Dear Members of the Sarasota County Planning Commission,
My brother and I are Boy Scouts with Troop 23 in Sarasota. We are writing to inform you of our views on the possibility of allowing a construction and demolition facility to be built next to Celery Fields.
Sarasota County should not rezone land next to Celery Fields for Industrial Use.
Our reasons are that this would be harmful to the environment, have a negative community impact and there are better land management choices available.
Reason 1: Harmful to Environment
Celery Fields is a 100-acre wildlife and bird sanctuary. Besides noise pollution, trucks would add air pollution and water pollution to the area. There are also threatened species of birds spotted at Celery Fields, which is listed on the Great Florida Birding Trail.
Celery Fields and surrounding acreage aid Eco-Tourism in Sarasota County. Eco-tourism is focused on “green space” activities with sustainability and low-carbon footprint at its core.
Reason 2: Negative Community Impact
The land at risk for industrial development has Tatum Ridge Elementary School close by. More than 700 students attend this school and would be exposed to any air and noise pollution produced.
Residential subdivisions would be affected with lower property values and that would decrease tax revenue for Sarasota County. Pollution would affect these residents as well.
Sarasota Audubon Society has a Nature Center at Celery Fields. School groups as well as civic groups like the Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, and Boys Scouts visit Celery Fields for outdoor adventure trips in addition to the Nature Center. The Audubon Society which educates our community is opposed to this industrial development.
Reason 3: Better Choices for Land Management
There is enough acreage to provide a permanent fire station for the surrounding community as well as park and residential facilities for public use. There is also enough acreage to create a planted wildlife habitat and buffer zone to protect our waterways and wildlife.
Sarasota County should not sell this valuable land for industrial use. It is next to the fragile ecosystem of Celery Fields, is surrounded by residential neighborhoods and a local public school.
Instead, Sarasota County should preserve it and make a better land management choice for our community, our environment and our future.
Thank you for allowing us to state our thoughts on this issue. Below is a paragraph and questions referring to my Citizenship in the Community Merit Badge. I am to interview you, the Sarasota County Planning Commission.
For my Citizenship in the Community Merit Badge, I chose to research the topic of rezoning Celery Fields for Industrial Use because of the large amount of citizens opposed to this. According to the Audubon Society, "The current offer to sell public lands adjacent to the Celery Fields for a construction waste processing facility has drawn the focus of adjacent neighborhoods, environmental groups, conservationists, and many concerned individuals."
Please answer the following:
1) Sarasota County has invested at least $24 Million for the Celery Fields Regional Stormwater Facility construction. Why would Sarasota County want to put at risk that investment for a Construction Debris and Demolition Facility that would cause a large amount of harm to Celery Fields and ultimately our waterways?
2) What can our citizens do or say to help convince you, the Planning Commission, to not allow the Construction Debris and Demolition Facility to be constructed on and next to conservation lands?
Thank you for your assistance and we hope our views will help you make a good decision for our community.
Boy Scout Troop 23