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pushing it is Bruce Weiner with Rosalyne Holdings LLC of Pittsburgh, PA. It cost his firm nearly $7,000 to get the amendment consid- ered. Rosalyne Holdings wants to erect two buildings with a total of 450 rental apartments. A couple of issues did raise concerns among Planning Board members. The density increase will not affect the total number of dwelling units allowed in the overlay dis- trict. That is fixed at 1,775, the product of 71 acres times 25 units per acre. The triple-den- sity bonus is first-come, first-served, and that concerned Planning Board member Robert Lindsay. "This scheme sets up a horse race. Whoever gets there first gets the density," he said. "It strikes me not as an incentive to the entire neighborhood but only for those who are ready to act now." David Smith is the city planner responsible for shepherding comprehensive plan amend- ments through the paperwork maze. "There are now 386 units in the area, and the cap is 1,775. The applicant proposes a 450-unit apartment complex, so there are about 1,000 [units] left," said Smith. A second issue is the length of time the R-ROD is available. Staff suggested it "sunset" in three years. Rosalyne's attorney, Bill Merrill, suggested five years. Then it was time for the public to weigh in. COMING TO A DECISION Representatives from the two large condo- minium complexes west of the R-ROD came to testify. Both suggested Rosalyne conduct a study to determine if 450 units are econom- ically viable in the Rosemary District. "Other cities are requiring developers to demonstrate there is demand and [that] they have the finan- cial capacity to build the project, respond to change and have viability over time," said Susan Payne. "Be aware of overbuilding and resulting vacancies." A representative from the Renaissance condo- miniums told the Planning Board, "I support the R-ROD, but we want a supply-and-de- mand analysis. If they can't fill it, we don't want them to build it." Lauren Wood, who called herself "your Rosemary District poster child," said, "I think this project is the boon we desperately need. I survived the recession in the Rosemary while many of my counterparts did not. The overtaking of the district by the homeless has made it an unattractive place to do commerce and to live." She supported the density bonus as a way to put more eyes and shoes on the street. After the public hearing closed, Planning Board member Vald Svekis made a motion to approve the comprehensive plan amendment allowing the Rosemary Residential Overlay District for a three-year period. It died for lack of a second. Member Lindsay made the same motion, but with a five-year sunset. It was defeated 2-2, with member Mort Siegel absent. Svekis then made another motion to approve the amend- ment with a four-year sunset, splitting the difference. It passed unanimously. The comprehensive plan amendment now moves to the City Commission for consider- ation. Since that board approved by resolution to put the amendment on a fast-track approval process, it is doubtful it will toss any road- blocks in the way. % Sarasota News Leader May 16, 2014 Page 32

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