Judge sides with northwest Bradenton neighbors in Robinson Farms case

skennedy@bradenton.comJuly 15, 2014 

MANATEE -- An administrative law judge has ruled in favor of neighbors of a proposed Robinson Farms subdivision in a case involving how many homes should be built on low-lying northwest Bradenton property.

Administrative Law Judge Bram D.E. Canter sided with neighbors Katie Pierola and Greg Geraldson in the case, which has taken a zig-zag route through the Manatee County Commission, the courts and even detoured past the governor and the Florida Cabinet.

The parties are seeking a decision about whether 20 low-lying acres of property should hold 20 or 38 homes. The property is between Ninth and 17th avenues northwest.

Thomas Reese, an attorney representing Pierola and Geraldson, said Monday that amendments to the Manatee County Comprehensive Plan -- which sets parame

ters for growth -- were not in compliance.

The amendments passed by the county commission last year were inconsistent with the Comp Plan, which prohibits any increase in residential density in certain low-lying areas, Reese said in a discussion about the judge's recommended order issued last week.

"We won again," he said.

The practical effect of the order would be to prevent the ordinance passed by the commission from becoming effective, and the map/text amendment would be as if it had not been adopted, wrote Sarah Schenk, assistant county attorney, in an email message to county commissioners.

She noted that county officials will be preparing and filing exceptions to the judge's recommended order, which, she emphasized, is not final.

Listed in the case are Pierola and Geraldson, petitioners; Manatee County, respondent, and Robinson Farms Inc., intervenor.

"We are still assessing this matter," Edward Vogler II, an attorney representing Robinson Farms, said Monday.

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

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