Developers to pay for two corridor studies related to extension of Lorraine Road from North County to Knights Trail Road

County Commission approves agreements allowing Lakes of Sarasota Community Development District and owner of part of Palmer Ranch to cover expenses through road impact and mobility fee credits

This graphic shows the area of the northern Lorraine Road corridor, including the Ibis Street intersection. Image courtesy Sarasota County

The Sarasota County Commission has taken several new steps to advance planning for the extension of Lorraine Road from University Parkway to Knights Trail Road in Venice.

On March 9, the board members voted unanimously to approve contributions from two developers to pay for corridor studies for the two phases of the project. The commissioners also formally added the Lorraine Road and Ibis Street improvements to the county’s Capital Improvement Program for the fiscal years 2021 to 2025.

The agenda item was listed as a Presentation Upon Request, but no commissioner asked for staff remarks, and no member of the public had signed up to address the topic.

Commissioner Ron Cutsinger made the motion to approve all five related agenda items, and Commissioner Michael Moran seconded it.

“Very glad to see this going forward,” Cutsinger said. “We need to build out the [transportation] grid in Sarasota County. This road will help.”
Cutsinger noted that he drives on Interstate 75 “pretty much every day,” and even “a little fender bender” can create bumper-to-bumper traffic, as drivers slow down to look at accident scenes.

Chair Alan Maio reminded his colleagues that he worked with a group of five affected landowners in the county to determine the corridor for Lorraine Road. The alignment that has been settled upon, he added, will take into account environmentally sensitive areas that need to be avoided.

Going ahead with the planning for the Lorraine Road corridor will prevent what happened on the Manatee County side, Maio continued: People constructed houses that blocked the preferred route, he indicated.

Lorraine Road extends already from University Parkway to Fruitville Road, he pointed out. In fact, Maio added, the segments formerly named Dog Kennel Road, Iona Street and Bee Ridge Extension have been changed to Lorraine Road.

This is the area of the southern corridor of Lorraine Road. Image courtesy Sarasota County

Details in the documents

The Capital Improvement Program description for the Phase 1 work, which entails “the northern element of the Lorraine Road and Ibis Street corridor study,” will include the establishment of “a preferred alignment, [stormwater] pond siting and right-of-way corridors,” the document said.

That study is expected to be completed by June 15, according to another document in the board’s March 9 agenda packet.

The northern part of Lorraine Road will extend south from Clark Road to the northern boundary of lands owned by McCann East LP, the resolution added.

Second, the document noted that Ibis Street extends about 2 miles from Hawkins Road to its current southern terminus. The project will lengthen Ibis another 1.8 miles to the point where it will intersect with Lorraine Road.

The Lakes of Sarasota Community Development District will handle that corridor study, the document pointed out. That district encompasses developer Pat Neal’s Grand Lakes community, which the commissioners approved in July 2018 to contain 1,100 homes just south of Serenoa Lakes.

Graphics show the planned location of Grand Lakes. Image courtesy Sarasota County

The document further noted that Lorraine Road will be designed as a four-lane “minor arterial” with a 12-foot-wide multi-use recreational trail (MURT), while Ibis Street will be planned as a two-lane minor collector street with a 10-foot-wide MURT.

The Lakes of Sarasota Community Development District will contribute $256,700 in mobility fee credits for its study, according to documents provided to the commissioners in advance of their March 9 meeting.

An interlocal agreement the board members approved on March 9 said, “The residents of the District and the County will be benefitted by an approximately 4.37-miles segment of the future extension of Lorraine Road … which the County desires to be constructed, in order to provide an important roadway corridor extending [more than] 8 miles from Clark Road [State Road 72] to Knights Trail Road …”

Additionally, the agreement noted that allowing the District to handle the study should result in a less expensive and shorter process than if county undertook the initiative.

Yet another document in the board’s March 9 agenda packet explains that McCann East LP, a Nevada limited partnership, will prepare the study for the approximately 2.93-mile segment of Lorraine Road that will transect McCann’s 2,300-acre parcel within Palmer Ranch, plus a segment that is about 0.77 miles running from the eastern boundary of that parcel, through county-owned property, to Knights Trail Road.

That study, too, must be completed and turned over to county staff by June 15, the resolution pointed out.

The Capital Improvement Program form included with that County Commission resolution said the roadway will have four lanes with 7-foot-wide bicycle lanes, a sidewalk on one side and a 12-foot MURT.

This May 2020 graphic shows the original route planned for Lorraine Road and the proposed realigned route. Image courtesy Sarasota County

Further, that document pointed out that, because the Lorraine Road extension “will place significant additional traffic” on Knights Trail Road, Palmer Ranch will include in the corridor study’s analysis “certain recommendations for future improvements to Knights Trail Road” from Lorraine Road’s southern terminus to Laurel Road, a distance of about 3.8 miles.

That work should result in “feasible alternatives for the widening of Knights Trail Road to a four-lane divided or undivided facility from Lorraine Road to Laurel Road to a level of detail sufficient to allow for further evaluation,” the document explained.

For its study, McCann will be reimbursed $438,500, the document added. That will include $314,800 in road impact fees, with the balance coming from mobility fees.

The work is to include “drainage investigations” and recommendations for stormwater management, along with a conceptual roadway alignment, the document said. The study also is to show two alternative routes for extending Lorraine Road to Knights Trail Road “within the southern portion of the Pinelands Reserve,” the document pointed out.

The final Preliminary Design Report is to include a Wetlands Evaluation Report and an Endangered Species Biological Assessment, the document added.

2 thoughts on “Developers to pay for two corridor studies related to extension of Lorraine Road from North County to Knights Trail Road”

  1. These expansions and the nutty way they are paid for, given special credits, studies not done by the county but by the actual owners, etc., even Maio’s quote “the alignment that has been settled upon, he added, will take into account environmentally sensitive areas that need to be avoided.”

    Giant sigh of surrender. Environmentally nothing sensitive is going to be avoided, lands will be mitigated for some crappy piece of land that has been utterly unable to be developed.

    Our county would reap more monetary rewards if it worked in Bitcoin. “Sarasota Community Development District will contribute $256,700 in mobility fee credits for its study.” Well, what a bountiful contribution of credits. Sounds like rice cake filler to me.

    The burden of infrastructure will once again land on the people of Sarasota while the lands are built out to capacity, killing what is left of green space and definitely sucking up resources such as drinking water that we will be needing in the near future.

  2. So it appears that, to appease a developer, the route will now cut right through a protected county reserve rather than through the developer’s property. It seems very telling that none of the maps identify the Pinelands Reserve by name. I hope at the very least there will be wildlife crossings on this road that will cut this part of the reserve in half. I’m surprised that there are no acquisition documents that would prevent this from happening to protected land.

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