Friday, October 4, 2019

Comment on Critical Area Plan for the Quad Parcels at the Celery Fields - #2

October 4, 2019

Mr. Steve Kirk
Sarasota County
Planning and Development Services
1660 Ringling Blvd.
Sarasota, FL

Re:  Critical Area Plan for the Palmer Blvd./Quads Area

Dear Mr. Kirk,

I appreciate your compiling the diverse attributes of my neighborhood and laying out some interpretations in the Critical Area Plan draft.  This is indeed a grand undertaking, and I’m sure you’ve put in many hours!

I see: Adopted in 1985, the CAP was privately initiated and required to meet the provisions of the Comprehensive Plan to map the designated industrial area. 

Click to enlarge
I would be curious to know who initiated this CAP, and if these “players” are still around today.  Even back then, you would think any plan would be publicly initiated.

The draft outlines the zoning districts listed below. I believe Figure 5 should have widened the territory to include a much larger view, and the acreages should be given for residential in the wider area.

The following zoning districts (Figure 5) and acreages exist within the CAP:
  •  PID (Planned Industrial Development) - 167.4
  •  ILW (Industrial, Light Manufacturing and Warehousing) - 75
  •  OUR (Open Use Rural) (Quad’s parcels) - 55.2
  •  PED (Planned Economic Development) (SPA 3) - 29
  •  GU (Government Use) (Ackerman Park, fire station) - 30.2
  •  OUE-1 (Open Use Estate) (stormwater pond) - 15.7
  •  PCD (Planned Commerce Development) - 12.3

Some of the recommended permitted uses should be prohibited, such as the following:
  • Light Industrial (there is enough current capacity in the industrial parks)
  • Office                                                    
  • Research laboratory
  • Warehouse and freight movement
  • Wholesale trade
  • Vocational, trade or business school
  • College or university
  • Vehicle service
  • Sale of vehicle parts and accessories
  • Sale of lumber and building supplies
Implementing Zoning Districts

The Comprehensive Plan identifies the implementing zoning districts for each future land use designation. The following are the implementing zoning districts identified for the MEC designation:
  •  ILW (Industrial Light Manufacturing & Warehousing)
  •  IR (Industrial Research)
  •  PCD (Planned Commerce District) (Planned District)
  •  PED (Planned Economic Development) (Planned District)
  •  GU (Government Use)
Also, I disagree with this recommendation:

N.W. and S.W. Quads
Industrial / Office - Suitable
  • Consistent with Comprehensive Plan and surrounding uses.
  •  Low traffic generator
  •  Retains MEC land in employment use.
An additional zoning district should be added to the UDC: Parks and Recreation.  I think that this should be recommended rather than the blanket MEC.

Just as the City of Sarasota is looking at amending zoning to create this set-apart district, Sarasota County should have such a zoning district.


I do not see any solicitation of opinions from public/private/charter schools regarding student transportation needs.  Would you please reach out to some entities for input?

Center Road and Lorraine Road

The completion of the gap in Center Road between Fruitville Road and Palmer Boulevard should be considered to generally improve connectivity in the area of the CAP and complete a mobility loop through the CAP and around the Celery Fields. Alternatively, the construction of a pedestrian/bike path in the area of this gap could be considered.

The Critical Area Plan for this area necessarily involves a discussion of the
extension of Lorraine Road from Palmer Boulevard to Fruitville.  Also, traffic on Palmer from Lorraine to Debrecen will soon be “F” LOS, from Debrecen to Fruitville “F”, and from Debrecen to Lorraine on Fruitville “F” (per traffic engineer Kwamena Sankah).  Why does this matter?  Because traffic that can’t get to Fruitville will even more clog the Apex area.

Traffic studies – current and anticipatory – are notoriously flawed.  It’s impossible to believe studies will approach reality.  They haven’t in the past, and that will be the future story.
Mitigating Improvements Section 3, Mobility, of this study indicated that the improvements associated with the Cattlemen Road Construction Phase II project and the construction of a roundabout or signalization of the Apex Road and Palmer Boulevard intersection will improve the roadway level of service (LOS) in the area. However, the LOS for that section of Palmer Boulevard west of Apex Road will likely continue to be below the adopted LOS. Also, identified as a mitigating improvement is the expansion to 4 lanes of Palmer Boulevard from Porter Road to Apex Road. However, that expansion would conflict with the objective of preserving the existing character of Palmer Boulevard with its open corridor and roadway section also identified in this study. With the development of any of the Quads parcels, Transportation Planning will identify certain improvements such as turn lanes that will be required to accommodate the traffic generated by a proposed use.
There really is no use that won’t increase traffic and ruin the larger neighborhood character.   Keep in mind that identified capital project needs require funding of $1.2 billion.  Where will money come from for creative roadway improvements that will serve the community in a respectful way?

Public/Civic – Suitable  - Agree – but what?
  • Allowed as part of mixed use in PCD and PED. Limited to 50% of PCD. Traditional town center design requirements must be met in PED. N.W. Quad may be too small for PED design requirements
  • No limitations in GU district.
The public has clearly spoken about public uses, so there is no lack of input there. Any use should be put to the public test, with open communication.  Any government uses (Natural History Museum?) should be also put to the public test.


Glenna Blomquist

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