MANATEE — A show of force by Tara residents got the result they wanted: An advisory board’s recommendation that no development be allowed at the southwestern corner of the community’s entrance.
The Manatee County Planning Commission today voted 6-1 to not allow development on the 3.3-acre parcel at the southwestern corner of State Road 70 and Tara Boulevard. In the same vote, the board endorsed other changes that developer Tara-Manatee Inc. was seeking to the 30-year-old project.
More than 150 residents, most wearing red shirts, rode two charter buses and packed the board’s meeting room in opposition to the developer’s request for the ability to build commercial space on the parcel. The site now is undeveloped, with mature trees and a wetland, and is zoned for residences.
Residents said any development on the site will lead to traffic problems and reduce their property values. They also said it could worsen flooding, result in more traffic accidents and veers from the development’s original plan.
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“This is the wrong thing in the wrong place,” Tara resident Cathy Wooley said.
But the developer’s attorney, engineer and other representatives said the site meets the county’s criteria for commercial space. They also questioned why county planners recommended denial and keeping the parcel’s residential zoning.
“To say this parcel is appropriate for residential is far-fetched,” said Patricia Petruff, the developer’s attorney.