Comment Period Closing on New Sarasota Code

Todays News


Sarasota city leaders continue to gather comments on a draft form-based code released nearly three months ago. “What we are going to do is to look at all those things in this draft and identify what are good ideas to move forward with,” says Steve Cover, Sarasota Planning Director.

The Urban Design Studio in Sarasota spent five years developing the citywide form-based code, and allowed for a three-month input window after the draft release. That period comes to a close at the end of December.

But Jason Bartolone, Sarasota city spokesman, stressed there will still be numerous opportunities for further input before portions of the code go before Sarasota City Commissioners for a vote.

“Although the comment period runs through December, a date/deadline for all comments to be provided has not been decided due to the need for the community/staff/Commission to review and develop an overall understanding of the Form-Based Code,” he says.

Cover said there’s already been a good deal of input reflecting popular and controversial portions of the code. There seems to be broad support for wider sidewalks and building setbacks, for example. And there seems to be agreement that density bonuses within the Rosemary District have spurred positive redevelopment.

He notes Sarasota in January will also be embarking on related efforts like a transportation master plan, so there will be eternal evolution to building codes.

It’s unlikely the entire code will end up for city commission consideration in one fell swoop. With the draft code at nearly 600 pages, he says portions of the code will go up for vote periodically, which could be a year and a half process in itself.

“A lot of research and a lot of great ideas are in this document,” Cover says. “What we want to do now is reach out to the public and have them identify what pieces are worth pulling out to further research.”

Graphic courtesy City of Sarasota: Height density maps on Sarasota island neighborhoods including Bird Key and St. Armands Circle.

Read the draft here.

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