Manatee County Planning Commission OKs development plan near Ellenton mall

skennedy@bradenton.comNovember 9, 2012 

MANATEE -- Plans for a development on an 85.54-acre site near the Ellenton outlet mall Thursday won preliminary approval from the Manatee County Planning Commission.

Trees Direct, LLC, proposed a rezoning and a general development plan for the vacant property, which is near the intersection of Interstate 75 and Mendoza Road.

The company could either build a traditional development of 399 multi-family units, along with a 120-bed residential care facility and up to 150,000 square feet of commercial/office space, or a mixed-use development with up to 500 multi-family units, which may also include a residential care facility and commercial/office complex, according to county documents.

Both development options cap density at a maximum of six dwelling units per gross acre, documents said.

Some neighbors opposed the proposal.

Arguing that it would generate too much traffic and could result in a decline in property values was Pat Gross, president of the Oak Creek Homeowners' Association at Ellenton.

"We question why a rezoning ordinance should be approved before the developer has a real plan for the site," she said in a letter to the commission. "Once the rezoning is allowed, what recourse do the surrounding residents have if they

object to any project the developer chooses to go forward with?"

Tony Char, president ofthe board of directors ofCovered Bridge Estates,objected on similar grounds.

He said after the meeting, "I wasn't happy with the Planning Commission."

The staff cited as positives the project's convenient site along I-75, according to county documents.

"The nearby area is transitioning from agricultural uses to single-family residential development and commercial uses developing at commercial nodes," said the staff report.

Cited as negatives were noise from I-75, the density level and the difficulty of reviewing an appropriate design.

Staff members recommended a noise study and noise mitigating features, such as a wall or berm or both.

The Manatee County Commission, which has the final say, is slated to review the proposal.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.com.

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