Working to Enhance the Downtown Experience

Land Development

News about issues regarding Zoning Code, Land Development and Construction Staging in downtown Sarasota and surrounding areas.

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  • Sat, July 10, 2021 10:48 AM | Robin Parsons (Administrator)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 9, 2021

    DSCA Condo Members to Discuss Building Inspections

    The Downtown Sarasota Condominium Association (DSCA) and its members send our thoughts to those in Surfside, FL affected by the tragic building collapse.

    Downtown Sarasota condos spend over $60 million per year in operating expenses that includes regular building maintenance and reserve fees for major maintenance projects including structural inspections for repairs.

    The Downtown Sarasota Condominium Association also includes associate members (commercial companies) who provide much of the necessary information and services to help our condo boards and property managers stay informed in best practices for condo maintenance. These associate members participate actively in regular DSCA meetings and host educational workshops on a host of topics, including building maintenance, insurance, the functions of association boards, etc.

    A survey of our members released today indicates 100% of the 32-condominiums/townhouses participating in our survey require a reserve study at least every 3-years, with over 20% requiring a reserve study annually. Reserve studies are sometimes accompanied by a report from a licensed, structural engineer as to the integrity of the building and recommendations for repairs. However, such Engineering or structural reports are not required by state or local municipalities, including the City of Sarasota.

    To help facilitate the discussion of what requirements for inspections currently exist or should be considered, the DSCA board today confirmed its plan to host a roundtable forum on multi-unit residential building maintenance and inspections. Such a forum will be organized on a priority basis in combination with our Associate members. The DSCA communication team will be reaching out with updates on the plan for this important event to our news list in the very near future.

    About DSCA

    The Downtown Sarasota Condominium Association (DSCA) is a non-profit 501(c)(4) membership organization comprised of condominium/townhome associations and commercial associate businesses in greater downtown Sarasota.  DSCA was founded in 1998 as the Bayfront Condominium Association Inc., and represents over 40 condominium associations.  The mission of DSCA is to actively advocate for the collective interests of its members for a vibrant and safe downtown Sarasota.  The greater downtown Sarasota currently has over 6,000 residential units with over 12,000 residents, is projected to grow to near 15,000 residents in the coming 5-6 years.


    Download PDF: DSCA Condo Inspection PressRelease-20210707a

    July 10th, 2021

  • Mon, February 03, 2020 11:18 AM | Robin Parsons (Administrator)

    SARASOTA, Fla., January 26, 2020 – Marie Selby Botanical Gardens today released details of a new compromise Master Site Plan, including a number of significant changes made to address concerns.

    After more than 40 hours of public input at hearings last fall and, more recently, at follow-up meetings with the community, three recurring concerns were voiced: the height of the parking structure and operation of a planned public restaurant being incongruous with the City’s comprehensive plan, noise from the planned restaurant, and the potential for increased traffic. Selby Gardens’ compromise Master Plan cuts the parking structure’s overall height by 40% and no longer seeks a change to the City’s comprehensive plan; reduces the size of the planned restaurant from 185 to a maximum of 110 seats; and limits the restaurant’s hours of operation to mirror the Gardens’ hours to cut down on noise and traffic from non-Gardens patrons.

    “The Master Plan continues to be a vital chance to transform and realize the full potential of our beloved gardens, while also preserving our important history,” said Jennifer Rominiecki, president and CEO of Selby Gardens. “I’m thrilled to say we think even after downsizing the restaurant size and hours of operation, we believe the

    February 3rd, 2020

  • Sun, December 22, 2019 11:22 AM | Robin Parsons (Administrator)

    REMINDER: New Traffic Shift, Detour began Nov. 25 for US-41 Fruitville Road intersection

    Detours began Nov. 25 for the US 41-Fruitville Road Roundabout.  The two changes involve left turns:

    (1) No SB US 41 to EB Fruitville Rd – Southbound US 41 traffic will not be able to turn left at Fruitville Rd.  This will be in effect throughout much of the year-long construction project.

    Recommended detour:

    • EB on 10th Street then SB on Lemon Ave. to Fruitville Rd.  If you miss 10th Street, the next best opportunity to go eastbound will be Ringling Blvd.

    (2) No NB US 41 to WB Boulevard of the Arts – Northbound US 41 traffic to westbound Boulevard of the Arts will be restricted.  U-turns will not be permitted.  This left turn lane is expected to be restored in late January 2020.

    Recommended detour:

    • WB on 10th Street then SB on Van Wezel Way to Boulevard of the Arts

    Additional note:  The left turn eastbound movement coming off the Ringling Bridge and Gulfstream Ave. to northbound US 41 will be reduced from three lanes to two.

    Electronic message boards are being strategically placed along US 41 to give drivers advance notice about the traffic changes.

    Beginning mid-January 2020 through July 2020, WB Fruitville Rd will be closed at Cocoanut Ave.

    For the latest information visit  On the homepage, you can register to receive email updates directly into your inbox.

  • Wed, December 18, 2019 10:51 AM | Robin Parsons (Administrator)

    Sarasota in motion...

    The City of Sarasota is preparing its first citywide transportation master plan, which will serve as a playbook for how the City not only invests in transportation infrastructure, but also how it achieves the community’s larger quality of life goals.  City staff are working to gather input to address major traffic and transportation issues in the City of Sarasota:

    • How can streets be safer?
    • How can we improve the reliability of travel time to work, particularly as we grow?
    • How can we expand travel options so more people can walk, bike, or take transit?
    • How do we plan for a future with autonomous vehicles and other new transportation technology?

    Learn about the status of the transportation master plan by reviewing survey results, reports and presentations.  You can also view the Interactive Map (example below) to see where other persons have recorded their experience challenges in the mobility network, and where they think improvements should be prioritized.

  • Sat, December 15, 2018 10:56 AM | Robin Parsons (Administrator)

    The community is invited to learn about the Lemon Avenue Streetscape project during an open house with City of Sarasota staff Monday, Dec.17 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the SRQ Media Studio in the City Hall Annex, 1565 First Street.

    NewsRelease_Lemon Ave. Streetscape Open House Set for Dec. 17..

    DSCA Board authorized a letter which was sent to City Commissioners and City Staff Management on Nov. 27, 2018.

    Honorable Mayor Liz Alpert & Commissioners

    1565 1st Street, Room 101
    Sarasota, FL 34236

    Ref: Lemon Avenue Streetscape Project

    Dear Mayor Alpert, & Commissioners,

    The Downtown Sarasota Condominium Association (DSCA) at its November 7, 2018 Board Meeting unanimously adopted the following motion concerning the proposed improvements on Lemon Avenue.

    “RESOLVED: Before the City Commission’s final approval of the Lemon Avenue Streetscape Project, the DSCA Board urges additional research by City staff to find alternative solution to removing canopy trees on Lemon Avenue; in accordance with City’s Downtown Greenspace Policy, Tree Protection Ordinance and Comprehensive Plan.”

    The Board of DSCA has reviewed preliminary information (only verbal reports and a conceptual drawing appear to be publicly available) about the proposed Lemon Avenue Streetscape Project.  We are very concerned about reports that City staff are planning to remove all of the existing canopy trees (Live Oaks) along Lemon Avenue from 1st Street to State Street, and replace them with Royal Palms.

    This apparent radical change in the Lemon Avenue streetscape does not appear to be in concert with several City Commission adopted ordinances, Downtown Master Plan, Downtown Green Space Policy, and Comprehensive Plan.  The Downtown Green Space Policy(attached – adopted Feb. 7, 2011) specifically identified the priority of canopy trees over palm trees.

    DSCA-CityCommission Letter LemonAveStreetscape-20181127-signed

    The following are some of the facts and concerns which are not widely known and should receive further public review and discussion:

    • City staff plan to remove 27 existing Live Oak trees along Lemon Avenue because “the trees are doing poorly”.
    • Contrary to the City’s Comprehensive Plan, Zoning Code and Downtown Green Space Policy, City staff plan to replace Live Oak canopy trees with Royal Palms.
    • Royal Palms reach heights up to 80 ft, which will not provide shade for sidewalk pedestrians.
    • Royal Palm large fronds (up to 15 ft, 80 lbs) falling 80 feet are a hazard to pedestrians & cars.
    • Downtown Sarasota Condo Association has requested City staff to find alternative solution to replacing canopy trees with palms on Lemon Avenue.
    • The soil around existing trees needs to be loosened & amended to enable healthier tree roots.

    Save Our Shade-20181215


    Please attend the Lemon Ave Streetscape Open House and/or send your comments requesting the city to Save Our Shade to:


    Patrick Gannon

    President, DSCA

    We Are Downtown Sarasota – Residential Neighborhood

    December 15th, 2018

  • Sat, December 15, 2018 10:33 AM | Robin Parsons (Administrator)

    Tragedy predictably occurs when our road designs combine high speeds and randomness.


    Minneapolis just became the first major U.S. city in a long time to embrace a key Strong Towns principle: every neighborhood should be allowed to evolve to the next increment of development.


    If Strong Towns is successful—really successful—you won’t hear about it, because the vast majority of the change we produce won’t be attributed to us at all. It will be embedded in the broader culture.


    If granting exceptions to your city’s planning rules is so common as to have become the norm, perhaps it’s time to reconsider the rules themselves.


    When we aim for perfection, imperfections will disturb us. But, when we aim for imperfection, other imperfections build character.

    December 15th, 2018

  • Thu, September 06, 2018 11:25 AM | Robin Parsons (Administrator)

    The Downtown Sarasota Condominium Association (DSCA) has been a Stakeholder and supporter of the Bayfront 20:20 planning initiative since its early planning in 2014.  DSCA helped financially to fund the Stakeholder initiative and has provided feedback to the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization (SBPO) and The Bayplanning team through the Stakeholder organization.  It is the position of the DSCA Board that The Bay project should continue to move forward after delivery of The Bay Conceptual Master Plan on September 6, 2018.

    The DSCA Board supports continuing the efforts to plan, fund, and implement The Bay project following the six Guiding Principle approved by the City Commission and recommends the following actions:

    1. Transitioning the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization, Inc. (SBPO), a 501(c)(3) from its planning organization purpose to a conservancy 501 (c)(3) purpose that will be assigned the responsibility of protecting the public interest (including lease development and lease management) of the City owned 53 acre park parcel, zoned Government Use, known as The Bay;
    2. Endorsing the non-binding conceptual The Bay Master Plan, dated September 6, 2018, which will be further refined to incorporate the vision of City’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan, as amended and made part of the City’s Comprehensive Plan;
    3. Approving The Bay Phase 1 Master Plan, dated September 6, 2018; and
    4. Granting the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization, and its successor conservancy organization, the direction and authority to proceed with fundraising, planning, and implementation activities for The Bay Project Phase 1.

    Therefore, the DSCA Board urges the Sarasota City Commission to favorably consider the foregoing recommended actions and approve moving The Bay project forward at the September 6, 2018, special City Commission meeting at City Hall.


    September 6th, 2018

  • Mon, July 09, 2018 10:36 AM | Robin Parsons (Administrator)

    July 9, 2018   SARASOTA, FLORIDA

    Joint Zoning Code Consensus press release-final-20180709

    CONTACT: Melvin Sykes
    (443) 871-5879

    Four Civic Groups Unite to Adopt Zoning Code Principles

    • Coalition of City Neighborhood Associations (CCNA)
    • Downtown Sarasota Condominium Association (DSCA)
    • STOP!
    • SHOUT

    Sarasota, Florida July 9, 2018 – Four of Sarasota’s civic groups have united in support of six principles intended to enhance walkability, livability and development compatibility in the City of Sarasota. In combination, these groups represent many thousands of Sarasota residents.  These principles will be used in a collective effort to work with the City Commission to repair the City’s zoning code.

    The Coalition of City Neighborhood Associations (CCNA) was formed in 1990 to preserve and enhance city neighborhoods, to address the needs of neighborhoods and to stand in support of those needs. The association has 32 member neighborhoods. At its June 3, 2018 meeting, CCNA members approved a resolution jointly introduced by the Downtown Sarasota Condominium Association (DSCA) and the Granada neighborhood association.

    DSCA represents over 30 condominiums with over 6,000 residents in the greater downtown area. DSCA has advocated for mandatory community workshops as part of the development review process and that new construction be compatible with the surrounding community.

    SHOUT and STOP! were both formed to address specific zoning issues and have particularly focused on public hearings for new development projects and more generous setbacks and sidewalks.

    These four groups have agreed to six principles that should guide zoning code changes and construction site management in the City of Sarasota. Those principles are:

    1. The current administrative approval process for the downtown does not provide adequate opportunity for public input during the site plan process and must be changed.
    2. The practice of approving site plans through an administrative review process conducted by City staff should not be expanded for the areas outside of downtown.
    3. City construction site policies and procedures do not adequately protect pedestrians and adjoining properties from falling debris and other safety hazards. Fines should be meaningful and inspections frequent.
    4. City policies and procedures do not adequately incentivize developers to minimize street and sidewalk closures for the briefest period of time possible and should be strengthened.
    5. Minimum and maximum setback footage should be increased for the downtown zones. Sidewalk width, especially on arterial streets, should be reviewed for the entire city.
    6. Development projects should be compatible with the surrounding community: City staff should be proactive in implementing the compatibility standards already in the City zoning code.

    These principles grew from:

    • the findings of a June 2017 DSCA survey of downtown residents,
      concerns expressed by citizens at town hall meetings organized by STOP! and bySHOUT members at City Commission meetings,
      the results of a CCNA project which developed a list of hot issues.

    It is evident that many city residents are concerned about these development issues, and this frustration is reflected in the overwhelming support of residents for these principles.  The members of these four civic groups expect the City Commission to act immediately on these principles and to repair these specific problems in our zoning code. These problems must not be postponed until the long delayed Form-Based Code is addressed. These four civic groups look forward to working with the City of Sarasota staff and commissioners.


    July 9th, 2018

  • Thu, March 08, 2018 11:00 AM | Robin Parsons (Administrator)

    THURSDAY, MAR. 8, 2018

    by: David Conway Deputy Managing Editor

    As the city ponders new zoning regulations, downtown residents want more space between them and new construction.

    During a period of growth in Sarasota, downtown residents are banding together to ask the city to reconsider its building regulations. As officials prepare to review a proposed citywide form-based zoning code, a segment of people living downtown are asking for relief from the effects of construction.

    One of the primary goals is getting some more space between them and new buildings.

    The DSCA and Shout have both asked the city to emphasize a requirement in the existing code that states a project must be compatible with its surroundings.


    Copyright © 2019 Observer Media Group, Inc., All Rights Reserved

    March 8th, 2018

  • Mon, February 05, 2018 10:41 AM | Robin Parsons (Administrator)

    February 5, 2018

    City of Sarasota Commission

    1565 1st Street, Room 101

    Sarasota, Florida 34236


    Dear Mayor Freeland Eddie, Vice Mayor Alpert, Commissioners Ahern-Koch, Brody and Shaw:


    The Downtown Sarasota Condominium Association (DSCA) surveyed its members in June 2017 concerning the impact of land development and construction in our Downtown neighborhood.  Based on the concerns expressed by respondents to the survey, and by our Zoning Committee, the DSCA recommends the following to address those concerns:

    1. Setbacks should be required: A number of respondents, especially those who live in the community on S. Palm Avenue are opposed to building to the lot line. They argue that doing so is incompatible with their beautiful neighborhood; poses a danger to adjoining properties and passersby during construction and would ultimately create, what in affect would be, a concrete wall along the south side of S. Palm Avenue. This issue needs to be addressed now before more lot line to lot line construction is approved. Therefore, DSCA recommends the City Commission adopt, without delay, the attached Zoning Text Amendment, which restores the setback requirement to what it was before the community was rezoned. We also recommend that setback requirements be incorporated in the new Form Based Code for other city neighborhoods. 
    2.  Compatibility with the Neighborhood: In a matter related to setbacks, respondents to the DSCA survey felt that city staff needs to understand that the current residents are also important to the success of the City, not just new development. The size & dominance of buildings should not be out of proportion to neighboring buildings. The health of a city is in its walkability for residents and visitors alike. Trees along sidewalks and green spaces are necessary. Therefore, DSCA recommends that the City Commission direct that as part of the site plan approval process that city staff make an affirmative finding that the plan is COMPATIBLE with the surrounding neighborhood to include setbacks, streetscape and other criteria found in Section IV-506(4) of the Zoning Code.
    3.  Public Input: Several respondents to the DSCA survey wrote that they were unaware of the opportunity for them to make their views known during the development approval process, or if they were aware they didn’t think the opportunities for citizens to be heard was adequate. Therefore, DSCA recommends that the new Form Based Zoning Code apply the existing Laurel Park Overlay Process to the Downtown Transect Zones (DTC, DTB, DTE, DTN). That process provides for a community workshop following a developer notifying the city of an intent to build followed by a second workshop after the developer submits a building permit or administrative site plan application to the city. Affected residents would then have 20 working days to appeal the city staff’s decision to the Planning Board and then to appeal the Planning Board’s decision to the City Commission. To lessen the burden on city staff, DSCA suggests this process only be initiated when at least 5 residents request a community work-shop.


    These recommendations were finalized after consulting Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown, City Attorney Robert Fournier, City Planning Director Steve Cover, Karin Murphy from the Urban Design Studio and other members of the City staff. DSCA believes they reasonably and prudently address the concerns of downtown Sarasota residents.


    The DSCA Zoning Committee would welcome the opportunity to meet with each Commissioner to discuss, and answer questions regarding, the recommendations set forth in this letter. The committee chair will contact each commissioner to arrange an appointment.




    BY: _______________________________________

    Patrick J. Gannon, President



    City Manager Tom Barwin

    Deputy City Manager Marlon Brown

    City Attorney Robert Fournier

    City Planning Director Steve Cover

    February 5th, 2018

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About DSCA

The Downtown Sarasota Condominium Association (DSCA) is the designated neighborhood organization to represent the interests of the condominium associations, townhomes, apartments and their residents, that are within the greater Downtown Sarasota.

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