The City Commission decision on Monday to give Ron Burks a land use change to Downtown Core (adding density and height to the current zoning classification) in spite of being next to single family residential zoning was done with no advance notice of a change in the proposal.
At 9 AM on Monday morning, Stan Zimmerman of the Alta Vista neighborhood called the City Planning Department and asked if any change had been submitted for the proposal that was to be considered. He was told none had been submitted. Later, it was indicated to him that a change had been submitted.
In the SHT it was reported that Commissioner Servian complained that she did not see the changed proposal until "just hours before the meeting", adding that she couldn’t be expected to make a decision on something she only had "10 minutes to look at."
The Planning Staff did not make a recommendation because they did not have time to review the proposal.
The city attorney indicated that one of the options for the commissioners was to delay a vote on the proposal until a later date so they would have time to review it. A motion to delay the vote was turned down.
It was also been indicated that the Habitat for Humanity Director committed Habitat involvement without discussing this with the Habitat for Humanity Board.
Are our politicians and community leaders so anxious to show they are doing something that they are willing to completely bypass due process? Is this the kind of leadership we want for Sarasota?
This is the second time this group of commissioners has voted to place the most intense and dense land use right next to single family neighborhoods. The first time was the change in the Downtown Master Plan to make the Burns Square area Down Town Core instead of the recommended Down Town Edge.
Yesterday’s vote was done at the very last minute with less than a few hours notice to commissioners, neighbors and the community. Despite this, the Downtown Partnership and the Young Professional Group apparently knew this was happening and were at the hearing to voice their support for the proposal and discount the concerns of the surrounding neighborhoods.
This was a sad day for Sarasota and the citizens who live here. Without due process why have a city government?