A blog dealing with Sarasota County and the City of Sarasota.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sprawl is not the Answer and May be Dying a Natural Death

I'm not much for using this blog to redirect people to other blogs, but  STREETSBLOG , which "is a daily news source connecting people to information about sustainable transportation and livable communities" recently posted an intriguing article titled Quantified: The Price of Sprawl in Florida. The brief article has a graphic showing how much excess housing capacity already exists in various counties (Sarasota is shown as up to 25% more housing allowed at buildout, which I suspect is low). You may want to read that posting in juxtaposition with a November 26 2011 New York Times opinion piece by Christopher B. Leinberger: The Death of the Fringe Suburb. Leinberger argues that "suburban fringe" is doomed because the boomers that populated the fringe are downsizing and moving in towards city centers with more walkable amenities while the millennials also favor urban centers. Taken together these pieces suggest that efforts to revive Florida's economy by making it easier for new sprawl are likely to fail and fail miserably.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Do Term Limits Place Sarasota at a Regional Competitive Disadvantage?

As I understand it, part of the argument for term limits is to prevent County Commissioners from acquiring power. But power is something we want our commissioners to have, particularly when working in a regional context. If Sarasota County were an island floating in the Gulf of Mexico, its commissioners might not need to collaborate (and sometimes compete) with other counties. But Sarasota County exists in a regional context and one that, in general, is not term-limited.

Monday, November 21, 2011

City Whacks Pioneer Trees - Palms Most Abused

No sooner had the pixels faded on the revelation that only Live Oaks can be Grand Trees in the City of Sarasota than we discovered major pruning underway in Pioneer Park. Cypress along Hog Creek have been shorn of their lower branches and oaks have also been attacked. Now, the City will probably argue this is another way to end homelessness or reduce liability, but this work is certainly open to question.

What is not open to question is how the City prunes cabbage palms. The accompanying picture from Pioneer Park shows how the city does it. Please note there are only about a half dozen fronds left on the tree in the foreground and those few fronds point almost straight up.

Healthy Cabbage Palms dramatically overpruned by City Staff

This approach is completely contrary to the Tree Care Industry Association American National Standard ANSI A300 (Part 1)- 2008 that states: "8.3 Live healthy fronds about horizontal shall not be removed. Exception: Palms encroaching on electric supply lines."  

The International Society of Arborculture best management practices use nearly identical language: "Live healthy fronds should not be removed. If they must be removed however, avoid removing those that initiate above the horizontal."

The City of Sarasota is not doing right by our trees. Please ask Commissioners for some external review of the city's policies and practices.