Draft of county’s Unified Development Code available on county webpage so public can offer comments

Goal is to combine Sarasota County’s zoning and land-use regulations in a much more user-friendly document

File photo

The Fort Lauderdale consulting firm working with Sarasota County staff to update the county’s zoning and land use regulations into a Unified Development Code (UDC) has produced its first draft, the county has announced.

That document is available on the UDC Project webpage, a news release says. Anyone may provide comments directly on the UDC Project webpage or by submitting them to the Planning and Development Services Department at planner@scgov.net, the release points out. Those comments will be addressed by the consultant as the project moves forward, the release notes.

The goal in producing the UDC is to allow the public to more easily find the rules that apply to a particular piece of property, the release explains.

Sarasota County staff and the County Commission have been committed to keeping the public involved and up-to-date throughout this process, the release emphasizes. The document will be presented to various groups and advisory committees before the Planning Commission and then the Sarasota County Commission hold public hearings to consider its adoption.

Sarasota County staff members have been working with the consulting firm of Calvin, Giordano & Associates (CGA) to create the UDC, the release explains. Phase I of this three-pronged effort began in March; it included discussions with various representatives of the community, public review bodies and county staff. Phase II was designed to engage community residents through three public workshops, which were held in September, October and November. Phase III will involve the full public hearing review process that will conclude with the County Commission hearing on a final draft of the proposed UDC.

County staff “fully anticipates that the UDC will continue to evolve as it makes its way through the development process, including organizational changes, additional updates, and more refined editing,” the release points out.

The first draft of the UDC features this forward. Image courtesy Sarasota County

At least two more drafts of the document will be prepared by CGA, the release says. As comments are received and modifications made, the release continues, “it is anticipated that … a revised draft of the proposed UDC [will be] submitted for further review the first week of February (2018) and a subsequent draft the first week of March.”

A formal review draft then will be prepared by CGA, the release notes, adding that the formal review process is anticipated to start in April 2018.