Selby Gardens public workshop to discuss new expansion plan

Selby Gardens public workshop

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) -Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is looking to hear what people in the community think of their newly revised expansion plans.

This comes after their plans were denied by Sarasota City Commissioners back in November.

On Wednesday, January 15th at 5:30 p.m. Selby Gardens leaders will host a public workshop at Sarasota City Hall. The purpose of the workshop is to have the community learn about their new proposal and ask questions.

Selby Gardens President and CEO, Jennifer Rominiecki, said the new plan addresses the concerns people had back in November. Those concerns include the height of buildings, the proposed restaurant, and the traffic and noise the new developments would bring.

Rominiecki said their new proposal doesn't change the existing comprehensive plan. The height of buildings won't go over 45 feet and the restaurant will be an accessory use of the gardens and only will be open when the gardens are.

"We've held listening sessions with some of our key neighborhood associations that are close to the gardens. As well as we've had listening sessions with each of the commissioners at this point to garner feedback. We feel optimistic that we can arrive at a compromise that really addresses all of the major concerns," Rominiecki said.

She went on to say why the property needed the renovations.

"On peak days we turn away more than two hundred visitors due to lack of parking. So, we very much need the infrastructure to accommodate our visitor base. And at the same time, the world's best scientifically documented collection of Orchards and Bromeliads are right now on the ground in the flood zone of aging infrastructure. So we really need to put in the proper facilities to maintain our collections," said Rominiecki.

After the workshop, the proposal will need to go before several committees and boards before it will be presented to and voted on by city commissioners.

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