During the Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Association (CONA) meeting Monday, May 13, the organization’s president, Lourdes Ramirez, made a presentation about the group’s stance opposing changes to Sarasota County’s Sarasota 2050 Plan.
Ramirez cited potential tax increases to residents as one reason she is concerned about changes to the Sarasota 2050 Plan.
The current 2050 plan, approved in 2002, includes fiscal-neutrality conditions. Without fiscal neutrality, many of the costs of development would be passed along to taxpayers, Ramirez said.
Ramirez expects environmental groups will also oppose changes to the 2050 Plan, which aims to keep a wildlife corridor east of I-75.
When Sarasota County officials approved the 2050 Plan in 2002, they hoped to create urban-style, walkable villages in undeveloped areas of the county, particularly lands east of I-75.
Ramirez said there seems to be more than enough proposed development already in line, when compared to the county’s anticipated population growth.
Many county residents emailed commissioners prior to the commission’s 4-1 vote in favor of considering changes to the 2050 Plan, which happened during its May 8 meeting.
“We were very disappointed in the County Commission,” Ramirez said at the CONA meeting.
“By caving to the few dozen emails from developers, they caved to the minority.The majority of comments were against changing 2050,” Ramirez said. “But, they dismissed those 450 emails.”
In a separate presentation
Bill Zoller said the grassroots, Open Our Elections, launched May 12, in an effort to reform county elections. Zoller, treasurer of Open Our Elections, said the organization is leading the campaign to make all county office elections non-partisan.
Five other counties have nonpartisan county elections, Zoller said, and supporters of the change want to see elections here in Sarasota County where any resident can cast a ballot for county commission candidates and other county candidates running for office.
“Really it would just make the county elections consistent with what we have in the city,” Zoller said.