Sarasota News Leader

08/09/2013 & 08/16/2013

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Sarasota News Leader August 9 & 16, 2013 OPINION Page 90 today, about $4 million comes from the coun- Community Redevelopment Area plan was ty; $3 million, from the city. begun four years ago; that the resulting document is entitled the Downtown Master Plan WHERE'S THE PLAN? 2020; that the process of adoption and incor​ hile gathering information to help them poration into the City's Comprehensive Plan, W make a smart decision, the CRA extension also called the Sarasota City Plan, 1998 Edicommittee members scoured the state for ex- tion (City's Comprehensive Plan) was also beperts. What they heard was, "Stick with the gun …." plan." Sherod Halliburton, who ran a CRA in ​ n other words, the revision of the CRA plan I Manatee County before returning to his bank- begun in 2000 was rolled into the 2001 Downing career, said, "The plan is the key to the town Master Plan, which was then rolled into whole thing." the City Comprehensive Plan. Thus, the CRA ​ ut if a Sarasota County commissioner tried B to search the city's website for "CRA plan" or "CRA annual plan," he or she would come up empty. Does that mean there is no plan? As I went from office to office in City Hall ask​ ing for the CRA plan, nobody could pull it off a shelf or pull it up on a computer. It took almost an hour of research by the deputy city clerk to find it. Why? Because its name was changed almost a decade ago, and it does not appear to have been updated since then. plan became rigid; less nimble; not readily adaptable to changing times. ​ nfortunately, the Downtown Master Plan U 2020 covers a different area than just the CRA. While there is overlap, the two are not congruous. Therefore, the definitions get blurred even further. Where do the elements of the 2020 plan apply, and where does the CRA portion apply? There is a reason city staffers could not lay their hands on the CRA plan — it was swallowed up and forgotten. ​ hat same year, the city pulled another T "switcheroo." The City Commission unilaterally — without asking its county partner — decided in 2004 to use some of the burgeoning CRA revenue to pay for operations, not improvements or public-private partnership deals. Today, of the roughly $3 million the city contributes to the CRA, about $2.6 million is plowed back into the general fund to ​ he minutes of the meeting say, "Mr. Taylor cover expenses such as police protection and T stated that the process of the update of the landscaping. I ​ n 2001, the planning firm of Duany Plater-Zyberk gave the city a final work product called the Downtown Master Plan 2020. On April 12, 2004, the City Commission held a special meeting to discuss implementation of that plan. The city's deputy director of planning and redevelopment, Mike Taylor, was there with Andres Duany for the discussion.

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