PALMETTO -- As expected, Palmetto city commissioners Monday passed a resolution designating a portion of the Community Redevelopment Agency district as a brownfield area.
The designated area consists mainly of downtown Palmetto, with the bulk of the district planned along 17th Street West between 11th Avenue West and Canal Road.
Administered by the Florida Department of Environment Protection, the brownfield redevelopment program assists in the development of properties that may have environmental issues as a result of past uses, such as agricultural or industrial.
The program would make property owners in the brownfield eligible for grants, tax credits and other benefits. It also will lure private investment to the area. Applicants for the grants can receive refunds of $2,500 per job created on the taxes it pays.
The area will be called Palmetto Economic Enhancement District.
"That's what we're doing this for, to take advantage of this situation," said Jeff Burton, CRA director.
A public hearing was held during the commission meeting to allow the public to make comments on the resolution. Two public hearings must be held on the resolution; Monday was the second public hearing. The first public meeting took place Nov. 19.
On Monday, two residents told commissioners residents did not have enough time to digest the purpose of the program and that notifications were received just days before the first hearing. The area does not include Riviera Dunes and five property owners and
six parcel owners have asked to be exempt from the district. Rather than delay the resolution, commissioners asked the CRA to mail fact sheets about the program to residents because property owners within the brownfield area can opt out of the program at any time.
Through the program, Palmetto can attract a hotel chain to build next to the Bradenton Area Convention Center, Burton said.
In other action Monday, commissioners decided to extend the moratorium on temporary and mobile food vendors for six months. The current moratorium expires Dec. 31 and will now extend through June 30, 2013.
The commission adopted an ordinance in May setting a temporary moratorium on the approval and filing of applications for mobile food vendors until the city identifies the impact vendors have on traffic, health and safety.
Commissioners suggested Monday the would-be regulation includes designating vendors into seasonal and temporary categories and have code enforcement officers work on weekends.
The CRA board voted to award a $50,000 storefront grant to Manatee County Rural Health Services to make exterior improvements that will contribute to the aesthetic appeal of Palmetto, Burton said. Manatee Rural Health recently purchased the Bank of America building at 700 Eighth Ave. W.