Fight over proposed mixed-use development heats up in Sarasota

SARASOTA, Fla. — The 24-acre property at the intersection of U.S. 41 and Stickney Point Road is home to a small pumpkin patch. Benderson Development wants to turn it into a mixed-use center called Siesta Promenade. 

Benderson developer Todd Mathes said this will be great "in our tourism-based economy."We got to keep moving and building, Mathes said. 

The village-style center will have retail, apartments, a hotel, and a grocery store. Mathes says it will bring more than 250 new jobs and $10 million in tax revenue. 

"They are cramming way too much in an area that cannot support it," said Sura Kochman. 

Kochman is one of the more than 700 neighbors against the proposal. 

"it will be a nightmare," said Sura. 

Kochman said traffic is another major issue, besides lack of space. Right over the bridge is Siesta Key. According to Kochman, the county did a study that shows more than 8,000 more vehicles will travel that road a day if the development is approved. 

"We have a lot of improvements planned," said Mathes. 

He said Benderson is planning to lengthen some turn lanes, widen some lanes, and make some improvements for pedestrians. 

Benderson's proposal does include adding some access roads in the Pine Shores neighborhood to get to Siesta Promenade. 

"We don't want all that traffic in our neighborhood," said Sura. 

The planning commission will hear the proposal in November. The county commission will get it in December. 

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