Development with as many as 171 homes planned next to county’s Celery Fields

May 23 Neighborhood Workshop to provide details, via Zoom, about proposal

At 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23, a vice president and senior planner of the Kimley-Horn consulting firm in Sarasota will host a virtual Neighborhood Workshop to discuss plans for the proposed rezoning of approximately 49 acres near the Celery Fields in Sarasota so up to 171 single-family homes can be constructed there.

Early this month, Kelley Klepper of Kimley-Horn submitted to county Planning Division staff a preliminary application on behalf of developer D.R. Horton, whose headquarters is located in Arlington, Texas. The company has a contract to purchase the six parcels that would comprise the project site, Klepper indicated in the document.

The new zoning sought is Residential Single Family 2, he noted. The maximum density of the project would be up to 3.5 dwelling units per acre, or 171 houses, Klepper wrote. However, a separate graphic filed with the preliminary application says only 160 homes are planned, which would represent 3.3 dwelling units per acre.

The residences would be priced at market rate, he added — $300,000 to $650,000.

The anticipated start of construction is September 2024, Klepper noted on the preliminary application; the completion of the development is anticipated in December 2028.

“The property is located in an area of infill within the County and this rezone would bring consistency to the development pattern in the area,” he added.

The project site comprises about 49.13 acres located south and east of Raymond Road and south of Palmer Boulevard, Klepper noted. The area is referred to as the Smith Properties, he pointed out.

Five of the six parcels belong to the Cindy L. Smith Revocable Living Trust, the Sarasota County Property Appraiser’s Office says, while the sixth one, with approximately 4.58 acres and the address of 1871 Raymond Road, is owned by Matthew J. and Cindy Smith. The market value of that property in 2022 was $567,500, the Property Appraiser’s Office’s record says. A single-family home stands on that land, the record shows.

The 2022 market values of the other five parcels range from $688,100 to $917,900, the Property Appraiser’s Office data note.

The May 23 Neighborhood Workshop will be conducted via Zoom, the workshop application says. As usual, persons participating in it will have the opportunity to answer questions after the presentation, the form adds. The Zoom link is 98962380195.

Owners of property within 750 feet of the development site should have received formal notification of the workshop by mail, in accord with county regulations.

Among other details in the preliminary application, Klepper wrote that Raymond Road would provide the direct access to the D.R. Horton development, Klepper wrote.

The land is zoned Open Use Rural (OUR), Klepper continued. Its Future Land Use designation is Moderate Density Residential. To the north and west of the site, he noted, the property is zoned OUR, as well. To the south, the land is zoned Residential Estate 2 (RE-2) and Residential Single Family 1; to the east, the property is zoned RE-2.

“It is important to note that the [proposed construction site] is surrounded by Sarasota County owned property on all four

Sides,” Klepper wrote. “To the south and west, drainage canals separate the property from the surrounding residential development. The width of the separation varies,” he added. Along the eastern property line, Klepper continued, the separation grows from approximately 85 feet in width on the north to 115 feet at the southern end. “Along the southern property line, it is approximately 26 [feet] wide at the narrowest point and 89 [feet] and 120 [feet] on either side. To

the north and west, across Raymond [Road] is the Celery Fields.”
An internationally known bird-watching destination, the Celery Fields was created as a regional county stormwater facility. It was designed to prevent persistent flooding in the area, county staff members have explained.

In years past, county residents have protested plans for commercial development in the area of the Celery Fields.

3 thoughts on “Development with as many as 171 homes planned next to county’s Celery Fields”

  1. Given the huge impact this proposal will have on the Celery Fields area, this workshop should be live, not just online.

    With the arrival of Covid-19 in 2020, many public meetings moved online, including these workshops. This has led to a degradation of the value of this step in the process, for a few reasons:

    1. Online, the presenters have made very brief presentations, leaving out important context. A complex plan for a Benderson project was presented in less than 10 minutes.

    2. The public has no chance to view the maps and other data first hand.

    3. Some residents are not familiar with Zoom, or Microsoft Teams. In a recent meeting that utilized Teams, all that could be seen were small, blurry images, while the sound cut in and out. About half the meeting was inaudible.

    4. The online meeting is under the control of the planning firm hired by the developer. Some agents allow time for questions and follow-ups, but others end the meeting before attendees have all their questions answered. More on this here.

    5. Advocates for fair land use planning have been asking the County Commission to return to live Workshops, but this one is still online only. The Zoom link should be live at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23.

    More here:

  2. With all the talk about the need for affordable housing, why doesn’t the County stipulate that in order to get a change in zoning or other variances, the developers must provide at least 10% of houses as affordable (at 60-80% of median income)?

  3. The zoning request is for RSF2/PUD, which is important because PUD basically allows the developer to make up their own rules.

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