THANK YOU! to Vice Mayor Ahearn-Koch, Commissioner Willie Shaw, and Commissioner Shelli Freeland Eddie for standing up for public safety, the environment, the City's residential neighborhoods, our shared system of laws, and last but not least, our Comprehensive Plan!

we reap what we sow

Selby’s leaders want to turn bucolic bounty into commercial chaos. Protecting rare plant specimens from the exigencies of climate change does not and should not entail the removal of 111 irreplaceable trees, including five grand oaks.

It takes 40 years for nature to nurture a tree to maturity, and 40 minutes to cut one down.

Selby...how does your garden grow?

  • Selby Gardens is requesting the most intensive commercial use permitted under the City’s Comprehensive Plan to turn the Gardens into a regional, major ‘event’ center. The Metropolitan Regional designation they are requesting generally is reserved for hospitals, airports, sports arenas and other highly intensive uses.
  • Selby's plans call for a massive garage, equivalent to 8-stories with a one-acre footprint.

    A 747 aircraft would fit into this garage. THEY PLAN TO FILL THAT GARAGE EVERY DAY AND NIGHT with events, putting up to 486 cars at a time onto Orange Avenue, several times a day.

  • 111 trees, including 5 grand oaks, will be removed to make way for this concrete garage.
  • Selby Gardens ‘needs’ such a tall (83.5’) garage in an area with 35’ height restrictions is to accommodate a privately-run Michael Klauber ‘destination’ commercial restaurant and event/party space on the roof at an altitude high enough to have a bay view. There are already multiple event locations on the property.
  • There are flexible solutions to Selby Garden’s parking needs that do not require a massive garage. The huge garage is simply a justification for turning the property into a highly intensive commercial use.
  • The intersection of Mound and Orange Avenue already is at ‘level of service level F” (the worst) according to the City of Sarasota’s Thoroughfare plan. Traffic exiting garage WILL turn south onto Orange Avenue; Selby has no way to prevent traffic from turning right onto Orange or from exiting onto Mound, then turning south onto Orange Avenue, a designated "neighborhood street".
  • Traffic studies have never taken into account the future impact on the Bayfront or the surrounding neighborhoods if this Master Plan was built.
  • Last year Selby Gardens received $500,000 from the State of Florida for this “Master Plan”. This year, they sought, but were denied, another $600,000. They also are asking for money from two Sarasota County programs. Selby is a non-profit using tax payer dollars to build a private restaurant on land for which Selby Gardens pays no taxes.
  • This is a complete departure from the quiet botanical gardens that were intended “for the enjoyment of the public” by Mrs. Selby. The garage and restaurant are just the first of five phases of their grand Master Plan, that will permanently alter this area.
  • This plan asks officials to disrespect the integrity of the City's Comprehensive Land Use Plan designed to protect neighborhoods.

    • Incompatibility: The Selby Master Plan is too close to existing homes. Is the City going to maintain neighborhood compatibility?
    • Intensity: The Gardens is proposing increasing both the size and frequency of events; the 486 car garage and planned sound system for the venue are clear indications that the event center / garden is planning larger and louder events. There is no good way to modulate the noise of several hundred party guests.
    • Scale: The garage is an urban scale, urban structure in a residential neighborhood.
    • Precedent: If Selby is granted this change to the City's Comprehensive Plan, it is a resonable expectation that nearby properties will request similar consideration, opening the door for intense development right up against residential areas.
  • Sarasota has focused on quality neighborhoods. If the City gives a special designation to one entity (Selby), what is to prevent this from happening in other neighborhoods?

Depiction of Phase 1 of Master Plan as submitted by Marie Selby Botanical Garden to the City of Sarasta

This site plan shows how out of scale the footprint for the "sky garden" garage is.

The ONLY reason this behemoth structure is being requested is to allow rooftop restaurant patrons to "enjoy" bay views over the trees that remain after clearcutting.