Sarasota Downtown Development

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[Government] Costs High for Changing Building Rules through Downtown

Jacob Ogles,

A tightening of rules on how construction can be approved on South Palm Avenue may now affect other parts of downtown Sarasota. As City officials expand the area where new rules can later be applied, the costs for changes is going up rapidly.

When the City was simply planning creation of a South Palm zoning overlay district and preparing a needed change to the City's comprehensive plan, the cost of noticing affected property owners of an upcoming public hearing was set to run $524. But now that all of downtown could potentially be affected by a comprehensive plan change, that cost has skyrocketed to $3,471.

That cost covers mailing notifications of a Development Review Committee meeting to all property owners who could be impacted by a change. Like mailings will have to be done when the changes go before the Planning Board and City Commission.

But City Manager Bob Bartolotta said time and money could be saved in the long run by discussing all of downtown. Since the City Commission gave direction to move ahead on South Palm changes, other neighborhood leaders, including those in Laurel Park and near Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, have asked for similar comprehensive plan changes.

"Do you want to go though a comp plan change every time? Why do every single one separately?" Bartolotta said.

By having a comprehensive plan amendment, which can easily take nine months to a year to implement, affect all of downtown, it will save staff time and costs.

The manager noted the comprehensive plan change being considered will not necessarily restrict development. South Palm residents are also moving on a zoning overlay which will change the rules. Commissioners would still need to approve such an overlay for other neighborhoods before significant rule changes affected development. 


Craig Hullinger AICP - The process described above is too slow and costly. Speed it up.