Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Lyons on the curious case of Sarasota's accommodation - for a dump at the Celery Fields

Please read Tom Lyons' Herald Tribune column on the curious, accommodative stance of Sarasota County toward the proposed, highly unwise idea to put a Waste Demolition plant next to a serene Preserve and Internationally touristed Bird Sanctuary, our all-round beautiful Celery Fields.

Among other things, Lyons notes:
County staff also quietly proposed changing county rules that would have barred the plant because the site was much too small, and did so as if the change was just some non-controversial tweak.
Staff essentially just passed along a designer-proposal created by land use agent Bo Medred. Medred pretended his proposal -- allowing unenclosed waste processing within 500 feet of homes -- would be useful and noninvasive, and the county - both the Planning Commission and the Board - bought it hook, line, and sinker.

See the Citizens' Timeline narrative here

especially this bit:

In October, 2016, Bo Medred asked the County to change its law and standards to accommodate Mr. Gabbert's desire to put a Waste Processing Plant at Apex Rd. and E. Palmer Blvd., next to the Celery Fields.
  • Oct 20, 2016 - Bo Medred proposes new standards to reduce the number of acres required for unenclosed Waste Processing from 35 acres to 15 acres. Ordinance No. 2016-082, approving Zoning Ordinance Amendment No. 119. 
  • Jack Bispham, chair of the Planning Commission, recused himself from the proceeding. Bispham is the brother-in- law of Mr. Gabbert.
  • No information or testimony from an expert on Waste Processing was cited or offered by county staff or a commissioner.

Bo Medred's proposed amendment to the County's law and standards begins with Donna Thompson of County Real Estate at about 2:08 hrs. (That single segment can also be viewed here.)

Planning Commission Hearing Oct 20, 2016 on Ord. 2016-084, Amend.119

  • During the PC hearing (at 2:32), Bo Medred displayed this photo of a dump in Buffalo NY to illustrate his argument as to why this 15-acre model is perfectly suitable for residential areas of Sarasota County. People's homes visible behind the piles of waste: 

Medred displayed this photo of a Waste Processing Facility on 15 acres in Buffalo NY
to the Planning Commission.

If nothing else, see the exchange around 2:33 between Planning Commissioner Laura Benson and Bo Medred:
Benson: (referencing the Buffalo illustration):  Those pictures were big dirty things.
Bo Medred: That's a . . . that's a . . . that's an opinion. 
See also the exchange with Commissioner Jack Hawkins concerning the noise levels of concrete and asphalt crushing operations that begins about 2 hrs. and 39 minutes. No staff or Commissioner put into evidence any documents about the potential problems and issues with siting a waste processing facility. No accredited expert was invited to testify as to siting, pollution, noise, or other impacts upon residences.

Planning Board ACTION:

Oct. 20, 2016 - The Planning Commission APPROVED the amendment by a vote of 6-0 (Bispham recused hmself) as a Special Exception use to be analyzed on a case-by-case basis, as Bo Medred recommended.  VIDEO

With the blessing of the Planning Commission, Bo Medred moved on, taking the proposed amendment to the Sarasota Board of County Commissions in December.

On Dec. 14, the Board approved a text amendment allowing unenclosed waste processing facilities near residences via Consent Agenda -- i.e., it wasn't even discussed.

1 comment:

  1. I especially love the part where Bo Medred, breathing love for his fellow man, brings us news that Mr. Gabbert has generously chosen to specify a distance from dump to your front door of 1,000 feet, rather than the original intention of 500 feet. Of course future Bo-designed BoCoding Special Exceptions could change that to 500' - or, in a pinch, 5 feet. Or five inches. Why not?