Big planned Manatee County neighborhoods will cause traffic gridlock

March 27, 2014 

Last week the Herald published a letter expressing relief that the Long Bar Pointe developers, the county and the concerned citizens have reconciled.

I'm not sure what happened when I wasn't looking, but the term reconciliation is greatly exaggerated and premature.

What we do know is that the Manatee County commission approved a proposal to build 200 homes on a small parcel of the property, and there wasn't much of an outcry from the citizens who attended the meeting.

The developers are not sharing any future plans and their attorney left that an open issue.

Meanwhile, Manatee Fruit Farms has unveiled a grand proposal for its 1,300-1,600 acres and has intelligently invited citizen input.

But we are far from an agreement on a shared vision. What we do know is that MFF plans to build the largest development in the county, representing potential growth of about 10 percent of the population of all of Manatee County, and retail development that will be on a par with the mega-development near University Parkway and I-75, which creates traffic nightmares for the residents of Lakewood Ranch.

One of the unintended consequences of such ambitious plans is a threat of paid parking by the Anna Maria Island officials.

As a taxpaying citizen of Manatee County, I share the anger of those who have seen their tax money spent for beach improvements, who now discover that they might be charged to use those beaches.

However, the island residents live with seasonal gridlock now, and are wrestling with ways to maintain their endangered lifestyle. How much worse will it be when there are 30,000-50,000 new residents and shoppers 10 minutes (or two hours) away?

Bill Burggraf


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