SARASOTA — While Sarasota County officials continue to consider the future of the county-owned Quad parcels, a permit has been issued by the county for the development of a controversial waste transfer station on an adjacent parcel.
On Jan. 31, county officials issued the permit to TST Ventures LLC, owned by Sarasota resident James Grabbert, to build the facility on property at Palmer Boulevard and Potter Road in North County.
That property is adjacent to the southeast Quad property, a group of four properties at the corner of Palmer Boulevard and Apex Road of roughly the same size owned by the county.
Those properties are separated from the county’s world-renowned Celery Fields by Interstate 75.
“While this is not directly adjacent to the Celery Fields, it will be plainly visible from the highway, and impact the character of the Celery Fields area, not to mention the effects it will have on roads and eventual planning for the public lands immediately next to it,” wrote a member of the Fresh Start Initiative in an email sent to media outlets in response to the issuance of the permit.
The Fresh Start Initiative is a group of individuals and others interested in the future of the Celery Fields and the Quad properties.
County commissioners have invited the group to actively participate in the planning for development of the properties.
Grabbert received unanimous approval from the county commission on Oct. 14, 2015 for a special exception to allow construction of the waste transfer station on the property which he’d purchased earlier that year.
The site plan for the proposed waste transfer station shows both an 8-foot wall and 10-foot landscape buffers to screen operations on the property from neighboring properties.
Yet, as indicated by the email from Fresh Start, its members remain concerned about how the construction and the operation of the waste transfer station will have on the area as the county moves forward with a critical area plan for those properties.
Last month, commissioners agreed to include the Quad properties with the critical area plan for the Fruitville Road/I-75 area.
The county does have a process in place by which issuance of the permit could be challenged, but there has been no indication yet by Fresh Start if they will use that approach.