Tuesday, February 27, 2007

SOS Recommends "YES" on County Charter Amendment

The SHT recommends voting "YES" on the referendum question concerning requiring county approval for land use changes for annexed land outside the urban service boundary.

Sarasota County voters will soon be asked: Should the County Commission have the ability to approve proposals that would make annexed rural lands ripe for city development?

The case for voting "yes" is compelling, especially since county approval would only be required if the land isn't covered by a city-county planning agreement.

A voter-approved amendment to the county charter is necessary to give the commission a say in city-initiated changes to lands lying outside the "Urban Services Boundary" and designated by the county plan as rural.

Likewise the Pelican Press recommends a "YES" vote:

Let's cool the overheated growth in South County

Voters countywide have a chance March 13 to slow the growth that is exploding in southern Sarasota County, as Venice and North Port expand their tax bases by bringing formerly rural lands into the cities and permitting massive, sprawling developments.

Fortunately for the cities, the residential streets from all these projects empty onto county roads - rural county roads - and ultimately onto state roads, which the cities have no obligation to improve or maintain. That falls to all county taxpayers.

The same is true for providing schools for these residents' children, water and sewage treatment, drainage, storm sewers, parks ... The list goes on.

Since 2000, North Port has increased its size by more than 18,000 acres and has rezoned land to accommodate 26,520 new homes or apartments. County Planning Department calculations say that ultimately will mean 253,796 more vehicular trips and a demand for 3,276,500 additional gallons of water - per day.

A proposal worth venturing to the polls for - it may be the only thing on the ballot in many precincts - is a proposition that would in effect give Sarasota County veto power when cities attempt to annex rural county land for expansion, stemming this growth before it is too late.

Developers, big landowners and their legal, banking and business allies are expected to mount a late, negative campaign against the measure. Don't believe it.

The Pelican Press strongly urges all county residents to go to the polls and vote "Yes" on the county charter amendment.

Save Our Sarasota agrees with these recommendations.

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