We got a little something from the Sarasota BoCC on Friday. Apparently they decided to extend the Comprehensive Plan Update process by a month. Wholly inadequate, but better than nothing.
Considering that the Comprehensive Plan is The Law governing land use, development, open space, bays and rivers, basically everything that people value about this region, we need top pay a lot more attention to it.
There were exactly three people testifying for the environment at the BoCC hearings: Jono Miller, Dan Lobeck, and myself. If that's the best we can do, we deserve the landscape destruction we get.
The Plan is a daunting volume. And we all know that the fix is in, as always. But we have to fight it anyhow --- as always. And it's a lot more efficient to fight it at this stage than after the fact.
Take one section of the plan. It's in twelve sections, many of which you won't be able to engage with. It's all on line. Some sections are brief, some run over 100 pages, but taking it one bite at a time, analysis is far more manageable and attainable.
The Update is a nightmare, a morass of ambiguous language and last-minute developer-introduced changes to language that was somewhat more efficient and functional. This draft appears hell-bent on forcing much more of the decision-making onto the courts for interpretation. A prime example is the new sentence introduced by notorious developer minion Dana West into VII 2 f of Wetlands policy, calling for zoning decisions to be based on a "landscape context." This is an invention of, by, and for the developers. They are imagining that they will point to all the development around a wetland and say, "It is surrounded, therefore cannot possibly be worth saving," and oil up the chain saws. In fact, they will drag the County into many more cases like the Whole Foods wetland, and look to the taxpayers to pay the bill for the fuzzy language.
We can't rely entirely on Dan Lobeck for analysis. I will be taking some parts. I hope you will too, and contribute your comments. I will be happy to forward them to my list.
June 8th Comp Plan Transmittal Hearing
June 10th not yet available online.