Selby Gardens considering options after city denies expansion
SARASOTA- A $92 Million Dollar expansion plan at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is on hold after a 3-2 vote from the city commission. Neighborhood Groups spent months protesting Selby Garden’s proposed expansion.
“The city commission backed up the neighborhood,” Dan Lobeck said. “Not just those who favor overdeveloping.”
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Present and CEO Jennifer Rominiecki says the plan is vital to the organizations sustainability.
“On peak days we turn away more than 200 visitors because we can’t accommodate them,” Rominiecki said. “And the world’s best scientifically documents collection of orchids and bromeliads are currently housed on the ground in the flood zone in aging infrastructure.”
President of Control Growth Now Dan Lobeck says plans for a garage and restaurant didn’t fit the neighborhood.
“Too intense, too massive for the neighborhood,” Lobeck said. “Out of scale for the single family homes around there, creating huge traffic problems for neighborhood roads.”
Lobeck thinks there can be a compromise.
“Shelli Freeland-Eddie invited Selby to work with the neighbors to scale down this massive plan they have, particularly this garage and this huge restaurant, and if they’re smart they’ll do that.”
“We’ve been willing to meet with them all along and we have met with them for more than two years,” Rominiecki said. “And with the plan that we offered, we offered significant enhancements based on neighborhood input.”
Rominiecki says some change is necessary.
“Selby Gardens and it’s board will be evaluating all of the options available to us moving forward,” Rominiecki said. “And I can tell you that status quo is not an option.”
Commissioners Hagen Brody and Liz Alpert were the two who voted in support of the comprehensive plan amendment.