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Sarasota Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020 1 month ago

Commission OKs residential project on Honore

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The complex will have an age restriction for residents ages 55 and older.
by: Brynn Mechem Staff Writer

Over the protests of neighbors, Sarasota County commissioners approved a 232-unit multifamily development on Honore Avenue.

The development will sit on 11 acres in the northwest corner of the intersection of Honore Avenue and Palmer Ranch Parkway. The proposal features one four-story building, two three-story buildings, a clubhouse and a parking garage.

The units will be age-restricted for at least one resident age 55 or older per unit.

To make the development possible, commissioners approved three changes: a revision in the Future Land Use Map from commercial to high-density residential, a land use designation change from commercial to residential and a similar change in zoning.

The commission unanimously approved the project despite neighbor complaints of possible effects on the environment, traffic and infrastructure.

Melody Barackman, representing the Somerset at Turtle Rock neighborhood less than a half mile from the project, said the land-use changes suit the developer’s profit goals without regard for ecological or sociological impacts.

“The intent of zoning districts and maximum densities is to preserve existing residential character without sacrificing the overall residential neighborhood image and character,” she said. “Clearly, this proposal is not in keeping with the image, and it breaks faith with the master plan that thousands of Palmer Ranch residents have put their trust in.”

Vice President of Palmer Ranch Holdings Justin Powell said the surrounding community was designed to handle growth.

“Within Palmer Ranch, we have 57% open space, which gives us a density of 2.16 units an acre, and that’s very low,” Powell said. “We designed all of our wetlands, our oak hammock, our stormwater ahead of time, and we use that as a feature for our homes.”

Although she said she understands residents’ concerns, Commissioner Nancy Detert said the project is low-impact compared to a gas station or fast-food restaurant that could have been built. Commissioner Christian Ziegler agreed with Detert.

“I get it: When something pops up, everyone wants a park next to their property or undeveloped land,” he said. “But people have rights to develop their land, and I think that when you look at the other uses that could go there, you’d be much more concerned of some other things that were being presented.”

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