PARRISH -- A traffic straightaway could move closer to reality today when the Manatee County Commission takes action on acquiring property rights to relocate the intersection of U.S. 301 and Fort Hamer Road to the southwest.
Acceptance of a right-of-entry easement from Lydia Herrera at 12105 U.S. 301 N., Parrish, is on today's agenda. The easement would make it possible to direct traffic from developments near the Manatee River onto U.S. 301.
It also creates a ready thoroughfare for the proposed Fort Hamer bridge across to Lakewood Ranch should the U.S. Coast Guard OK the project later this summer.
"It's all part of the plan. I think it's going to be very nice and people will now start saying, 'When will you start building that bridge?' Once the bridge is built you're going to start seeing some fantastic things happen in Parrish," said County Commission Chairman Larry Bustle.
"If it's going to profit the community and not have any detriments, then great," said Civic Association President Tami Vaughn. "I would like to see more revitalization in Parrish."
Some business owners offered concerns about the action.
Parrish Storage owner Todd Reed owns commercial property at the intersection of Fort Hamer Road and U.S. 301.
"They've been planning on moving it to the west of 301 all the way to Moccasin Wallow, which gives it access to more county lands and gives a bypass to the village," Reed said. "A lot of the village people would not be very happy about this because it would take part of their lands."
Fort Hamer Road, which now curves into U.S. 301, is expected to become a dead end, said Bustle.
That will eliminate back access to Reed's property, which includes U-Haul truck rentals.
"People who are there at Fort Hamer Road, and used to coming in and out of there, can't do it any more, and anybody there now going to Todd's property is going to have to go out to 301," said engineer Marie Bradshaw of Bradshaw Construction.
"Anybody who is out in those subdivisions back there is going to just have to go into traffic for mini-storage as well, so it's going to impact him a lot. If mini-storage is not convenient, it isn't as successful."
Reed pointed to what happened to property recently zoned commercial near the new intersection.
"Now that land is for sale as commercial property," Reed said. "A lot changed because of the moving of Fort Hamer that previously was not commercial. I feel there's a bit of hanky-panky going on."
Kim and Carl Rhodes own C&K BBQ restaurant on Reed's property.
"They know their restaurant," Reed said. "Carl grew up in Parrish, and lot of their customers aren't just local. They come from greater distances. For people coming from the north-south route this is disappointing for them. The way the road is laid out now is not ideal, but it's pretty darn good."
The village of Parrish begins just west of the Herrera property and continues for several miles north. However, the county has designated a much wider area of the northwest county as the Parrish Overlay District for growth purposes.
There are zoning and infrastructure challenges to development in the qualitative differences between the two.
Dee Graham, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411, ext. 7024, or tweet @DeeGrahamBH.