Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization

The Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization's mission is to present a vibrant, comprehensive, long-term master plan for the City of Sarasota and its community that is financially feasible, operationally viable and environmentally sustainable.

The Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization (SBPO) is headed by a nine-person board which is comprised of trusted and experienced individuals with a diverse set of competencies. This board is established to develop a vibrant and sustainable master plan for the City of Sarasota-owned 42-acre site (increased to 53 acres) and to propose an ongoing improvement plan for the site.

Each member brings proven decision-making ability and skills that will allow them to ensure the project is executed with best practice management that results in an excellent outcome and furthers the brand of Sarasota.

The SBPO is organized as a 501(c)(3) organization in the IRS code. The nine person board directs the overall activity of the organization. The organization operates in accordance with Florida’s Open Meetings & Public Records laws. It is expected that the SBPO can complete its planning work in 18 months but, if necessary, due to the complexity of the assignment, could extend this timeline if needed. At the end of the planning period the SBPO organization will be succeeded by an organization or organizations that will use the SBPO generated master plan for construction, development, and finally, ongoing management of the site. (Update - the proposed Master Plan was approved by the Sarasota City Commission on September 6, 2018.)

It is the objective of the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization to:

  • Ensure the delivery of a professionally prepared master plan for the sustainable development of the 42 acre Sarasota bayfront in accordance with the Guiding Principles established by the community and the City of Sarasota Commission.

  • Recommend an operating structure that will professionally manage the Sarasota bayfront project during and following construction.

In order to meet these objectives the SBPO will need to:

  • Hire and oversee the efforts of a professional Project Manager.

  • Screen, select, and engage, in concert with the Project Manager, a major national organization to manage the Sarasota bayfront planning process.

  • Use local resources input and information throughout the deliberations.

  • Assist the Project Manager in communications with community and governmental bodies as the planning evolves.

  • Provide technical and community perspectives that might be of assistance to the Project Manager.

Guiding Principles

Developed by the founding members of the Sarasota Bayfront 20:20, the Vision Statement and Guiding Principles were adopted in 2014:

Vision Statement:
We support the creation of a long-term master plan for the Sarasota bayfront area that will establish a cultural and economic legacy for the region while ensuring open, public access to the bayfront.

Guiding Principles in Support of the Vision Statement:

  • Aspiration: Sarasota’s bayfront will be an iconic, public destination that welcomes the diversity of Sarasota, enhances our status as a cultural capital and serves as a venue for multi-generational, inter-neighborhood, broad-based enjoyment of our bayfront.

  • Cultural Heritage: The bayfront’s identity as a cultural, arts and educational destination will be strengthened, anchored by some of the region’s most important institutions and rooted in Sarasota’s diverse cultural legacy.

  • Bayfront/Natural Assets: Welcoming, attractive, publicly accessible, safe, fun and family-friendly open space celebrating the bayfront’s natural heritage will be developed along the bayfront for future generations. Views of the Bay will be enhanced.

  • Activation: Outdoor cultural programming, aquatic and onshore recreational programming, educational programming, urban amenities, plentiful shade, adequate lighting and alternatives to surface parking will support the active and passive usage of the bayfront throughout the day and evening and in all seasons.

  • Connectivity: Greatly improved connectivity among the bayfront, adjacent neighborhoods and the wider region is necessary to achieve our aspirations. Improved connectivity will be accomplished via safe, convenient pedestrian, bicycle, and water transit connections to the north, south, east and across the Bay. Convenient automobile access to the site should be accommodated with the smallest practicable footprint.

  • Sustainability: Ecological, economic and financial sustainability are fundamental to the long-term success of Sarasota’s bayfront and critical to the realization of our aspirations. Achieving a sustainable future for the bayfront will require continuous cooperation among the public, private and non-profit sectors.