Saturday, April 22, 2017

Density, Intensity, and the courage to say NO

The letter below was sent to the County Commission by Glenna Blomquist after she attended hearings regarding "Worthington," a new development on E. Palmer Blvd., in 2016.

Dear Commissioners:

I was a presenter at the August 18, 2016 planning commission meeting; and today at the Sarasota Board of County Commissioners' meeting concerning the proposed rezoning of one unit per 10 acres (7 homes allowed on 78 acres) to two units per one acre, resulting in 156 homes added to my mostly rural and agricultural community at Iona and Palmer Boulevard.

Everyone told me not to bother; that it would be a slam-dunk for the developer.

They were right.

Despite numerous testimonies concerning concurrency issues, safety, stormwater management issues, and pointed illustrations of why no traffic should be added to this neighborhood which is already struggling with development, you turned a deaf ear to your public.

Yes, there were some questions, and a little discussion. It appears really no one had read the supporting documents or they would not have had to ask where the "kill-zone" bridge was located.

The planning commission exhibited a lack of enthusiasm for this project, using words like "crazy" "we've been snuckered" "doesn't pass the smell test" "we have the cart before the horse" "I don't like the way it looks" "why don't we have a road (to Fruitville)?" "It's opportunistic language to call an easement a passive park…it isn't, not to any stretch of the imagination." "If I were a neighbor, I'd be shocked to hear of 156 homes."

And yet, the planning commission advised in favor of the project by majority vote.

This was not a mandate to the Board of County Commissioners – this was a suggestion.

County Commissioners: Where is the courage?

Where is the courage to say to a developer the following:


In light of the fact that our county residents have voiced their concerns loudly about development, traffic, and safety, I didn't feel I had to repeat that. I couldn't believe that this awareness would escape any of you.

How do you have the audacity to run roughshod over your constituents and so violate their desires. Are you so afraid that you can't hide behind some nuanced legality that you cower in the face of acting in the best interests of your public?

You can say "NO" to bad development. It's alright to be strong and stand up. You may even keep your jobs that way!

It's takes a lot to be courageous these days; and I see brave people all around me. I cannot count you among those.


Glenna Blomquist

Glenna Blomquist is a member of Control Growth Now and a contributor to Citizens for Sarasota County. 

No comments:

Post a Comment