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SRQ DAILY Jan 24, 2015

Saturday Perspectives Edition

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Saturday Perspectives Edition

"In the overbuilt scenario, picture a standard two-lane roadway being expanded to eight lanes. That would likely allow the roadway to attain an "

- Kevin Cooper, Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce
 

[The Detail]  In Plain Sight
Cathy Antunes, cathycantunes@gmail.com

They say hindsight is 20/20, but when it comes to 2050, hindsight may be even more illuminating. Changes to the 2050 plan, which governs growth outside the Urban Service Boundary (east of Interstate-75), will impact our wallets, home values and traffic.  Last fall, design standards, open space and fiscal neutrality were being debated.  But the Sarasota 2050 plan was egregiously violated months before when the County Commission approved over 9,344 new homes east of I75 without required Transfer of Development Rights.

TDRs are a linchpin of Sarasota’s 2050 plan. In order to build outside the Urban Service Boundary at higher densities, rural landowners must purchase development rights (either from the County or another rural landowner) and then transfer those development rights to the rural parcel they want to develop. TDR policy is designed to keep the County’s overall density stable. Development density is to be clustered on a particular parcel through TDRs preserving the environment and open space.  The increased density in a focused area provides the ability to build walkable communities—communities which would have a local market, dentist, restaurant, boutiques and the like—and enough of a residential population to provide a customer base. Walkable communities reduce commute times and traffic jams, generate enough tax revenue to pay for their infrastructure. The TDR requirements of 2050 are so central to the plan that during the summer Planning Commission meeting on 2050 changes, Planning Commissioners argued 2050 changes were acceptable because they weren’t increasing overall density.

But, in fact, the Planning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners had increased overall density months before, by failing to enforce TDR policy. In early 2014, both Commissions approved new land-use changes outside the USB along Clark Rd.  Developers were given permission to create 9,344 homes on their land, roughly 5,500 to 6,300 more than the guidelines permit. The Clark Road property owners were permitted to bypass TDR requirements. They contended their land makes it difficult to build densely (that is, walkable communities) and they would have to obtain an unreasonably expensive number of development rights. The development they got approved is the kind of non-walkable, subdivision housing which has been shown to take 42 years to pay off its infrastructure costs (longer than the life of the infrastructure, so existing taxpayers will foot the bill).   It’s also noteworthy that developers get to define what is “unreasonable expense” for themselves. Their claims are not subject to scrutiny. What about “unreasonable expense” for taxpayers?

In a free market, sometimes a project is not economically viable. The flawed assumption operating here is developers must always be permitted to build. The route to economic viability provided these developers by local government includes bypassing TDR expenses, walkable design standards and shifting infrastructure costs to Sarasota taxpayers.   

What about traffic? One local resident commented on social media, “Without this project even starting, accessing Clark Road east of I-75 for those of us who live near Twin Lakes Park is already a nightmare.”  Looks like we’re teeing up another University and I-75 debacle.

In an e-mail to a constituent, former Commissioner Nora Patterson wrote “I honestly believe the one change that knocked the pins out of the [2050] plan was the approval of 9,000 plus units on the north part of the Clark Road property with no exchange of development rights.” She reiterated this point at January’s CONA meeting, saying that it sets a bad precedent. Since the County Commission violated TDR policy in approving the massive Clark Rd density increase, what basis do they have for turning down anyone else? 

SRQ Daily columnist Cathy Antunes serves on the boards of the Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations and Sarasota Citizens for Responsible Government. She blogs on local politics at www.thedetail.net

[Chamber]  Congestion Perception Perhaps Congested
Kevin Cooper, Kcooper@sarasotachamber.com

Roadway performance evaluation is far more technical than how long one thinks it should take to get to their local grocery store versus how long it actually takes.  The term used to evaluate and discuss performance is known as ‘Level Of Service.’ The roadway LOS, according to the County’s Access Management Technical Manual, is defined as “a qualitative measure describing operational conditions within a traffic stream. Level of service is based on factors such as speed and travel time, freedom to maneuver, traffic interruptions, comfort and convenience, and safety.”

It’s important to note there are a number of things that affect the LOS rating aside from number of vehicles on the roadway.  The number of intersections, types of intersections (e.g., signalized or signed), signalization patterns, type of vehicles, roadway width and distance between the edge of lanes and the curb can all have a direct impact. Roadway LOS is graded on a letter scale from ‘A’ to ‘F.’  This scale, however, can be somewhat misleading in our culture because an ‘A’ in this case, while it might be considered the best, is relatively undesirable for a community. If a roadway has an ‘A’ LOS, it’s likely few people need or want to travel the roadway or that the roadway is severely overbuilt. In the overbuilt scenario, picture a standard two-lane roadway being expanded to eight lanes. That would likely allow the roadway to attain an ‘A’ rating, but would anyone actually advocate for it? Most County roadways have a minimum adopted service standard of ‘C,’ but even that is a relatively high threshold.  By industry standards, drivers on a ‘C’ roadway would expect to see a minimum vehicle spacing of about 11 car lengths.  For perspective, that distance is about the same as the height of the Golden Gate Bridge... between each vehicle.

Some in the Sarasota community have the perception traffic is getting worse and elected officials have failed to properly plan for increases in population and development. Lost in the conversation seems to be a technical review of how Sarasota’s roadways actually perform from a data-driven, statistical standpoint. A review of the County’s most recent (2013) generalized LOS analysis might paint a surprising picture for those that perceive Sarasota County as being overrun by development and gridlock.  The review would show that while there 38 roadway segments are technically failing, 36 roadway segments throughout the County performed at an ‘A’ level.  Perhaps most importantly, nearly two-thirds of the 465 roadway segments analyzed were performing at an LOS of ‘C’ or better. In fact, Sarasota County had more combined ‘A’- and ‘B’-rated roadway segments than it did ‘D’, ‘E’ and ‘F’ segments combined. 

One should understand the LOS rating is based on a measure known as design hourly volume, which, in this case, is the four highest, contiguous 15-minute traffic counts within a peak travel time (e.g., 4-6pm).  Basically, the rating is based on the currently reasonable worst case scenario.  It’s also worth noting the average length of an analyzed “segment” is less than a mile.  So a segment of a roadway may be “failing” but that doesn’t mean the entire roadway is.

It’s also important to understand how the roadway system’s performance has changed over time.  When comparing the 2013 LOS analysis to the 2006 analysis, one can get a picture of the direction roadway performance has been trending over the past several years. Of the 428 roadway segments analyzed in both 2006 and 2013, 110 (25.7 percent) were performing at a higher LOS in 2013 than in 2006, and 302 (70.6 percent) were performing at the same LOS (of which 264 were performing at a ‘D’ or better). Only 16 (3.7 percent) segments were actually performing worse in 2013 than 2006.   

During a recent meeting, the Sarasota Board of County Commissioners seemed almost taken aback. One commissioner asked Jonathan Paul, a transportation planning consultant with graduate degrees in both public administration and urban planning, to repeat himself.  Paul reiterated, “Sarasota County has done a great job in terms of keeping up with its roadway infrastructure, and ensuring development is accommodated by transportation infrastructure.  They’ve been implementing (traffic) concurrency better than most communities I’ve seen across the state of Florida.”

Immediately following, another Commissioner perhaps jokingly requested, “One more time.” “Maybe it’ll actually get printed,” said another. “Don’t count on it,” stated a third.

Why?  It certainly bears repeating. 

SRQ Daily Columnist Kevin Cooper is the vice president for Public Policy and Sarasota Tomorrow Initiatives for The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce



[SCOOP]  Michel's On East 'Yappy' Hour Helps Shelter Pets

Enjoy Yappy Hour at Michael's on East. Every Monday from 5pm-9pm through March 30, Michael's on East will donate a percentage of beverage sales in its Restaurant's Lounge to shelter pets at the Humane Society of Sarasota County. Michael's happy hour specials will be extended all night during this special promotion, allowing guests to enjoy $5 beverage specials until close. 

Michael's On East

[SCOOP]  Sprout's Midnight Match

On New Year’s Eve, All Faiths Food Bank announced a $30,000 “Midnight Match” challenge after an anonymous donor made the funds available for its Sprout Mobile Farm Market program. People were asked to join the Food Bank in a resolution they could keep – to provide healthy food to our neighbors in need. In a matter of hours, the match was met. The funds will help purchase produce when necessary and increase its service capacity as the demand for food in general increases.  “Sprout” is a custom-made, 24-foot refrigerated truck that brings fresh fruit and vegetables to neighbors in need throughout Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. The first program of its kind in the area, and one of just a handful in the nation, the Sprout Route has distributed more than 300,000 pounds of produce since its first stop in January of 2014. During harvest seasons, produce is donated by local grocers, gleaners and farmers, and All Faiths Food Bank purchases just 25 percent of the produce. Other times of the year, the ratio varies depending on availability. Recently, All Faiths Food Bank purchased 75 percent of the produce on board. 

All Faiths Food Bank

[SCOOP]  Youth Philanthropy Award and Scholarship

Community Youth Development (CYD) has partnered with the Southwest Florida Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) to recognize an outstanding Sarasota County high school female in grades 10 –12 who has influenced the community and her peers by specific philanthropic efforts. The recipient will be awarded $1,000 prize, to be awarded as a $500 scholarship to the winner’s choice of post-secondary educational institution and a $500 contribution to her choice of local nonprofit organization. Giving Matters, a program of the Southwest Florida Chapter of the AFP, created the Youth Philanthropy Leadership Award in memory of Lois B. Green in 2011.  It is offered as part of Giving Matters’ commitment to inspire and educate women to realize their power to transform their community and our world through philanthropy. Applications are available now and are due on February 4, 2015. 

Community Youth Development

[Cream Of The Coconut]  Fun Facts About Rebekah Mandeville Gelvin, Proprietor of Mandeville Beer Garden

A craft beer drinker and chocolate lover, Mandeville loves to read (The Economist), lives on Siesta Key, was born in Berkeley, CA, raised in Denver, CO, and has been a Sarasota resident since September 1997. Lowry Beer Garden in Denver was Mandeville's inspiration for her new Sarasota business  The Mandeville Beer Garden company branding is based on her family coat of arms. Development of the logo took six monthsto create incorporating the beer element, coat of arms and the French / English history of the Mandeville name.

 

  

Mandeville Beer Garden

[SCOOP]  Celebrating 25 Years Of Caring

This year the Glasser Schoenbaum Human Services Center is celebrating a special milestone, their 25th Anniversary. The Glasser Schoenbaum Human Services Center also known as the Campus of Caring, began 25 years ago by Dr. Kay Glasser who had a vision for delivering health and human services in a more efficient way.  A seed money donation from the Schoenbaum family was instrumental for the creation of the center now nationally recognized as a unique Management Service Organization. The campus has flourished over the years and is home to 18 unique nonprofit agencies helping so many in our community. Over the course of this year The Glasser Schoenbaum Human Services Center is celebrating with three events beginning with a new annual luncheon event “Showers to Flowers” to be held in May and ending the year with the annual gala in the fall, watch for save the date information to come soon for these exciting events.  

The Glasser Schoenbaum Human Services Center

[SCOOP]  Seeking WWII Aviators

In honor of its 50th Anniversary, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chapter 180 in Sarasota is hosting a Round-Engine Aircraft Ride Event (RARE) February 5 through 8, 2015 at the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) from 9am to 5pm.  Prior to the RARE event, they will be hosting a WWII Aviators’ Roundtable on February 4, in the Sudakoff Auditorium at New College of Florida at 7pm. They are seeking local WWII aviators to participate in the panel discussion. The event is free to the general public. “Not too many people know that SRQ was originally built as one of eight US Air Force auxiliary training facilities during WWII. With the visit of the EAA Boeing B-17, the Aluminum Overcast, we thought it would be a great time to gather several aviators to tell their stories,” said Martin Sobel, EAA180’s Education Coordinator. “We hope to secure five to ten WWII aviators, including members of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) to participate in the discussion. Unfortunately, we are losing more and more of the ‘Greatest Generation’ so we need to record their stories and preserve their historic contributions to the war effort and to the United States.”The panel discussion will be recorded as part of the EAA Timeless Voices Project and the conclusion of the evening will feature a video about the B-17 crew of Patty Jo produced by Craig Ruiz, grandson of one of the crewmembers. If you are a WWII aviator or know any of these heroes, please contact Martin Sobel, Captain TWA (Ret) at 941-539-4806. 

The Experimental Aircraft Association

[SOON]  Legal Insights on Social Media

The Central West Coast Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (CWC-FPRA) presents “Legal Insights on Social Media” with attorney Douglas A. Cherry of Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP on February 18 from 11:30 am – 1pm at The Meadows Country Club. In the digital era, it is more important now than ever to protect unique, intangible assets that your organization or clients possess. Marketing techniques and advertising campaigns, branding, client information, social media and public relations materials all involve intellectual property issues. Learn how to pinpoint these and protect them, as well as how to understand legal issues (and pitfalls) related to intellectual property and social media marketing. 

The Central West Coast Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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