MANATEE -- Manatee County government and developer Pat Neal have negotiated a sewer agreement that removes a stumbling block to Neal's proposed Villages of Amazon South project on Moccasin Wallow Road near U.S. 301.
Neal is seeking approvals to build 1,999 residential units and 60,000 square feet of commercial or office space near the Hillsborough County line and the 1 million-square-foot Amazon fulfillment center being developed in Ruskin.
But Neal balked at building a 24-inch sewer line next to an existing 16-inch line to serve his Villages project.
The proposed line would be out of proportion to the needs at Villages of Amazon South, Neal said.
The new agreement allows Neal to pay to connect to an existing sewer line that serves the Parrish area, making it possible for those homes to be built, said county spokesman Nick Azzara.
"Meanwhile, county legal staff, planners and consultants continue to work on finalizing the total build out costs for infrastructure in the Parrish area over coming months. Once they arrive at a total figure, private sector applicants -- including the Villages of Amazon -- will be required to pay impact fees for the infrastructure costs. Those fees will be based on a per unit figure," Azzara wrote in an email.
Sia Mollanazar, deputy director of Manatee County public works engineering services, previously told the Herald that local government must look at all the communities and developments feeding into area treatment plants.
With more than 7,000 homes planned by developers along Moccasin Wallow Road, an area which until
now has seen scant development, planning for sewer infrastructure assumes more urgency.
As an example of how developers would share the costs of sewer lines, Azzara offered that if 10,000 homes can be built in the area, a developer building 1,000 homes would be responsible for 10 percent of the overall infrastructure costs.
Neal said that he is encouraged by the agreement, and noted that his company will be spending millions of dollars to extend sewer lines to the Villages of Amazon South.
"If I bring the sewer line one mile to the Villages of Amazon South, I will bring it past hundreds of acres I don't own," he said.
When the owners of that property decide to develop their land, they will be responsible for paying for their share of the cost of the sewer extension, Neal said.
"I am very anxious to proceed," Neal said of Villages of Amazon South.
A January of 2015 start of construction is forecast, Neal said.
At the Ruskin location, Amazon employees will send smaller-sized items, such as books, electronics and consumer goods, according to an Amazon press release. Amazon is also building a 1 million-square-foot facility in Lakeland where larger items such as kayaks and televisions will be packed and shipped.
"We look forward to offering more than 1,000 full-time jobs with comprehensive benefits at our new fulfillment centers in Hillsborough County and Lakeland, Florida," said Mike Roth, Amazon's vice president of North America operations, in a press release.
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee reporter, can be contacted at 941-745-7053 or on Twitter @jajones1.