Friday, November 4, 2016

Antunes on Benderson and the Ballot

Cathy Antunes: The Detail
Important Sarasota races will be decided on November 8th. As party lines blur nationally, local elections may be similar. Party affiliation may not be the best guide in identifying who will effectively steward our community, especially since effective oversight of development decisions is no longer found at the state level. Important decisions lie ahead, and they will be decided by the County Commission. Siesta Key’s south bridge at Stickney Point and US 41, a major gateway to a local economic engine and prized beach, may suffer a suffocating traffic future. County government is responsible for creating safe and economically viable development. The County Commission election matters.
We used to be able to count on the Department of Community Affairs for wise development standards in Florida.* The state agency, established in 1969, worked to reduce sprawl and congestion for 42 years. DCA was abolished in 2011. In Sarasota, the most obvious evidence of the absence of DCA oversight is traffic at University Parkway and I75. Without DCA’s usual oversight requirements (e.g. a DRI – Development Regional Impact study), Sarasotans have seen the new mall create dangerous congestion and siphon retailers from existing commercial centers. The traffic fix—a cumbersome diverging diamond—comes with an $80-million priceYou may remember that when approving the new Benderson mall, the County removed a requirement to build over 400 affordable housing units. Affordable housing for those working nearby could have alleviated some traffic near the mall. No affordable housing is planned at Stickney Point and 41.

In the County Commission race between Fredd Atkins and Mike Moran, Benderson’s choice is clear, as evidenced by Moran campaign signs at Stickney Point and 41.  Fredd Atkins has pledged to listen to the people.  Who will you support? tag.
More on the Benderson plan for Stickney Point in this interview with Sura Kochman.

Moran was appointed by Rick Scott to the Southwest Florida Water Management District (Swiftmud).

*The DCA was abolished by Gov. Rick Scott in 2011:
Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill (SB 2156) Tuesday that dismantles the growth management agency and merges it with several other agencies, such as the Agency for Workforce Innovation, to form a new state agency. The Department of Economic Opportunity will officially be created on Oct. 1, [2011]. Source.

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