Thursday, August 17, 2017

Save the Date: Aug. 23, 2017

The Sarasota County Commission has set aside an entire day on August 23rd to hear testimony regarding the siting of a Construction/Demolition Waste Processing Facility at Apex Rd. and Palmer Blvd. 

On June 1, the Sarasota Planning Commission unanimously voted No on all three elements of the Gabbert/TST Ventures proposal to amend the Critical Area Plan; No to Rezoning to Industrial Light Warehouse (ILW) and No to a Special Exception that would allow an open air waste processing facility on a 16 acre site adjacent to the Celery Fields.

The Planning Commission's No vote to Mr. Gabbert's requests does not mean the battle to prevent the sale and development of lands next to the Celery Fields is over. Mr. Gabbert has spent thousands of dollars and a few years on this matter to ensure he gets his dump developed and located where it suits him. A number of Sarasota County Commissioners' risk much by voting against Mr. Gabbert's proposal due to the campaign donations they have received from him. The Commissioners' risk their careers if they vote in favor of this dump. We need to make it clear, one more time, that the Celery Field belongs to the stakeholders of Sarasota, not to Mr. Gabbert and his proposed dump.

In this email we have included:
  • important upcoming dates, we hope you will join us
  • County Commissioners' email addresses and phone number so you may contact them to voice opposition to this proposal
  • Tips on speaking at the August 23 meeting
  • a Donate Now link for expenses that are accruing in order to fight the dump proposal. Any donation is appreciated and will be used wisely to stop the development of this dump via marketing and legal fees.

We hope you can join us on August 23 and if you can't, please continue emailing or phoning the County Commissioners' to voice your opposition to the proposed location of this dump.  Your testimony is needed and will go on record and presented in the packet given to the County Commissioners' prior to the August 23 meeting.


Friends of Save Our Celery Fields

Rally, August 23, 2017 @ 8AM

A peaceful protest will begin at 8 a.m. in front of the BOCC building on the Ringling Boulevard sidewalk.

Please bring signs, we will have some signs on hand but colorful signage is encouraged.

PARKING: Public parking may be found behind the County Building, we encourage carpooling.
1660 Ringling Boulevard, Sarasota, FL 34236
County Commission Meeting 
August 23, 2017 @ 9AM
The Board of County Commission Meeting begins at 9 a.m., located in the Commissioners’ Chambers.

Mr. Medred will present the TST Recycling Dump project to the BOCC for the following:
Proposed Land Use Change for: Critical Area Plan Amendment Rezone Petition No. 17-01 to Rezone approximately 16 acres from ILW (Industrial Light Manufacturing/ and Warehousing) with Stipulations and OUR (Open Use Rural, 1 Unit to 10 Acres) to ILW with Amended Stipulations, and Special Exceptions No. 1765 to Allow a Recycling Facility in ILW Zone District.

We will have up to five (5) minutes to speak during public comments to the board. 

A technician is available to presenters throughout the public hearing. Speakers may bring printed materials set to landscape to display on the document camera no larger than 12" wide by 8.5" high.
If you wish to speak, look for speakers' cards. The cards are available on either side of the chamber as you walk in. Fill out the card fully, then take the card and leave it with the clerk seated to the right of the dais.

If you are interested in speaking and are unsure about what you wish to say, please view some topics for consideration below. 

  1. traffic congestion with introduction of new truck traffic to dump
  2. diminished air quality
  3. impact to home values
  4. road safety
  5. impact to Tatum Ridge Elementary children commuting by bus or by parent
  6. impact to local neighborhood traffic commute times

  1. pollution will harm threatened and endangered birds, fauna, insects, fish and wildlife of park will be in harm's way with location of dump
  2. integrity of Celery Fields Regional Stormwater Facility will be impacted by additional burden of "filtering" fugitive airborne concrete particulate and leaching of dump materials
  3. birds listed as threatened or endangered remain fragile in numbers
  4. noise pollution will mask bird calls, birds use their calls to find mates

  1. County failure to recognize changes to the area using antiquated zoning and land use designations going back one quarter of a century
  2. failure to recognize value of Celery Field's eco-tourism as a growing and sustainable revenue tax base for the county
  3. failure to protect the investment of county dollars ($30 Million +) invested to build the Celery Fields Regional Stormwater Facility, observation mound, bird walks, park trails and preserve area
  4. failure to adhere to Sarasota's Zoning Mission Statement that Zoning's fundamental purpose is to protect a community's health, safety and welfare.
Email the Planning Commission

AUGUST 19 @ 10AM - 12PM
Save the Celery Fields Community Protest 
Corner of Apex Road & Palmer Boulevard

Save the Celery Fields Rally -
Pre-Meeting/All Day Table Outside
1660 RINGLING BLVD., SRQ, FL 34236

AUGUST 23 @ 9AM 
1660 RINGLING BLVD., SRQ, FL 34236

Your Donation is Needed
to Save The Celery Fields

The Palmer East Group has been working exhaustively since January, 2017 as a group (and individually, some of us began working much earlier) to stop the threats to the Celery Fields.

The Palmer East Group has established a legal defense fund under the management of the Meadow Walk and Enclave homeowners associations. An attorney and a professional land use planner have been retained to defeat the waste site proposal. Donations have ranged from $50 to $1,000, and come from businesses, homeowners associations, and individuals. Your investment of $25, $50, $100, or more is much-needed ammunition in this fight.

An urgent threat looms as James Gabbert—via his company, TST Ventures, LLC—has petitioned Sarasota County to allow the construction of a 15-acre construction- & demolition-debris processing facility on Celery Fields lands.  Mr. Gabbert has invested "hundreds of thousands" to ensure his dump will be developed, we appreciate any amount to help with expenses to fight this horrific threat to the Celery Fields and local neighborhoods and businesses. 
EMAIL THE SARASOTA COUNTY COMMISSION PRIOR TO AUGUST 23and let them know you oppose the sale and development of county owned lands next to the Celery Field, especially the proposed dump.

Emails to the Sarasota Planning Commission:
Michael Moran -
Paul Caragiulo - 
Nancy Detert -
Al Maio -
Charles Hines - 

(941) 861-5344Give your full name and where you live or phone number. Be Polite!  Let the receptionist know you are opposed to the sale of surplus land for Mr. Gabbert's dump.
 If you have received this email, it is because:

1) you signed up to receive Celery Field information
2) you are a friend of one of the activists who contributed to this email
3) you signed a Celery Field petition.

If you no longer wish to receive email from Save Our Celery Field, simply respond with "Delete Me" in the subject line. 
Adrien Lucas|  941-539-9044 | SaveOurCeleryField@gmail.coml | 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Three videos and a conversation

Adrien Lucas speaks to Critical Times about the effort to protect the Celery Fields from a most inappropriate development:


Mark Vance videos a few of the more than 200 species of birds that have flocked to the Celery Fields:

Jeanne Dubi tells videographer Darryl Saffer about programs and the varied uses of the Celery Fields. Dubi is president of Sarasota Audubon.


At WSLR 96.5 FM, David G. Johnson and Tom Matrullo spoke with Tom Walker and Bob Connors. The conversation starts at the 36 minute point on the 8.16.17 show here. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sarasota Audubon Call to Action

Official Report: Findings of Fact of the Sarasota County Planning Commission

Below are the official findings of fact submitted by the Sarasota Planning Commission after the June 1, 2017 hearing on TST Venture's proposal to site a waste processing plant on public land adjacent to the Celery Fields, Sarasota's Preserve, Bird Sanctuary, and premier recreation area. Click here for a full transcript of the hearing, at which more than 200 citizens, including some from as far away as Ft. Lauderdale, came to express their concerns. Video here.

In the end, the Planning Commission voted unanimously against the proposed facility. Below are their 20 reasons. The PC is a purely advisory board. The actual power lies with the Board of County Commissioners. This report will be included in the packet that goes to the Commissioners who have scheduled a final public hearing for August 23, 2017, beginning at 9 am.


1.      The proposed change would not be consistent with the intent, goals, objectives, policies, guiding principles and programs of the Comprehensive Plan;

2.      The proposed change would not be compatible with the existing land use pattern and designated future land uses;

3.      The proposed change would have an impact on the availability of adequate public facilities consistent with the level of service standards adopted in the comprehensive plan, and as defined and implemented through the Sarasota County Concurrency Management System Regulations, Chapter 94, Article VII of Exhibit A of the Sarasota County Code, as amended;

4.      The existing district boundaries are not logically drawn in relation to existing conditions on the property proposed for change;

5.      The proposed change will adversely influence living conditions in the neighborhood;
6.      The proposed change will create a drainage problem;
7.      There are substantial reasons why the property cannot be used in accord with existing zoning;

8.      It is not impossible to find other adequate sites in the County for the proposed use in districts already permitting such use;

9.      Whether the gradual and ordered growth contemplated in the Comprehensive Plan can be best accomplished through the approval of a land use which is less intense than the intensity designated on the Future Land Use Map of the Comprehensive Plan;

10.  The proposed change would create adverse impacts in the adjacent area or the County in general;

11.  The subject parcel is not of adequate shape and size to accommodate the proposed change;
12.  Ingress and egress to the subject parcel and internal circulation would adversely affect traffic flow, safety or control; and

13.  The proposed change has been reviewed in accordance with the interposal agreement with the School Board of Sarasota County and whether school capacity has been adequately addressed, including on- and off-site improvements.


1.      The proposed use is not consistent with the intent, goals, objectives, policies, guiding principles and programs of the Comprehensive Plan;
2.      The proposed use is not compatible with the existing land use pattern and designated future uses;
3.      There are not adequate public facilities available consistent with the level of service standards adopted in the Comprehensive Plan, and as defined and implemented through the Sarasota County Concurrency Management System Regulations, Chapter 94, Article VII of Exhibit A of the Sarasota County Code;
4.      The proposed use, singularly or in combination with other special exceptions, will be detrimental to the health, safety, morals, order, comfort, convenience, or appearance of the neighborhood or other adjacent uses by reason of any one or more of the following: the number, area, location, height, orientation, intensity or relation to the neighborhood or other adjacent uses;
5.      The proposed use will not be adequately buffered to effectively separate traffic, visual impact and noise from existing or intended nearby uses;
6.      The subject parcel is not adequate in shape and size to accommodate the proposed use; and
7.      The ingress and egress to the subject parcel and internal circulation will adversely affect traffic flow, safety or control.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Ground rules for Aug. 23rd hearing

Ground rules for Sarasota County's quasi-judicial hearings:

Our BCC Rules of Procedure includes a section on the quasi-judicial process. (In case that hyperlink doesn’t work, you can find it under Documents on the main County Commission page of the County website – The relevant section -- Section 17e, top of page 10 -- is below:

(e) Quasi‑Judicial Hearings – The procedures to be followed for quasi‑judicial hearings are generally the same as for Public Hearings, as provided above: 
(1) Florida law requires that the Board’s decision in a quasi‑judicial action be supported by competent substantial evidence presented to the Board during the hearing on the application. 
(2) Ex-parte Communications 
i. Definition: Written or oral communications regarding quasi-judicial matters pending before the Board received outside the record of the related public hearing. 
ii. The County Attorney suggests that Commissioners refrain from participating in ex-parte communication whenever possible regarding a quasi-judicial matter to avoid the creation of the presumption of prejudice. 
iii. The presumption of prejudice may be overcome if the context of the ex-parte communication and the identity of the person are disclosed and made a part of the record at the public meeting before the final action on the matter. 
iv. A written communication that relates to a quasi-judicial action pending before the Board (such as a zoning decision) shall be made a part of the record before final action on the matter. 
v. If a Commissioner conducts an investigation or site visit or receives expert opinions regarding a quasi-judicial action pending before the Board, such activities shall not be presumed prejudicial to the action if the existence of the investigation, site visit or expert opinion is made a part of the record before final action on the matter.

Central Dump? A conflict of visions

A dump would go nicely right at the doorstep of East County - next to the Celery Fields - let's accommodate that. - Bo Medred to Sarasota County (paraphrase).

Sarasota Audubon:
The Celery Fields is considered by many to be the “Central Park” of Sarasota County and a major economic driver for the future.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Developmental degradation: Two LTEs to the Herald Tribune

Scientists sought to oppose dump

On Aug. 23, Sarasota County commissioners will hold a public meeting regarding a request by Jim Gabbert, of TST Ventures LLC Recycling, to purchase surplus land next to the Celery Fields to develop a recycling dump.

I tried contacting Mote Marine to get an opinion, since Mote has been conducting a snook study in Phillippi Creek. No one at Mote replied. of Sarasota’s Science and Environmental Council, a “science-based” not-for-profit working to conserve and restore Phillippi Creek, would not give any opinion on the location of the dump.

Waste Processing Facility built by Gabbert at 8001 Fruitville Rd., now WCA

What good are credentialed science organizations in the community if they cannot speak up to protect the environments they study? If their hands are tied, then community investment and tax dollars to fund their studies are an insult to the people who live in Sarasota and look to them to provide accurate scientific information.

I call upon Sarasota citizens who have environmental credentials and who are opposed to Gabbert’s dump being located next to the Celery Fields. We need you and your expertise, because no one who works at local science entities will step up to the plate and do the right thing. Instead, Sarasota scientists apparently cave to the whims of the developers and our county who support them financially.

It is a sad state of affairs that in Sarasota, money talks and science walks.

Adrien Lucas


Developer turns corner into eyesore

Each day, we drive by a newly developed dump site as we leave and approach our well-attended homes in Carlyle of the Villages in Palm Aire. Some residents have lived in this neighborhood since its inception in early 2000. Others are new to this beautiful area.

In recent months, Medallion Home has decimated the large corner lot at Whitfield Avenue and Lockwood Ridge Road. Not a tree is left standing for birds or habitat, merely mounds of debris. Piles of dead trees, metal and puddles of mud have turned the corner into an eyesore and a wasteland for bacterial and mosquito growth.

Homeowners who live next to and around this area have expressed their deep concerns about this festering trash dump. Multiple requests to developer Carlos Beruff, the media and Manatee County have yielded no results.

Instead, big money has managed to ruin our neighboring landscape, all the while doing a limbo under the wire of the law by planting a few cows and a horse on the land. To my amazement, the people who make such decisions are able to sleep at night.

Before one buys a home, one may want to research the integrity of the company that has built it.

Margaret S. Shaw, Manatee County