Ken's sounding like a Republican chastising the opposition party in Washington.
Hell, Ken, did you ask us to participate? Did you ask us to explore the concept of providing affordable housing? First I heard of a Town Hall Meeting was from another Commissioner on the 17th.
No, you directed staff to create a density bonus plan and directed a consultant to find a way to support it. The staff and consultant are saying that "the commission" added areas Six and Seven.
City Staff applied for the re-zone of the Scotties site without ever asking any of the neighbors for their input aforehand.
When the neighborhood discovered what you were up to, they protested at every opportunity and were simply ignored.
The neighbors all support low impact development on that site and heard visions of two-story townhouses and retail establishments with living quarters above at several of the public hearings. But that all went down in favor of dense high-rise development and, now, bonus density to turn 36 units into four hundred and fifty.
Ken, most of your neighborhood constituency doesn't ride a segway and those of us with a bit of a back yard and breathing room value it highly - we've our life's savings tied up in that little postage stamp lot and it means a lot to us.
Your comment that "Experts world wide have said that density bonuses lower costs" was out of context and disingenuous. Some of those Young Professionals might have understood you to support the idea that increasing density will increase the likelihood they'll find an affordable home in downtown Sarasota, Florida.
Why, the very experts you paid $125,000 to for a report on the concept said it would not work in downtown Sarasota. Who are you going to believe? The "experts" you've but read about, or those you paid to study the matter for you.
By the way, I did a little study of my own using the Montgomery County Maryland efforts as the prime focus and found their experience anything but comparable to the situation in Sarasota. Indeed, in terms of their own criteria for "affordable housing," none of the density bonus/inclusionary zoning public private partnerships provided a single affordable home. Those achieved did so with significant public subsidies. Let me send you a copy of the report.
If you had wanted the community to come forward with proposals to enhance affordable housing opportunities within the City of Sarasota, why did you not ask?
Why, you could have posted a notice to SarasotaVoices. You could have taken time to make a segment for Channel 19 (they did one AFTER you made the decision to hire the consultant - I saw part of it). You could have asked the NPO to advertise the request for input through their newsletter and contacts on the various Neighborhood Associations and CCNA or CONA. You could have written a guest editorial for the SHT. You could have asked those assembled at the Kennedy-King Dinner when you had the floor.
Instead, you and the commission frame the debate and then chastise those who oppose the density bonus solution for not having hired their own consultant or ICARDMERRIL to come up with alternative approaches.
And, you did not listen to those of us who did offer suggestions. Despite my several smoke breaks, I heard a few.
Have employers of Young Professionals increase their salaries, contribute to their health insurance. The City has, itself, gone in the opposite direction by reducing the contribution to health care and holding salaries down despite increasing tax revenues.
And tax revenue should hit home for the Commission. The City has spent millions on the Van Wezel only to have them request trading it off and building a bigger facility. What an impact 20 million would have had on affordable housing had the City spent the money on acquiring property for housing.
Government tends to spend every dollar of tax revenue that comes to it. Instead of holding to a budget and reducing the millage rate for landlords, say, they take in the windfall and discover something to spend it upon.
I know I've missed several of the suggestions made by the "Nos" and hope those I missed will remind you of their suggestions via e-mail after hearing your assertions this evening.
Please don't infer a "tone" to my messages. It is the nature of e-mail to be perfunctory "short and to the point." In the instant case, the medium is not the message. CHARLES