Sarasota News Leader

06/14/2013

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OPINION FOR SALE: THE PUBLIC TRUST? EDITORIAL We always have found comfort in Sarasota County's Environmentally Sensitive Lands Program, which seeks to conserve pristine lands in their natural state. The idea of buying up such lands for preservation in perpetual conservation serves the citizens of the county well, and it also assures future generations that the unique nature of large swaths of our county will not be drained, filled, paved over and otherwise despoiled. The county has buttressed that commitment by creating the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Oversight Committee, or ESLOC, whose charter is to both monitor acquired lands and recommend future acquisitions to the County Commission. So it is understandable when we concede that we always have feared the entire notion of "transfer of development rights" — TDR for short — for undeveloped lands to developers who, as is their wont, love to drain, fill, pave over and otherwise despoil. Frankly, environmentally sensitive lands, once conserved, would be presumed by a reaFrankly, environmentally sensitive sonable person to be lands, once conserved, would be presumed removed from the deby a reasonable person to be removed from velopment milieu. Oththe development milieu. Otherwise, what erwise, what would would be the point of buying and preserving be the point of buying those lands in the first place? and preserving those lands in the first place?

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