Sarasota County residents urged to give feedback over disaster plan

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Posted: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 8:05 am

SARASOTA COUNTY, FL- SARASOTA COUNTY - Sarasota County has not suffered the devastation of a major disaster in recent history; but there is no reason why a hurricane or other catastrophic event could not happen here, says the authors of the new Sarasota County Post-Disaster Redevelopment Plan (PDRP), a countywide report that proposes best practices for redeveloping the community following a major disaster.  

"Our coastal location makes us especially vulnerable to events that pose a threat to established neighborhoods, industry and tourism," said Laird Wreford, Sarasota County's Coastal Resources manager and the PDRP project lead. "This plan goes well beyond initial disaster response. We need to know what steps should to be taken now, during a disaster, and after rescue and recovery operations have finished so that the community can be brought back to normalcy as soon as possible - and maybe even improved in the long term."

The PDRP identifies policies, operational strategies, and decisions that affect long-term recovery and redevelopment of the community after a disaster. It emphasizes pre-event actions for hazard mitigation, and community improvement consistent with the local comprehensive plan and with citizen participation. Recovery topics addressed in the plan include business resumption and business redevelopment; housing repair and reconstruction; infrastructure restoration and mitigation; short-term recovery actions that affect long-term redevelopment; sustainable land use; environmental restoration; and financial considerations.

The county's local municipalities (the cities of Sarasota, Venice and North Port and the Town of Longboat Key) are currently evaluating the plan, making it more applicable to their respective jurisdictions. In order for the PDRP to apply in the municipalities, they would each need to adopt it within their jurisdiction.

The plan is now also available for county residents to review. It can be found online at www.scgov.net/PDRP. All citizens are encouraged to read the plan to become more aware of the risk of and the need to prepare for disaster. Residents are also asked to consider and comment on the priorities for redevelopment outlined in the plan. Comments can be emailed to PDRP@scgov.net or mailed to PDRP Comments, Sarasota County Coastal Resources, 1001 Sarasota Center Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34240.

Open meetings have also been scheduled to obtain public opinion on the plan: Public Workshops

Tuesday, April 29, 6 - 8 p.m., Twin Lakes Park, 6700 Clark Road, Sarasota

Wednesday, April 30, 6 - 8 p.m., Venice Community Center, 326 Nokomis Ave. S., Venice

Discussion with County Commission

Wednesday, June 11, 1:30 p.m., Commission Chambers, County Administration Center, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota

Sarasota County was one of six Florida counties selected to develop PDRPs as part of a pilot project for the Florida Department of Community Affairs and Florida Division of Emergency Management. These counties' experiences will shape future guidance from the state on the content and planning process for PDRPs. Sarasota County has been featured as a pioneering case study in the state's Post-Disaster Redevelopment Planning guidebook and the county will have a jump start on any planning requirements that come from this program.

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