Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Brouhaha Exposes Problems with Plan

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Brouhaha Exposes Problems with Plan

Article excerpt

Another development, another controversy; that's the way it's gone for about a decade along State Road 776 in Englewood.

The latest brouhaha has erupted over an apartment complex proposed for a 6-acre plot on the east side of the road north of Dearborn Street opposite the intersection with Artists Avenue.

As complexes go, this is a fairly modest plan: 72 units in four, two-story buildings, a pool and 141 parking spaces. With rents for one-bedroom units starting at $900, the apartments would be neither low-income nor upscale.

The proposal represents the type of housing Englewood lacks. And what better, less intrusive location for higher density housing than State Road 776, on a site close enough that residents could walk to the closest grocery store and business district?

Even so, the plan has encountered immediate opposition, some reasonable, some not. Most has come from the neighboring Foxwood and Tangerine Woods subdivisions, both 55-and-older communities, who see an apartment complex, catering presumably to younger tenants, as incompatible.

Place that one in the unreasonable category. Practically the entire world would be incompatible with any area that limits its inhabitants to being 55 or older. While those communities have the right to do so, it defies logic to imply that surrounding properties are incompatible if their owners do not adopt similar age restrictions.

The same goes for the expressed fear of dogs and snakes. The apartments reportedly would allow dogs. That doesn't mean, as the critics claim, that dogs would be running loose in the neighborhood. As for the snakes, rats and other creatures that construction will displace, they're probably descendants of the same rats and snakes that moved when Foxwood and Tangerine Woods were built.

When representatives from the Gallina Companies met in June with the neighbors, they did little to quell the uneasiness. The writer of an email that circulated through the neighborhood afterward described one of the presenters as a "sleazy person" she didn't like at all and, consequently, she "did not believe much of what he said."

So much for winning over the neighbors. …

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