County wrong to approve Whitfield gas station, store

June 15, 2013 

Approval and construction of a proposed gasoline facility on the northeast corner of U.S. 41 and Pearl Avenue will be a travesty for the immediately adjacent homes and the larger community within Whitfield Estates.

With multiple and disparate entities having pockets of authority over different aspects of the property, it is clear that this track has been rushed through a crack during several hearings/meetings regarding the South County corridor and without regard to the necessary studies associated with such.

The current group of entities that govern and control the property's use have been unable, legally or otherwise, to effect a cohesive, development framework for the property.

However, responsible development goes beyond complying with the existing minimal codes and ordinances that govern the project's permitting and that require no public vote. Responsible development must take into account the full impact on the community and the quality of life of its residents.

The proposed gas station is wholly incongruent with the contiguous residential development that stretches from Magellan Drive to Seagate Drive and, if allowed to proceed, will leave a permanent and visible scar on this treasured community.

You need to view this South County corridor equally, as you do your treasured Lakewood Ranch.

There can be no doubt that constructing a gasoline facility will have significant negative effects.

Then one might wonder, can a county commissioner or commissioners be held legally liable and responsible, knowingly disregarding necessary studies to allow permits and construction of a proposed gasoline facility owned by a bank?

Was the construction process correct in all phases in regard to public safety, and environmental hazards to an already stressed Sarasota Bay?

Ray L. Hord

Sarasota (Manatee County)

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