Current Threats

Updated March, 2019

Sale of Surplus Lands

Threat Type: Sale of Celery Fields Properties
Next Event Date: Unknown


Three of the four parcels of lands known as the “Quads,” and located at the intersection of Apex Road and Palmer Boulevard are intended for sale by Sarasota County.

Through some process which we are still working to fully understand, these parcels were identified as “Surplus Lands,” and place on a list of properties which Sarasota County could sell.

Since these parcels are designated as part of the Celery Fields on numerous maps and County publications, including this Field Guide to Conservation Lands (see page numbered 18), questions have been raised as to the appropriateness of the “Surplus Lands” designation.

Current Status

Sarasota County appears to be seeking input for possible changes to the Critical Area Plan for these properties, including possible future rezoning.

We are calling upon Sarasota County to revisit its process for determining “Surplus Lands” status for Public Property, and asking the County to reverse this designation for the Celery Fields properties, pending an open, public discussion as to the best use of these properties.


A Public Workshop has been proposed for some time in 2019.

Watch this space for updates about this and other upcoming events, or better yet: sign up for email alerts so you don’t miss anything!

TST Ventures “Recycling Center”

Threat Type: Industrial Development
Next Event Date: Unknown


Local developer, James Gabbert, plans to combine 3 adjoining properties in order to build a facility to process construction and demolition debris and yard waste with concrete crushers, wood chippers, and dozens of inbound and outbound truckloads per day of waste. The combined properties will be bigger than 16 football fields and will operate 6 days per week, starting at 7AM.

This property threatens the Celery Fields with:

  • NOISE – Concrete crushers produce substantial amounts of noise, as do wood chippers. If this project is approved, both will be in use on this property—just a few feet away from Sarasota’s beloved bird habitat. Additionally, trucks containing loads of yard waste, construction and demolition debris, will be entering and exiting the property 6 days per week, adding significantly to the noise levels
  • POLLUTION – Crushing concrete releases silica particulates into the air, which are damaging to the lungs and respiratory system. Imagine what this will do to the birds! The developer plans to control this by spraying it with water, which will produce runoff into the Celery Fields Regional Stormwater Facility which was built at a cost of over $24 Million to protect the Phillippi Creek Stormwater Basin. Water in this system feeds directly into the Gulf of Mexico. Additionally, pesticides, insecticides and other harmful chemicals from yard waste, as well as other substances from demolition debris (remember Chinese drywall?) will also end up in this critical water supply
  • TRAFFIC – Roads like Palmer Boulevard and Apex Road, already suffering from overuse, will be clogged with trucks entering and exiting this property. Remember, 600 new homes are being built at the east end of Palmer Boulevard in the new development. We already experience long wait times trying to leave our neighborhoods or the Celery Fields on Palmer Boulevard. We can’t handle more industrial traffic as well!
  • PROPERTY VALUES – Already Realtors® are expressing hesitancy on the part of buyers due to the potential for this project to be constructed. This means homes will stay on the market longer and sell for less than they would without this project.

In short: there are better places in Sarasota County to handle the recycling of construction and demolition debris and yard waste. Next door to this beautiful eco-tourism attraction and bird habitat is not a good place for this activity!

View details about Rezone Petition 17-01: Recycling Center on our wiki .

Current Status

This petition has made its way through the Sarasota County Planning Department and was considered by the Sarasota County Planning Commission in a Public Hearing on June 1, 2017 at 5:00PM. After many hours of public testimony, the Sarasota County Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend denial of the petition.

The Sarasota County Board of County Commissioners set aside an entire day on Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017, to hear the petition as well as public testimony. In a 3-2 vote that concluded a nearly nine-hour long hearing, the County Commission voted to deny this petition.


Along with other local groups, we helped organize several public rallies to voice opposition to this threat.

Restaurant Depot

Threat Type: Industrial Development
Next Event Date: April 26, 2017, 1:30pm (Public Hearing) Canceled


The Restaurant Depot project includes a 60,000 square foot building just a few feet from the western boundary of the Celery Fields Park. The proposed development is located on the northwest corner of Apex Road & Palmer Boulevard, on the property that currently includes the Sarasota County Fire Department station.

View details about Rezone Petition 16-33: Restaurant Depot on the Celery Fields wiki.

Current Status

  • This project was recommended for approval by the Sarasota County Planning Commission.
  • The petition was on the agenda for the Sarasota County Commission meeting on Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 9:00am, but Commissioners tabled it at that time due to legal technicalities related to the applicant’s failure to properly disclose ownership interests.
  • During the March 21, 2017 meeting of the Board of Sarasota County Commissioners, it was announced that the developer had exercised its right to terminate its contract, citing its failure to receive the required approval for rezoning within its contingency time period.


Along with other local groups, we helped organize a protest on February 25th at 11am. The protest was held at Apex Road & Palmer Boulevard.

Check out our Facebook album for photos of some of the more than 200 protesters who came out to show how they feel about this petition.

Watch this space for updates about other upcoming events, or better yet: sign up for email alerts so you don’t miss anything!