Sarasota News Leader

01/04/2013

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Sarasota News Leader January 4, 2013 Page 13 the primary author of the zoning code the city as ���a department store,��� adding, therefore, now uses. that it was not permitted by the site���s zoning. The neighborhood association says the ap- Planning Board member Susan Chapman said peal would provide the opportunity to ���clarify the Ringling Shopping Center was excludand correct the city���s ed consciously from deficient zoning analdowntown zoning and ysis.��� The letter adds was limited to smallOnly those uses specified shall be scale development. that the city���s Walmart zoning analyses ���have permitted, and if a use is not specified in ���There is nothing implications for all a zoning district, it shall be prohibited. about this plan that is aggrieved neighbors, Mike Taylor small scale. I will not but indeed for anyone Sarasota City Planner support it,��� she said Retired who resides or owns during the Planning property in the City of Board discussion. Sarasota ���.��� It will take an unusual 4-1 or 5-0 supermajority vote of the City Commission to schedule the hearing. In legal terms, it would be a de novo hearing, meaning ���afresh,��� ���anew��� or ���from the top,��� and not just a review of previous testimony before the city���s Planning Board. A check Wednesday, Jan. 2, showed no representative of Walmart and no neighborhood delegation had scheduled or spent office time in the past month with individual commissioners to lobby for or against a vote to hold an appeal. TAYLOR���S EXAMINATION Taylor produced a 42-page document that is very critical of the city���s analysis of current zoning and code issues. It says, ���The CSC-N zone prohibits department store structures and does not recognize any other retail structure type.��� But Ahern-Koch and Chapman were outvoted; the plan was approved by a 3-2 margin. Member Vlad Svekis put it bluntly before the vote: ���It���s 350 jobs versus a derelict shopping center.��� Walmart representatives have contended since August that their store is a simple 98,000-square-foot replacement for the existing 97,000-square-foot shopping center. The company plans to raze the former Publix supermarket and other structures, remove the parking lot and start construction from scratch. ���This parcel is appropriately zoned commercial, and we need only administrative approve of the site plan,��� said Michelle Belaire, a Walmart corporate relations executive, who briefed site neighbors on Aug. 15. However, Taylor���s document questions her This point was raised during the Nov. 14 Plan- assertions. The buildings on the site do not ning Board discussion by member Jennifer conform to the current ���neighborhood comAhern-Koch. She described the Walmart store mercial��� zoning. If they are torn down, ���Only

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