Previous Meeting in the Fall Attracted a Standing-Room-Only Crowd of Residents Concerned with Looming Buildings, Traffic Gridlock and Quality-of-life Issues
SARASOTA– STOP!, the citizens group advocating changes to Sarasota’s zoning code and project approval process, announces its first public Town Hall meeting of 2017 will be held on Monday, January 23rd at 6 p.m. in the main auditorium of the Selby Library in downtown Sarasota.
The Town Hall will focus on the need to create more pedestrian-friendly sidewalks and reclaim the role of public input into the City’s planning and approval for intensive developments that shape the quality of life in Sarasota. The meeting will also feature an update on the progress made by STOP! to gain realistic traffic studies. The event carries the theme: The Citizen’s Voice – Reclaiming a Seat at the Table.
“Too many large-scale developments are being approved without any public input,” explains STOP! Steering Committee Member Kate Lowman. “Our upcoming Town Hall will share ways the public can get involved in shaping the future of the city and let their voices be heard by our elected officials.”
STOP!’s first Town Hall was held on September 22, 2016 and attracted a standing-room-only crowd of area residents. The grassroots organization seeks to repeal Administrative Approval for large and intense projects downtown and prevent its expansion in other areas of the City.
STOP! seeks a return to the once-standard Planning Board and City Commission review and approval process. This method stipulates that the public be informed of major development proposals, allows citizens to submit material and to speak out about these developments.
Lowman cited the repeal of Administrative Approval in Sarasota as a key focus of STOP! “In the past, our zoning code was distorted by outside special interest groups that prevented the citizens of Sarasota from participating in public hearings about new projects, no matter how large or intense they may be,” she said. “The public should have a voice in how the City grows and develops. The public needs a seat at the table.”
Created in the Fall of 2015, STOP! has attracted dozens of civic leaders and area residents as members. The group enjoys the endorsement of neighborhood and homeowner associations through the city.
When asked why STOP! has resonated so strongly with Sarasota residents, Lowman responds, “Too many large-scale developments were being approved without any public input. These developments offered inadequate sidewalks and setbacks while pouring too much traffic onto already congested roadways. Developers were not being asked to pay their fair share for the roadway and infrastructure improvements associated with their projects; those costs were being pushed back to the taxpayers. It was time for this to STOP!”
# # #