Monday, January 30, 2017

Residents turn out in droves opposing Gabbert


ABCNews piece about the Jan. 30 Gabbert Recyling/Celery Fields workshop:

Hundreds oppose recycling center to be built on 16 acres at Celery Fields

See also: 

Rezoning Petition for a warehouse next to the proposed Gabbert facility - Planning Commission hearing Thursday, Feb. 2.

Images and comments from attendees after the Gabbert Recycling Center workshop of Jan. 30, 2017 are below. A full transcript of the meeting is being made and will be made available soon:
Bo Medved handling questions

A resident who was at the hearing:

I'm back from the Workshop, which was SRO, and they brought in extra folding chairs. Leaflets with Commissioners' contact information were handed out. A realtor at the meeting made a good point: The county is selling the land, which suggests a conflict of interest. If the zoning change doesn't go through, they don't make a sale. And the developer, James Gabbert, is on the Charter Review Board. He already owns the adjacent four acres, which is a transfer station. Many of the comments were, of course, about all the residential developments impacted by this proposed center.

The Celery Fields as a world class birding site (and home for endangered and protected species) was stressed as well, and Sarasota Audubon had a representative and a couple of members there. It is not really recycling. They are taking in materials used in construction as well as yard waste and reselling it, so it was suggested that "Construction Waste Transfer Center" would be a better name. However, the materials will also be processed, and the resulting piles could be 35 feet or more high, much higher than the 8 foot wall and 2 foot berm. 

Contamination concerns were brought up, especially by general contractors who attended. Of course traffic issues were stressed and the impact on property values. Gabbert was bombarded with questions, and admitted to living on Siesta Key. Many questions were not adequately answered or were dodged. All those attending were urged to contact their representatives. We received a flyer with the commissioners' emails and the County Commission's phone number. Everyone was urged to write letters, call and email -- and to do all three if possible. This land use is incompatible with the surrounding area and the current zoning. 

If Gabbert succeeds in getting the rezoning, he will also have to apply for a special exception. What he is proposing to build belongs in the category of "heavy industrial." This facility is definitely not compatible with its surroundings. Vehicles from pickups to large trucks will be in and out of the facility. Even though our neighborhoods are further west, we are sure to be impacted by truck traffic and noise. Every community with a through street will likely have trucks barreling through their neighborhoods, even dropping debris on the road.

PLEASE write your Commissioner, or all five if you can, and call them as well. Jam up the phone line (941-861-5344). Get talking points together and give them a hard time.

Another resident:

OUR: Open Use Rural is the right zoning for Gabbert Parcel

One irony: As Bo Medved said, the Celery Fields originally was a stormwater project. The "mountain" and the discovery of it as a major natural asset for all sorts of birds, including several endangered species, came more or less an an unplanned accident. In other words, the single best mainland asset in Sarasota - an international tourist destination for birders - was not planned by anyone. It happened. Now, this is totally being ignored. Mr. Gabbert wants to change the existing zoning of a parcel still owned by the County -- i.e., us -- from Open Use Rural (OUR) to ILW - Industrial, Light Manufacturing, and Warehouse. 

The irony is, given the now-recognized value of the Celery Fields as a natural, environmental, communal and economic asset, Gabbert and Medved are asking to change the land from the only zoning designation that it should have - OUR: Open Use Rural

The OUR District is intended to retain the open character of the land. This district is further intended for agricultural purposes and uses, and to preserve lands with agricultural development potential. Agriculturally-oriented residential development is encouraged, and all commercial and industrial development is prohibited.

What could be more appropriate for land near the CF? Leave it OUR! As in, OUR land.

Apex & Palmer lower left


  1. Medved is the same developer that mucked up the Iona and Palmer intersection, in league with Mr. Neu. Now he wants to continue devastation of the Palmer Blvd. neighborhoods. Same actors and well known to the planning commission and BCC.

  2. The link below is from the Sarasota Phoenix. It is a very insightful article about James Gabbert, "Bo" Medred and "Our" Sarasota County Commissioners...I encourage you to read it.

  3. AN Unbelievable LUST for MONEY and POWER. a FACILIETY OF THIS NATURE BELONGS WAY OUT IN THE FAR COUNTY. I totally CONDEM this so called PROJECT. I highly recommend that's passage FAILS.