MANATEE -- Over the objections of residents who feared the rural character of their neighborhoods would be destroyed, the Manatee County Commission on Thursday approved plans for two new subdivisions in East Manatee.
The board OK'd Raven Crest, calling for an increase in the number of lots from 31 to 38 for homes on an 18-acre site; and Rye Road Subdivision, calling for the rezoning of about 23 acres for a total project of about 58 acres altogether and an increase in the number of lots from 102 to 152.
"All the neighbors surrounding this area are against this," Darrell Lambert, who lives in the 11900 block of Upper Manatee River Road, told county commissioners about Raven Crest, in the 11700 block of Upper Manatee River Road.
"The development coming in is going to affect the lifestyle of all of us," he said, noting that on his property, he has seen panthers, sandhill cranes and many other types of wildlife.
He said he didn't even object to the development itself, just the increase from 31 to 38 lots.
"It just boils down to money, could be a quarter million, half million dollars in this guy's pocket, but think about the residents here, and how it's going to affect our lives."
Neighbors of the Rye Road Subdivision, near Rye Road and Waterline Road, complained that the project was incompatible with their agricultural lifestyles.
Tina Lundy, of 15800 block of Waterline Road, said her parents had bought property there almost 60 years ago, and she has lived there 47 years.
"I don't know if you realize the disruption this will have to our way of life," she told the board.
She said her kids raise and show animals, and are ac
customed to a robust outdoor lifestyle.
"I hope you will reconsider this, and let us continue to do our agriculture-based opportunities," she said.
A number of the commissioners said they were sympathetic to the residents' plight, but when it came time to vote they were unanimous in favor of the developers.
Commissioner John Chappie said he was struggling with the broader issue of development disturbing such communities, saying, "These are nice little neighborhoods, on large lots -- it's a way of life."
Commissioner Vanessa Baugh said she had once enjoyed living on acreage in Virginia.
"I sympathize with the homeowners that are here today," said Baugh.
Those who buy in the subdivision will be looking for the type of life those already living there already enjoy, she said.
"Development happens," she added.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.