Long Range Planning acts as a catalyst and partner for strategic planning to improve Sarasota County and the region.

Current Planning is responsible for the strategic review and processing of:

  • Rezone Petitions
  • Special Exceptions
  • Developments of Regional Impact (DRIs)
  • Developments of Critical Concern (DOCC)
  • Small Area Comprehensive Plan Amendments (when associated with a rezone petition)

Comprehensive Plan

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Adopted by the Sarasota County Commission, the Sarasota County Comprehensive Plan guides the development of land, economic growth, resource protection, and the provision of public services and facilities over time throughout the county. The Comprehensive Plan serves as a vision and roadmap for the county’s future.

The Comprehensive Plan was updated and approved by the commission in 2016, after an 18-month long update and review process.

2016 Update Highlights

  • User-friendly design and formatting
    • Volume I: Goals, Objectives and Policies
    • Volume II: Supporting Data and Analysis
  • Participation
    • 50 subject matter experts (county staff)
    • 200 workshop participants
    • 1700 online survey responses
    • 25 public meetings and workshops
  • Awards
    • 2017 Award of Excellence (Large Jurisdiction category), Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association
    • 2017 Award of Merit, Florida Planning and Zoning Association
    • 2016 Award of Excellence, Sun Coast Chapter of the Florida Planning and Zoning Association

Scrivener’s Error Updates

  • Mobility Element
    • Table 10-5 (Page V1-436)
    • Map 10-8 (Page V2-465)
    • Map 10-9 (Page V2-466)

Transfer of Development Rights (TDRs)

In Sarasota County, a TDR is the right to transfer the build of a single dwelling unit from one property to another. The purpose is to conserve environmentally sensitive lands by directing development off environmentally sensitive lands (the “sending” property) onto lands that are more suitable for development (the “receiving” property).

TDR Acquisition Process

To be eligible to pursue TDRs owned by Sarasota County, a party must file and pursue an application for zoning approval of a Sarasota 2050 development. This establishes a qualifying Receiving Zone. All sales and uses of TDRs must be consistent with the Sarasota County Comprehensive Plan and zoning regulations. The Comprehensive Plan (see Chapter 8, 2050 Resource Management Areas) provides guidance.

Please contact the Count Contact Center at 941-861-5000 or email planner@scgov.net for additional information on the TDR acquisition process.

Comprehensive Plan Amendments

Changing the Land Use designation on a parcel of land from one classification to another (as identified in the Comprehensive Plan) requires a Comprehensive Plan Amendment (CPA). CPAs are governed by State Statutes (FS 163.3184, FS 163.3187). The process is also in the Sarasota County Code Chapter 94, Article III, Division 2

Amendments can be initiated by public or private sectors in two forms:

  • Text Amendments—modify, add, or delete the text of the Comprehensive Plan
  • Map Amendments—change the land use category on the Future Land Use Map
    • Small Area Amendment—map amendments for less than 10 acres

Sarasota 2050 Resource Management Area (RMA)

The 2050 policy system works with the Future Land Use map and establishes an optional policy framework to enhance the livability of Sarasota County by preserving its natural, cultural, physical, and other resources with incentives for managing growth within the urban service boundary (USB).

There are six RMAs:

  • Agricultural Reserve
  • Rural Heritage / Estate
  • Greenway
  • Village / Open Space
  • Economic Development
  • Urban / Suburban

2050 Limitations

  • Development within Village/Open Space is limited to three forms outside of the USB (Settlement Area, Village, and Hamlet)
  • All land areas must be designated on RMA-1 and RMA-3 maps (see Comprehensive Plan)
  • Settlement Areas must be between existing and future USB lines (see Future Land Use Map)
  • Villages must be between existing USB and “countryside line” (see RMA-3 map)
  • Hamlets are transitional (blend toward rural, eastern area of Sarasota County)

Policy Revision


Critical Area Plans

Critical Area Plans (CAPs) help implement the Comprehensive Plan by providing recommendations for specific geographic areas.


  • Community CAPs improve the livability of neighborhoods (examples: sidewalks, street trees, new allowed uses)
  • Corridor CAPs center along major roadways (examples: urban design, drainage, access and circulation)
  • Revitalization CAPs improve the economic viability of blighted or aging areas (examples: deletion or addition of uses, urban design)

Rezones and Special Exceptions

Zoning is not permanent, as both the map and text of a zoning ordinance can be changed. Changes are referred to as text amendments or a rezoning when changing the zoning map. Zoning regulations exceptions can be made through the Rezone/Special Exceptions process.


  1. Preliminary Meeting/Pre-Application Meeting
  2. Neighborhood Workshop
  3. Staff Review (Application Submittal, Sufficiency Review, Formal Review, Schedule Hearing)
  4. Public Notice
  5. Planning Commission (Public Hearing and Recommendation)
  6. Sarasota County Commission (Public Hearing and Final Action)

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