Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Glenna Blomquist: High Water in Worthington

Bo Medred takes the high ground – literally.

The history of today’s flooding is a long one, and goes back many years.  My neighbor lady farmer’s grazing land is flooded today because the Kolter Artistry development currently under construction at Palmer Boulevard and Iona Road depended on engineers who did not listen to residents of the neighborhood.

These 412 acres of open estate rural land (1 home per 10 acres) are now zoned for 2.5 residences per acre.  The elaborate site plan features lakes, paths, and palms.  It graciously allows water to dump on neighboring farms.

In bringing Palm Beach to Palmer Boulevard, Bo Medred succeeded in drowning out the voices of neighboring farmers.

After a long struggle, Bo won over the hearts and minds of the Sarasota County Board of County Commissioners and Artistry became a reality.

Then Bo Medred teamed with Donald Neu, who would have a future prominent role in rezoning the adjacent Worthington property from OUR to dense residential. The entire Iona/Palmer lands would then be developed by Kolter Homes.

September 2016 - Worthington Development is approved for an additional 156 homes adjacent to Artistry.

When neighbors objected to the change of rural lands to a planned development, Mr. Neu reinforced his view that, “This land is ripe for development.”
In protesting the Worthington rezone, neighbors spoke about stormwater concerns, understanding that Artistry had already upset the apple cart.  In August of 2016, Janice Lauterbach was already experiencing unusual flooding in her front yard, eliminating grazing land for her cattle.  She chastised the Palmer Place (a.k.a. Artistry) developers and engineers for not understanding how the drainage really works.  “If you think your stormwater drainage plan is working, well then, someone forgot to tell gravity,” she said.


The County and developer have obligations not to ruin the lives and livelihoods of neighboring residents.

That my neighbor has to relocate her farm hurts.  When developers rule and neighbors’ voices go unheeded, the fate of a neighborhood is sealed in the blink of an eye, or an evening in the chambers.


  1. Sadly, I was one of the residents that was involved in trying to make our
    Planning Commision understand why they should not change the zoning. I guess our county was more interested in grabbing more tax revenue. The big question now is how they will use our tax money to CORRECT the problem they created for those of us living on flooded lands. That includes my home. In addition to the water I am dealing with displaced pygmies, moccasins and other critters.

  2. This could be a case study in Good Ol' Boy planning. Especially when one studies the relationships among the players and the Planning Commission.

  3. Has anyone asked Paula Williams, stormwater manager, to detail what happened, why it happened, and what to do about it?

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. After watching the flooding in Southeastern Texas on TV, and then viewing the above pictures of flooding at the Worthington site, it's easy to image the total devastation if a hurricane of any category were to hit our area. We are in the same danger as Houston and for the very same reason: over-development. The massive amounts of concrete used for more and more neighborhoods does not allow the floodwaters to drain properly or quickly enough. What were our county Planning Commissioners thinking? Or were they thinking?