Parallel parking surprises neighbors

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Siesta Promenade representatives receive workshop opposition regarding traffic-calming measure as new plans emerge

By John Morton

By adding two holdout parcels to its 28-acre construction site, Benderson Development has resubmitted plans again for its mixed-use Siesta Promenade project at the northwest corner of U.S. 41 and Stickney Point Road.
The parcels come in the form of two houses along Glencoe Avenue, accounting for .78 acres.
“Nothing has changed in density – just more square footage, more land, and a little more breathing room,” said Phil DiMaria, a project manager with Kimley-Horn engineering, during a May 1 county-mandated neighborhood workshop conducted online. It was the third of its kind since Sarasota County approved the project in 2018. With the revision, plans must once again go before the county’s Planning Commission (set for 5 p.m. July 20) and then the Board of County Commissioners for approval.
DiMaria said it’s the final concept plan.

This abandoned house along Glencoe Avenue is one of two that have been added to the Siesta Promenade footprint. (photo by John Morton)

But alas, attendees of the workshop noticed a change that called for the addition of about 35 parallel parking along Glencoe Avenue and part of Crestwood Avenue, in an area once dedicated to landscaping. DiMaria said the stalls would create a traffic-calming measure, noting that a survey on ideas for such a measure sent out to neighbors last year did not meet the response threshold and were thus null and void.
Residents of the neighboring Pine Shores subdivision have argued that the 200 mailings went out to homes either being rented or to snowbird residents who were out of the area.
Regarding the parallel parking, it has apparently opened a new can of worms in the 11th hour.
“Take away the parallel parking and we will all go quietly into the night, and you won’t have any aggravations,” said Sura Kochman, a Pine Shores resident who has led the opposition of the project. “We’re not going to go away, and we have more people that are angry now than we ever did before on this matter. The neighborhood feels betrayed. I have heard it from so many people.”
Added Pine Shores resident Galina Crites, “You’re creating a hazard. And who wants to look at a parking lot like that? It’s destroying the look of the neighborhood.”
DiMaria defended the parallel parking concept.
“On-street parking is used as a method to slow down traffic. We’ve seen it used to great success,” he said.
Todd Mathes, a consultant also with Kimley-Horn, suggested the parallel-parking spots could also be useful to Pine Shores residents who want to visit the Siesta Promenade complex, providing easy access.
The project will feature 414 apartments and/or condominiums, a 130-room hotel, 133,000 square feet of retail space, and 7,000 square feet of office space.

John Morton
Author: John Morton

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