Bo Medred brings a silken slipperiness to certain terms of art that are supposed to possess precise, clear meanings in the world of Sarasota planning and zoning.
An industrial waste processing plant employing 8-15 people fails to meet this definition on every count.
Medred cites an MEC land use designation as the slender thread allowing him to ask for his rezoning. But that designation was set in 1981 - another age - to introduce a heavy industrial plant into a pristine area that already has issues with traffic. He is inviting us all to pretend nothing happened in this area since 1981, when in fact today a great deal is there, and none of it comports with heavy industrial use - or with its economic promise:
- We have clean, light industrial parks whose owners do not want the traffic, noise, and filth of a demolition waste facility near them.
- We have the Celery Fields - a park, preserve, recreation and birding area, and highly successful and visible eco-tourism spot. This is now the dominant feature of this doorstep to an evolving East county. Developers hoping to create new environments to the East will rely on this area to present the beautiful gateway to their creations.
- Just a few steps to the West of Mr. Gabbert’s proposed site, under the rare and very narrow passage under I-75, is the Packinghouse District. This retail, and nightlife area is a valuable complement to what’s coming East of the highway.
- To the north at Fruitville and Coburn will be the Fruitville Initiative, a large MEC that plans a linear park all along the north cell of the Celery Fields - imagine the synergy of this neo-traditional mixed use community and the natural beauty at its park-like edge:
|"Riverwalk" at the North Edge of the Celery Fields|
Clearly this adds up to a tremendous economic opportunity - for business, retail, tourism, and real estate -- if this is done well. In what universe does it make sense to jeopardize all this prospective good for the sake of an industrial project that could easily be done elsewhere?
Come out on Wed. August 23 to let the County know that while it might be silent, our voices will be heard.