County Commission hearing tentatively set for Oct. 23, but county staff says board might change that date
Sarasota County Planning and Development Services staff has scheduled the first hearing on the proposed Siesta Promenade development for Thursday, Oct. 4, The Sarasota News Leader has learned.
That will be before the county Planning Commission. The meetings of that advisory board begin at 5 p.m.
Additionally, county Planner Steve Kirk told the News Leaderthat the tentative date for the County Commission public hearing is Oct. 23. He wrote the News Leader an Aug. 22 email that the board “may wish to schedule a new public hearing date for this item based upon length of Planning Commission public hearing.”
In the past two years, when the commissioners and staff have been aware that many members of the public have an intense interest in an issue and likely will speak during a hearing, the commissioners have set special meetings just for those hearings. One such hearing was held in January 2016 on the proposal to ban retail pet sales in the county. Then, in August 2017, the board held a day-long public hearing on the proposal for a construction and yard waste recycling facility adjacent to the Celery Fields.
When county staff announced that the formal review of the Siesta Promenade project had begun on July 17, the fact sheet staff distributed with that notice said the review would take about 45 days. The first public hearing — before the Planning Commission — was anticipated about 30 days after the review was finished, the fact sheet added. Finally, the County Commission hearing was expected 45 days after the Planning Commission hearing.
A formal application from Benderson Development Co., the applicant for the Siesta Promenade project, says the anticipated start of construction is “Fall 2018,” with an anticipated build-out date of “2023.”
Benderson is seeking a Critical Area Plan (CAP) designation for the mixed-use development it wants to build on about 24 acres at the northwest corner of the U.S. 41/Stickney Point Road intersection. The firm also is asking for a rezoning of most of the property, which formerly was the location of a mobile home park. The CAP designation is necessary to allow Benderson to pursue a residential density of up to 25 dwelling units per acre, instead of the 13 per acre allowed in county Commercial zoning districts.
The formal application — which is stamped as having been received by county staff on Aug. 7 — has “No” marked in response to the question, “Is property located in a Critical Area Plan (CAP) [emphasis in the document]?”
Although Benderson’s director of development, Todd Mathes, unveiled a plan in June 2016 that called for 600 dwelling units, the latest proposal calls for 414 condominiums/apartments and a 130-room hotel (with each room counting as half a dwelling unit); that would result in density of 20.8 units per acre, a county fact sheet said.
The company also is proposing up to 133,000 square feet of retail space and 7,000 square feet of office space. It says a four-story parking structure will be constructed, as well.
The formal application for Siesta Promenade notes, “The project total proposed density was reduced based upon adopted Scope of Work and neighborhood input.”
The News Leader also asked this week when the results of the staff review would be available to the public. Planner Kirk replied in his Aug. 22 email, “The County’s practice is to compile and summarize all staff reviews into a staff report and then post the staff report online. This occurs no later than one week prior to public hearings for the Planning Commission.”
In the meantime, the materials Benderson Development has submitted to the county about Siesta Promenade — including the formal applications — are available on a Planning and Development Services webpage.