Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Recent Communications Concerning Arcades

From Ken Shelin in response to an e-mail I sent to all Commissioners asking them to not allow adcades over the public sidewalk, as well as asking to mandate building stepbacks at the fourth floor:


I agree with you and oppose the construction of arcades on the public rightof way. If a developer wants to build it on his own land I don't have a problem with that as they did at the Five Points Plaza. I also agree with you about stepbacks at 4 stories and voted for similar provisions in thecode while on the Planning Board.

Happy New Year!

From the Sierra Club:

Dear Commissioners,

As chair of the Sarasota Conservation Committee, I would like to express our views regarding the upcoming public hearing to address arcades in the downtown core.

The new city code that permits arcades to be built over the public sidewalks in the downtown area and gives away the air space above as an incentive and density bonus of buildable space to developers is seriously flawed and the city needs to change this policy at the earliest possible date.

This will result not only in the elimination of trees from our downtown streetscape, but will create a canyon effect along our narrow downtown streets. While large buildings are appropriate in parts of our downtown core, historic Main Street is not the place for massive, towering and encroaching architecture.

Sarasotans have repeatedly expressed a desire for a human-scale in our city that would prevent us from becoming another Naples or Fort Lauderdale. Residents should not have to "fight for smart designs that protect what Southwest Florida is all about: sunlight, fresh air,creativity, and a laid-back grace that says no to concrete canyons."

SOS and others presented their views at a public hearing of the Planning Board, which voted unanimously to recommend arcades be eliminated fromthe code. Now we need to acknowledge and support their recommendation.

Sincerely,Gayle ReynoldsManatee/Sarasota Sierra Club
From Control Growth Now:

Honorable Commissioners:

Control Growth Now joins many others in urging you to amend the City of Sarasota Downtown Zoning Code to eliminate provisions which allow developers to extend their buildings into public air space and over public sidewalks, by the use of arcades.

These arcades unduly increase the mass of buildings and create a “tunnel effect”, thereby reducing the ambiance and livability which citizens value in downtown Sarasota. They have the effect of entirely eliminating the requirement that buildings be set back, as a portion of the intruding arcade counts as the setback.

They also destroy valuable street trees which must be removed to make room for these arcades. Street trees are both aesthetically and functionally important to our quality of life.

Perhaps most important, these arcades constitute a government giveway of public property, that being the air space above the sidewalks. We oppose the practice of public subsidies of development, whether in the form of cash donations, inadequate impact fees or (as here) grants of public property.

Again, we urge that you amend the Zoning Code to eliminate or severely restrict the use of arcades, perhaps allowing them only where the building itself does not extend into public air space and where street trees would be protected and preserved.

Thank you for your considerations.

Dan Lobeck
President, Control Growth Now

No comments: