Your voice matters. Attend a Sarasota Commission meeting and make your voice heard.
The City of Sarasota has five elected commissioners. Two are elected at-large and three are elected from single-member districts. Commissioners meet regularly to discuss and decide on public policy. All meetings are open to the public and present great opportunities to share your thoughts with your elected leaders. You can either speak to a particular agenda item during the meeting, or you can speak on any topic not on the agenda during the half hour of public input at the beginning of each session.
Where do I go to speak at a commission meeting?
The City Commission holds regularly scheduled meetings from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. and a second session at to 6:00 p.m. in the City Commission Chambers at City Hall on the first and third Monday of each month. City Hall is located at 1565 First Street, Sarasota, FL 34236.
How do I prepare to speak at the City Commission meetings?
It’s simple. We suggest you write down your remarks or make a note card with the points you want to make. Then, just register to speak at a commission meeting with a topic that is of importance to you. Here’s what to expect:
- The commission meets at Sarasota City Hall.
- When you first arrive at City Hall, follow the signs to Commission Chambers.
- When you enter the room, look for the sign-up sheets to speak located near the door. A City employee will help you fill out the sheet. Take a seat and wait until your name is called. Then proceed to the podium to make your remarks.
- Introduce yourself and speak slowly, respectfully and directly to the Commissioners and share your thoughts, opinions, and suggestions.
- Continue reading below for our positions on key issues.
- Click Here for more information on the Sarasota City Commission.
- Click Here for information about the City of Sarasota rules of procedure for city commission meetings.
Below are our positions on several issues that may help you compose your remarks to the Sarasota City Commission:
- Have Sensible Traffic Studies
Urge the City of Sarasota’s elected officials to make realistic traffic studies a requirement when large-scale developments are proposed for downtown Sarasota. These straightforward studies should reflect on-the-ground traffic conditions, public transportation challenges and safety issues for pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Put Compatibility Back into the Planning Process
The zoning code for Downtown Sarasota has no “Compatibility Clause,“ allowing decision makers to consider whether a project is compatible with its neighbors in terms of height, mass, lighting, noise, etc. In an urban environment where most projects are infill, both commercial and residential neighborhoods deserve to have compatibility considered. Our homes and businesses should not be needlessly disrupted.
- Ask Developers to Pay Their Fair Share
Large-scale development has significant impacts on roads, utilities, traffic, pedestrians and bicyclists. Residents should not be forced to pay for all these by-products of development with their tax dollars. When traffic studies are updated to require measurement of more realistic traffic impacts in downtown Sarasota, then developers could be required to pay their fair share for road and infrastructure improvements caused by their projects--- not taxpayers!
- Bring Back the Public’s Voice and Participation
Let the people have a voice! Repeal Administrative Approval for large and intense projects downtown and prevent its expansion to other areas of the City. It is time to return to the Planning Board and City Commission review and approval process. This method stipulates that the public be informed of major development proposals, allows citizens to submit material and to speak out about these developments.
The practice of Administrative Approval in Downtown Sarasota prevents all of us from participating in public hearings about any new projects, no matter how large or intense they may be. The public should have a voice in how the City grows and develops.
- Safeguard our Quality of Life
Tell the city’s leadership to require wide sidewalks and tree-lined streets. These elements give downtown Sarasota its desirability. They are recommended by urban planners and advocates of new urbanism nationwide.
We need better traffic flow management, safer sidewalks and crosswalks for pedestrians, more tree-lined streets and citizen input that shapes development in our city. Anything else must STOP!
Thank you for making your voice heard.