Thursday, October 5, 2017

Celery Fields Update

Sarasota County has confirmed that James Gabbert of TST Ventures has cancelled the contract that gave him a 30-day option to purchase 10.5 acres of public land at the Apex Rd and Palmer Blvd. near the Celery Fields.

At a lengthy and at times impassioned hearing on Aug. 23, Gabbert's plan (as TST Ventures) for a waste processing plant at the site failed to win approval by the County Commission. The contractual purchase option would have permitted him to build one home on 10 acres.*

No new rezoning for the site can be proposed for one year. But then Mr. Gabbert, or someone else, can come back with another industrial plan.

What would have been the consequences to the entire Celery Fields district if a waste facility with 35-foot-tall stacks of construction debris and yard waste had stood in Hurricane Irma's way?

It's time to think hard about the district stretching from Fruitville Road to the Celery Fields to Palmer Blvd. and the Packinghouse District. Those who opposed industrial rezoning of these public parcels at Apex and Palmer need to take a careful look at the entire area, and offer their sense and vision of what would serve the community and best realize the future potential of the entire area.

Many, many dedicated people worked very hard to stop the giant "Restaurant Depot" and 16-acre waste plant. They weren't just saying "no" to bad ideas. They see how this remarkable, diverse area can be the portal to East Sarasota -- a defining statement about our community's values and vision.

As we clean up the debris from Irma, let's consider how the people can proactively distill clear, workable, enhancing goals for this crucial area, and offer a better vision than what developers are likely to bring. 

Celery Fields District

*As of this time, no new plan has been submitted for the 4.5-acre site Mr. Gabbert owns at Palmer and Porter Rd., which has an approved plan for a waste transfer station.

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