Friday, February 22, 2019

Letter from a concerned business owner

Letter regarding the January 2019 Waste Transfer Station approval at Palmer Blvd. and Porter Rd. from Steve Baran, who has owned a business on Apex Road in the office park near the Quads since 2013. More letters and comments from residents here.

February 5, 2019

I disagree with the county's decision to approve a waste transfer station to occupy the property located at the corner of Porter RD and Palmer BLVD. It is my opinion which is based upon my daily commute to take my child to school at Sarasota Christian School every weekday and then traveling to my office located at 640 Apex Rd. I travel Palmer BLVD, no less than eight round trips per week, including the trips taking my child to and from after-school activities at Sarasota Christian School.

The issues I believe the county must address prior to any further approval of any business along the Palmer BLVD corridor is as follows:

The intersection at Apex RD and Palmer BLVD

Waste transfer
The intersection at Apex RD and Palmer BLVD, which is just east of Porter RD and Plamer BLVD- This intersection is extremely dangerous to traverse as there is no traffic signal nor a traffic circle. Vehicles traveling east/west on Palmer BLVD move quickly as the speed limit is 40mph. Couple that with the traffic that is trying to travel north/south across Palmer BLVD on Apex RD, this is very dangerous. I have witnessed multiple accidents and many more close calls. With the approval of a Waste Transfer Station at Palmer BLVD and Porter RD, my belief is that traffic will increase on Apex heading south to Palmer BLVD, which would be a natural path for trucks traveling the highway and exiting on Fruitville to get to the Waste Transfer Station.

The Intersection at Apex RD and Porter RD

This intersection has a traffic signal. This area is congested currently with commercial and residential traffic. There are several communities are accessed from Porter RD. Many homeowners use Porter RD for this purpose. WIth the Waste Transfer Property being on the corner, how will ingress/egress of construction trucks have a further adverse impact on the traffic congestion that currently exists at this intersection?

Celery Fields Area, Sarasota County, FL

The Intersection at Palmer BLVD and Packinghouse RD

This intersection is a nightmare currently. The traffic signal is not sufficient to handle the current traffic that travels this roadway. The roadway itself is in extremely poor condition. Detwilers and the Shell Gas Station are two of the main business that generates the majority of the traffic for this area. Between 7am-9am many commercial frequent the Shell station and rarely can you find an open gas pump. Again in the afternoon, the Shell station is very busy, not quite as the am rush hour. Detwilers is slammed busy most hours of the day, even more so during the busy season October til April. The congestion in this area is commercial trucks, parents taking kids to school either Tatum Ridge or Fruitville Elementary, in my case Sarasota Christian School. This is in addition to the folks trying to get to work in the business parks between Fruitville RD and Palmer BLVD, south to Porter RD. Again, how will increase construction truck traffic have an adverse effect on our current traffic issues? Furthermore, how much more damage will there be to the roadway at the underpass at Palmer BLVD and Porter RD and just west near Palmer BLVD and Packinghouse RD?

Just to give you a mental picture of the distance between the three mentioned intersections, the distance is under four-tenths of a mile.

The intersection at Packinghouse RD and Cattleman RD

This intersection is treacherous. Now we are adding additional construction traffic to this intersection? No traffic signal or roundabout? How far do you think traffic will back up now?

I have shared all of this and have not mentioned the Fire Station that is located on Apex RD just north of Palmer BLVD. I believe there are plans to construct a permanent fire station. That is a good idea, it is needed with all of the residential development that continues less than three miles away at Palmer BLVD and Lorraine RD. The last thing we want is Fire/Rescue to be held up due to traffic in this area. It is my argument that currently, Palmer BLVD does not fully meet the capacity of the current traffic that travels it daily. Most of the homes (at least another 600) in the near future will come online at Artistry and Worthington subdivisions. People avoid Bee Ridge due to the traffic circles or at least I do. How many of the subdivisions along Palmer BLVD going east from Porter RD, have been built, after the land use code for this property was established? SRQ County got stuck with the bill to fix Palmer BLVD at Lorraine RD (which Artistry was originally required to accept the cost of) due to a technicality. Who will be responsible for connecting Lorraine RD to Fruitville RD? When will this happen? Only this project taking place, would allow me to briefly rethink my current position, as I believe most of the traffic comes from Tatum Ridge Elementary School and heads west toward the hornet's nest that is Apex RD, Palmer BLVD, Porter RD, Packinghouse RD.

Now on to the environmental concerns. It is my understanding from gathering information throughout this process as well as attending the county commission meetings online, that debris will be unloaded, stack, sorted and reloaded at this facility. Debris blowing extremely close to a bird sanctuary does not seem a very good idea. Most of our weather systems seems to come from the west and travel toward the east, correct? In the occasions that the weather system comes from the east and travels westbound, that would mean that debris could be blown onto Porter Rd or worse, Interstate I-75? Do we think that drivers need more distractions when they are traveling in the excess of 70mph? I don't think so.  I am sure the experts can cite many other issues that will arise from this waste transfer station. I am sure that those are very important and I do not mean to downplay their importance in any manner. I am sharing from a homeowner, business owner and parent who travels this road quite frequently. In my opinion, putting a lemonade stand at the corner of Porter RD and Palmer BLVD is not a good idea. The roads in this area are in very poor shape now and will only get worse. Traffic in this area is very heavy already and the roads do not contain the necessary signals roundabouts needed to maintain safe traffic flow. These are issues I SRQ County must address prior to any further development anywhere South of Fruitville RD to the Plamer BLVD Corridor. Let's not forget, Lakewood Ranch BLVD is currently being extended and there is no doubt in my mind that Apex RD traffic, as well as the other intersections I mentioned above, will be further adversely impacted. Should this communication find its way to SRQ County, I am pleading with you to address these issues. This is only an issue that the commission can solve. I am begging to look into these items post haste!

Rev. Steve Baran
As President
National Christian Counselors Association
640 Apex RD
Sarasota, FL 34240

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