The new overlay district adjusts regulations to fit the residents' unique way of life.
In less than five minutes March 14, years of work from county staff and the Pinecraft community paid off when the Sarasota County Commission unanimously approved the creation of the Pinecraft Overlay District.
“It’s almost anticlimactic after people have been in the process for several years,” Commissioner Al Maio said.
The vote sets up special zoning rules for the Pinecraft neighborhood, which attracts members of the Amish and Mennonite communities to the area near Beneva Road and Bahia Vista Street.
The proposed district will adjust a few regulations for the area in an effort to preserve the residents’ and visitors’ way of life. It would allow bike rental businesses on residential property; prohibit new auto-oriented businesses; reduce parking requirements; modify building standards for “old” Pinecraft to reflect the way homes were built.
It “makes a portion of our community really special, noticeably so, and a real asset to the rest of our community,” said Commission Chair Nancy Detert.
The Pinecraft district is at its busiest during the winter months, when members of northern Amish and Mennonite communities travel south to stay in Sarasota. Each year, thousands annually travel to Pinecraft by bus for the winter — a practice that started in the early 1900s.