Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Siesta Promenade: Citizens take legal action

Dear All,

A very concerned and motivated resident of Siesta Key has been pursuing an avenue through which the approval of the Siesta Promenade application by the Board of County Commissioners could be overturned.

This resident has, on his own, raised funds which enabled Attorney Ralf Brookes to be  engaged to handle this case with the pro bono assistance of Morgan Bentley.  As most of you may know, Morgan laid the groundwork for an appeal by sending letters to County Attorney Alan Roddy, pointing out the many procedural and other errors that were taking place. To see these letters, please visit the website:

A Petition for a Writ of Certiorari was filed on Friday, 1/11/19 with the 12th Circuit Court of Appeal. 
A plaintiff with unquestionable standing and affected status was needed. I was asked, and did agree, to be the plaintiff, as I live within 20' of the Benderson property.

This Writ of Certiorari is a request for an order of the court to quash and remand the decision for failure to afford procedural due process and failure to comply with essential requirements of law.  A link to the Writ will be made available on the website mentioned above, under the "Updates" tab once amendments are finalized.   

To continue go forward with this legal action, we will need additional funding. Morgan Bentley is providing an Attorney Trust account for all donations, without any charge. Having an Attorney Trust account provides a guarantee that all funds will be used correctly and also, returned, pro rata, should they not be fully utilized.

This case is winnable!  Our goal is to ensure that development of the land located at the Stickney Point Road/US-41 intersection is developed in a compatible manner with the surrounding residential neighborhoods and retail establishments. It should not be detrimental to their quality of life, health, safety and welfare, nor cause undue hardship for anyone wishing to access Siesta Key.

Your support is crucial and can be accomplished with a check made out to the following:
Bentley & Bruning, P.A
Re: Siesta Promenade Trust Account
783 South Orange Ave, Suite 300
Sarasota FL 34236

Thank you,

Sura Kochman
Pine Shores Neighborhood Alliance

Monday, January 14, 2019

How Florida democracy turns to crooked bananas

Lies, Money, Crooked districts . . .

Behind the scenes, Bainter pulls strings

by Andrew Caplan, Gainesville Sun

“Rarely do you have someone so powerful that wants to remain behind the scenes,” said Daniel Smith, an elections expert and University of Florida professor.
Tucked away in an industrial park outside northwest Gainesville is a business run by one of Florida’s most influential operatives in GOP politics.

Despite his growing list of high-profile clients, being named in a gerrymandering scandal in 2012 and having ties to dozens of political committees that shift tens of millions of dollars every election cycle, few know the man who has helped elect dozens of lawmakers.

“He is the best-kept secret in Alachua County, if not the state,” said Daniel Smith, a political science professor at the University of Florida. “Rarely do you have someone so powerful that wants to remain behind the scenes.”

Since 1987, Patrick Jay Bainter has steadily built Data Targeting from a startup company to a must-have campaign team for Republicans, often securing victories for candidates at all levels of government, sometimes with the help of associates and questionable tactics.

More - entire article worth reading

Sarasota enjoys two beneficiaries of this slimebucket shop: Vern Buchanan and Joe Gruters

via Herald Tribune

See also: Joe Gruters elected Florida GOP Chair

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Developers seek utility, intensification in rural East Sarasota

A Jan. 24 neighborhood workshop will propose yet another intensifying amendment to the 2050 Comp Plan. Developers Don Neu and Rod Krebs want to create a new master utility in East Sarasota County at North Fruitville and Verna roads. They will seek to amend the Comprehensive Plan to allow sufficient density to enable the sewer system to be economically viable.

Area of Northeast Sarasota County where intensified
hamlets served by a new master utility are envisioned

Neu and Krebs will ask the county to bless an expanded notion of the hamlet form (more density) and use transfers of development rights in an unprecedented way to increase hamlet density. The novel idea would use TDRs generated by the site on the same site.

In the Comprehensive Plan, hamlets are conceived as low density, consisting of perhaps 1 or 2 units per acre, with a maximum of 400 units. This plan would seek permission for a higher density on more than 2,000 acres north of Fruitville Road at Verna Road.

As one planner notes in the video, the Comp Plan envisioned larger Villages closer to the highway, and smaller, rural hamlets out farther east.

This proposal is designed to stimulate development farther East where Fruitville Road ends, and will require an amendment basically to reverse what the 2050 plan envisioned.

Video of the discussion at the Development Review Committee in December:

The neighborhood workshop:

Thursday Jan. 24
8893 Fruitville Rd. (Yeshua's Love Biblical Fellowship)
6 pm

Area image provided by developers

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Maria Ruhl now on the 12th District Bench

Venice attorney Maria Ruhl was sworn in Friday, Jan. 4, as the newest judge of the 12th Judicial District, which includes Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties.

Ruhl won her seat fair and square in the last election. Over the last few years, some judges have been appointed via a committee run by developer Pat Neal, himself an appointee of Rick Scott.

Born in Venezuela, Ruhl came to the US with her mother and 6 sisters when she was 3 years old. She is the District's first Hispanic judge.

Surrounded by the judges of the district, Chief Circuit Judge Charles E. Williams administered the oath of office to Ruhl, whose husband stood beside her.

Shake up?

In a district where judges often avoid having to run for election, Ruhl's victory could encourage more attorneys to challenge sitting judges, according to sources contacted by the Herald Tribune. 

Friday, January 4, 2019

New power lines will not be in Celery Fields area

FPL has made its decision on the route of the new transmission lines that will support growth in East Sarasota County, and it's the choice preferred by the communities near the Celery Fields and the Fresh Start Initiative -- the route along Clark Road:

FPL Power line route along Clark Rd (click image to enlarge)

Celery Fields advocates and residents had expressed concern at an optional route that would have taken the tall power lines along Palmer Blvd and Apex Rd. near the birding, wildlife and recreation area. Here is the communication from FPL manager Rae Dowling:
After an extensive route selection study by the project team, that included feedback from a diverse Community Advisory Panel, an open house meeting, and meetings with neighborhood groups and community leaders, I’m writing to let you know that Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) has selected its preferred route for the proposed Bobwhite-Howard 138 kV transmission line. On behalf of the entire project team, I want to thank you for your participation in our Community Advisory Panel and for the time you invested providing your perspectives for us to consider in our study.  Having the perspective of our customer’s voice in important to us and we truly value your contribution to this important project. The preferred route, which is included in the attachment to this email, follows along almost the entire 13-mile length of existing FPL transmission and distribution lines, a siting criteria consistently endorsed by our customers. Route surveying work will begin on this project this month.  If you have any questions, please contact myself at the numbers below or Daniel Hronec, P.E., Project Manager at (561) 904-3638 or by email at Daniel.Hronec@FPL.com. Thank you. 

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Blindness and Oversight: Manasota 88 and Pat Neal

Parrish will be "the new center of the universe," says pat neal, who apparently has no qualms about putting as many human warehousing units as he can on every blade of grass he can buy. 

Is there a shred of difference between the fecklessness of Manatee County and that of Sarasota?

ManaSota-88, Inc.  a 501.c3 Public Health and Environmental Organization
Citizens Growth Oversight Committee

ManaSota-88 fully supports the establishment of a Citizens Growth Oversight Committee for Manatee County.

The lack of commission support for this clearly indicates growth management will be a low priority under the current county commissions tenure. Only commissioner Misty Servia supports an oversight committee to review new development proposals and provide input to the Board of County Commissioners.

No one living in Manatee County will escape the poor decisions that will likely result in reduced standards for environmental protection or the bad legal precedents that will be set.

Development interests already have a vast influence on Manatee County’s planning process. The county commission will be lobbied to weaken an already weak comprehensive plan, ensuring growth management plans remain the toothless documents they have been.

Although Manatee’s comprehensive plan is inadequate, in that it does not address the fundamental question of how many people can reasonably be expected to live here in comfort, it is at least a step in the right direction.

The majority of residents want to slow growth in order to maintain adequate levels of service and to prevent further erosion of the environment and general quality of life.

Information concerning the cumulative impacts of traffic, air quality, the relationships of vegetation and wildlife, and wildlife corridors has been deficient in the planning review process. The submittal of sufficient technical and specific information to properly review and identify the anticipated impacts associated with proposed developments in Manatee county is flawed. Regional and local impacts on the environment are not being sufficiently addressed.

Manatee County’s planning process does not consider the magnitude of the current problem that exists regarding the safe evacuation of existing residents in case of a catastrophic storm. The use of Interstate 75 , or other roads established as hurricane evacuation routes, should not be impacted by new development . The protection and safety of existing residents during a hurricane storm event must be ensured before initiating any changes in land use designations within Manatee. If roads and  infrastructure are overburdened by the continuous population growth allowed under the comprehensive plan,  then adequate hurricane evacuation cannot possibly occur.

The impact of continued growth on air quality will be significant. Steady increases in vehicle miles traveled will erode the controls already achieved by new car emission standards and stationary source controls.

Whether there is any way to retain the unique features that make Manatee County a desirable place to live remains to be seen. The results will be determined by the amount of public interest that is displayed in Manatee County's development.

Unfortunately, it appears the majority of Manatee County Commissioners do not support the establishment of a Citizens Growth Oversight Committee and would rather not hear the concerns residents have related to growth management.

Revisions of Manatee County’s Land Development Code and Comprehensive Plan can be found at mymanatee.org and search for “Pending Land Use Regulation Amendments.”
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