Wednesday, October 24, 2018

This could be you

A large hall -- standing room only. A developer's representative is making the case for a big new project with far more density and intensity than the neighborhood can handle. People are aghast. They protest. The developer's proposal goes to the Planning Commission, then to the Board of County Commissioners, where it is approved.

Sound familiar?

If this is happening to your community, you're not alone.

Benderson "Siesta Promenade" Neighborhood workshop
Aggressive developer encroachment, county complicity, neighborhoods suffer

The 2050 Comprehensive Plan was designed to temper the pace, density, existential impacts and economic burdens of big-money development. It stood for a shared sense of responsible, intelligent growth.

Throughout Sarasota County, however, elected and appointed officials are offering concierge services to powerful developers. They bend, break, or eliminate rules intended to protect the public from oversized developer impacts. On Nov. 6, you can turn this around.

Thousands of homeowners are in the same predicament. Here are a few examples:

Arbour Lake 
Reserve RZ 18-09


A neighbor: "This subject parcel already has a recorded, perpetual conservation easement and a binding site plan of 25 homes, but they want almost three times more! Do the words “perpetual” and “binding” have any meaning at all?

"If conservation protections can be extinguished with the stroke of a pen, where does that leave the public trust?"  More here.

Oct. 24th, 9 a.m. -- Cancelled until further notice
County Commission

Benderson is asking for density 65% over what they would be allowed, with heights up to 80', with 414 apartments, 140,000 sq ft of retail and a 130 room hotel.. . . Stickney and 41, the gateway to Siesta Key is impassable in season, and already is a threat to the health, safety and welfare of the residents in the general area. Additionally, Benderson is feeding their traffic through a quiet residential area. -- Sura Kochman
Fight over proposed mixed-use development heats up in Sarasota
      Planning Commission - 11.15.18 5 p.m.
      County Hearing - 12.12.18  9 a.m.
Sign the Siesta Promenade PetitionBlock Benderson

Grand Lakes: a 1,097-home cul de sac
  • Rezone Oral Arguments 11.14.18
  • Administrative Hearing  12.4-5.18

“Pat Neal’s Grand Lakes project, will impact homeowners’ rights in Serenoa, Serenoa Lakes, and the Ibis Street area with little regard for our safety and land values.

Growth is being allowed before safe and sufficient traffic management capabilities are in place.  The safety of thousands of children and their parents who use Twin Lakes Park will also be impacted. 

Neal’s changes to Sarasota 2050 create urban sprawl.  The commissioners clearly have little or no regard for the rights of taxpayers or their own official plan for long term growth. It is a shame when citizens have to dig into their own pockets just to make sure the planning officials follow their own rules."  Serenoa Lakes President Dave Anderson.


County commissioners decided to amend the county’s 2050 growth plan to allow the owners ... to create 9,344 homes on the land, roughly 5,500 to 6,300 more than the guidelines permit.

“Twenty-fifty doesn’t work for us as it was meant to,” said Jim Turner, one of the property owners. The characteristics of the land referred to as the Clark Road Properties make it tough to meet the density requirements, he said. Herald Tribune


"What you in fact are planning is a slow motion car wreck -- a collision of industry and human lives that will imperil people, property, and community."  - Fresh Start


Nokomis: Prime Public Land Giveaway

Nokomis Area Civic Association"How can we believe, trust, and have faith in these individuals and the institutions they represent when we know the truth about their thinking and lack of candor?" 

Prime land handed to Sheriff for garage yet we have a budget shortfall necessitating the sale of public lands at the Celery Fields?


Venice Regional Hospital Site

East Venice residents push back on proposed hospital near Jacaranda, I-75 "Neighbors...have opposed the re-designation of Venice Regional’s chosen site as commercial rather than moderate-density residential, arguing that the extra traffic and noise of a medical campus will have adverse effects. But the county Planning Commission and staff have recommended approval." Petition opposing Venice Regional site


Tourism money reallocated for stadium repairs

The Sarasota County Commission on Tuesday decided to shift money from the tourism promotions budget to pay for repairs on the deteriorating Ed Smith Stadium, despite pleas from local merchants devastated by toxic red tide who claim the marketing money is vital to keeping their businesses alive. (Herald Tribune)


Medallion Home, a Manatee-based homebuilder owned by Carlos Beruff, filed a request with Sarasota County planners in October to rezone the 49-acre course for more housing density. Previous attempts to rezone the golf course failed, but Gulf Gate homeowners fear Beruff’s political influence and the current county commission’s pro-growth stance could make this attempt different. (Herald Tribune)


Astoundingly, a company representative told our current crop of mostly developer-hugging commissioners that Whole Foods really needs to pave that wetland because, golly, there is just no other site that would do around here. That’s right, there’s no other possible place Whole Foods could build!

I wish I could report that the Sarasota County commissioners all responded in skeptical unison and shouted, “Oh come off it. You think we are that stupid? - Tom Lyons


Developer Kompothecras gets OK for big zoning change on Siesta Key

Opponents claimed the zoning change opens the floodgates for more developers to litter the skyline and compromise the island’s tranquility. Traffic would become worse and potentially dangerous; ambulances would experience life-threatening delays. Herald Tribune   


Nathan Benderson Park under construction 2013 
The still unsustainable private entity that runs Nathan Benderson Park . . . outlined to the Sarasota County Commission several ways [it] is making headway to formulate a business strategy to become self-sufficient to avoid another subsidy from the county. The commission in June granted SANCA a $400,000 subsidy to keep the organization afloat beyond Oct. 1, when the county was to cease covering costs of personnel and events. Herald Tribune

The Benderson rowing park has come under strong criticism from Sarasota residents who say the financing "partnership" went terribly awry.


Sarasota County turns ownership of parks to cities, and its an expensive headache

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) - Sarasota County is handing over control of many of its public parks back to the cities and it is causing quite a headache.
In the city of Sarasota, taxpayers are being met with sticker shock because many of the parks are in disrepair.
For the past 30 years, Sarasota County has maintained virtually all parks county-wide. So it came as a surprise a year ago when the county decided to save money by giving the parks back to the cities. News Channel 8.

Instead of facing facts, finding gumption, and developing a reliable and sustainable revenue stream, the county is cutting services, selling off public lands, and fobbing off responsibilities it once ably handled. Why?


Here's the thing:

Many who deeply care come to the public hearings, wear green, red or blue, bring signs, speak their minds, and experience Full-Frontal Board Indifference for their pains. Some leave thinking their failure was their fault.

This is a county-wide pattern -- ongoing for years. Our collective awareness of this is fragmented because each community experiences it within its own boundaries. They don't see the many other citizen-voters experiencing brazen disregard for the public good.

And it's all for the same reason: The people placed in power -- not all, but most -- are there at the pleasure of the wealthiest land gamblers in the county. 

Big 5 developers
These players have the resources to dilute regulation, lower impact fees, and weaken public oversight that could put a crimp in their business models. They like their government small and weak.

Moran     Caragiulo      Detert            Maio         Hines
The failures of planning, the decisions incrementally eroding our Comprehensive vision, all the sorry excuses made while politely declining to stand up to supersized projects that enrich the developers at the expense of the quality of life around them -- all rest on this refusal to work for the public.

In the coming election, use your vote, informed by the collective experience of your neighbors around the county, to bring new voices and new vision onto the Board -- candidates that will work for the public interest.

Actualize your power.

It's your call - if you Vote.


November 6th is almost here.

Inform your neighbors.
Support intelligent growth policies.
Vote for candidates who will: 
 - Reject rampant growth. 
Protect the environment.
Respect the people.

1 comment:

  1. And vote YES for Single Member Districts, so voters have a chance to elect candidates who reject rampant growth, protect the environment, and respect the people in coming elections.