can get safe and potable water for their water bottles and other larger containers.
• All Competitors’ areas must be clearly marked as non-smoking areas.
• When choosing the location of the permanent boathouse facilities the following conditions should be considered:
-- It is essential that there should be an easy and comfortable access to the boat storage area for the loading, unloading and movement of the boat trailers.
-- The terrain should be flat, or with a slope if possible of no more than 10°.
-- The terrain shouldn’t be slippery or if covered with gravel it should be well stamped. It is important that the ground conditions can remain usable even in heavy rain.
-- Provisions to be made for the facilities to be used by adaptive rowers.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Tracking toxic development

Some of the developments we're currently tracking:

James Gabbert (TST Ventures LLC) thinks a nifty place for a 12-acre recycling plant is right next to the Celery Fields, a haven for birds and birders from around the world. Here's Gabbert's proposal.

MOSAIC proposes strip mining in Manatee County. Sierra Club, Suncoast Waterkeeper and more organizations plan to be at the Manatee County Commission on Jan. 26, 9 am, to stand against MOSAIC. In advance, write to the Manatee Commissioners - addresses and sample letter here.

Sinkhole by MOSAIC

Neighbors are fighting tooth and nail to halt construction on sites that have already been torn up at Foxfire West for new developments by Medallion Homes (Carlos Beruff) and Meritage, a large Arizona Builder. Stay tuned.

Citizens for Sarasota County and other groups are looking into the County's approval of a 3,450-home housing project on Clark Rd. It seems the County will allow Taylor Morrison at LT Ranch to build homes that will encroach upon a floodplain designated AE where, according to a clear policy of the 2050 Comp Plan, no housing is permissible. (2050 Policy RMA 1.1. – Resource Management Area Ideals includes “Direct population growth away from floodplains.)

Finally, how do you like The Vue so far? BGA discussion Feb. 11 2 pm at Selby.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The VUE: Model or Mistake? BGA Event


Invites you to a free, non-partisan forum on


Where:  Selby Library Auditorium, 1331 First St.Sarasota

When:  Saturday, February 11, 2017, 2:00-4:00 PM


David Smith, General Manager, Neighborhood and
          Development Services Department, City of Sarasota
Mollie CardimoneSteering Committee Member, STOP!
        Former Mayor and Sarasota City Commissioner

Jennifer Ahearn-Koch, Founding member of STOP!
        Former Sarasota City Planning Board Member

Ken Shelin, Co-Chair, Equality Florida Board
         Former Sarasota City Commissioner

Questions and comments will be taken from attendees.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Developer-tailored Amendment to Greenway and Open Space Policies?

Public Notice

Proposed Amendment to the Sarasota County Comprehensive Plan
The Sarasota County Planning and Development Services Department will hold two public meetings on proposed Comprehensive Plan Amendment No. 2015-G. Both meetings will present the same information. These are not public hearings. The purpose of the meeting is to inform the public about the content of the proposed amendment and to seek comments and suggestions regarding the amendment.
The public meetings will be held on:

Date:                 January 18, 2017
Time:                 6:00 p.m.
Location:            Gulf Gate Library, 7112 Curtiss Ave., Meeting Room B, Sarasota

Date:                 January 25, 2017
Time:                 6:00 p.m.
Location:            Englewood Sports Complex, 1300 S. River Rd, Englewood

The publicly-initiated amendment is related to the required Open Space and Greenbelts for 2050 Village developments, and proposes to revise Policies VOS5.1, VOS1.2.a, and VOS2.1 of the Sarasota County Comprehensive Plan, Future Land Use Chapter, Sarasota 2050 RMA System section, and other policies as necessary.
The amendments could allow the County Commission to:

1. Grant requests for exceptions and/or reduction of the required 500-foot Greenbelt widths of a 2050 Village, with established criteria; and

2. Grant requests to reduce the Open Space of a 2050 Village to less than the required 50%, but to no less than a minimum of 33%, with established criteria.
For more information or to send written comments on the proposed amendment, contact:

Planning and Development Services Department
1660 Ringling Blvd, 1st Floor
Sarasota FL 34236

Please call 941-861-5000 or email with your questions.

Planning Services provides unincorporated Sarasota County with land use services in collaboration with businesses, residents and neighboring jurisdictions to build a sustainable, prosperous community that distinguishes Sarasota County.
Planning Services | | 941-861-5000
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