Moore, Sibley face Off in Venice City Council Contest

Todays News

It’s an off year for most of the political world, but Venice will have two City Council races decided in November. Then, Councilwoman Helen Kirchner Moore faces a challenge by Sandy Sibley. Both sell real estate in the Venice area, and now compete against one another in a different market— this one of ideas and visions for the city’s future.

Both agree the future of growth and development in the city should be the top concern of voters this year. Moore, who served on the Planning Commission for five years before her election to the Council in 2018, said the city’s implementation of land development regulations will benefit from knowledge and experience of the city’s comprehensive plan. She helped with the last update of that plan and wants ideas realized in full. “What comes with experience is you know what you can and cannot do,” she said.

But Sibley said Moore can do more all around. Beyond suggesting Moore spoke up little at meetings to make any thoughts on growth known, Sibley said the city should reconsider changes that will allow higher buildings downtown and compromise the character of the community. “I’m always listening to people’s concerns and comments about Venice, and it would be fantastic to bring those to the Council,” she said.

Moore notably believes there’s misinformation about those height restrictions. The land development regulation could add inches to maximum building heights downtown, she said, but would come with a reduction in variances and special exceptions. That means the city should end up with a more clear and even more strict set of rules for construction. But Sibley said even allowing buildings one more extra floor will change the entire look of the downtown, never mind the potential for destroying historic buildings as developers try and maximize the use of the land. She also said new development threatens the beach downtown with environmental hazards.

“We need to maintain what we have right now,” Sibley said.

Moore said what needs preservation is the city’s fiscal health. “We are financially in really good shape,” she said. “In the last 10 years there has been progress and our budget is solid.”

Sibley and Moore face each other for the Seat 3 post on the City Council. The winner of the Nov. 2 election will serve a three-year term.

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