This is one perspective on the County's ambitious plans to change the 2050 Comprehensive Plan for the rural areas of Sarasota - mostly East of the highway. The comments have been submitted to the County planning department. If others have comments that they wish to share, they can send them to LakeSarasota at gmail dot com and we'll post them.
An important public hearing about these changes to 2050 is set for Wed. Aug. 27th, 5 pm at the County Commission, Ringling Blvd., Sarasota.
August 19, 2014
Anyone who looks back at how Sarasota County’s 2050 Comprehensive Overlay was developed has to be impressed by both its inclusiveness and its methodical approach. The county took years to work with residents, developers and commercial interests to produce a vision for East Sarasota County looking out to 2050. It hired the distinguished Urban Land Institute to provide a broad perspective and in-depth analysis.
The result didn’t please everybody, but it brought order to the contentious question of how to plan for future growth and development of our large rural areas. Certain priorities were clear thanks to the plan. This basic starting point did not come cheap -- it took time, patience, hard work, and cost $2 million in taxpayers’ dollars. We residents felt we had a share in it.
The county now proposes to make changes to 2050 -- changes which have once again stirred old arguments. Some say this initiative comes at the instigation of a few large developers who have their eye on five substantial parcels amounting to 17% of the total land mass east of I-75.
As others have noted, if a complex agreement worked out at great expense is to be changed, it would seem reasonable to revise it in accord with the methodology used to create it. Bring back the consultants (or hire even better ones) and work through the process of revision in the open, publicly shared manner used so effectively before.
This has not been the case. The changes have been authored “in-house” and have provoked strong criticism from some of the most articulate and informed citizens of Sarasota County.