THE 2050 FIGHT
The decade-old Sarasota 2050 land-use plan has come under intense scrutiny since the County Commission voted to revise key portions earlier this year. Developers say it's stifling growth; supporters argue that 2050, intended to encourage walkable and environmentally friendly neighborhoods, hasn't been given a chance to succeed. Here's a sampling of opinions.
“2050 is not worth administering. It is yielding suburban sprawl. It is not about building cute places. It is about the fundamental human right not to starve if you don’t have a car. Half of America does not have a car—they’re too old, too young or too poor.”—Andres Duany, Urban Planner
"During hard economic times, developers push back. 2050 won the Charter Award [from the Congress for New Urbanism] [because] they envisioned a county build-out that would sustain important resources. That's unique —to not just set growth limits, but to envision a whole growth pattern."—David Brain, New College of Florida professor of sociology and environmental studies
"By the time they finished with it, it was completely unworkable. It was making an elephant by committee, and no one would ever do the kind of development that it proposed. Every time you turned around you had to submit another analysis, so the cost of development was always in question."—Kerry Kirschner, executive director, Argus Foundation
"2050 was going to enhance environmental protections. When a group was negotiating changes to the Sarasota County Charter, they said, 'We don't need to include this part of the charter amendment, because we have 2050 to protect [us].' To change 2050 so it no longer does those things—that's not good government."—Jon Thaxton, former county commissioner
"I don't give a damn. You better have your case together or you're not going to win."—Circuit Court Judge Lee Haworth, when asked at a recent Sarasota Tiger Bay Club lunch how campaign donations and political races affect judicial decisions
The Roaring '20s-era El Vernona Hotel was designed by architect Dwight James Baum for developer Owen Burns, who named the luxury hotel in honor of his wife. Purchased by John Ringling in 1930, it was renamed the John Ringling Hotel and eventually became the John Ringling Towers. It closed in 1980 and was demolished in 1998; in its place today stands The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota.
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