Sunday, October 19, 2014

REMINDER: For Immediate Release: 2050 Action Network Press Conference

For Immediate Release:  2050 Action Network Press Conference   

  • Monday October 20th, 10:30 a.m.
  • 1660 Ringling Blvd. (outside County Administration building facing the Post Office)

The 2050 Action Network is a group of local civic organizations who have come together in shared concern over the 2050 amendments created by the Sarasota County Commission.  The 2050 Action Network joins 1000 Friends of Florida in their opposition to the 2050 changes and opposes the poor land use planning, economic development and environmental stewardship inherent in Sarasota 2050 changes.  

The Sarasota 2050 Plan is, in the County’s own words, a plan of compromise.  The County Commission is recklessly disregarding the goals of that compromise and perverting the economic, environmental, quality of life and sound planning goals and principles that are the foundation of the 2050 Plan compromise.  If it is time to review the 2050 Plan, there should be a full, open and transparent review of all portions of the Plan with representatives from all of the community at the table to develop any changes.

Sarasota County has failed in its responsibilities to the residents of the County in the development of the proposed amendments by:

1. Failed Due Diligence                                                                                    

The Sarasota County Commission has failed to demonstrate due diligence, necessary analysis, compatibility of goals regarding the following issues related to 2050 changes: 

Water issues - carrying capacity and security analysis is missing
Sarasota County purchases over 50% of our drinking water from neighboring counties.
The rural lands are an important water recharge area for our aquifer.  Vulnerability of our water supply is not included.
Environmental Issues  - impact analysis on wildlife habitat and fauna, analysis on optimizing environmentally sensitive areas for wildlife and public amenity, where is inventory of wildlife corridors.  The County’s Land Management Master Plan - on the County website - is out of date.  It was due to be updated in 2010.   

Agricultural issues - future agriculture need and resource analysis 
Where is the County arable land map?  What is the plan for local food security, local produce?

Transportation/Traffic impact  - analysis of design changes and traffic outcomes is missing.  Best planning practices point toward walkable development and prioritizing walkable infill and redevelopment in existing cities and neighborhoods.  Evacuation, traffic and accident analysis is missing.

Timing of Construction - total existing housing potential of County is ignored
Municipality data and analysis missing, Impact on the home values and real estate market not evaluated.  Sarasota County currently has at least 125,000 total potential housing units (there are definitely more) and our projected 10 year demand is about 16,400 units.  The overall market is not considered in these policy changes. 

Fiscal Neutrality - the work of creating a mathematical model/formula to ensure existing taxpayers do not pay for surplus development has not been required/ completed.  2050 Changes give the County zero to limited audit capacity.  The County is bypassing this responsibility.  Models exist (work of Joe Minicozzi and Charles Marohn ignored).

2.  County Commission has a history of failing to look at the big picture, changes do not conform with state law, best planning practice ignored

According to 1000 Friends of Florida, the 2050 changes do not conform with Florida statutes 163.3177(1)(a)9, 163.3177(1)(b) and 163.3177(1)(f).  (see attachment)

Development at University at I-75 was slated to be walkable, bike-able and include affordable housing.  Design standards were systematically weakened.  Now taxpayers will be funding an 80 million dollar traffic solution  - the diverging diamond - a direct result of failure to embrace best planning practices.

The County’s failure to plan properly is ultimately funded by citizens, either through tax increases and/or reduced quality and availability of public services.  Example:  According to recent news reports, Sarasota taxpayers will be funding Lakewood Ranch Blvd. expansion despite a development agreement requiring Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, Inc. to fund it.  (see links below)

3.  By Failing to Conduct a Truly Public Process, Sarasota County’s piecemeal approach is undermining our future.  A Broad Vision requires real public participation.  
Public input has had no substantive impact on the creation of any of these  amendments.  These substance of these amendments to 2050 policy was created in private meetings from September 2012 through January 2013 primarily with SMR and Pat Neal Communities.

Public input has been window dressing in this process.   The scoping process was eliminated.  Open houses and public workshops throughout the phases were inconsistent (no workshops regarding phase one changes) and poorly timed (open houses held in rural areas during fair week, a workshop held in the City of Sarasota during a City Commission meeting, workshops held during the holiday season and the dead of summer).  Public input has not resulted in any substantive addition or change to these amendments.  Public concerns regarding Clear Water and Air, Wildlife Habitat, Greenway Amenities,  Fiscal Neutrality, Infill and Redevelopment, Walkability, Traffic, effective Economic Development, Housing Values are being ignored.  We are witnessing the Browardization of Sarasota County.


We join 1000 Friends of Florida in opposing these ill-conceived amendments to Sarasota 2050 due to insufficient due diligence, inadequate public input and failure to optimize Sarasota County’s natural and economic resources.  We support the findings of 1000 Friends of Florida, that the 2050 amendments fail to comply with state statutes.  In short, the best information and best practices on planning and development are being ignored in the local planning policies created by the Sarasota County Commission. We urge the County Commission to protect our quality of life and reject these changes. We urge the public to stand up for our future quality of life in Sarasota by attending Wednesday’s 2050 hearing . 

Selected References:

Water Issues:

Environmental Issues:

Timing of Construction, Walkability, Prioritizing Infill and Redevelopment, Fiscal Neutrality:


  • “Supply and Demand, Sarasota Housing” 
  • “Development That Pays for Itself - Minicozzi” 
  • Private 2050 meetings - see 2050 Meetings PDF 
  • 1000 Friends of Florida letter

2050 Action Network includes members from:

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