Sarasota News Leader

09/21/12

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A BEMUSED BOARD Residents of the city of Sarasota have voiced frustration in the past over local government approval of high-rise buildings near single-family homes. File photo CONCEPT OF COMPATIBILITY VARIES AMONG THE PARTIES INVOLVED IN LAND USE. By Stan Zimmerman City Editor One of the 11 chapters in the City of Sara- sota's comprehensive plan concerns neigh- borhoods. On Wednesday evening, Sept. 19, five members of the city's Planning Board reviewed that chapter. And like the prover- bial blind men describing an elephant, they all had a slightly different tale to tell. What they were trying to describe is the concept of "compatibility." The chapter sets as a city goal "maximizing compatibility between residential and non-residential uses." Normally, the Planning Board hears peti- tions for land use. Sometimes petitioners want to change the zoning and sometimes even the comprehensive plan's future land- use map. Variances major and minor, spe- cial exceptions, clinical splitting of legisla- tive hairs and blue-sky-crazy petitions are all in a day's work. It is an intricate, arcane business for the unpaid board members, with lawyers hovering on all sides. But Wednesday featured a free-ranging discus- sion liberated of lawyers, with not a peti- tioner in sight. It was the Planning Board's turn to be blue-sky-crazy.

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