Thursday, April 20, 2017

Bo-Code, Buffalo, and our Planning Commission

At 24:40, Planning Commissioner Laura Benson is questioning why the County would wish to put waste processing facilities within core areas of the that allow light industry and residences.

Mr. Bo Medred shared a photo of a Waste Processing facility in Buffalo which had no walls and was adjacent to a row of houses:

"They're big dirty things" - said Benson.

Bo Medred's petition to amend the Code: It seeks to reduce the requisite acreage for a construction waste processing facility from 35 acres to 15 acres, and it passed the Sarasota Planning Commission unanimously on Oct. 20, 2016.

This decision by the Planning Commission gave Bo Medred and his client James Gabbert the "right" to put a Construction Waste Processing Facility on 15 acres adjacent to the Celery Fields, at Apex Rd. and Palmer Blvd.

Photos of a smaller Waste Processing Facility built by James Gabbert at 8001 Fruitville Rd. may be seen here.

See the related letter below from Adrien Lucas.

Good morning,

I keep watching the video clip from the October 20, 2016 Planning Commission meeting (Video Link).  

I cut and pasted the minutes from the P.C. meeting and added it to this email in the event none of you took the time to read the minutes I referenced from the "Bo-Code" show.  

Bo Medred refers to a recycling dump in Buffalo, NY 

I cannot help but think that perhaps it was Randy Benderson who showed this dump (see pic below) to Mr. Medred.  It reminded me of former County Commissioner, Christine Robinson, who was thrilled to have Mr. Benderson's trucking distribution center next to the Celery Field and had referred to trucking centers she had visited in Buffalo, NY.  Who knew Buffalo was such a mecca for industrial progress such as dumps and trucking centers?  Go figure!?  What a wonderful aspiration for Sarasota, aiming to be the next Buffalo!  

Mr. Medred showed the picture enclosed in this email as an example from Buffalo, NY. He shows the houses in the background behind the piles of dirt and claims that this co-existence of homes and industry works!  He also said that the people who live in the Celery Field area should know that they live in an industrial area.  And I quote Bo, "The MEC's primary implementing zoning district has historically been industrially based and we cannot lost the integrity of that and let it get overtaken.  It's just a balancing act."

We cannot let this area be overtaken?  What in the world is Mr. Medred referring to?  The people who live out there have overtaken the area?  The Celery Field birds have overtaken the area? The locals and tourists who visit the Celery Field have overtaken the area? The Celery Field Stormwater Retention Facility has overtaken the area?  

Please look at the picture Mr. Medred has provided.  Any reasonable person can see that debris from a facility like this is going to JAM UP the Celery Field Stormwater Facility.  A facility that the county has spent at least $30 million on.  Why would the county throw an investment that is earning its keep, more so than Benderson's slush fund water park, more so than baseball parks, more so than Tube Dube or Sandborn, shall I go on?  This is crazy.

Mr. Medred also states that by building Mr. Gabbert's dump in the Celery Field area that "it will reduce trips" for people who want to drop off construction debris.  

This dump will reduce trips?

This dump will reduce trips by people who live off or near Palmer Boulevard because they won't want to get stuck in the truck traffic produced by this dump.

This dump will reduce trips by people like me who go to the Celery Field to work out or to go birding because I do not want to get stuck in the truck traffic produced by this dump.

This dump will reduce trips by people like me who shop at Detwiler's Market because I do not want to get stuck in the truck traffic produced by this dump.

This dump will reduce trips by eco-tourists who do not want to get stuck in the truck traffic produced by this dump.

I visited the National Glacier Park in November. I remember feeling so excited just by the old time park sign and the beauty of the area, and that was before I got into the park.  What a visual splendor Gabbert's dump with equipment or piles of crap peeking over his concrete fence will be for all to see as they try to navigate their way home or to the Celery Field.

Minutes below:

4. ZONING ORDINANCE AMENDMENT (ZOA) Public hearing to consider proposed ZOA No. 119, a publicly-initiated Amendment, amending Ordinance No. 2003-052, as amended and codified in Appendix A of the County Code, to amend Section 5.3.5 to allow recycling facilities for Types B, C, and D fill in the IR (Industrial and Research) and the ILW (Industrial, Light Manufacturing, and Warehousing) zone districts. Mr. Bispham noted a conflict of interest and filed the appropriate documentation. Staff Presenters: Planning and Development Services Zoning Administrator Donna Thompson and Deputy County Attorney Alan Roddy Public Presenters: Robert Medred, James Gabbert, and Brian Lichterman Item submitted: Form 8B - Memorandum of Voting Conflict for County, Municipal, and Other Local Public Officers filed by Mr. Bispham Discussions were held on the following topics/issues: - 1,000 foot setback/residentially zoned properties versus residences in the ILW zoning/setbacks - recycling facilities/zoning classification/zoning language revisions/stipulations - previous two recycling facilities - Open Use, Estate (OUE) and Open Use, Agricultural (OUA) zone districts/Major Employment Centers (MEC)/Urban Service Boundary - the previously approved Recycling Facility on Palmer Boulevard.
 4. ZOA - (Continued) Discussions continued on the following topics/issues: 
- operational/machinery noise concerns at the proposed property - size/space/setbacks from residential areas - setbacks/possible elimination from residential properties - possibly adding language regarding the setbacks in the Urban Service Boundary. 9:21 p.m. Commission Action: Closed the public hearing. Closed by Ask, without objection. 9:23 p.m. Commission Action: Recommended approval to modify language in proposed ZOA No. 119 under Section 2, subsection 5.3.5.b. 2. iii, as follows (additions shown as underlined text): "Recycling of Type B, C and Recyclable D fill is not allowed, unless the parcel is (1) larger than 15 acres, excluding wetlands, watercourses, and waterbodies, (2) zoned IR or ILW, (3) within a designated Major Employment center (MEC), within the Urban Service Boundary and (4) at least 1,000 feet from any residentially zoned properties." Moved by Stultz, seconded by Cutsinger, carried by a 6-0 vote; Bispham abstained. 9:23 p.m. Commission Action: Authorized transmittal of proposed ZOA No. 119, as amended, to the Board of County Commissioners with a recommendation for approval. Moved by Stultz, seconded by Cutsinger, carried by a 6-0 vote; Bispham abstained. Note: Oath/Signature Cards Filed for Record. Note: Chair Ask passed the gavel to Vice Chair Bispham and left the dais at 9:24 p.m

Yep, it's "Bo-Code" all the way.  Please do not do this, please do not grant Gabbert his dump.  Please.


Adrien Lucas

Planning Commission Board is appointed by the Commission. Email addresses are here.


  1. What can we do to help this cause?

  2. Good question. There are a couple of tactics that could help.

    One is to look carefully at what is proposed for the SW parcel; then look carefully at the Comp Plan, and make a list of ways in which what is proposed clearly violates the goals, objectives and polices (GOPs) of the Plan.

    Another way is to make the County aware that you see exactly how bad this is - it shows not just that a bad idea is proposed, but that it is being seriously considered thanks to a completely dysfunctional planning methodology, helped by the power of money and influence. Make clear to the Board of County Commissioners, the Planning Dept., the Planning Commission, your state officials, the County Attorney - make clear to all of them that you see not only a bad plan, but a very bad system of planning that requires a major overhaul of how Sarasota County handles development and the money that fuels it.

    Thanks for asking.