One Down: Restaurant Depot Developer Terminates Contract

Restaurant Depot Developer Terminates Contract

Letter from JMDH Real Estate of Sarasota, LLC terminating their contract to purchase land from Sarasota CountySarasota County Commissioners announced at today’s meeting that JMDH Real Estate of Sarasota, LLC has terminated their contract to purchase land adjacent to the Celery Fields.

On March 1st, Comissioners delayed their vote on Rezone Petition 16-33 to change the zoning of a 6.9-acre parcel of land on the northwest corner of Apex Road and Palmer Boulevard. The proposed zoning change, from “Open Use Rural” to “Industrial, Light Manufacturing, & Warehousing,” would have allowed the developer to proceed with its plan to construct a 60,000 square-foot wholesale restaurant supply business, Restaurant Depot, on the site.

The delayed vote came after hundreds of citizens turned out to protest, wrote letters and emails, and called the Comissioners’ offices to voice concerns over the needless sale of these beautiful Public lands to industry.

The Fight Continues

Sadly, the parcel of land that was under contract to JMDH remains on Sarasota County’s “surplus lands” list, along with parcels on the southwest and southeast corners of the Apex Road & Palmer Boulevard intersection.

One of those parcels is under contract for sale to a developer who has requested a similar rezone in order to build a construction and demolition debris processing plant, where concrete crushers and wood chippers will create significant noise, and where trucks carrying the waste will line up to enter the facility on a daily basis.

As citizens of Sarasota County, we are voters, property owners, and nature enthusiasts who believe that the sale of these conservation lands for such industrial purposes would be an unspeakable travesty that has the potential to irreparably harm the wildlife habitat and pollute the waters of the Celery Fields and the Phillippi Creek basin.

Your Help is Needed

If you’d like to join the fight, we invite you to sign up for email updates and join our growing list of volunteers!

Voters Protest the Sale of County Lands to Industry for the Second Time

Local citizens gathered again today to protest the sale of Sarasota County lands adjacent to the Celery Fields Regional Stormwater Facility and the Celery Fields Park.

On March 1, 2017, Sarasota County Commissioners postponed discussion and public comment on  Rezone Petition 16-33, which involves a parcel of land on the northwest corner of Palmer Boulevard and Apex road. The applicant, who ran afoul of County rules regarding disclosure of ownership interests, plans to construct a 60,000 square-foot Restaurant Depot location on the site.

Huge thanks to Stand Up Fight Back SRQ, Adrien Lucas, Tom Matrullo, and others for organizing another great event!

Images copyright © 2017 David G. Johnson. Used with permission.

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The Local Community Protests the Sale of County Lands

Protest This Saturday!

Save The Celery Fields: Protest Rally Saturday February 25, 2017

Saturday, February 25th, 2017 at 11am, Celery Fields lovers, bird watchers, members of Neighborhood Associations, local residents, and nature enthusiasts will gather at Apex Road & Palmer Boulevard to protest the approval of Rezone Petition 16-33, the “Restaurant Depot” project.

Bring signs, some sunscreen, and your love of the Celery Fields and help us protest!

Here’s what you can do now:

Why Protest?

Next Wednesday, the Sarasota County Commission will hold a Public Hearing to consider this Rezone Petition, which has already been approved by the Planning Commission.

If approved, this petition would allow developers to proceed with the construction of a 60,000 square-foot wholesale restaurant supply store which will clog the already-overburdened roads near the Celery Fields with hundreds of vehicles per day¹.

The Sarasota Audubon Society says the rezoning is, “…not compatible with recreation and eco-tourism and will add hundreds of daily auto/truck trips through strained and inadequate neighborhood roads. This increase will have a detrimental impact on the health and safety of wildlife and humans in the area.”

A Dangerous Precedent

Since the proposed Restaurant Depot is on County-owned land that was originally part of the Celery Fields, it is all the more egregious that Sarasota County would sell this land to developers with plans like these.

But even more alarming, other plans being proposed on nearby parcels threaten the Celery Fields with 35-foot high piles of debris from construction & demolition as well as yard waste, 25-80 loads per day coming via large trucks, the noise of concrete crushers and wood chippers, and water runoff containing unknown quantities of harmful chemicals from washing down demolition debris to control dust.

If Sarasota’s County Commissioners approve the “Restaurant Depot” project, then threats like the dump being proposed across the street seem even more likely.

 

¹In their rezoning petition, the developers of the “Restaurant Depot” project estimate the number of hourly “trips” generated by their business to be nearly 100 at peak times (between 4pm and 6pm on weekdays). You can view their original rezone petition and additional information about it on our wiki: Restaurant Depot Rezone Petition 16-33.

Will Your Business Be Affected by Celery Fields Development?

Will Your Business be Hurt By Developments Near the Celery Fields

Do you have a business located nearby the Celery Fields in Sarasota?

If so, we’d like to hear how you may be impacted!

With 2 major industrial projects potentially looming at the intersection of Apex Road & Palmer Boulevard, what will happen to traffic on both roads to and from these new sites?

At nearly 100 vehicles in & out of the facility per hour (at peak times)¹, the proposed “Restaurant Depot” project on the northwest  corner of the intersection could conceivably have the bigger overall impact on traffic conditions. But the proposed “Recycling Center” may produce another 25-80 inbound loads (read: trucks carrying huge quantities of debris) lined up along Apex Road waiting to get into the facility each day.

Combined with traffic to Tatum Ridge Elementary (with over 600 students) and all the existing residential developments east of the Celery Fields on Palmer Boulevard, this traffic could represent a considerable difficulty on Palmer Boulevard and Apex Road. Add to that the nearly 600 new homes going in at Palmer Boulevard and Iona Road, the number of vehicles per day passing through this area near the Celery Fields could be staggering.

If your business may be affected by the presence of either of these developments, we’d like to hear from you!

Please register your business here.

It’s important for you to know that any information you provide here will be strictly confidential. We will not publish your business name or any other details without your express written permission.

We need this information, however, in order to understand how many businesses might be affected if one or both of these rezone petitions is approved by the Sarasota County Commission. And, with your permission, we may reach out to you to keep you informed (this is optional).

Do you know someone who operates a business in the vicinity of the Celery Fields? Please share this information with them as soon as possible by emailing them, sharing this via Facebook, or any other means.

If you’re not a business owner, but you’d still like to be informed about developments near the Celery Fields, please sign up here for updates. We’ll email you the most important information as it becomes available!

And if you haven’t already done so, please “Like” and “Follow” our Facebook Page to stay up to date!


¹In their rezoning petition, the developers of the “Restaurant Depot” project estimate the number of “trips” generated by their business to be nearly 100 at peak times (between 4pm and 6pm on weekdays). You can view their original rezone petition and additional information about it on our wiki: Restaurant Depot Rezone Petition 16-33.

 

 

Save the Celery Fields!

Save The Celery FieldsLike so many, we have come to love the Celery Fields in Sarasota.

Whether you come for the exercise, the birding, or just to enjoy the natural beauty of the area, the Celery Fields will leave an indelible impression on you and you’ll want to return again and again.

But now, due to a series of circumstances that have been brewing for decades, the beauty and tranquility of this area is threatened. And that’s why we created this project, to provide a resource for people just like you to help Save The Celery Fields.

What Can I Do To Help?

We’re so glad you asked!

  • First: sign up for email updates.
  • Second: Spread the word. You can email your friends, join the Facebook Page, and post links to this website in online forums, discussion groups, on social media, and anywhere else you see a conversation about Sarasota, the environment, birding, or any other relevant topic. (You can also follow our new Twitter account).
  • Third:  Help us add relevant information to the Celery Fields Wiki. The goal of the Wiki is to develop the definitive collection of information that might be useful to anyone who is working to put a stop to the threats that face the Celery Fields. Note: contributing to the wiki requires a user account, which you can request by contacting us here or sending an email to: volunteers@celeryfields.org.

Have a suggestion? A question? Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below! (Please note that comments are moderated and may not appear immediately.)

We look forward to working with you to save the Celery Fields!