Sarasota residents opposed to a proposed gallery at 1400 Main St. showed up in force at Monday’s City Commission meeting, eventually getting their way when the commission denied the proposal in a 3-2 vote.
During 50 minutes of public comment, only one person offered support for the project. The complaints were varied, but they all coalesced around one argument: The gallery would not provide a public benefit.
Chris Brown, who purchased the building at 1400 Main St. in May, applied for a major encroachment agreement with the city to build the gallery. City staff said a major encroachment needed to demonstrate a benefit to the public to gain approval. The deck would have extended almost 9 feet over the public right of way.
Mayor Shannon Snyder and Commissioner Paul Caragiulo were the dissenting votes; Caragiulo said he wouldn’t approve the agreement as-is. Still, he said he was interested in working with Brown, rather than leaving him to develop on his own property without city input.
IN THEIR WORDS
“In short, almost all the basic human situations can be enriched by the qualities of the gallery surround.”
— Chris Gallagher, the building’s architect, quoting from the architecture book “A Pattern Language”
“This galleria is a total distraction. It isn’t for one second an enhancement. Something that is a distraction is of absolutely no public benefit to the city.”
— Barbara Campo
“Trust is kind of questionable downtown now … since (Brown) can’t tell us what restaurant’s going in there, who it is and how it will operate, including its hours of operation, he’s asking us to give him carte blanche before the fact.”
— Nick Rossi
“This proposed project is appalling, to say the least. If the articles about it had appeared during April, I would have assumed it was an April Fools’ prank.”
— Norman Wayne
“I just found some of Mr. Gallagher’s things that he quoted about balconies and porches being a benefit — well, they are, if they’re on your own property. That’s the end of the sentence he didn’t say.
— Jude Levy
Contact David Conway at [email protected]