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Ayech: Candidates' positions on Old Miakka

Email from Becky Ayech, resident of Old Miakka. Email: miakka1945@gmail.com:

On August 18, Sarasota County will hold primary elections. A race that holds our future, more than any other race, is the race for Sarasota county Commissioner, District 1. Commissioners in Sarasota County now only run in the district they will represent rather than be voted on County wide.

There are two Republican candidates and one Democrat. The two republicans will face off in the August 18th election.YOU MUST BE A REGISTERED REPUBLICAN TO VOTE IN THIS RACE. You can change your party affiliation by contacting Sarasota Supervisor of Elections


In order for you to know Mike Hutchinson's and Mike Moran's positions on Old Miakka and its preservation, each candidate was asked their views on preserving the history and culture of Miakka. Here are their responses without any editing. I did not put any limits on the length of their reply.


I decided to run for County Commission because of my concern with the urban sprawl that is replacing our rural lands. Sarasota County’s Comprehensive Plan established lands east of I-75 as low density, rural areas. This growth plan has been slowly dismantled. A large portion of land in northeast Sarasota County has now been slated for development.

  • Hi Hat Ranch has 2 approved villages with 10,000 units

  • Lakewood Ranch has started their development north of Fruitville Rd adding 5,000 units

  • Lakepark Estates has been approved with 400 units

  • All significant land parcels east of I-75 and north of Clark Rd are being developed or are planned to be developed except the land in the corner of Fruitville and Verna Roads which is in the heart of Old Miakka. This unique area is the only place left where rural heritage can be maintained.

The County’s Comprehensive plan chapter labeled as ‘2050’ allows an option for the development of hamlets in this area. In 2017 changes were made to the 2050 plan that allows hamlets that are developed next to each other to reduce the green space between them. Hamlets configured this way are just a big subdivision. This is not compatible with the definition of a hamlet nor the neighborhood of Old Miakka. Old Miakka’s large acreage lots embraces the rural life style and/or raising farm animals (4-H) and horses. Allowing small lot hamlets to be developed there is not in harmony with the area.

Sarasota Comprehensive Plan’s Historic Preservation chapter, states that historic neighborhoods and districts must be protected. Old Miakka has been a distinct neighborhood of Sarasota County since at least 1845. Not only are historic neighborhoods to be protected the Comprehensive plan further states that the County will “mitigate the impact of future development on ... historic resources.”

The Comprehensive Plan states that Sarasota County “shall prepare a Neighborhood Plan to designate the Rural Historic District in Old Miakka”. This was completed and is titled Old Miakka Neighborhood Plan. The Old Miakka Neighborhood Plan states “The Board of County Commissioners may provide assistance, when requested, to those communities within the Rural Heritage/Estate RMA to preserve their historic rural character.”

Sarasota County must follow 2050 plan and the Old Miakka Neighborhood Plan and provide assistance in mitigating the impact on Old Miakka by development. The corner of Fruitville Rd and Verna Rd is the only space left where rural heritage can be maintained. It is part of the Old Miakka Neighborhood and must be protected!

As a County Commissioner I will push to maintain the rural heritage of Old Miakka.

Mike Hutchinson

For County Commission District 1




My response to your question is not how I “feel” on land preservation, it reflects my ACTUAL VOTING RECORD. As you know, I am currently the Chair of the Sarasota County Commission. A recent example is my vote on May 5th, 2020 to allocate $671,126 for preserving 40.14 acres located on Jomar Road just south of the County-owned Old Miakka Preserve.

This response is not a cleverly crafted political response, it is a small example of my dedication and personal commitment. It’s not just talk, it is actual votes when it matters.

I have been a voting member on numerous Boards related to this topic and have dedicated thousands of hours on water quality and land preservation. For example, I was appointed by the Governor to the Governing Board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), I am a voting member of the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SPEP), and have been a member of this board for many years. In addition, I was previously a Board Member on the Charlotte Harbor Estuary Program (CHEP). In these positions, I have personally voted to preserve tens of thousands of acres of land. My record speaks for itself.

There is no way I can properly summarize the thousands of hours I have dedicate to this topic in a small article, but I hope it gives you a real-life pattern of behavior that I have no intention of changing

Michael A. Moran, CIC


(941)400-1140 Cell

Sheriff Race

There is also a race for Sheriff. Paul Fern and Kurt Hoffman. Both are Republicans, but since there isn't any opposition from a different party, you will get to vote for them, regardless of what party you are registered with.

Here is what I sent to them:

Old Miakka is located in northeastern Sarasota County. The biggest problem we have is with people speeding on our local roads and Fruitville Road.

I am offering each of you an opportunity to share with residents of Old Miakka why YOU should be the one they vote for. We are inundated with traffic coming from Manatee County both via Hwy 70 and Clay Gully Roads. Our concerns are those of a rural community. They would include the number of deputies that patrol the area, response times to a 911 call and what you will do about speeders.

I heard from Kurt Hoffman.

During our last budget cycle at the Sarasota county Sheriff’s Office we based some of our request for funding from the county in part on the county’s annual citizen survey. Once again traffic was near the top of citizens concerns. I too live in a rural area of the county and understand the traffic challenges. We added an additional 5 traffic deputy positions to our last budget in an effort to address issues such as Clay Gully and State Road 70. We recently created a new zone out East to better serve East county residents. With the development my guess is we will have to split it again in a few short years. Calls for service are handled by zone and within each zone by a smaller area called a grid. State road 70 is also patrolled and within the responsibility of the Florida Highway Patrol. 911 calls take priority and response times are dependent upon traffic and the location of the deputy when the call comes out. Our patrol and traffic units share areas of concern through a program called share point. We can certainly add these locations to our list for extra patrol. The traffic unit prioritizes the extra patrol based on crash and fatality statistics to ensure we are hitting problem areas. As a member of the traffic advisory board you can make recommendations to the county to drop speeds in that area which as you know is done through the regulatory process. In addition we can put traffic monitors to get the statistical data on how many cars are above the speed limit and the volume of cars. As I’m sure your readers are aware this is bigger than an enforcement issue it has to do with the significant East county development. I hope that assists you and you are able to get it in the paper.

Thank you

Kurt Hoffman


Hope this helps you make an informed decision.

Becky Ayech


Miakka community Club

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