Sarasota development met with opposition from bird watchers

Commissioners are considering a plan that could put natural preserves in danger.

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Sarasota County commissioners faced a full house today, 200 people showed up against a land development project and 46 signed up to speak.

Commissioners delayed their decision to rezone and sell the lot on the corner of Apex Road and Palmer Boulevard just west of the old celery fields. Commissioners are waiting for all the names of the project’s owners.

The celery fields are now a park and wetlands popular for bird watching and many people are trying to protect it.

“People come here to see nature, take pictures of the birds and walk around,” says Lisa Greenberg loves capturing these moments while walking the hill at the park where there were once celery fields. “Right now I’m sad,” says Lisa.

She’s worried about the wildlife. “See what they can possibly take away,” says Lisa.

The county is considering rezoning and selling the property on the west side of the celery fields to build a restaurant depot a supply warehouse.

Lisa says, “Anything big and monstrous will draw more people, more cars, more gas, more fumes, more noise. … It’s going to destroy nature.”

The county is selling the property as surplus land along with the property across the street and across from that one south of the park.

“I think it’s disgusting…I think it’s all about the money. Money drives everything,” says Lisa.  

Colleen Church heard about the county’s plans and told her friends.

“We thought we’d better get out there see what it is in case it disappears,” says Colleen.

She adds, “It’s a great place to walk and get your heart rate going…It would be a shame to have a lot of traffic and a big building.”

Lisa says those who want to build near the old celery fields should visit first. She says,  “Come and visit what your construction can possibly destroy.”

The commissioners will take the issue up again April 26.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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