MANATEE — Manatee County commissioners approved a commercial development for Tallevast on Tuesday despite opposition from residents who fear the move is just another blow to a community trying to bounce back from pollution and neglect.
“Tallevast has gone through enough,” resident Cassandra Brice said. “What else can you do to us?”
Commissioners voted 3-2 to rezone a 3-acre site on the northwest corner of U.S. 301 and Tallevast Road from suburban agriculture and light industrial to planned development commercial.
Commission Chairman Donna Hayes was not present for the vote, and Commissioner Gwen Brown did not vote because she was absent during the presentations. Commissioners Joe McClash and Carol Whitmore voted no.
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Covered Bridge Holdings II, LLC plans to build 23,378-square-feet of neighborhood commercial space, consisting of a fast-food restaurant, a retail building and a convenience store with gas pumps. The parcel is part of The Forum, a 37.7-acre light-industrial project that already has earned county approval.
About 10 residents attended Tuesday’s land-use meeting. They said the community is worried about the potential impact on a plume of contamination nearby at the site of a defunct beryllium plant owned by Lockheed Martin.
The residents also said the county has failed to follow through on promises to improve the community and raised concerns about increased truck traffic on an already congested Tallevast Road.
Brice said she fears for her grandson when he plays in her front yard, which is near Tallevast Road. Motorists do not obey the posted 25 mph speed limit, she said.
“Is it going to take one of our kids being hit or killed?” she asked.
Bill Merrill, the developer’s attorney, insisted the project will be good for Tallevast. He said the developer will build sidewalks in front of the property.
“We empathize with the neighbors. We know you do, too. ... But we did not create these issues,” Merrill told commissioners.
Timothy R. Wolfrum, Herald staff writer, can be reached at 745-7021.