City of Sarasota Comprehensive Plan. Objective 4 - Neighborhood Compatibility
The City will promote compatibility of new and re-development projects within neighborhoods.
So says our Comprehensive Plan, that document that is to guide our development.
In the downtown neighborhood, on 2nd St near the library, is a block of small residences and commercial establishments. The most notable feature of this block is a row of 2 story townhouses, the Library Mews.
There is a small "historic" home - former home of A E Edwards - and John Carl's 3 1/2 story building.
Where the small, historic home sits, Joe Hembree, a Sarasota developer, has proposed to put a 10 story residential building containing 47 units. At 10,500 sq ft, the lot is less than 1/4 acre. Access to parking would be through a 20 ft wide alley at the rear of the building.
The residents of the 2 story Library Mews homes think this development is not compatible with their block or their neighborhood. It will tower over their homes, it is completely out of scale with the neighborhood, it will severely tax the alley that serves as the entrance to parking for their homes.
The sketch above indicates the scale of the proposed building in relation to the neighboring buildings. To the left of the hi-rise is the Library Mews, to the right is the 3 1/2 story Spa building.
This proposal challenges the concept of compatibility that is held by most people. It is out of scale with the block and the surrounding neighborhood.
How can this keep on happening in our city? This is the question we keep hearing everywhere we go. Of course the answer is that the City Commissioners are responsible for the decisions on growth and compatibility.
On Jan 3, the City Commission will conduct a hearing to determine whether this proposal is compatible. They will base their decision on testimony presented by citizens and whether they think the proposal complies with the Comprehensive Plan. It would be a real stretch to determine that this complies with the compatibility requirement of the Plan.
We hope many citizens of Sarasota pay close attention to this upcoming decision.