Manatee commission approves development near Ellenton

cnudi@bradenton.comDecember 7, 2012 

BRADENTON ­-- The Manatee County Commission on Thursday unanimously approved a general plan for commercial and housing development that may include an assisted living facility.

Trees Direct LLC proposed to build a mixed-use development on 85.5 acres that front Interstate 75, north of Mendoza Road near Ellenton.

While the neighboring community, Covered Bridge Estates, has reached a signed agreement with the developer to review the plans as they are developed, a smaller, adjacent community was opposed to the vagueness of the details in the proposal.

Charles Gregory, speaking for the Oak Creek Homeowners Association, said his community's concerns are with an increase in crime, insufficient roads to handle the additional traffic, lack of a buffer from highway noise and possible flooding issues.

The entrance to the proposed development would be off Mendoza Road, as an

extension of 60th Avenue East, following a drainage creek that borders the Oak Creek community.

Gregory said one con-cern was that the trees along the creek buffering 10homes in Oak Creek from the noise of I-75 would be removed.

Bill Merrill, the attorney for Trees Direct, explained the trees along the creek would probably remain in that area because the easement between the proposed entrance and the creek is not wide enough to allow for development.

But Gregory also said he was concerned with the increase in housing density and the added traffic to the narrow Mendoza Road and 60th Avenue East, which feeds traffic to the Ellenton Prime Outlet mall.

He said there are more than 1,500 housing unitsin the area now and theproposed developmentwould add as many as 500 more.

Misty Servia, the lead planner with King Engineering, which is developing the plans, said county codes require a traffic study be performed before final approval of the plans,

Several commissioners said they understood the concerns of the Oak Creek residents, but thought the plan was basically good for the area.

Commissioner Carol Whitmore said she would hope the developer would extend the same consideration to those residents it has agreed to with the homeowners of Covered Bridge Estates.

Servia also told commissioners the developer was requesting a smaller buffer zone along the interstate than what the county planners have suggested.

She said the developer would like to use construction methods and materials such as double-pane windows to mitigate the noise of the freeway.

Although commissioners got an overview of the general plans for the development, approval of the final details are left to the county planning department.

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