Sheldon Rich

for Sarasota City Commission At-Large
 
 
Passion - Experience - Leadership
 

 Build a better city for a better tomorrow

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CAMPAIGN BUZZ

June 13, 2022

Upcoming Candidate Forums:

Sheldon has been invited and will be participating at the following candidate forums:

  • July 9th 10am-12 Noon: Lido Key Residents Assn Meet the Candidates

       Lido Beach Resort (700 Benjamin Franklin Dr, Sarasota, FL  34236);           8th Floor

 

  • July 12th 6pm-8pm: Candidate Forum for the neighbors of Amaryllis Park and Bayou Oaks

Robert Taylor Community Center Clinic (1845 34th St, Sarasota, FL  34234)

 

  • July 13th 6pm-7:30pm: Grenada Meet The Candidates

Bonita Park at the intersection of Camino Real and Fortuna Street.

 

  • July 14th 6pm-8pm: CityPAC-Meet the Candidates

       Selby Public Library (1331 1st St, Sarasota, FL  34236)

 

  • July 16th Time TBD: Black Caucus Meet the Candidates

       Location TBD

 

  • July 26th 5:30pm-7:00pm: Arlington Park Candidate Forum

        Location TBD

May 28, 2022

Lawn signs have arrived.  Please complete a lawn sign request form if you would like us to drop one (or more) off to you.

May 16, 2022

Comments to the Sarasota City Commission on 5-16-22

I recently attended the May 7th Coalition of City Neighborhood Associations (CCNA) meeting where the Director of Planning presented the changes to the comprehensive plan.

 

To say that I was underwhelmed by the presentation would be an understatement.  Specifically, the presentations stated the following:

 

  • It was stated; “Well, the planning board approved transmitting the updates to the City Commission.”  One only had to view the Planning Committee meeting to understand that a number of votes were required to get this to pass and there was a significant lack of unanimity with the planning board to move this to the city commission.

 

  • While it was stated that many opportunities for public comment have been made, the reality is, only one true public hearing was held (on March 24th) to present this information and that was held via Zoom and only addressed the Urban Mixed-Use Classification, and not all of the other significant changes that are covered in this document.  For something that has the potential to drastically change the look and feel of this City, community meetings should not be optional!

 

  • It was stated that the building heights were being removed from the Future land use and housing chapter as they were addressed in the zoning code regulations.  While these heights do appear in the zoning code, the SIGNIFICANT change that would result from removing them from the Comprehensive plan would be that a super-majority 4-1 vote is needed to change the comprehensive plan, but only a 3-2 majority is needed to amend the zoning code. So, unless the Commission is willing to entertain a motion to change to a super majority to change the zoning code, this is potentially a gateway to not only increased density but increased height.

 

  • It was stated at that presentation that the changes to the Comprehensive Plan are being taken to the City Commission today “just to approve them being transmitted to the State for review”.  Let’s not kid ourselves that if these are sent to the State and they come back essentially intact that the next move would be to approve them as final.

 

  • Without going into detail of the proposed changes, one major point of contention is that they increase the use of administrative review which takes this body, which is here to represent the citizens of this great city out of the equation, and in many cases gives that process over to the responsible City departments.  Administrative review has been used in the Downtown core and for single family housing and there is significant concern that expanding administrative review will remove this body and thus, the citizens, from the opportunity to make their views heard on proposed developments. 

 

  • And while the idea of Urban Mixed /Use may sound enticing, I live in an area of the city that would be under this new classification.  And when I hear garage doors of the nearby car dealership open at 5:30am, the loudspeaker playing music all night long or the tow trucks at all hours of the night, I am not sure that other City residents will be very happy with what is contemplated to be built right next to their homes with Urban Mixed-Use Zoning.

 

I urge you to vote down these changes, require the planning department to hold public hearings and only have them brought back after appropriate discussion, amendments and deliberation has occurred. 

 

To rush through such important changes to the comprehensive plan without properly vetting them with the city residents is irresponsible, imprudent and harmful to the way of life of Sarasota’s residents.  We deserve better and in your role as City Commissioners that represent the residents you need to hear the outcry that these proposed changes are causing and act accordingly.

I also urged the City Commission to consider implementing a program similar to what was done in Nashville, TN.  That program helped control rent prices and got homeless and low-income residents into rental housing.

June 13, 2022

Sheldon Rich is officially qualified for the Sarasota City Commissioner At-Large election.