Consultants report on growth causing concern

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SARASOTA COUNTY, FL - A $90,000 consultant's report on how growth should be handled in Sarasota County is causing concern. The initial draft of the report suggests the county should do away urban service boundaries and zoning restrictions all together.

The initial draft of the report by the Tennessee based Laffer Associates suggests the changes in order to make it easier and quicker for development east of I-75 and everywhere else in the county.

At a press conference Monday those with the Sarasota County Council of Neighborhoods or CONA for short like Bill Zoller calling it laughable. "To just do away with and have no rules or regulations. Lets just open everything up and just do what you want makes it a foolish report. No credibility whatsoever."

Representatives of the environmental group Sierra Club like Gerry Swormstedt also expressing concern. "Green ways are important for habitat. For connectivity of habitat. For water recharge and for our quality of life."

Zoller says it appears to be apart of a push to slowly break down the county's decade plus old 2050 plan which regulates urban sprawl. Mostly east of the interstate. It calls for fiscal neutrality. Basically making development pay for itself. fees for things like roads and water and sewer lines. "If developers don't have to pay for infrastructure guess who does? Somebody. Taxpayers."

The report says Florida already has planning requirements which lead to higher prices, slower population and slower employment growth. That the 2050 plan makes it even tougher for our area. Saying doing away with it would help the county move "away from smart growth and toward actual growth". Zoller says there is no way commissioners can find the report useful."It's so silly and such a foolish report I don't think they can possibly use it. The citizens would revolt."

Commissioners are expected to discuss the initial draft of the report Tuesday at the County administration building. Those who did the report are expected to come before commissioners sometime in December.