Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Joe Barbetta Takes Office on Today

From Sunday's SHT article on Joe Barbetta:

Controlling sprawl

Barbetta made suppressing urban sprawl a focus of his campaign. Days before he takes office, he still talks about the same subject.

He supports plans for the Florida Institute for Integrative Land Use on Fruitville Road. The institute, a joint venture of New College of Florida and the University of Florida, would study methods of managing growth while protecting the environment.

On the subject of traffic, he says he doesn't "want to see huge road widening projects just to accommodate cars."

He also made public transportation a key theme in his campaign. SCAT General Manager Anthony Beckford expects more emphasis on busing. Beckford, whose department already received a 40 percent budget increase in 2005, said Barbetta understands public transportation is "very good for the county in terms of not only growth management but land management."

Paying for growth is becoming much more of an issue these days as large projects have been built and announced, particularly in Manatee County.

Traffic remains a big issue in Sarasota also. The county turned down the big Bendeson proposal at University and I-75 - anyone who has tried to travel on University east of I-75 knows to allow lots of extra time as you wait for light changes several times before getting through each intersection.

And the City of Sarasota has seen the DCA send back two recent land use proposals because of lack of acceptable traffic management plans. In our view the city has not yet seen the light with regard to infrastructure needs that accompany downtown growth. At times it seems that the city is emulating North Port in its growth policies.

County commissioners in both Sarasota and Manatee know this.

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