Actions on Siesta Promenade Project
April 2, 2021
Sarasota County approved the Siesta Promenade conditioned on FDOT approving a new signal at Stickney Point Road and Avenue B and C.
When FDOT approved this light, Jim Wallace through his attorney, Ralf Brookes, took legal action to seek to reverse this decision because Siesta Promenade and the new signal were approved by the County and FDOT with no information whatsoever provided as to their impacts on Siesta Key.
We are very concerned about emergency vehicle travel times on and off the Key, but they ignored many other issues including diversion to the North bridge when traffic backs up on Stickney Point Road.
FDOT agreed that Dr Wallace had standing in their briefs to the Admin Law Judge.
The Admin Law Judge at the Division of Administrative Hearings has relinquished jurisdiction to FDOT allowing FDOT to have direct discussions with Dr Wallace. These discussions are now underway.
Your financial support is still needed. Jim’s efforts will continue to focus on keeping the Stickney Point Road, as the Primary Access to Siesta Key, from getting any worse.
YOUR SUPPORT IS CRUCIAL
A “Ralf Brookes Attorney Trust Account” is now accepting donations used solely to support the “Stickney Point Rd. Project”. Send checks Payable to:
Ralf Brookes, Attorney P.O. Box 100238, Cape Coral, FL 33910
Please put “Stickney Point Rd. Project ” in the Memo line of check. Donations are not tax deductible.
Case Status Update: Siesta Promenade Court Hearing
On Monday, October 14, 2019 beginning at 10:30 AM, the Twelfth Judicial Circuit Court heard oral arguments regarding the County Commission-approved Siesta Promenade project. The project location, on the NW corner of U.S. 41 and Stickney Point Road, is of critical concern to residents and visitors using that intersection every day. Sarasota County and developer, Benderson Corporation, restated their previous arguments that this project was appropriate simply because it is consistent with what currently exists on the other three corners of the intersection. Both the County and Benderson argued that this corner should be treated like any other on US 41.
This argument ignores pertinent and critical facts which Attorney Ralf Brookes emphasized to the court:
- The parcel has been vacant for over a decade generating no incremental traffic at the primary access to Siesta Key.
- This 23.8-acre property is primarily zoned residential —totally consistent with the physically adjoining neighborhoods to the North and West.
- As currently configured, the relevant roadways permit easy entry to this NW corner property from North and South-bound U.S. 41 or from West-bound on Stickney Point/Clark Road.
- However, the only way to get such future Siesta Promenade patrons back from whence they came is to install a new, already County Commissioner-approved, traffic light on Stickney Point at Avenue B&C—which is between U.S. 41 and the South bridge.
- Without this new light, Siesta Promenade would be Sarasota’s version of the struggle in the song “Hotel California,” – you can get in but you cannot get out.
A reasonable way to think about the impact of this new traffic light is that, when attempting to enter or exit Siesta Key, using its Stickney Point Road 4-lane primary access, drivers would face a new light turning red/amber and lasting roughly one minute out of every 3 or so minutes. The actual impact of such a new traffic light during tourist season on both ingress and egress to Siesta Key is really almost unimaginable—but in effect, totally ignored by both the County Commissioners and Benderson.
Clearly, this new traffic light would cause even more Siesta Key residents and visitors to feel marooned on the Key particularly between 10am-2pm in tourist season. Moreover, some traffic onto and off of Siesta Key without doubt would be diverted to the North bridge by the introduction of this new light. The obvious significant negative impact on emergency vehicle performance is very disturbing. This planned new light would cause longer periods of time when all four lanes of traffic are stopped on Stickney Point so that drivers have nowhere to go to get out of the way of emergency vehicles. Residents, especially on the South end of the Key, would be at even greater risk.
In effect, the County’s and Benderson’s attorneys argued before the Court that they could totally ignore such negative ramifications. They claimed before the Court that the so-called CAP Boundary they set from the outset, and did not change throughout the entire, very lengthy Board review and approval process, was appropriate. However, the Boundary they set was literally the boundary of the physical project area itself. Then, totally consistent with their view that this corner should be treated like any other on U.S. 41, out of the 16 intersections they studied, only one was on Siesta Key at Midnight Pass Road and Stickney Point Road.
The above-mentioned adverse impacts on Siesta Key were not ever mentioned. Rather than discuss such matters, the County and Benderson attempted to convince the Court that because they set an (incorrect) Boundary at the outset and never changed it, the Court should be happy with their Transportation Impact Analysis which for all of Siesta Key involved only one intersection. In fact, the CAP Boundary should have included all of Siesta Key as well as the roads from the North bridge back East to U.S. 41.
Then there are the numerous zoning special exceptions granted (changing from primarily residential) with Board approval at the “eleventh hour.”
The County and Benderson continued to argue in Court that it is appropriate to treat this NW corner like any other on U.S. 41, rather than as the primary Gateway to Siesta Key. We argued this is reversible legal error, including Transportation Impact Analysis error, and hopefully, the Court will see it as such.
James P. Wallace III Ph D
Longtime Siesta Key Resident
January 17, 2019 Sarasota News Leader, Rachel Brown Hackney: Lawsuit filed to try to halt construction of the Siesta Promenade at US 41 Stickney Point Road Project
September 30, 2018
SKA is actively working to follow the progress of the Benderson Development proposal to build a mixed-use development at the corner of Stickney Point Road and US-41. Our goal is to ensure that the final development has the least possible impact on Siesta Key and its residents.
Projected timeline UPDATE
Based on the announcement of county staff notices of sufficiency and completeness of the revised application, the following are rough estimates of key dates.
- County Staff sufficiency declaration: July 17, 2018
- End of County Staff formal review: August 31, 2018
- First public hearing (Planning Commission): November 15, 2018
- County Commission public hearing: December 12, 2018
Please be aware that these are estimates based on the timelines provided in the County Fact Sheet. All are subject to change. The county will announce all public hearings, and SKA will keep members informed of announcements as they occur.
Todd Mathes, Benderson Development project manager for Siesta Promenade, held a county-mandated Neighborhood Workshop on Thursday, August 23, 2018 at 6pm at the Pine Shores Presbyterian Church, 6135 Beechwood Ave, Sarasota FL 34231. County staff were in attendance. Here is the official notice from the county.
Benderson Development Promotional Activity
Benderson Development has issued a press release and launched a website promoting the development. Links are below.
Documents filed with Sarasota County
Below are links to the documents filed with Sarasota County by the developer along with the latest advisories on the project from the County Planner. Newest documents are at the top.
- CAP and Rezoning Fact Sheet – July 2018
- Siesta Promenade CAP Sufficiency Letter-1 – July 2017
- RZ 16-29 3rd Completeness Letter-1 – July 2017
- Announcement of Revised Application – June 2017
- Direct link to the Revised Application – June 2017
- Direct link to the CAP Scope of Work – February 2017
- Direct link to the 2016 CAP application – August 2016