Thursday, February 28, 2013

Community Connections: Grants, 2050 Plan, more


Welcome to Sarasota County Community Connections. Contact us if you have questions, ideas for articles, or feedback on the system, at 
History Center puts 'Florida in Context' 
FRIDAY: An exhibit of fine art photography by Virginia Hoffman, Matt Allison, Salvatore Brancifort, Brian Braun, Dale Ann Clancy and Richard Porter will be on view from March 1 - April 10 at the Sarasota County Visitor Information Center and History Center Museum.
Mowing schedule for Feb. 25-March 8
The schedule for Sarasota County's roadside mowing and median maintenance program for Feb. 25-March 8, subject to weather conditions.
Sarasota K-9 Search and Rescue seeking volunteers 
If you're interested, attend the "Meet and Greet" session for potential recruits at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 9, in the conference room at Animal Services, 8451 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota. 
Need a neighborhood grant?
Sarasota County will offer a series of grant workshops in March and April for residents who want to apply for funding under the Neighborhood Grant Program.  
We want your input on the 2050 plan
Sarasota County will hold initial public meetings March 13 and March 20 for input on Sarasota 2050, a policy component of the county's Comprehensive Plan.
Get vaccines to stay healthy
Local health officials remind everyone to get all recommended vaccines to remain healthy. Vaccines offer safe and effective protection against influenza (flu), pneumonia, tetanus, pertussis (or whooping cough) and many other vaccine-preventable diseases.
Tour de Parks Fun Ride coming soon 
The Tour de Parks Fun Ride on March 24 celebrates the fifth Anniversary of The Legacy Trail. The 16-mile ride encourages good health and provides an introduction to parks and fun cycling routes from Venice to Sarasota.  
John Reed is new Fire Marshal
John Reed has been appointed Sarasota County Fire Marshal, starting Feb. 25. He replaces Rick Fulwider, who retired in September 2012
SCAT holds public meetings for Transit Development Plan
Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) will hold four meetings for the public to review and comment on potential changes to SCAT's Transit Development Plan. The plan is the 10-year strategic guide for public transportation.    
Health & Human Services building renamed the William L. Little Health & Human Services Center
Sarasota County commissioners have honored retiring Deputy County Administrator Bill Little by unanimously voting to rename the Health & Human Services building at 2200 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, as the "William L. Little Health & Human Services Center." 
SCAT Express buses to get Wi-Fi
Beginning Monday, March 4, Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) riders will have wireless network access on SCAT's eight Express buses serving routes 100X North Port-Sarasota and 90X North Port-Venice-Sarasota. 
FDEP introduces Sarasota County to new district office
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) maintains district offices representing five regional areas throughout the state. To establish a more consistent workload and to develop more uniform jurisdictional areas, FDEP has revised its district boundaries. Sarasota County's district is now represented by the FDEP office in Fort Myers. 
Facebook icon    Flickr icon  YouTube icon   

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Gas Station Locations and Impacts

Thanks to Lewin for some helpful research on location issues with large, busy gas stations. The full article is here.

Good & Bad Convenience Store-Station Locations

Given the impacts and corrective measures described above, an optimum convenience store-gas station location would have the following characteristics:
  • At least 300 feet from the nearest home; or
  • Buffered so the store cannot be seen or heard from the nearest home;
  • For ultra-high volume gas stations, a minimum if 300 feet away;
  • Not within view of historic resources;
  • Away from highly sensitive ground or surface water resources;
  • Accessible by foot and bike as well as cars;
  • Located in a downtown or neighborhood commercial area;
  • Well lit, but not to the point of causing light trespass into nearby homes;
  • In an area with many passersby and few escape routes for criminals; and
  • In an area where the market can accommodate a new store without putting existing ones out of business.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Has the 2050 Plan hit the skids?

Does anyone remember the 2050 plan? The idea was to respect and preserve the rural character of Sarasota County east of I-75.

There was general agreement in favor of a concept -- that landowners could create master-planned communities east of I-75, in exchange for meeting higher standards of development and enhancing environmental protection. And, by supporting this alternative, environmentalists and others would accept development that protects and connects valuable natural assets. 
Those were the goals then. How can they be remembered and embraced again?

Source; Sarasota Herald Tribune 2.17.13

How's that working for us, facing the prospect of Racetrac 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?

Friday, February 22, 2013

TerraCap Development: 175,000 s.f. "plus a hotel"

The topic did not come up at the Neighborhood Workshop, but aside from the 90,000 square feet that TerraCap is seeking to rezone to CN for retail, offices and restaurants, there are other parcels totaling another 85,000 square feet which are already approved for a bank, drugstore, etc. Yet another parcel of unspecified size is approved and designated for a hotel.

Here's the letter from Peter Dailey stating all this - click to enlarge:

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Summary of TerraCap Workshop of 2.20.13

The TerraCap Rezoning Neighborhood Workshop of 2.20.13 was attended by roughly 65 residents of the East Bee Ridge Communities.

The point of most pressing interest to many at the meeting -- the size of Racetrac, and the potential nuisance and safety factors of its 24-hour operation -- was not addressed, because Racetrac Petroleum Inc. recently chose to remove itself from the rezoning petition.

TerraCap’s first act, upon purchasing 40 acres of the BRPOC for $3.2 million in 2011, was to sell two acres at the intersection of North Mauna Loa Blvd. and Bee Ridge Rd. to Racetrac for $1.35 million.
The rezoning petition is limited to 7.7 acres which TerraCap, the Canada-based developer, is asking to change from PCD to CN. See more about those two kinds of zoning here.

The Workshop disclosed little in the way of new information. Peter Dailey of Dailey Design, who represented TerraCap and is the consultant working for them on permitting issues, said the rezoning to CN would replace an earlier plan for an 80,000-square-foot medical office building with two smaller buildings, each 18,000 square feet, but each containing two, or possibly three floors. The two buildings with two floors add up to 72,000 square feet.

The ground floor would be commercial -- retail, possibly a tire store, he said. The second floor of the two buildings would be offices. A third floor -- still under consideration, but not yet part of the plan -- would be residences. Two other parcels would be restaurants, totaling 12,000 square feet together, for a grand total of 90,000 square feet on the 7.7 acres of the rezoned parcel.

The parcel on the western side of North Mauna Loa Blvd. is also not part of the CN. The PCD allows for a drugstore or a dry cleaners, Dailey said. If a drugstore, the owner will want two drive-thru lanes, and CN only allows one. Other parcels outside of the CN zone are available for a bank or hotel.

The developer is also seeking access from Bee Ridge Rd. at a point 440 feet east of the traffic light at Mauna Loa Blvd.

The major reason for seeking the rezoning was to enable TerraCap to have more flexibility in terms of the commercial clients it could attract, Dailey said. CN zoning does not bind a developer to put in what he says he wants to put in. A tire store could become a bar; a hair salon could turn out to be a Jiffy Lube.

Asked about traffic studies to show the impacts of the added density to Bee Ridge Rd. and to the entrance to Lake Sarasota at Mauna Loa, Dailey said the project was already approved for 655 trips per day - that is, 655 instances of a car going into or out of the cul-de-sac of the Bee Ridge Park of Commerce between 4:30 and 6 pm on any given day of the year. Only if the project triggers a higher level of trips would a new traffic study be required, he said.

Dailey seemed unable to answer questions relating to a variety of residents' concerns, even apart from the Racetrac issue.

For example, asked why no architectural renderings that might offer a sense of what the completed project would look like were being presented, Dailey said this work has not yet been done.

Asked about the developer's timetable to complete the build-out of the project, Dailey said he knew of no timetable. Nor did he know whether TerraCap would build the projected space all at once, in a unified design, or piecemeal.

Asked about a landscaping plan, Dailey said there as of yet is not one, but that CN does require more buffering than PCD zoning.

Asked about why the very property involved in the rezoning is currently for sale on the Internet, Dailey said even if TerraCap were no longer the owner, the plan that the County approved would remain in place.

Asked how the entire TerraCap project might benefit the neighborhood, Dailey said spoke of "a need to supply services especially east of the Interstate." Even though gas stations, drugstores, restaurants, etc. are readily available west of I-75, putting in more gas stations, drugstores, restaurants, etc. east of the highway would relieve the Cattlemen Rd. intersection and the traffic build-up under the interstate.

“People will love this once it’s in,” Dailey said.

Asked if TerraCap might agree to stipulate to exclude certain kinds of businesses from coming in, Dailey said that was a question he could take to the TerraCap Board of Directors.

Most curiously, when asked by one resident about his client, TerraCap, Dailey replied, "I don't know who they are," adding a moment later, "they pay my check."

Digital video of the Workshop was made and can be made available to interested residents. A few images from the Workshop are here.

Meanwhile, those frustrated that the Racetrac issues were not addressed are hoping to arrange a sit-down meeting with Racetrac representatives in the near future. Stay tuned.

Those wishing to comment on the meeting can reach the developer and the County Planning Dept. at these addresses:

Dailey Design Group - 941-302-1500

TerraCap BP            

Sarasota Planning

Copy us here please:

Lake Sarasota            

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Images from the Feb. 19 Neighborhood Workshop

Click on an image to make it larger:

About 60 Residents of E. Bee Ridge Communities attended

Peter Dailey of Dailey Design represented TerraCap

Plan for Offices, retail restaurants, and Racetrac

Friday, February 15, 2013

Got Questions?

A developer is going to build up to 90,000 square feet of retail on 8 acres across the road from Lake Sarasota's entrance. They've applied to the County for rezoning in order to break ground.
What will it look like? 
How will it affect traffic at our entrance?
What sorts of businesses will it attract other than Racetrac?
How will it affect the character of Bee Ridge east of I-75?
If you're wondering about these and other questions, you're not alone. The Feb. 20th public meeting is our one chance to listen, ask, and comment. Racetrac won't be there -- they plan to build under the existing zoning, but we hope to meet with them separately.

The meeting with the developer is:

Wednesday Feb. 20th, 6 pm, at the Disabled Vets Hall on Bee Ridge Rd., opposite Middlesex. Bring copies of your written questions. Hand them in to the County and to the developer.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Neighborhood Workshop set for Wed. Feb. 20th

The Neighborhood Workshop regarding Rezoning of Bee Ridge Park of Commerce is now scheduled for Wed. Feb. 20th, 6 pm. at the Disabled Veterans Lodge. Here's the confirmation from County Planning:
Peter Dailey contacted our office this afternoon to confirm that the neighborhood workshop IS ON for February 20th at 6 pm at the Disabled American Veteran’s Lodge located at 7177 Bee Ridge Road (the lodge is located approximately a ¼ mile east of Mauna Loa Blvd. on the north side of Bee Ridge Road).
Note: As of this posting we still do not know whether Racetrac, which plans a 24-pump gas station on this site, will be included in the proposed rezoning (in which case it will need a special exception to have more than 4 pumps), or whether it will stay with the PCD, which allows for 24 pumps. If built as planned, it will be the largest Racetrac on the West Coast of Florida. Here is a letter to Racetrac from local neighborhoods (also here) - as yet we have received no response from the corporation.
  • If Racetrac is included in the CN, the Workshop will offer the community opportunity to listen to Racetrac's plan and to comment on it, as well as to hear about and comment upon the general rezoning proposed by the overall developer, TerraCap, represented by Mr. Dailey of Dailey Design Group.
  • If Racetrac withdraws, the Workshop will focus on the TerraCap plan to change 10 acres from PCD to CN (Commercial Neighborhood).
In general, PCD allows more varieties of construction than CN. For the differences between PCD and CN permissions, click here.

More background on the rezoning:

This meeting is the one point in the development process where the neighborhood has the chance to listen to and speak to the developer, TerraCap, a Canadian investment firm. The developer will present his plan, which was outlined for the County in December. It involves a rezoning that would allow larger and more intense development of the Bee Ridge Park of Commerce, a 54-acre site at Mauna Loa Blvd. and Bee Ridge Rd. that up to now has been a quiet cul de sac containing HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital and other companies who are involved with care for the elderly and medical technology.

A Neighborhood Meeting is public. Anyone can record the meeting, and anyone may choose to speak.

County officials advise us to write our questions and comments, and submit them to the developer and to County regulators at the meeting, as well as to submit them via email to the following:

TerraCap BP     
Dailey Design Group &
Sarasota Planning
Lake Sarasota    

Thursday, February 07, 2013

PCD and CN: What's the Difference?

As many know, a Canadian investment firm, TerraCap, is seeking to rezone 10 acres that front on Bee Ridge Rd. directly across from the Mauna Loa entrance to Lake Sarasota. The site is known as the Bee Ridge Park of Commerce, or BRPOC, for short.

TerraCap and its representative Dailey Design are seeking to change the designation of these fronting 10 acres from PCD to CN, and in order to do this, they must hold a public meeting, called a Neighborhood Workshop. A meeting date will be set and announced soon, we're told.

The governing land use and zoning codes are very detailed, Some members of the community have attempted to make a side-by-side comparison of what is permitted in PCD vs. what can go into a CN. None of us is an expert, but the information has been drawn from an authoritative source, the Municipal Code of Ordinances of Sarasota County.

Generally, a PCD allows for a broader range of uses - including bars, liquor stores, warehouses, lumberyards, extreme sports, gun ranges, and churches. None of these uses is allowed in CN.

The CN designation tends to be more retail-oriented. Below the page break you'll find which uses are allowed for PCD and which are allowed for CN, broken down by level of permission. Click here for more information about levels of permission.

One potential issue with CN is, a developer need not specify which of the various allowed uses he wishes to attract to his commercial space.

Note that asterisks mark those uses that are equally permitted in both PCD and CN. Click on "read more" to see the details.

Monday, February 04, 2013

UPDATE: Neighborhood Workshop Postponed

UPDATE: The rep for TerraCap, the Dailey Design Group, has postponed the Neighborhood Workshop on rezoning the Bee Ridge Park of Commerce. They expect to announce a new date soon - the earliest date would be Wed. Feb. 20th.

The date for the "Neighborhood Workshop" for the Bee Ridge Park of Commerce Rezoning has just been announced. It will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13th, at the Disabled American Veterans Hall, 7177 Bee Ridge Rd., which is a small building east of Aberdeen, on the north side of Bee Ridge opposite Middlesex.

This meeting is the one point in the development process where the neighborhood has the chance to listen to and speak to the developer, TerraCap, a Canadian investment firm. The developer will present his plan, which was outlined for the County in December. It involves a rezoning that would allow larger and more intense development of the Bee Ridge Park of Commerce, a 54-acre site at Mauna Loa Blvd. and Bee Ridge Rd. that up to now has been a quiet cul de sac containing HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital and other companies who are involved with care for the elderly and medical technology.

Rezoning Site at Bee Ridge and Mauna Loa

Anyone can speak, and County officials advise us to write our questions and comments, and submit them to the developer and to County regulators at the meeting, as well as to submit them via email.

TerraCap BP -    
Dailey Design Group -
Sarasota Planning -
Lake Sarasota -  

Racetrac Gas Station

Bee Ridge Park of Commerce

Friday, February 01, 2013

February Events in Sarasota Parks

Lots of things for folks of all ages - nature walks, talks, gardens, wildlife, bicycling, hikes, and classes on botany, history, and landscaping. Find out all about the activities for February in our parks - click here for the February Friends of Sarasota County Parks (FOSCP) News.