What's in a Name?

On Planning

BY LOUANNE ROY SRQ DAILY SATURDAY PERSPECTIVES EDITION SATURDAY FEB 9, 2019

When I read Wednesday's SRQ Daily story on the $5 million gift to Selby Gardens, I thought of William Shakespear's famous lines: "What's in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell sweet?" I wonder if the opposite were true. Would public perception change if a garage imposing on my neighborhood were named something else? Would a massive garage be celebrated if it were called a "Sky Garden" or a "Vertical Garden?" 

What Selby Gardens is planning is an urban scale garage, 270 feet long, 170 feet wide, by 75 feet tall with parking for 475 vehicles at the entrance to my residential neighborhood. This garage is similar to the two garages in the middle of Downtown Sarasota. On top of this garage will be a 10,310-foot "destination" restaurant, bringing major commercial intrusion to my designated neighborhood street.

To call this a "garden" diminishes the negative impact that this garage will have on a stable, highly taxed neighborhood.

My concerns and those of my neighbors have been casually and, sometimes, angrily dismissed. At the VIP opening to the Gaugin exhibit, attendees were told that those neighbors complaining will dine at the "destination" restaurant once it is built. At a neighborhood meeting, a Selby Gardens Board member shouted down the speaker who intended to raise concerns. Jennifer Rominieki, Selby's chief executive officer, speaks at public meetings saying Selby wants to be a "good neighbor." However, only the minimal alterations of plans have been made to address neighbors concerns.

We all love Selby Gardens as a garden. What is planned is no garden!

Louanne Roy is a resident of Sarasota.

Rendering from Selby Gardens master plan

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