Lakewood Ranch residents protest possible light industrial and office use along Lorraine Road
The Aug. 27 protest proceeded an Aug. 30 Sarasota County Commission meeting about the possible Business Corridor overlay.
| 2:47 p.m. August 27, 2022
Dozens of residents from surrounding communities turned out Saturday morning to protest the possibility of Sarasota County allowing light industrial and office use along Lorraine Road between University Parkway and Fruitville Road.
Protest organizer Jacob Goodwin said he hoped the group march along Lorraine Road showed citizens in the area were clearly against Sarasota County's plan to approve an amendment to make that particular stretch of Lorraine Road a Business Corridor overlay.
That would allow land owners with a minimum of 10 acres and access from an adjacent arterial roadway the ability to request a zoning change that would allow them to host uses that include light industrial and office use.
On Aug. 30, the Sarasota County Commission will host a meeting (9 a.m. start) to decide whether to send the county-initiated amendment to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity for review and comment. The amendment also includes similar action on Lorraine Road from Clark Road to State Road 681. Protesters hopes to bring awareness of the meeting so people would attend.
Jill Hennessey, a spokesperson for the group and an organizer for the Shoreview community of Waterside, said the protests can make an impact on the commissioners' decision.
"It's been my experience that when elected leaders see a massive response to a proposed action, that does weigh heavily on them," Hennessey said. "They are seeing that people are concerned and they have taken the time to come out and express their views."
Vic Obringer, who was rallying with Lakehouse Cove of Waterside residents, said he believes if the amendment reaches the state level, it will be approved, as it is billed as an economic and employment initiative. Then it will be up to the Sarasota Commission to decide whether to approve it or not.
"There are concerns about additional traffic, noise, crime, and all the things that come with industrial businesses, coming to a residential area," Hennessey said. "This is an area that's widely used by families for biking and walking. So obviously, we're concerned about all the safety ramifications of having considerable commercial traffic coming to this area."