Log in

Help Protect Sarasota's Celery Fields from High-Density Development

Sunday, November 12, 2023 10:23 PM | Jean Pichler (Administrator)

Many of our members and visitors to the Venice area have visited the Sarasota Audubon Nature Center and the Celery Fields in Sarasota to enjoy birding, wildlife viewing, and the overall ambiance of the Celery Fields that have been beautifully and thoughtfully transformed from agriculture to a wildlife-sustaining habitat.  Venice Area Audubon Society schedules field trips to the Celery Fields every year to observe an amazing diversity of bird species that utilize the wetlands, riparian buffers, and gardens throughout the year. Sarasota Audubon, Sarasota County Stormwater Management, and many other organizations and individuals have invested heavily and worked diligently for years to reclaim the area for wildlife and birds, which is now at risk due to impending development.  

Celery Fields field trip

A Texas developer, D.R. Horton, recently submitted a re-zoning permit to the Sarasota County Planning Commission to allow construction of a high-density neighborhood on the Smith Farm property, directly across Raymond Road from the Celery Fields.  The impact on birds and wildlife will undoubtedly be felt immediately due to habitat loss, landscape changes and increased traffic during construction and, unless adjustments are made to the proposed high density plan, the impact will continue to have a detrimental effect into the future.

Sarasota Audubon Society has done an excellent job articulating not only their concerns and position but also offering options for balancing development with existing and future wildlife areas.  The Board of Directors of Venice Area Audubon Society unanimously:

  • endorses Sarasota Audubon Society's position that a high-density development is not appropriate for the Smith Farm site.  
  • commends Sarasota Audubon for proposing thoughtful options for consideration to create a lower-density neighborhood that maintains the integrity and investment made in the Celery Fields in a well-balanced manner, appropriate for both wildlife and people.  
  • urges our members and other concerned citizens, whether residents of Sarasota County or not, to take action to express their concerns to the Sarasota County Commissioners regarding this high-density permit application (Rezone Petition 23-30).  

Please utilize the attached resource provided by Sarasota Audubon Society for taking action:

For information on Sarasota Audubon Society's position:



Telephone: 941-496-8984

Sarasota County Call Center: 941-861-5000 (General information and directions)


Copyright 2023 Venice Area Audubon Society

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software