Sarasota mediator who is retired attorney named to unexpired Planning Commission term

Frank Strelec wins unanimous County Commission support

Frank Strelec is a mediator in the community. Image from his website

The Sarasota County Commission has appointed Frank Strelec of Sarasota, a mediator and a retired attorney and pharmacist, to its Planning Commission.

On Dec. 13, Commissioner Alan Maio nominated Strelec, and Commissioner Nancy Detert seconded it. No other board member put forward a name, so Chair Paul Caragiulo closed the nominations and congratulated Strelec.

Loretta Bosserman and Douglas Ross, both also of Sarasota, were candidates, as well, for the seat that had been filled by Planning Commissioner Jack Bispham.

Tate Taylor, manager of the county’s Planning Services Division and liaison to the Planning Commission, explained to the County Commission that Bispham had moved out of the county, so he had to give up his seat.

Strelec will serve through August 2021, according to a memo Taylor had provided the County Commission.

Bosserman previously had applied for a seat on the Planning Commission. Instead, the County Commission unanimously voted to reappoint Laura Benson and Bispham.

Jack Bispham listens to discussion during a Planning Commission meeting. News Leader photo

In response to the application question about why he was interested in being a member of the Planning Commission, Strelec wrote, “I want to serve because I believe I can contribute based upon my experience on the Manasota Basin Board, litigation involving land use in Sarasota and Manatee Counties, and now my pharmacy background is relevant to issues with medical marijuana dispensaries.”

He noted that while he was practicing law, he represented property owners in disputes with the county about rezoning issues.

Strelec is a graduate of the Washington University Law School and the St. Louis College of Pharmacy.

In response to the application question about what he believes are the most pressing planning and land issues in the county, Strelec wrote that they are “development of traffic patterns, especially north and south in Sarasota County, use and preservation of natural resources, drainage issues, and population density.” He added, “I think the issues must be addressed through careful planning and consistent applications of plans, statutes and ordinances to land uses.”

On her application, which the County Commission considered in July, Bosserman noted that she has a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Michigan and more than “20 years of experience in public administration at the city, county and federal levels, including three years as staff in the Comprehensive Planning Office of a County Planning Department.”

In response to the application question about the most pressing county planning and lands use issues, she wrote, “Population growth, traffic conditions and safety, and continued economic development. Balancing these issues with the need to maintain adequate natural resources.”

In the follow-up question about how best to resolve those issues, she responded, “Through expert studies and professional analysis, followed by well publicized public meetings and opportunities for input.”

Douglas Ross. Image from his consulting firm’s Facebook page

Ross, who identified himself on his application as a business consultant, owns his own firm, Collaborative Solutions. He added that he is a professor of cognitive psychology who worked at three colleges and two universities over a 30-year career.

In response to the question about the most pressing planning and land use issues in the County, Ross wrote, “Growth! We are growing and growth has multiple effects on community life. We also need to be aware of potential climate related concerns.”
Caragiulo recognized Strelec, who was in the audience for the Dec. 13 meeting. Strelec had met individually with the board members, Caragiulo noted, adding that he feels Strelec will be “another very valuable member” on the Planning Commission.

Strelec had submitted his application to county staff on Oct. 30, while Ross provided his on Oct. 17. Bosserman submitted her application on May 22, county records show.

The Planning Commission is considered the most important of all the County Commission’s advisory boards, as it handles issues such as rezoning and special exception petitions linked to new development.