Friday, November 30, 2018

Court hearing in Citizen suit against Sarasota County Tuesday Dec. 4

Citizens sued Sarasota County with respect to the Grand Lakes development. The court has scheduled an Administrative hearing for Tuesday Dec. 4, 9 a.m.:

The suit, David Anderson vs Sarasota County and Ibis Rd. Investors LLC, argues that the Board of Sarasota County Commissioners violated terms of its own Comprehensive Plan in approving Pat Neal's proposed 1,000-home development without including a commercial component. Background on the lawsuit here.

Pat Neal, developer of Grand Lakes

The Dec. 4 hearing details:

David Anderson vs Sarasota County and Ibis Rd. Investors LLC

Tuesday 9 a.m. Justice Center 2071 Ringling Blvd. (NW corner of Ringling Blvd and East Ave little doorway) 

Courtroom #2 6th floor Judge Ffolks

The hearing go two days, more or less.

At stake, in the county's own words, is a core principle of 2050: integrating uses to avoid sprawl:
"the provision for non-residential uses through the establishment of mixed use Village and Neighborhood Centers is central to the concept of Villages as an alternative to urban sprawl. … Without the non-residential uses in close proximity and integrated into the residential uses, the Villages resemble other suburban residential development typical of Sarasota County and other communities.”  (SNL 8.16.18)
The homeowners contend that if Pat Neal is allowed to proceed under the proposed changes to the rules, the development of Grand Lakes
will promote sprawl and encourage disjointed patchwork development—exactly the things the 2050 plan is meant to discourage.
 The county is ignoring its own rules, the citizens say. Future developments could take the County's approval in Pat Neal's case as precedent for coming large-scale developments:
. . . relaxation of the core 2050 principles would open the way for future, large-scale developments such as 12,000-unit Hi Hat Ranch to sprawl rather than conform to contained village templates that link residential and commercial use in a constructive and meaningful manner. (Press release of plaintiffs).
In essence, without public sector stewardship, the business models for single family development could very well lead to sprawl.



  1. Sarasota developers for the most part just keep replicating the same biz model over and over. They're rooftop builders - sf homes / condos. They don't want the risks and complications of commercial development. They don't care to take into account the needs of the people whom they wish to warehouse. A clear example is how in this case, Pat Neal managed to persuade the county to remove the word "contiguous" from its Comp Plan, so that he can build a 1,095-house cul de sac with the nearest commerce 5 miles away, and still call it a "village" per the definitions in the comp plan. The Administrative hearing ended today - it will be interesting to see how the court decides. Either way it goes, it could run up the appeals ladder all the way to the Gov. and cabinet.