This letter to the editor appears in the current edition of the Pelican Press.
PROCESS DIDN’T MATTER WHEN THE VOTE CAME
From afar, I read the newspapers in Sarasota with great interest online. I used to live in Sarasota in the 1990s and still have family roots and property there. I am stunned at the recent articles and happenings surrounding the Sarasota City Commission and their actions related to the Burn’s Court Downtown Edge Zoning situation. I guess the $250,000 of taxpayers’ funds spent on the Duany Plan, plus the four years of planning staff time, not to mention hundreds and hundreds of volunteer hours put in by the voters in Sarasota (of which I was one) that cared enough to participate in the “process,” don’t matter.
It appears now that all of that financial investment did not count at all, in light of the unfounded change in zoning after a 5-year well-documented public process. I guess our current city commissioners must all have done their prep-time as public officials with the New Orleans Levee Board in Louisiana.
My advice to the commissioners? Run – don’t walk – to your next city commission meeting, apologize and just attribute your recent decisions to drinking the water in the city. We would believe that due to the recent sewage spills that no-one bothered to tell you about. Maybe those same people forget to tell you there was a public planning process that we all sat through.
What did they call the City of New Orleans? The “Big Easy”? I guess that is now more true for Sarasota. In Sarasota - they just call it “Easy Zoning.”