BRADENTON — The Bradenton City Council on Wednesday approved plans for a new Aldi discount grocery store on Cortez Road West. But a potential hangup is whether the company can work with stipulations that the company protect several trees on the property.
The approval was contingent on the company preserving a stand of oak trees on the east side of the property at 4705 Cortez Road, which formerly housed the Lone Star Steakhouse restaurant.
Under Aldi’s plans, several other trees on the property would be removed, but a company representative said the oak trees also needed to go to maximize the 16-929-square-foot store’s visibility on the busy thoroughfare.
But council members and other officials said Bradenton prides itself as a “tree city,” and other commercial developments along Cortez Road have been required to comply with tree preservation policies.
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“The customers will find you,” said council member Patrick Roff. “This is a great town, and one reason is our trees.”
Wylie Klyce, director of Florida real estate for Aldi, said the company was willing to contribute to a city fund used to replace trees affected by development, but he failed to sway the council. He said the company had planned to spend “millions and millions of dollars” on the project, with an estimated opening in 2010, but officials will now have to re-evaluate whether to continue with the project.
Another city stipulation encouraged Aldi to negotiate an agreement with Benderson Co., the owner of the adjacent Oakmont Terrace Shopping Center, on allowing access between two properties. Officials indicated a deal was near.
The council approved a special use permit for the store, with a 4-0 vote. Councilman Gene Gallo was absent because of illness.
In other business, the council, in identicial 4-0 votes:
n Cut in half — from four to two — the number of false alarms the police department will respond to before it starts charging property owners $100 for each false alarm.
Police Chief Michael Radzilowski said the proposal came out of an examination of the department’s workload. He said his officers respond to about 3,000 false alarm calls. Last year, there were 588 locations that had two false alarms, and another 558 had three false alarms.
There were two locations that had 17 false alarms each, Radzilowski said.
“These things are running us ragged,” he said.
Radzilowski said the new limits are intended not to generate revenue for the city, but to reduce officers’ workloads and to ensure that residents’ security systems are working properly. He said the department would not hold it against residents if security systems malfunction, for example, because of bad weather.
Fire Chief Mark Souders said false alarms do not cause his department similar problems because fire systems are usually required and thus must be regularly maintained.
n Approved spending $12,700 to board up the landmark, but dilapidated “Pink Palace” building in downtown Bradenton.
Volker Reiss, code compliance manager for the city, said he hopes Vacant Property Security Inc. of Tampa, will begin boarding up the 84-year-old Riverpark Hotel, 309 10th St. W., by the end of the month. About a half-dozen companies bid for the contract.
The city is fronting the money for the project, but it hopes to recoup its expenses by placing a lien on the property.
The Riverpark Hotel has been vacant for more than four years since Riverpark Grande Development Inc. purchased it for $3.5 million.
The company had plans to turn the building first into condominiums, then a luxury, boutique hotel. The building is affectionately called the Pink Palace because of its distinctive exterior paint color.
After many failed attempts because of the downturn in the economy to entice investors, the developer defaulted on a $2.625 million loan, leading Regions Bank to foreclose on the building in May.
Regions Bank officials said they had no plans to secure the property, so the city stepped in.
n Abolished a community development district that was to pay for infrastructure improvements in the Tidewater Preserve Community Development District.
The district petitioned the council to dissolve the taxing authority because of the lack of a market for CDD bonds, which would have been used to pay for infrastructure, said the district’s attorney, David Persson.
“The world has changed ... radically since 2006,” Persson told the council.
The district’s responsibilities — which up to now have largely been limited to maintaining the landscaping along 48th Street Court East, north of State Road 64 East, under an agreement with Manatee County — will be assumed by Tidewater’s master homeowners association.