City officials have indicated they are ready to approve an updated traffic study for a bayfront condominium/hotel development, but nearby residents are hoping to hit the brakes on the project until their concerns are addressed.
At a public meeting Monday, Neighborhood and Development Services Director Tim Litchet said he was willing to grant the development its traffic concurrency certificate. Litchet is now awaiting legal approval of an updated traffic study, conducted by Kimley-Horn and Associates, before issuing the certificate.
David Gurley, a lawyer representing residents of the Tower Residences at the Ritz-Carlton, wrote a letter yesterday to City Manager Tom Barwin that alleges the traffic study still fails to meet the standards outlined in the city code.
Specifically, Gurley wrote, the traffic study identifies two circulation issues affecting Ritz Carlton Drive, Watergate Drive, Cedar Point Drive and Sunset Drive. Gurley said the study fails to recommend strategies for addressing these issues, and that providing those strategies is required by the code.
“The study shall recommend mitigation strategies for solving any circulation issues,” the city code says.
Kimley-Horn vice president Christopher Hatton said the severity of some internal circulation issues near Vue Sarasota Bay wouldn’t be known until the project was completed. At that point, Hatton said, it would be easier to identify a mitigation strategy that could potentially include other properties, such as the Ritz-Carlton. Until then, he said it’s too early to provide a realistic plan for addressing certain issues.
“You have to see how it's working, then work with the developer,” Hatton said.
Several attendees of Monday’s meeting weren’t satisfied with that response — and other residents aren’t on board with it either, according to Gurley. The city has yet to grant Vue Sarasota Bay its traffic concurrency certificate, and until it does, Gurley said nearby residents will continue to push the city to take a closer look at potential traffic issues surrounding the project.
“As we have expressed many times, the Ritz Residences and its professional consultants are available to collaborate with the city to develop reasonable options to avert the forthcoming traffic nightmare which would plague the city for years to come,” Gurley said in his letter to Barwin.
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