Ron Saba says a lot in five minutes.
Mr. Saba is the President of the DeSoto Acres Neighborhood Association. He says neighborhoods need a voice in the 2050 process, and we don’t need unbridled growth here is Sarasota. Saba owns a gift shop in Southgate Mall. He relates how he is meeting people from New York and New England here in Sarasota because Fort Lauderdale is too crowded (the NE snowbirds used to go to the east coast of Florida, straight down I95), He says we need to avoid becoming like Ft Lauderdale, an example of urban sprawl. (please note: his input is only five minutes long – the video shows his input twice)
Saba points out that we spent a lot of taxpayer money to develop 2050: two million dollars to ensure controlled growth. The 2050 plan is supposed to last through 2050 and we need to stick with it. The controlled growth of 2050 preserves property values, by preventing premature or subsidized development. Right now Sarasota County has plenty of existing and potential housing supply within the Urban Service Boundary – more than enough to meet demand. As Saba correctly points out, facilitating surplus housing has a negative impact on existing home values. Saba is encouraging the planning board to nurture existing neighborhoods.
Redevelopment and infill policy for existing neighborhoods has been ignored, while improving the lot of six development interests has been the focus of the County Commission. The proposed changes to 2050 will enrich a handful and burden the community with increased fees/taxes and decreased property values/services.
Speaking for his neighborhood, Saba says, “Nobody wants to pay more taxes to enhance the profits of developers for development on the other side of I75”. He notes “times are tight, money is tight” and how we all learned recently that our utilities fees will be increasing 12% in the next two years. “That may not seem like a lot to some people, but it is a lot to people in my community” says Saba. These points did not move the planning commission. They gave short shrift to information about the negative impact of 2050 changes.
Finally, I include a memo written by Jim Ley in 2007 about setting up a “high level” meeting with Pat Neal, Rex Jensen, Jim Turner and others – a meeting to discuss changes to 2050. This is how changes to 2050 have been brought forward. Behind closed doors, and unveiled fully formed, without eliciting any meaningful public input. The mentality that produces this process and these changes shouldn’t be leading Sarasota. We can make change at the ballot box.
Please click on the graphic to view