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Sarasota News Leader June 7, 2013 Page 32 It's still not clear exactly what types of businesses will eventually call the shopping center home. Mathes says "a number of existing retail tenants" in Benderson's other shopping centers are "very excited" about the prospect of opening up in the redesigned building, but the company's still working to identify the best options. "We're trying to make the right decision about what would be the right fit for that community," he says. water vault, as well as a requested variance that would allow Benderson to skip a requirement to build a sidewalk along U.S. 41 and another variance to allow the shopping center structure to rise 5 feet higher than the zoning code normally would allow. Mathes told the commission that the height change is needed to upgrade the aesthetics of the building. Benderson wants to build a screen wall to hide eyesores such as air conditioning units. One major change included in Benderson's Binding Development Concept Plan, presented to the County Commission Wednesday, June 5, would be the construction of a stormwater "vault" to replace the pond dug into the property's northern corner. "Large concrete underground chambers" is how Mathes describes such vaults, which he says have been used in several other Benderson projects. The vaults "create an empty space on top of which you would build." Commissioner Christine Robinson, who drives by the empty center twice a day, said the property had "deteriorated" and that she supported the Benderson proposal. "After the Linens 'n Things left it's almost a blight on that corner," she said, "and I'm hoping it improves the community as a whole." Her friends, she added, "hate driving by it as much as I do." Mathes told the commission that Benderson's work on the plan began 50 weeks ago, and it has already included a round of neighborhood meetings with residents of Pelican Cove, the 75-acre gated community just across Vamo Road from the shopping center. The Pelican Cove Condominium Association supports the project, crediting Benderson for listening to residents' concerns about buffers along Vamo and the changes to the stormwater pond. Commissioner Nora Patterson, who asked the most pointed questions about the stormwater plans as well as the sidewalk variance, eventually voiced support for the project, too. "This site right now is a sad one," she said. "It doesn't speak well of the Pelican Cove community." She recalled hearing concerns about the ugly vacant space from Pelican Cove neighbors. "My hope is that the job you do with the drainage modifications will not prove negative to Clower Creek," she said. "I am putting a lot Questions from the commissioners mostly re- of trust with Benderson and our staff in that volved around the construction of that storm- regard." % Take Your Time You Have All Week Enjoy The News Leader Anytime - Day or Night

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