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DEVELOPMENT DILEMMA Proposed changes to the Sarasota 2050 plan headed to the public for comments — Cooper Levey-Baker A list of proposed changes to the rules that guide new development in Sarasota County may soon be coming to a community meeting near you. The County Commission voted Wednesday, Jan. 30, to have staff schedule a series of public meetings over the next 90 days to present and discuss potential changes to Sarasota 2050, the detailed land-use plan adopted a decade ago to encourage New Urbanist neighborhoods, particularly east of Interstate 75. Developers have been pushing for the 2050 alterations, arguing that the regulations are too restrictive and present numerous obstacles to new construction. Supporters of 2050, meanwhile, have argued that the relatively small number of projects approved under the plan in recent years has more to do with the calamitous real estate crash than excessive government regulation. (Full story here) PONDERING A FIX The Sarasota City Commission agrees to consider using an employee life insurance plan to try to help plug the pension debt hole — Stan Zimmerman It was as if a Gothic curse were hanging in the air Tuesday, Jan. 29, in the chambers of the Sarasota City Commission: "The world will be a better place without you." Nobody said that, of course. But cutting through all the verbal underbrush in a meeting about pension fund shortfalls, the solution on the table was grisly. It is a solution adopted by thousands of banks and corporations, and the city is among the first municipalities to consider it. In a nutshell, the city takes out a life insurance policy on its employees and retirees. When the grim reaper comes calling, the city makes a bundle and applies it to the enormous shortfall in the pension plans. It is a double windfall for the city: no more retiree to pay for and a big check from the life insurance company. (Full story here) Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article AT A GLANCE TOP STORIES

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