Sarasota News Leader

01/04/2013

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Sarasota News Leader January 4, 2013 Page 14 those uses specified shall be permitted, and plication or their failure to address the ���deif a use is not specified in a zoning district, partment store��� issue or the square footage it shall be prohibited,��� Taylor���s report notes. swap from the old CSC-N zone to the current Neighborhood Commercial designation. A 98,000-square-foot department store is not one of those ���permitted uses.��� When objections were raised before the Planning Board, Walmart Attorney Jim Porter Walmart���s plans breezed through an Oct. 3 said during rebuttal, ���This is not a rezoning. meeting of the city���s Development Review It is not a site plan approval. The evidence Committee, comprising senior employees presented is this use meets the criteria in of all city departments touched by developthe code, including the types of uses inside ment or redevelopment. No objections were the Walmart. That���s the only competent and raised, and everybody signed off on the projsubstantial evidence on the record.��� ect. Porter also managed to get in the last word Courtney Mendez is the city planner asbefore the Planning Board prepared to take signed to the Walmart project; she had a a vote. ���Your expert planner says this is albaby on New Year���s Eve and will be on malowed,��� he said, referring to Mendez and the ternity leave until March; therefore, she has staff report. not been available for comment. If the city commisT h e n e i g h b o rsioners allow an hood group says appeal, it appears city staff should at least one more never have given ���expert planner��� the project the gowill weigh in on ahead. ���[T]his plan what is or is not should not have allowed. If they been forwarded decline to hear the to the planning de novo appeal, board for considthe neighborhood eration of approvgroup can sue al,��� the cover letin Circuit Court ter states. ��� an expensive and time-consumMembers of the ing process against planning staff an opponent with are not willing to a c c e s s t o a i rtalk on the record craft proverbialabout the depart- Former Sarasota Mayor Kelly Kirschner has been at ly full of cash and ment���s review of the forefront of neighborhood objections to the new lawyers. % the Walmart ap- Walmart. Contributed photo

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