Friday, April 14, 2006

Density Bonus Proposal

This communication was received from Kate Lowman - Laurel Park resident.

Greetings all,

As you know, the City is considering giving developers a double or quadruple density bonus in exchange for 10% affordable housing units in the downtown area. This would not apply inside Laurel Park, but would affect most of the areas around us.

Many aspects of the plan are still vague, but the comprehensive plan change that would allow this density increase is moving ahead.

The Planning Board voted against it 5-0, along with many comments about what a bad program it would be. The Laurel Park Neighborhood Association Board also voted against the proposal, as has the coalition of city neighborhoods (CCNA).

Our concern is that the plan is incomplete and unclear, does not appear to clearly address affordable housing concerns, and could have major negative impacts on downtown neighborhoods, including our own. We support the pursuit of affordable housing, but do not see that this program, as currently defined, is a reasonable way to achieve it.

Proponents of this plan are pushing very hard for its approval and are promoting a heavy turnout at the City Commission meeting this coming Monday (where the final Commission vote will take place). I would encourage you to attend, as I expect it to be a fascinating evening which could greatly affect the density of the downtown areas around us.

Sincerely, Kate Lowman

Save Our Sarasota agrees with Kate's comments on this proposal. We believe the proposal has been pushed forward too fast and is clearly not understood by most of the community. The proposal was introduced on Feb 14 at at a workshop attended by a dozen or so neighborhood residents and more than 75 developer and development related business interests.

Other than the initial workshop, city commissioners and staff have made no effort to clarify what the implications of this proposal are. As Kate indicated, the Planning Board, after studying the proposal and hearing testimony, voted unanimously to reject the plan.

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