It's back to the drawing board for Benderson Development. Now, the earliest the County Commission could vote to increase the property's density would be in December.
The Siesta Promenade developers must go back to the drawing board, after the county received their application for increased density on the property and deemed it “insufficient” and “incomplete.”
Benderson Development submitted a Critical Area Plan application at the end of June for the Siesta Promenade project, which would allow them to build a multi-use development on that property. The 24-acre project, near the south bridge to Siesta Key, would include 140,000 square feet of retail, 415 residential units and a 130-room hotel.
In response to Benderson’s application, Sarasota County Planning and Development Services sent back about eight pages of changes or updates the developer must include before moving forward.
A team including Todd Mathes, Benderson's director of development, appeared before the Development Review Committee Aug. 3 for clarification on the changes, particularly on comments about multimodal transportation.
County staff asked for clarification or inclusion of information on how people could access Phillippi Estate Park, Siesta Key beaches and the Legacy Trail from the Siesta Promenade via bike or pedestrian pathways.
In terms of Siesta Key access, Benderson was asked to construct bicycle lanes or widen the sidewalk to the Siesta Key bridge, as well as provide a private shuttle service or work with Sarasota County Area Transit to increase service to the beaches from the property.
Additionally, county staff asked the developer to more clearly illustrate the stormwater management plan, provide updated traffic and pedestrian crossing analyses, explain in more detail what civic spaces or leisure and recreational opportunities will be included on the property and provide more information about planned landscaping and buffers.
“All the comments were very reasonable,” Mathes said. “We needed a little bit of clarification, but we expect to be able to respond to them all by the end of next week and hopefully get to completeness.”
When asked what the plan will be if the county does not approve the CAP application, Mathes was tight-lipped.
“It’s too early to tell where we really are in terms of the project and the Planning Commission board’s viewpoint of it for us to make a prediction about that,” Mathes said.
Mathes again stated that a mixed-use development is “the right fit for the property,” despite negative feedback from residents.
Following this timeline outlined by the county — and assuming staff won't ask to see any more changes — the County Commission wouldn’t consider Benderson’s application until December of this year at the earliest.