Residential development near Robinson Preserve in NW Bradenton taking shape

skennedy@bradenton.comJuly 22, 2013 

MANATEE -- The Robinson family last year sold 150 acres of its northwest Bradenton land for an expansion of the popular Robinson Preserve, but the family retained 50 acres where a project is now in the early stages of development.

The as-yet unnamed residential development along the southeast edge of the preserve envisions 50 units on 50 acres, according to developer, John Neal Homes.

"We'll be breaking some ground from an ecology standpoint," said John Neal, company president. "This will be a boutique subdivision, smaller than we normally do, but it'll feature ecological plantings from the preserve.

"These will be larger family homes, and I think that most of the buyers will be people who already live somewhere in northwest Bradenton," he said. "I think we'll draw them out of older homes, either because their families are getting bigger or they're looking for something more modern."

Plans for the project at 898 99th St. NW have been submitted for county approval, he said.

No date has been set for review by the Planning Commission, an advisory body to the Manatee County Commission, he said.

Some homes will face directly toward the preserve's green expanse, said Charlie Hunsicker, county director of natural resources, who worked with Neal on the plans.

The development will feature concepts that benefit the environment, Hunsicker said.

It will include "bio swales," or as Neal calls them, "rain gardens," so all stormwater runoff treatment is done inside housing development boundaries, said Hunsicker.

"It is a better feature for nutrient control and uptake, when it comes to keeping water in the development clean, and any waters that come into the preserve," said Hunsicker.

The development will also feature high-quality landscaping, he said.

"This development, I've been told, will incorporate many of the native landscape plantings that we have incorporated at Robinson Preserve, so that from a landscape perspective, the two areas will look very similar," said Hunsicker.

The development site is located in a coastal high hazard area prone to flooding, Hunsicker said. But Neal is not asking to build more homes than county regulations allow.

"Because they aren't increasing that density, the regulations governing coastal high hazards apply, but not to prohibit the development at the existing density," Hunsicker said. "Along with that, of course, all units there will have to be elevated among the final elevations of our flood code. They can put homes on stilts or raise them up -- their plan is to raise the elevations of all properties and roads out of the flood plain."

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

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