Last week we met with John Burg, City Planning staff, to gain a better understanding of design standards. Previously we had met with several of Sarasota's architects. We have also attended the Planning Board Meeting where the design standards were discussed.
What we have found is that unless you deeply involved with architecture and urban design it is difficult to determine what the code should (or should not) mandate.
The Sarasota Herald Tribune today has an excellent commentary on the proposed design standards. Basically they conclude that some design standards should be used to prevent the worst case design and that there appear to be options available that allow excellent design to be used in Sarasota. They also note that we should give the proposed design standards a chance - a test run if you will - to see if they do indeed encourage good design and architecture.
Sarasota has a great history of pushing the envelope in architecture. We believe that this legacy should continue. Hopefully this will help push in that direction.
We also think that it would be good for Sarasota if there was a regular source of knowledgeable architectural criticism commenting on Sarasota's latest building boom. This would be good education for all of us.