All necessary paperwork completed for the project
Although the schedule for installation has not been announced yet, on Dec. 8, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) approved the permits for a traffic signal at the intersection of Stickney Point Road and Avenue B and C, FDOT spokesman Brian Rick told The Sarasota News Leader in a Dec. 9 email.
The applicant for the permits was a Kimley-Horn employee with an office in downtown Sarasota, as shown in a document Rick provided the News Leader last week. Kimley-Horn conducted the required traffic analyses for the Siesta Promenade mixed-use development, which will be stand in the northwest quadrant of U.S. 41 and Stickney Point Road.
During the Dec. 12, 2018 County Commission public hearing on Benderson Development Co.’s applications for the project, commissioners made it clear that the traffic signal would have to be installed at the Avenue B and C intersection before the construction of Siesta Promenade begins.
Rick added in his Dec. 9 email to the News Leader, “All necessary paperwork has been completed” for the traffic signal project. He noted that FDOT had issued two permits to Kimley-Horn: access permit 2020-A-194-00021 and drainage permit 2020-D-194-00021.
“They plan to start as soon as possible,” Rick pointed out of the undertaking.
Many residents on Siesta Key and others who live and work in the vicinity of Stickney Point Road and U.S. 41 complained during the planning of Siesta Promenade that a traffic light at the Avenue B and C/Stickney Point Road intersection would exacerbate traffic backups, especially during the height of tourist season, when people are traveling to the beaches on Siesta Key.
However, in the traffic analyses undertaken for Benderson Development several years ago, Kimley-Horn staff called for the signal’s installation as a necessary means of facilitating the flow of vehicles associated with Siesta Promenade. The County Commission approved 414 condominiums/apartments, a 130-room hotel, 133,000 square feet of retail space and 7,000 square feet of office space on the approximately 25-acre site.
Last year, Benderson Development purchased two single-family homes in Pine Shores Estates, which is the residential community immediately adjacent to the Siesta Promenade site. As a result, Benderson has submitted a new, preliminary application to county staff, seeking the rezoning of those parcels so the company can add 16 more dwelling units to the development.
The same evening the News Leader received the latest information from Rick regarding the Avenue B and C signal, Siesta Key resident James Wallace called into question the accuracy of the News Leader’s Dec. 4 report about the fact that the project is moving forward.
During the Siesta Key Association (SKA) meeting, which was conducted via Zoom, Wallace said, “The light that we all are very concerned about … has not been fully approved at this point in time.”
He noted that he was “a key person” in the litigation to fight the County Commission’s approval of Siesta Promenade. (Wallace was a major fundraiser for the complaint Pine Shores Estates resident Sura Kochman filed against the county in January 2019. Ultimately, both the 12th Judicial Circuit Court and Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal ruled in favor of the county.)
Wallace added during the SKA meeting, “We have demanded and will receive a hearing to dispute the analysis that has been done by FDOT for that light [at Avenue B and C]. That issue is not over.”
He would have more information during the January 7, 2021 SKA meeting about the status of Siesta Promenade, he said.