Monday, April 17, 2017

CONA Town Hall: Brief Report

Surplus Lands, Community Treasures -- the Town Hall meeting at CONA Sarasota last evening was well attended - the Garden Club meeting room was full. There were four presentations and a good deal of thoughtful comment and questions from the hall both during and after the presentations.

CONA Town Hall 4.10.17 - photo: David G. Johnson

Adrien Lucas offered excerpts from court reporting at the Neighborhood Workshop suggesting conflicting statements made by the applicant for the Construction Waste Processing Facility who is seeking to locate it adjacent to the Celery Fields, and provided the Sarasota County Zoning mission statement: "To protect a community's health, safety and welfare."

Rob Wright of Audubon spoke about the history of the Celery Fields and provided abundant stats indicating that in its first year of operation the Sarasota Audubon's Nature Center at the Fields drew between 30,000-50,000 visitors -- eco-tourists from afar as well as regular Sarasotans. The combination of birding, exercise, hiking, Tai Chi and other classes provides a huge boon for East County, and for the County's image. He also believes there's room for the public to work with the County on land use regulations.

Tom Matrullo looked into Sarasota County's planning, zoning and surplus land use codes. On the one hand they're elaborate and cumbersome; on the other hand, archaic land use designations and highly "discretionary" surplus lands powers destabilize homeowners' confidence, leading to a "conflict of reliance." Can you rely on the word of your Realtors, developers and builders that your community will be undisturbed by industry, or does a highly arbitrary surplus lands policy mean anything is possible, including degrading land uses near your homes?

Carlos Correa of The Enclave on East Palmer Blvd. spoke about his concerns as a homeowner that his community, his neighborhood school (Tatum Ridge Elementary), the roads and the image of the growing residential area could be seriously degraded were the County to rezone the public lands at the Celery Fields for industrial use -- with a direct and deleterious effect upon their property values. The intensity of truck traffic on two-land E. Palmer Blvd. would alone disrupt the daily lives of working people, parents and students, he said.

The meeting was videotaped and will be available soon.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent write-up, as always, Tom! In case you don't hear it often enough, thank you for all the hard work you're putting into this fight!