SARASOTA– STOP!, the citizens group advocating changes to Sarasota’s zoning code and project approval process, will host a Forum for City Commission Candidates to be held on Monday, February 27th at 6 p.m. in the main auditorium of the Selby Library in downtown Sarasota.
All eight candidates vying for the two At-Large City Commission seats in the March 14th election have been invited to the event: as of today, seven have accepted. The candidates attending are: Jen Ahearn-Koch, Fredd “Glossie” Atkins, Hagen Brody, Susan Chapman, Patrick Gannon, Martin Hyde, and Mikael Sandstrom. Moderator for the STOP! Candidate Forum will be Peter Abbott, former Sarasota City Chief of Police.
Kate Lowman, a founding board member of STOP!, says that the goal of the STOP Candidate Forum is to give the public and candidates an opportunity to focus on development issues which have generated so much concern in recent months. “STOP! wants to give the public a chance to hear what the candidates have to say and to make informed decisions when they vote in the upcoming election on March 14th,” she offers.
Citing several crucial issues facing the next City Commission, Lowman explains, “Residents throughout the City have questioned Sarasota’s policies regarding the development approval process, traffic management and the creation of unfriendly, narrow sidewalks.”
The STOP! Candidate Forum comes on the heels of the group’s recent Town Hall meeting held January 23rd, which 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. “The public should have a voice in how the City grows and develops.” Lowman reasons.
Created in the Fall of 2015, STOP! has attracted scores of civic leaders and area residents as members. The group enjoys the endorsement of sixteen neighborhood, homeowner and civic associations through the city.