History of University Parkway Corridor West Plan and Light Office/ Planned Development (OPI/PD) Zoning

Light Office / Planned Development (OPI/PD) was created when the University Parkway Corridor West was planned by Sarasota County in conjunction with DeSoto Acres Association and Residents between 1993 and 1996.

DeSoto Acres has seen the county grow up around its borders since its founding in 1921. University Parkway is a prime example of this.

University Parkway was a peaceful county road until the 1980’s. Southwest Florida growth and a focus on individual transportation changed University Parkway into a congested and dangerous two-lane road. DeSoto Acres Residents living along University Parkway were trapped by this growth. See this article from 1994 regarding the situation and more background information.

DeSoto Acres Article SHT 1994 02 21

Our residents along University Parkway were trapped. DeSoto Acres Association in conjunction with residents agreed to “give-up” the residential zoning along University Parkway to allow Light Office / Planned Development (OPI/PD). As part of the University Parkway Corridor West planning, all parcels adjacent to University Parkway Corridor West, between 301 and Lockwood Ridge Road, were re-designated on the Sarasota County Future Land Use Plan from Low-Density Residential – Zoning District RE-1 (one house per two acres) to Light Office / Planned Development – Zoning District OPI/PD (professional, medical, etc. offices). As noted above, Light Office was developed as a direct result of DeSoto Acres Association and residents working with Sarasota County for a compromise commercial use next to our low-density residential. Planned Development is the binding-site plan for the property approved by the Sarasota County Commission in line with County Code and Zoning at the time of the approval.

The resulting University Parkway Corridor West Ordinance “096-076” details how the parcels are to be developed, the frontage road to be included on the parcel, south-boundary wall, buffering, landscaping, set-backs, etc. Note, there are variations on the site planning based on location along University Parkway, i.e. between 301 / Shade and between Shade / Lockwood Ridge Rd. Each parcel when formally rezoned from RE-1 to OPI/PD must have a site plan noting all criteria for development. This is the “Planned Development” component. The site plan is a “binding site plan” on file with the County. All components on the site plan are required to be implemented. Conversely, any component not on the site plan is not “binding”. The process for rezoning is a formal application to Sarasota County involving a public neighborhood workshop, Planning Commission and County Commission Public Hearings at which resident input is given and officially recorded. The final vote, for or against, the rezone is the Sarasota County Commission.

University Parkway Corridor Map


If the developer of the OPI/PD property wants to change the “binding site plan”, then the developer applies for a zoning amendment with the Sarasota County Planning Department. The process is the same as a rezone application involving public workshops, Planning Commission and County Commission Hearings.

DeSoto Acres Association and residents have worked closely with some developers, such as the new Autumn Leaves Assisted Living facility and the proposed office building at the SE corner of Shade and University, to enhance the buffering between the adjacent south residents and the OPI/PD projects. Both developers have worked closely with DeSoto Acres Residents and Association to enhance buffering over and above the Ordinance requirements as part of their “binding site plan”.

The University Parkway Corridor West plan Ordinance 96-076 works and works well. Light Office / Planned Development zoning has minimized noise and traffic intrusion. There has been a minimal impact on the residents’ living quality and property value of adjacent residential parcels. Our large lots also allow for self-buffering.

Your DeSoto Acres Association works to monitor the University Parkway properties’ development. Your help informing the Association of any notices and / or developer activity along University Parkway is very appreciated. For contact information, see the “Board of Directors” page on this website.

Any questions, please contact the DeSoto Acres Association at

President@desotoacres.org or Vice President@desotoacres.org

University Parkway NonCompliant Rezone Attempts from 1997 to 2017

  • 2003 Residential Property on Tuttle Ave within DeSoto Acres adjacent to property at SW corner of University Parkway rezone and special exception for off-site storm water facility and parking on residential lot for commercial use.
    Applicant: Benderson
    Status:  withdrawn
  • 2005 Residential Property on Tuttle Ave within DeSoto Acres adjacent to property at SE corner of University Parkway Future Land Use Change & Rezone to Light Office / Planned Development.
    Applicant: Benderson
    Status: withdrawn
  • 2007 Rezone 4.8 acres extending from University Parkway into Residential zoning.  Water pond covering a majority of the property.
    Applicant: Herman Weinberg / Stephen Miller
    Status: Closed
  • 2016 SE Corner of University Parkway and Tuttle Ave – Discussion (no formal County application) with WaWa for a 24/7 gas station quick food stop. Two informal Resident Workshops held. Strong residents’ opposition to the project.
    Developer: WaWa in conjunction with individual holding an option to buy
    Status: WaWa moved to location at University Parkway and Honore Ave.

University Parkway NonCompliant Rezone 2020 – Approved

  • ReZone 19-22 SW Corner Tuttle Ave and University Parkway.  Allowed building within 50ft setback, at 35 feet from south RE-1 property line.  Allowed access closer than 245 feet of University Parkway (UP), with a right-in/right/out only driveway.  DeSoto Acres Association did not support this rezone with stipulations. The County staff did not support the driveway waiver for safety reasons.  Manatee County also noted their “non-support” of this access waiver to UP.   The BOCC in a 5-0 vote approved the Ordinance No. 2020-046.
    Applicant: Benderson
    Status:  Approved