Sarasota News Leader

05/17/2013

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Sarasota News Leader May 17, 2013 OPINION Page 67 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR CITY SHOULD STOP DEAL WITH BENDERSON DEVELOPMENT To the Editor: I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the City of Sarasota's proposed sale of 11 acres of city land at the busy Fruitville/Beneva intersection to Benderson Development Co. for less than the land's appraised value. According to reports, the property was never offered for sale publicly, was never the subject of a request for proposals and the negotiations between city staff and Benderson were essentially done in secret over the course of two years. Whose "back-room" deal was this? And why did Commissioners Terry Turner, Paul Caragiulo and Suzanne Atwell vote for it? Currently, the land is a useful, "tree-scaped" open space. Benderson's plan may necessitate building a huge concrete box culvert over the Phillippi Creek drainage system, which bisects the property. A recent traffic study said that the busy intersection is failing even without the proposed development. The study concluded that the land sale to Benderson would require more than $17 million in roadway improvements, with the city liable for $15.4 million of the total. City voters: Please ask your sitting commissioners to urgently find a way to put this "deal" on ice! And to the staff of Benderson Development Co.: Please renounce this deal immediately, so that the monstrous prospect of even-worse traffic jams at this critical intersection can't materialize. Otherwise, future traffic gridlock ensnaring residents and workday commuters might deservedly be blamed on you. Jason Boehk Sarasota LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Sarasota News Leader welcomes letters to the editor from its readers. Letters should be no more than 300 words in length, and include the name, street address and telephone number of the writer. Letters should be emailed to Letters@SarasotaNewsLeader.com, with "Letter to the Editor" in the subject line. Letters actually printed will be selected based on space available, subject matter and other factors. We reserve the right to edit any letters submitted for length, grammar, spelling, etc. All letters submitted become the property of The Sarasota News Leader.

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