Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Letter to the Editor responds to Argus Celery Fields Editorial

On May 14, 2018, he Herald Tribune ran an editorial by former Sarasota Commissioner and current Argus Foundation executive Christine Robinson in which she appears to hold the Celery Fields -- not those in the community who love them, but the Fields themselves -- responsible for causing a "businessman" to lose "a lot of money." That would be James Gabbert, who with his eyes open sought to put a heavy industrial waste processing plant on public lands quite near an eco-tourist masterpiece of nature. The area also includes schools, more than 1,600 homes and businesses, and a fragile road system, but:
We recently saw a problem with a park and a property that cost a reputable local businessman a lot of money and shook the business community’s trust in county government.. . . The Celery Fields were created as a stormwater system to alleviate flooding and to filter water. It has turned into a park, with birds and other wildlife.. . . Typical comments were: “How can you put an industrial use next to a park?”

The faith of the business community was shaken.  
                                         Robinson's statement is here in full.

This letter to the editor by Bob Clark of Venice appeared in the Herald Tribune on May 16, 2018:

Irony in Argus executive warning of ‘mission creep'

Did anyone else catch the irony in Argus Foundation Executive Director Christine Robinson’s opinion piece (Herald-Tribune, Business Weekly, May 14), cautioning about Legacy Trail “mission creep?”

Ms. Robinson argued that further extension of the Legacy Trail should not be considered without putting in place guarantees that there would not be any “mission creep” that might impact industrial and commercial properties abutting the trail.

She cited, as an example, the “mission creep” the Celery Fields posed on a landowner who wanted to build an industrial-materials recycling facility on land adjacent to the nature park.

Was it not the recycling businessman, in asking for an exception to the allowed zoning use of the land, who was guilty of mission creep, pure and simple?

And talk about mission creep: Ms. Robinson states that “every year, we lose industrial light warehouse properties,” in part apparently due to “residential dwellings ... being approved on or next to industrial lands.”

Well, Argus Foundation, perhaps the big problem is the mission creep of developers, who are granted exceptions to comprehensive plans right and left to take over all the available land in our county and state for whatever use they’d like.

You say that “the faith of the business community was shaken” by the zoning decision at Celery Fields? Well, the faith of the entire community is shaken every time we have to decipher another rezoning request and consider going up against developers, their lawyers and lobbyists to protect the rest of us from their mission creep.

Bob Clark, Venice

(Hyperlinks added to original text)

1 comment:

  1. This is an excellent response and the Tribune should publish it as an opposing view. Those who don't get the concept of intrinsic value consider that anything that is worth their support has dollar signs attached. They don't understand that a long-term vision that incorporates preservation of nature ultimately increases property values, protects the water we drink and the air we breathe. Add recreation and habitat preservation and the tourism dollars that The Celery Fields brings in to Sarasota County and beyond. What price can you put on quality of life? With 87% of Floridians supporting Forever Florida, Ms. Robinson is definitely not part of the citizen majority.