Culverhouse Ready To Talk Growth Past I-75

Todays News

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY MONDAY BUSINESS EDITION MONDAY SEP 23, 2019

Developer Hugh Culverhouse said it’s time for Saraosta County to start thinking about growth east of Interstate-75.

“We’re at the point where you either raise taxes or you let the growth go east,” he said. “With the population being older, they don’t want to pay higher property taxes.”

He’d like to see something like his Palmer Ranch development allowed. That could mean some shifts in the Sarasota 2050 plan, the county’s long-range plan for growth.

And for his part, Culverhouse believes building moderate residential to the east would be more responsible. “The downtown looks like Miami Brickell Avenue,” he said. “It’s totally irresponsible.”

He fears the type of growth planned in Sarasota now makes for unaffordable housing. But he can build communities with houses in the $250,000 to $400,000 range so working professionals can get in.

Of course, he’s also doing apartment construction, a response to shifts in the market away from home ownership. But he’s concerned at the idea of low housing density allowed around resources.

“To do two (units) per acre is irresponsible, and that causes your sprawl,” he said. “What you should do is three-and-a-half, four smaller homes because people today don’t want three bedrooms, four bedrooms. Everybody today is going toward those smaller, more practical homes.”

What Culverhouse truly would like to see is a restoration of state growth controls, which used to be enforced by the Department of Community Affairs before changes under Gov. Rick Scott and shifts in state statute over the last decade.

“Sprawl is controlled by restrictions. Sprawl is also controlled by density,” he said.

“Apartments and dense units for people who need to work in Sarasota cuts traffic. We need young people.”

Photo: Hugh Culverhouse

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