Letter to Sarasota County regarding RaceTrac

As many know, Lake Sarasota and other Bee Ridge neighborhoods tried to work with RaceTrac to add some buffering to their landscaping - a few more trees, etc. Normally such large gas stations are not situated directly across from residential neighborhoods. Unfortunately the plans for the gas station were submitted years ago and approved by the Sarasota County Commission before virtually anyone in the community knew about it.

The letter to County Administrator Thomas Harmer from a couple of days ago came from the Bee Ridge Neighborhoods Committee, which represents 14 communities along Bee Ridge Rd. and Bee Ridge Extension, comprising a total of over 9,000 rooftops.

Mr. T. Harmer  
County Administrator
Sarasota County

Dear Mr. Harmer: 
Recently a RaceTrac gas station opened at the intersection of Manua Loa and Bee Ridge Road, (Northeast corner). While facing Bee Ridge, it sits directly across the street from the Lake Sarasota Community. Several homes are directly impacted by light coming from the station.

Over the last 3 years we tried to negotiate with RaceTrac to add more landscaping along Bee Ridge to alleviate the light issue in the long term. They have decided not to accept our request and have planted according to the County standards for landscaping -- doing only the minimum required.

While we recognize little can be done at this point (other than to continue appealing to RaceTrac), we believe the County needs to rethink their landscape requirements when any Commercial installation is placed in or facing a residential neighborhood.

It is one thing to landscape where other Commercial buildings exist. It is quite another to impact residential neighborhoods with intrusive light, noise, etc. that certain Commercial installations bring.

Would you please ask Staff to take a good look at County regs and consider having a multi-tiered approach to landscaping -- dependent on where the new facility is being placed. 
Thank You

[Signed by a former Chairman and Founding Member of the Bee Ridge Neighborhoods Committee]

After the above letter was shared with residents, we received this note from one Lake Sarasotan who lives opposite RaceTrac on Brentwood:

It's good to see continued effort to mitigate the light that comes from the Race Trac Station.  My master bedroom and dining room face the station so I get the full impact of the light all night.  As was stated in the letters, a small addition of landscaping would made a difference to the home owners who live across the street and now have to live with the light intrusion.  Thank you for your continued effort to protect the interest of our community.  


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