1000 Friends of Florida Letter Opposing Changes to the 2050 Plan

Letter from Charles Pattison of 1000 Friends of Florida to Valerie Brookens at the Dept. of Economic Opportunity.

September 9, 2014

Ms. Valerie Brookens
Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
107 East Madison Street
Caldwell Building
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-4120

RE: 2014 Sarasota County Comprehensive Plan Amendments

Dear Ms. Brookens:

The Sarasota area has along history of good comprehensive planning dating back to the John Nolen plan of 1925. Recently, the county’s 2050 Plan received the Charter Award from the Congress for New Urbanism in recognition ofthe pedestrian friendly, walkable and sustainable communities it promotes.

Major amendments are now being proposed for Sarasota County's award-winning "Sarasota 2050” comprehensive plan. If passed, these amendments stand to profoundly affect the quality of life for area residents, how much taxpayers pay for infrastructure improvements associated with new development, and the protection of natural resources.

In particular, the loosening of development standard for villages and hamlets raises urban sprawl issues as related to the lack of meaningful and predictable development standards required in 163.3177(1), F.S. It ís clear that the proposed amendments are not consistent with the 13 primary urban sprawl indicators in 163.3177(1) {a} 9, F.S. and the 8 mitigation standards in 163.3177(1)(b), F.S.

In addition, more allowances for either active recreational uses and/or limited development within greenway and/or open space areas, reduction of open space requirements, reduction of buffers, and the elimination of recorded conservation easements, contradict the requirement that there be a clear separation between rural and urban spaces as well as the protection of native habitats).

We also question the adequacy and appropriateness of the data and analysis presented tojustify all of these amendments as further required in 163.3177ll) (f), F.S. We believe these should be considered as creating adverse impacts to state and regional resources and facilities, and it is within the purview of DEO to make such a finding.

Also under attack are the important fiscal neutrality requirements that growth pay its own way, timing requirements that development be phased in based on demand, and conservation subdivision regulations intended to protect local greenways from inappropriate development. The proposed amendments also weaken requirements that communities be walkable and include a mixture of uses, significantly reduce open space requirements, and give developers increased density in return for affordable housing already required under existing law. The net effect will be to promote the costly, sprawling development that Sarasota 2050 was designed to prevent.

We conclude by asking that you find these proposed amendments not in compliance with the requirements of Chapter 163.


Charles G. Pattison, FAICP
Policy Director

cc: Ray Eubanks, DEO

No comments:

Post a Comment