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Environment

Sarasota Planning Board Rejects Plant at Celery Fields

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Alex Newberry
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Sarasota residents protest a concrete recycling plant at a planning commission meeting Thursday.

More than 130 people turned-out in Sarasota last night to protest a concrete recycling plant. The idea was to place it next to a site that’s become a destination for bird watchers.

Just a mile east of I-75 lies 300 acres of open fields and ponds. One-hundred years ago farmers grew celery on the land, hence its name, The Celery Fields. In 1994 Sarasota County purchased the land to hold storm water during heavy rains. Since then migrating birds have found it.             

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Sarasota Audubon Society’s Rob Wright is concerned a proposed Construction-debris recycling plant would scare many of those birds away. Local residents like Sarasota’s Ken Zajak are also worried about adding big-truck traffic to the already congested local roads.

“We’re concerned about the safety, the air pollution, noise,” said Zajak. “This construction recycling plant is going to generate all of that.”

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And that’s what eventually did this proposal in -- traffic.  

After a five-hour public hearing, the county planning board said this was the wrong project for the 16-acre site. The board recommends county commissioners reject the plan when it comes before them.

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Credit Alex Newberry
The Celery Fields in Sarasota.