Long serving and former Meadow Walk HOA board member Betsy Dane took time to sit down an write the Sarasota County Commissioners about her take on the ‘affordable housing project’ being proposed for the east end of Palmer Blvd. As President of the Home Owners Association I’d like to thank Betsy for her efforts and ask that everyone in this community take a ‘Que’ from her actions and write your County Commissioners as soon as possible.

  • The following is a reprint of Betsy Dane’s letter and the first response she’s received.
    1. Honorable Ladies and Gentlemen:

      I am writing you now as a homeowner, and former Board Member, of the Meadow Walk community on Palmer Boulevard. In addition to being simply a “concerned citizen”, I hold a degree in Architectural Restoration from Columbia University as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Fordham University. I have been in banking, primarily in the arena of commercial real estate lending, for thirty years, and am also an active community volunteer, wife, and mother of two children who attend school in Sarasota.

      I certainly recognize the need for affordable housing, and, in fact, served on a board dedicated to such a purpose in Dutchess County, New York, for several years. I recognize that the current housing costs are too prohibitive for career service professionals, and that many new teachers, for example, cannot consider coming to the Sarasota schools due to the prohibitive costs of housing. I am also not writing you as a NIMBY complainant, but, rather, as a person extremely concerned about the strains this proposal would put on traffic, infrastructure and home values in an already over-saturated marketplace.

      Since the addition of the Tatum Ridge Elementary School, and the construction of communities such as the Enclave, traffic on Palmer Boulevard has nearly tripled in the six years we have lived in Meadow Walk. It is often virtually impossible to leave the community due to the heavy flow of cars and construction vehicles. I am not even addressing school busses, since we all know we can avoid those once we know their schedules.

      The noise level has increased, we are experiencing more power outages, and there is a significant concern about the ongoing availability of natural resources. Doubling the Palmer Boulevard housing stock would create an undue burden on an already heavily burdened area. What would be next? The development of the celery fields? The demolition of the Big Cat Sanctuary? The placement of 500 homes on the Sarasota Golf Course or on the farmland at the south end of Raymond Blvd?

      This is not a matter of pulling up the drawbridge once I have crossed the river. But with all of the proposed development, with the master planned communities already on the drawing board, why choose a location that is served by a two lane road, that is already over-crowded and almost impossible to navigate at rush hour or at many times during the day?

      What made Sarasota an attractive place for many of us to move to is quickly becoming too much like the places from which we moved. I would beg the Commissioners to consider the “big picture” and to consider other alternative locations or, at least, a considerably modified plan,
      for the proposal that is on the table now.

      Thank you for your attention – I would welcome your comments, and would ask that you please consider the position I have taken


      Elizabeth R. Dane

  • Here’s the response Ms. Dane received from County Commissioner Jon Thaxton.
    1. Ms. Dane:

      Thank you for your interest in this rezone petition. Since rezonings are a quasi-judicial function for the Board of County Commissioners, state
      law discourages me from responding to your comments outside of the public hearing. Nevertheless, your comments are very important so I am forwarding your email to Sarasota County planning staff and they will make sure it is distributed to other commissioners and becomes a part of the official record. Again, thank you for taking the time to write to me.

      Jon Thaxton
      County Commission