The Sarasota County Planning Commission failed the citizens of Sarasota:
1. The appointed planning commission members broke County Charter rules published in the notice of the Restaurant Depot public hearing which state: The Sarasota County Charter requires persons or entities applying for rezoning to disclose the TRUE ownership interests in the property subject to the rezoning. Attorney Bailey failed to provide full ownership information.
2. Restaurant Depot is asking for a non-binding sale agreement, this means, should the Board of County Commissioners approve the land use change and the sale proceeds, the owners of the property can change their mind and not build a Restaurant Depot but may build whatever fits within the new code.
3. The planning commission had an opportunity to deny the land use change and critical area plan change (CAP) when discussing traffic. They failed to protect the neighborhood homeowners who live off of the two lane Palmer Boulevard by saying their hands were tied due stating competing local and state laws.
4. Restaurant Depot is a members-only business, if you are not in the restaurant industry, you may not shop there. Sarasota zoning states that Zoning's fundamental purpose is to Protect a community's health, safety and welfare. Super fail on the Planning Board's part in ignoring the very first sentence found in the county's document "Zoning, an explanation of zoning districts in Sarasota, County, FL."
5, Eco-tourism. County Administrator Tom Harmer has failed the county in allowing any of the lands that surround the Celery Fields to be sold as "surplus land" and practically bargain basement real estate prices. The Celery Field is known worldwide for the its incredible birding and nature along with the Celery Field being an excellent place to work out.
6. Endangered and threatened species live successfully in the Celery Field, state and federal protections apply to these birds and the county is denying that any wildlife lives or eats on the lands that are for sale. The county is presenting a falsehood that can turn into a legal battle where not only are our elected officials failing us by not following simple government rules, our elected officials may be saddling the people of Sarasota with having to foot bills for this potential legal battle.
7. The County should retain this property, as we all own it, and keep it as a buffer not only for Our Celery Fields but as protection against the massive traffic jam that is getting worse out there, especially now that more than 700 new homes are being built at the end of Palmer Road.
SAVE OUR CELERY FIELDS and please join us tomorrow, March 1, 2017, 9 a.m. at the Sarasota County Administration Center, Commission Chamber, 1660 Ringling Boulevard, Sarasota and ADD YOUR VOICE to the PUBLIC COMMENTS section, sharing your opposition to the Proposed Amendment to the Critical Area Plan No. 83-10-SP and Rezone Petition.
Item #8 could be a long morning going into the afternoon, bring signs, bring your comments, sign the speaker's card that are found to the right side of the door when you enter the chamber.The Planning Commission of the Public Hearing about the Restaurant Depot petition is here.
Exercise class at the Audubon Nature Center at the Celery Fields