VENICE - Looks of disgust and an earful of complaints are what representatives from the Florida Department of Transportation and the Department of Community Affairs received from elected officials during a discussion of growth management in Sarasota County.
Speaking before an audience of more than 20 elected officials from Sarasota, Venice, Longboat Key and North Port on Friday, Rob Magee, a planning manager for the FDOT, said local governments will soon have to present financially feasible, comprehensive plans to the state that detail their future infrastructure needs.
"I don't see the state has done any planning," Mercier said. "When you ask us to plan, it would be nice to know what the state is planning on doing."
County Administrator Jim Ley said he could not agree more because the FDOT has frequently made pledges to fund state road projects and failed to deliver. When the state pulls funding, it wrecks the local comprehensive plan, Ley said.
Sarasota City Commissioner Mary Anne Servian said she has watched as funding for state roads leading from Manatee County into Sarasota vanish before her eyes.
"We are going to be prevented from doing anything within our city limits because the state is not funding the state projects, so help me understand how the city of Sarasota can move forward?" Servian asked.
Meanwhile in Sarasota the city is moving forward with a fast track plan to allow quadruple density in downtown Sarasota. The state won't pay for road and other infracture improvement and commissioners won't believe traffic studies that show if the quadrupal density is allowed, a likely result is a major decrease in traffic mobility (from the already impaired flow).
Yet the commissioners march merrily on with their plan to "move Sarasota forward" - even though Sarasota residents will be doomed to move at glacial speed as we are all sitting in gridlock. The commission has scheduled a hearing on the quadrupal downtown density on September 7.
Apparently developers have saturated the downtown market with large luxury units and now want to build smaller luxury units but they need more density to get more units. And, of course, our commissioners are only more than happy to accommodate them - all in the name of "moving forward".