Over 100 people attended a county-mandated neighborhood workshop at Pine Shores Presbyterian on Thursday to see updated plans for Benderson Development’s Siesta Promenade project — and residents remain concerned about the impacts of the complex.
Benderson Director of Development Todd Mathes said plans will be formally submitted to the county within the month. Todd Dary of Sarasota County planning and development services estimates it will take between six and eight months before the project is cleared by the County Commission.
Mathes hopes to present plans to the County Commission in September or October and break ground in spring 2017. The development on the corner of U.S. 41 and Stickney Point Road includes a 150 room hotel, 506 residential units and 140,000 square feet of commercial property. Mathes says the retail portion will be built first and may be open as early as fall 2017.
The parcel is currently zoned for residential manufactured homes and must be rezoned to both increase residential density and allow for commercial development. Benderson is working to increase the potential density to 25 units per acre, which many in attendance found unacceptable.
Pine Shores resident Evelyn Alland was one of those that addressed Mathes at the neighborhood workshop, where he shared updated renderings of the development.
“It feels like there is a major disconnect between your pretty pictures and where we live,” Alland said.
Benderson originally pitched two traffic lights to mitigate traffic concerns— one on U.S. 41, north of the intersection, and one west of the intersection on Stickney Point Road.
The newest plans do not include a traffic signal on U.S. 41. The proposed light would be only 750 feet from an existing light at the intersection of U.S. 41 and Stickney Point, which fails to comply with a Florida Department of Transportation regulation mandating at least 1320 feet between stop lights. Benderson is still pitching a light west of the intersection on Stickney Point Road, but it has been moved to the intersection of Glencoe Avenue and Stickney Point.
Access points between the development and the Pine Shores neighborhood have also decreased. Aerial renderings of the project show an access point on Glencoe where visitors are forced to turn left toward Stickney Point, away from the neighborhood.
However, Sura Kochman of the Pine Shore Neighborhood Alliance has reservations about an access point on Brentwood Avenue, located on the north side of the property. She believes visitors will use Brentwood to turn onto U.S. 41, cutting through a residential area in the process.
Although Thursday marked the last neighborhood workshop for the project, Kochman says her group will continue to voice their concerns as Benderson seeks county approval.
“We will be pursuing this until it gets its final determination,” Kochman said. “We have a long way to go.”