Sarasota News Leader

04/11/2014

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Drinking from a fire hose; swimming up a waterfall; fighting City Hall: These are expressions of human futility, people court ing inevitable failure. The phrases all came to mind Monday morning, April 7, when downtown residents met with developers, consultants and city staffers to talk about traffic near the intersection of U.S. 41 and the John Ringling Causeway/Gulfstream Avenue. For almost a decade, the old Holiday Inn site has stood vacant, the building demolished. A condominium complex was planned there in the past, but when the economy fell apart, so did the plans. About a year ago, the own ers came forward with a new plan, a more intensive plan, with 144 condominiums and 275 hotel rooms. They call it The Vue. The rules, however, have changed over the past 10 years. For one thing, traffic concur rency regulations were eased in that part of Sarasota after the city approved a "transpor tation concurrency exception area" allowing a 125 percent overage, reflecting local knowl edge that virtually all roads lead to downtown. State regulations weakened, too. The Department of Community Affairs was abol ished to the figurative sound of wild applause from the development community all over Florida. And as the local economy — mean ing real estate and construction — started to Chris Hatten with Kimley-Horn and Associates goes through the 'reviewed' traffic report for the Vue condominium complex to be built at U.S. 41 and the Ringling Causeway. Photo by Stan Zimmerman LIGHTS TURNING GREEN FOR THE VUE THE TRAFFIC 'SUMP' By Stan Zimmerman City Editor

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