STOP Seeks Fairness in Planning

Letter from STOP committee

BY SRQ DAILY SATURDAY PERSPECTIVES EDITION SATURDAY MAY 6, 2017

STOP! is getting a great deal of attention lately. 

Our call to make public input a permanent part of the development approval process in Sarasota has resonated with the community and gained its way into the public dialogue of our city. We appreciate that the Florida Department of Transportation and the Sarasota City Commission have heard STOP! and initiated greater study and change to the way traffic is managed in Sarasota. We are honored to be invited to speak at the Congress for the New Urbanism’s national conference in Seattle on ways STOP! has worked to create a more vibrant community in Sarasota. 

Our small group of volunteers has worked hard over the past seven months. STOP! has received an outpouring of support from people who want to make Sarasota the best city it can be as we all move forward.  

However, not all the attention has been positive. We are saddened to read a recent flood of attacks aimed at STOP! by folks who want to politicize our nonprofit into a pawn for the upcoming City Commission runoff election. These critics seemed focused on misleading the public about our organization. Allow us to correct any confusion.

STOP! is the citizens group advocating for changes to Sarasota’s zoning code and project approval process. The group was created in the Fall of 2016 and has attracted the support of civic leaders and area residents as active participants, and we enjoy the endorsement of widespread neighborhood and homeowner associations through the city.  

STOP! is focused on three key things. We believe public hearings should be allowed for new large-scale development.  We advocate for better traffic management, not additional lanes of traffic. We strive for greater walkability in the city. 

Anyone who tries to define the mission of our organization differently is presenting an alternative to the truth. To find out more about who we are and what we do, visit our website at www.forqualityprogress.com.

Unbelievably, one of our critics even called our group “un-American.” Quite the opposite is true. STOP! believes that freedom of speech and the free exchange of ideas are hallmarks of how American democracy works.  

Our steering and advisory board members, the visitors to our web site, the participants in our public town hall meetings, supporters in the many community presentations we’ve made and the continual flow of emails we receive all seem to highlight a very basic point: citizens should have a voice in the approval process for major developments in the City of Sarasota. That voice should take the form of public hearings.

STOP! wants facts and fairness to be injected back into the growth planning for the City of Sarasota. Our critics should stop slinging mud and join us to improve a vision for the city that moves us all towards a better quality of life.

STOP Steering Committee members Lee Duffey, Mollie Cardamone, Kate Lowman, Bill Noonan, Eileen Normile, Gretchen Serrie, Mike Lasche and Lew Hanan.

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