Neighborhood groups are rallying residents to attend a Sarasota County Planning Commission meeting tomorrow, during which the advisory board will consider the most controversial changes proposed for Sarasota 2050.
The Sarasota County County Council of Neighborhood Associations (CONA) sent out an email today encouraging members to “stand up for fiscal neutrality,” during the public hearing. Planning commissioners will consider the final round of tweaks to the county’s long-term growth plan.
For a new development project to receive initial approval, the developer must prove the project is fiscally neutral or beneficial — that taxes, fees, assessments and charges for services balance out new public facilities and services to support the development. The Sarasota 2050 plan, which guides building east of I-75 on specific tracts of land, requires developers to do that at the outset of a project, and in subsequent phases.
Developers have criticized the current fiscal neutrality provisions as major hurdles in financing 2050 projects. A report by Laffer and Associates, the firm the county hired to evaluate the regulations, blasted the concept of forcing developers to prove a project was fiscally neutral in all stages of development.
"Sarasota should focus the majority of its attention on setting accurate impact fees, then eliminate the fiscal neutrality provision," the report states.
The changes commissioners will consider will give more flexibility to staff and the administration in determining how, and how often, an analysis would be required to prove fiscal neutrality, and County Commission oversight of how to adjust such an agreement after seeing the results of the development.
IF YOU GO
What: Sarasota County Planning Commission meeting
When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 24
Where: Commission Chambers, Administration Building, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota