+ Turner punishing North Trail
It was dismaying, although not surprising, when City Commissioner Terry Turner opposed a proposed North Trail Overlay District at last week’s commission meeting.
Members of the North Trail Redevelopment Partnership labored for hours over this issue over the past two years. This group, of which I am proud to be a part, crafted a plan that would be of enormous benefit to the North Trail and provide an impetus to bring development to an area badly in need of a renaissance.
Commissioner Turner has been present at many of the North Trail Redevelopment Partnership meetings and has been well aware of the work in progress relative to developing the NTOD.
The partnership also has had one-on-one meetings with Commissioner Turner to discuss these plans. During these times, he has offered little suggestion, assistance or his opinion as far as I am aware, keeping in mind I did not attend every one of these occasions myself. He remained remarkably silent on a subject of great importance.
Now, at a time when the NTOD is at last going to be presented to the commission, he has chosen to speak up and call for a longer-term solution that would be more encompassing. Hence, instead of taking positive action and a small step forward, we should delay the entire process and initiate yet another study with more expense and more consultants from somewhere else and see how long we can ignore the slum and blight on the North Trail.
Surely Commissioner Turner could have brought up his thinking during the nearly two years that the redevelopment partnership has been working on its submission. Instead, he has suggested at the 11th hour that “the city spend $250,000 over the next 30 years on a master plan crafted with community input.”
Commissioner Turner has decided to wait until the penultimate moment when the partnership was at point when a commission presentation and vote was imminent. In other words, it would be a vote for progress or a vote essentially to condemn the North Trail for years while more unused, taxpayer-financed studies are created.
Is there a possible pattern here?
I recall another blow to progressive thinking when he voted against modifying the “rules of construction” that would have given a planning applicant the benefit of the doubt when two conflicting pieces of code came into play on a building proposal. That, too, would have benefited the city, sending a positive signal to those who wish to settle in our town and bring greater commerce to it. Commissioner Turner said no to even this small, positive step.
Our elected officials must lead by example and at times must be bold enough to take a stand that might not necessarily be the most popular to any particular constituency but will ultimately benefit the city in which they serve.
Too often we see them capitulate to the status quo because taking action may offend this group or the other group or hurt their chances to maintain office.
Without reasonable and considerable change, we stagnate, and stagnation leads to rot. I live on the North Trail, I see the rot every day. I personally do not wish to wait 20 years for progress and positive change for the greater good of or beautiful and special city.
Currently 2 Responses
- I resent your statement about the "slum and blight on the North Trail" and your remark, "I see the rot every day." If you had been here since 1981 you would recognize the great improvements that have occurred over the years. I think the North Trail is a wonderful place to live and I prefer it over the South Trail.
I, too, have attended a number of North Trail Redevelopment Partnership meetings. I went to the overlay group's meeting once and expressed some of my concerns during the early stages. I felt my comments weren't noted and I felt unheard at the big meetings, as well, so I stopped going.
Just because someone opposes the currently proposed overlay district, it doesn't mean he/she wants to "condemn" the North Trail. As the economy continues to improve, so will the North Trail. The old hotels were compatible with our quiet neighborhoods. Since their decline, it has been a challenge to find the right businesses that could take their place, but they've been developing.
Please stay positive and help to point out all of the fine changes that have been taking place. Many of us have called the North Trail home for many years and we take offense to new comers who trash it!
- I believe you ran for the Sarasota City commission but lost to Shaw because of racial preferences. You speak the truth about the North Trail. Small local decisions are far better and more effective than grandiose far reaching long distance nebulous government planning.
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