Benderson Development application includes traffic analysis showing driveway proposals and anticipated increase in vehicle counts in Stickney Point Road/U.S. 41 vicinity
As outlined in a formal letter the project manager sent on Aug. 22 to Sarasota County Planning and Development Services Department staff, Benderson Development will seek approval of 140,000 square feet of commercial space and 150 hotel rooms in its proposed Siesta Promenade project at the intersection of Stickney Point Road and U.S. 41.
However, instead of 581 residences, the latest plan calls for 501. An accompanying traffic analysis says about 200 of those will be apartments, with the remainder condominium/townhouse units. That document also notes, “The previously existing land uses and intensities on the site consisted of approximately 300 mobile homes, a small office building, and a gas station.”
The firm still proposes a maximum building height of 85 feet.
The project is contingent upon County Commission approval of a “boundary” plan. A public hearing on that is scheduled for the morning session of the board’s regular meeting on Oct. 11, county staff has confirmed. The hearing will follow approval of the Consent Agenda of routine business items, Matt Osterhoudt, interim director of Planning and Development Services, notified residents who live adjacent to the project site.
The boundary hearing is among initial steps necessary for the approval of a Critical Area Plan (CAP), which Benderson is seeking so it can increase density on the approximately 25-acre site from nine to 25 dwelling units per acre.
After the County Commission approves the boundary — or planning area — of a Critical Area Plan, a Planning and Development Services document explains, staff “examines existing conditions of the area, performs studies and analyzes results, leading to recommendations on ways to implement Comprehensive Plan policies and identify solutions to concerns from the neighborhood. The Critical Area Plan is then drafted with input from the community and finalized for consideration by the Planning Commission and Sarasota County Commission.”
The county has approved 29 CAPs thus far, according to that document. They range from one for the Interstate 75/Fruitville Road area to the Venice Avenue Corridor.
Benderson also has petitioned for the rezoning of the property from Residential Mobile Home, Residential Multi-Family-1 and Office/Professional/Institutional designations to Commercial General with stipulations.
The rezoning application says Benderson plans to start construction of Siesta Promenade in 2017, with retail businesses opening in September or October of that year and the first tenants occupying dwelling units in late winter of 2018. The build-out of the residences would continue until 2023, the document adds.
The letter accompanying the application says the project “will be small in scale but impactful with vibrant housing, a Marriott or Hilton flagged hotel, and a strong and diverse set of national, regional and local retailers and restaurateurs. … This is a redevelopment project which, at its core, embodies the goals and objectives of Sarasota County’s Comprehensive Plan.”
The letter was signed by Todd M. Mathes, director of development for Benderson.
Residents of the neighboring Pine Shores community and Siesta Key homeowners have criticized the project, voicing anger during the June 2 Siesta Key Association (SKA) meeting about the increased intensity of traffic they believe it will produce. Additionally, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) staff raised concerns earlier this year about the same issue.
A traffic analysis provided in the latest materials submitted to Sarasota County says that the intersection of U.S. 41 and Stickney Point Road is anticipated to operate at Level of Service D during both the afternoon peak hour and Saturday peak hour by 2020. However, the report continues, “The anticipated eastbound and southbound queues at this intersection are not expected to impact the influence area of the proposed signalized intersection of Glencoe Avenue [and Stickney Point Road] or a driveway proposed on U.S. 41.
The Glencoe Avenue/Stickney Point Road intersection, with the new traffic signal, would be expected to operate at Level of Service A during the weekday afternoon peak hours and Level of Service B during the Saturday peak period, the report points out.
FDOT’s 2009 Quality/Level of Service Handbook describes “level of service” as a way to reflect a driver’s perception of how well traffic flows in a particular area. The state agency uses six letter grades, A through F, with A being the best and F being the worst, the handbook explains.
The Kimley-Horn traffic analysis also says that its calculations project 601 new weekday afternoon peak-hour vehicle trips to Siesta Promenade and 811 on Saturdays.
The Aug. 11 report was sent to Nathan Kautz, access management engineer for District One of FDOT.
Traffic analysis details
Kimley-Horn’s traffic analysis says the firm evaluated the level of service and queuing on the basis of “2020 buildout conditions during the weekday p.m. peak period and Saturday peak period.” It used a growth rate of 2.5-percent per year “calculated using five years of historical traffic volumes along US 41 and [State Road] 72/Stickney Point Road adjacent to the project site,” the report adds.
Along with a traffic signal at the intersection of Stickney Point Road and Glencoe Avenue, the analysis proposes the following: • Right-turn in/right-turn out access only at the western driveway opposite Avenue B and C and at a central driveway — both on Stickney Point Road.
- A right-turn in only access at an eastern driveway connecting with Stickney Point Road.
- A right-turn in/right-turn out only access at the driveway connecting with U.S. 41.
The site access from Glencoe Avenue would restrict drivers to right-turn in/left-turn out only movements.
Kimley-Horn staff analyzed traffic during the peak afternoon period on Thursday, March 26, 2015 (4 to 6 p.m.) and on Saturday, March 28, 2015 (12:30 to 2:30 p.m.) at the following locations, the report notes:
- U.S. 41 and Upper Glencoe Avenue.
- U.S. 41 and Stickney Point Road.
- Stickney Point Road and Midnight Pass Road.
- Stickney Point Road and Glencoe Avenue.
- Stickney Point Road and Avenue B/C.
- Stickney Point Road and Avenue A.
The Aug. 22 letter to Planning and Development Services Department staff says, “Our company purchased the Pine Shores mobile home park and adjacent parcels that are components of the Stickney Point project in 2005.” It notes that the site was used for a mobile home park that dated to the mid-1950s.
The letter adds, “[O]ur company has studied a number of different potential commercial uses for the project, ranging from a mix of residential, hospitality and commercial uses that were dense and intense in form, to lifestyle and town center projects that evoke new urbanism planning concepts.” It notes that the project will be a “mixed use, open air retail/small lifestyle center” with “a unique mix of national, local and regional retailers and restaurants. The proposed layout will significantly enhance the streetscape of the Stickney Point and U.S. 41 intersection by delivering elements continuously along the perimeter of the property. The project presents itself as urban infill in the midst of ‘Old 41.’”
The mobile homes that formerly stood on the site were removed in 2008, the application says.
The proposed landscaping will “consist of canopy trees, under story trees and shrubs to enhance the existing vegetation,” the letter continues, adding that Siesta Promenade will be “buffered from neighboring residents” in a manner consistent with provisions of the county’s Comprehensive Plan and county policy.
Sarasota County Property Appraiser’s Office records show that Benderson bought the main portion of the property — 22.4 acres for $17,100,000 in July 2005. The 2016 value of that land is $6,154,700. The second and third parcels — comprising 0.64 acres and 0.34 acres, respectively — were sold by Promenade Partners II of Sarasota to Benderson for $3,045,000. Promenade Partners II of Sarasota purchased them for that total in the spring of 2005.
The 0.64-acre property is valued at $1,005,800 this year; the other, at $346,700, county property records show.
Ronald R. Shenkin, with an East 33rd Street address in Sarasota, was the registered agent of Promenade Partners II of Sarasota, which no longer is an active corporation, according to state records.
The 0.64-acre site — previously home to a service station — is the one already zoned Commercial General, while the 0.34-acre property is zoned Office/Professional/Institutional.