North Trail master plan nixed for now

Photo by Norman Schimmel

A proposal to create a broad-ranging master plan for the North Tamiami Trail was shot down Monday night by a 4-1 vote. The idea was proposed by Sarasota City Commissioner Terry Turner, who was the sole person to support it.

Other commissioners were sympathetic. Some were offput by the anticipated six-figure price tag. Others said the effort was premature, in light of two ongoing planning studies in the area.

The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce endorsed the idea. “This is a tremendous gateway to the community,” said chamber Executive Director Steve Queior. “We are on record supporting North Trail redevelopment as a top priority.”

And the public-private North Trail Redevelopment Partnership wanted Turner’s plan to move forward. “If you can find the funding to do this study, we should also find funding for after the study,” said Jay Patel, the parnership’s chairman.

But others spoke against it. Alison Pinto told the commissioners the study needs the support of all five neighborhoods in the affected area. “Only then will you make a well-informed decision,” she said.

The city is working on an “overlay district” for the North Trail area, and it is conducting a “mobility plan project” that includes the North Tamiami Trail.

“The overlay district is still under development,” said Ryan Chapdelein, a city planner. “It could be ready for City Commission review in August or September.”

The mobility plan is at least a year away from adoption.

“We need to see the mobility plan and the overlay district (first),” said Commissioner Paul Caragiulo.

“Eventually we’ll do this,” said Commissioner Shannon Snyder of the master plan. “But even if we had a plan, there’s no money right now to implement. Now is not the time.”