Monday, January 1, 2018

The sound of one advocacy group's hand clapping

Contributed to the Celery Fields Advisory Group by Emanuel Guzman

Thirteen months after opposition from the people of Sarasota blocked James Gabbert's proposed Waste Processing Facility on Parcel #2 of our public lands, Mr. Gabbert, a strong backer of Commissioner Maio, is back with a revised version of his Waste Transfer Facility, on 6 acres that he owns along the western edge of Parcel #2.

Simultaneously a Miami firm hired for $61,290 to assess parcel #3 for the "highest and best use" (a decision promoted by Commissioner Al Maio) has stated that the 7-acre parcel can realize a good price if it's rezoned to allow someone to put an 80,000 square foot industrial plant on it.

Meanwhile, a coalition of citizens called Fresh Start has worked since November 2017 to research alternative, community-recommended uses for the "Quad parcels."

They were specifically told not to contact the Miami consulting firm doing the assessment of parcel #3. This despite the fact that the consultant, Lambert Advisory LLC, was directed as part of its scope to come to an understanding of the community:

Over nine months (betwen 11.17 and 9.18), Fresh Start made three formal presentations to the Board: on April 25, July 11, and Sept. 12. Four community ideas, selected by residents, were presented. In that time, they have received no direction, no answers to questions such as: why would you impose industrial blight on an evolving natural ecosystem and recreation area with future economic potential for eco-tourism?

Robert Waechter, a politically connected developer and friend of Gabbert, owns warehouses (pictured left) next to parcel #2. Waechter recently told the Board that there are already so many trucks on Apex Road that the area would be too dangerous for community activities that involved children or tourist visitors. He advocates more dangerous and blighting industry on our public parcels. 

The effort to induce a dialog with the elected officials and planning staff of Sarasota County has yet to hear from the people who agreed to this collaborative dialog: The Board of Sarasota County Commissioners. Not one coherent sentence has been offered in explanation of their resistance to the sole Resolution Fresh Start advocated on Sept. !2:

Fresh Start has written to ask the County when the Board's response to all these proposals and questions and advocated Resolution will take place. We have been thanked with the hope that we have "enjoyed this exercise." 

Not quite, Commissioner Detert: People at the Celery Fields are exercising. We have been advocating. And in case you missed it, here is why:

Sarasota County, how hard is this decision? Ask yourself, how do you wish to be defined?  When it comes to the Celery Fields Area, are you this?

Dump on Fruitville created by James Gabbert

or this?

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