Comprehensive Plan amendment proposed to allow reduction of greenbelt width and open space in 2050 Plan developments

Sessions set for Jan. 18 and Jan. 25

Gulf Gate Library is on Curtiss Avenue in Sarasota. Image from the Tech Insider website

Sarasota County staff will hold two public meetings this month on a proposed Comprehensive Plan Amendment that would allow the County Commission to reduce or eliminate the required 500-foot greenbelt width in a 2050 Plan Village and reduce the open space in such a development to less than the mandatory 50% level, the county has announced.

The Planning and Development Services Department will host one session in North County and one in South County on proposed Comprehensive Plan Amendment No. 2015-G. “Both meetings will present the same information,” a news release points out. “These are not public hearings,” it adds. “The purpose of the meeting is to inform the public about the content of the proposed amendment and to seek comments and suggestions regarding the amendment,” the release notes.

The sessions have been scheduled as follows:

  • Jan. 18: 6 p.m., Gulf Gate Library, located at 7112 Curtiss Ave. in Sarasota; Meeting Room B.
  • Jan. 25: 6 p.m., Englewood Sports Complex, located at 1300 S. River Road in Englewood.

“The publicly-initiated amendment is related to the required Open Space and Greenbelts for 2050 Village developments,” the release says. It proposes to revise Policies VOS5.1, VOS1.2.a, and VOS2.1 of the Sarasota County Comprehensive Plan’s Future Land Use Chapter in the section on the Sarasota 2050 RMA System, along with other policies as necessary.

The amendments could allow the County Commission to do the following:

  • Grant requests for exceptions and/or reduction of the required 500-foot greenbelt widths of a 2050 Village, with established criteria.
  • Grant requests to reduce the open space of a 2050 Village to less than the required 50%, but to no less than a minimum of 33%, with established criteria.
Pat Neal, chairman of the executive committee of Neal Communities (right), talks with Control Growth Now President Dan Lobeck. File photo

In October 2016, the County Commission unanimously denied a request by developer Pat Neal for a Comprehensive Plan amendment — No. 2015-F — which sought to reduce the greenbelt requirement to a minimum of 50 feet and reduce the open space from 50% to 33% in a new form of 2050 residential community Neal called a “Village Enclave.” Additionally, that proposed amendment would have reduced the amount of affordable housing required in a 2050 development.

For more information about the upcoming workshops or the proposed new amendment — or to send written comments about the proposed amendment — contact the Planning and Development Services Department, 1660 Ringling Blvd, First Floor, Sarasota FL 34236 or email

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