Monday, January 23, 2006

Arcades Removed From Code

Last night the City Commissioners voted 3-2 to no longer allow arcades to be built over public sidewalks in downtown Sarasota.

Commissioners Shelin and Bilyeu voted against the motion to disallow arcades. Commission Shelin indicated that he was against arcades but did not vote for the motion because the option to allow galleries was not also removed.

Approximately 150 people attended Monday's City Commission Meeting to let let our commissioners know how they felt about arcades. Twenty eight people spoke.

Of the speakers, 18 opposed arcades and 6 indicated they thought an option for arcades should be retained. The other speakers discussed other code issues only (design standards).

Those that favored retaining arcades in the public space were primarily landowners, developers and land use lawyers working for developers.

Save Our Sarasota would like to thank everyone that participated in this community discussion. Many people called or wrote commissioners to let them know how they felt about this issue, others also attended the meeting and some of those spoke. Public participation and civic leaders that engage the public and listen make for a strong community.

Thanks to all.


Anonymous said...

The City Commission & Architectural Community got blindsided last night.

In regard to the process of last nights City Commission meeting. There was a giant zinger thrown out to the Commissioners by Staff last night. I believe they had a very precise and methodical strategy to protect the holy grail of design standards as prescribed by Duaney or to more accurately state this, the vision of the Duaney plan which exists in the head of one Chief planner.
I hope everyone noticed Carl Abbot’s comment this is not what I thought we were here to discuss. A very important point to which I agree. The fact is the Chief planner in a very cleaver way put up a smoke screen to repackage the code. This was done to confuse Commissioners and restrict the way the items were voted on. I hope you noticed ALL of the Commissioners (particularly the three Yes votes) were very confused prior to the Vote. This is known as being blind-sided.
This Chief planner’s strategy clearly was to sacrifice the Arcades to over the Public right of way (as a carrot to the public) in order to preserve the constrictive design standards.
So before you become angry with a Commissioner please look very carefully at the last minute rearranging by the Planning Dept. of how these two ordinances were organized. I smell agenda! An agenda of visual harmony? I see visual harmony in the goose step, is this what you want in a democracy which promotes diversity?
SOS you do an excellent job in garnering Public support but I give you a C- in your ability to implement a strategy to outsmart the snake in the grass which works in the Planning dept. Secondly you need to rally up speakers to present your positions who have debating skills equal to the professional quality of the developers and their representatives.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations and thank you to S.O.S. for bringing the community together on such an important issue. I hope this victory has staying power as I remember how quickly the decision to limit building height in Burns Court changed from five stories to ten stories virtually overnight when Ken Shelin changed his vote.

Mr. Shelin once again surprised us by refusing to support Ms. Palmer's resolution prohibiting arcades on grounds that he opposed both arcades and galleries and Ms. Palmer only prohibited arcades. It doesn't ring true as Mr. Shelin made no attempt to amend the resolution to include galleries. He could have voted against arcades and requested that galleries be reexamined at another meeting.

If anyone wants to see an example of "arcades", visit Main Stree and Palm Avenue and see it under construction. The visual impact on the street and the future negative impact to pedestrians are immediately noticeable.

Hopefully, we will start to examine the possibility of unseating some of the Commissioners with respresentatives that are more concerned about the people who live here than with the profit margins of developers.

Anonymous said...

Battle non-completus!
In response to anonymous 1: 14 pm, I don’t know which meeting you were attending but Commissioner Shelin absolutely DID attempt to amend the motion but Palmer refused. If you would take the time to read the code on the table that night, it was rewritten to illuminate Arcades and Galleries. All the Commission had to do was pass it as is!
You have not won this battle SOS you will have to fight it again on another day. So stop patting yourself on the back. Razing and booing at meetings do not win political battles. They are won by building consensus amongst all opposing forces.
When you speak about unseating Commissioners make sure you are talking about the two who after listening, reading documents, and having highly paid staff members explain in detail what they were voting for STILL DID NOT FOLLOW OR UNDERSTAND what was before them on Monday night. Those two Commissioners were not Ken Shelin!

Anonymous said...

It appears that Commissioner Shelin was the only commissioner who realized that galleries would have the same effect as arcades when it comes to reducing light, air, trees and covering sidewalks. When Commissioner Shelin asked Commissioner Palmer to add galleries to her motion and she refused, perhaps she did not realize what a negative impact galleries will produce.