After complaints from residents, the first hurdle to reverse the plan for pedestrian access from a planned commercial area to the Central Park at Lakewood Ranch subdivision passed the planning commission Thursday.
The development’s homeowner’s association sent a letter to Manatee County planner Rossina Leider in June about their concerns worries of having two access points that would lead to a grocery store’s loading dock and a parking lot. The pedestrian connections would have to go through a wall with a berm that already exists at this portion of the gated community, opened by Neal Communities in 2010.
“(The residents of Belvedere Terrace’s) concerns range from abduction of minors, children entering the loading dock unsupervised, and injuries from playing on the embankment that currently lies on either side of the wall,” the letter, signed by the association’s acting president David Sidnam, reads.
Sidnam goes further to add that only 50 of the 826 homes in the development would have reasonable access to the pedestrian connectivity points.
Changes to the general development plan also include swapping small amounts of acreage from one parcel to another. The applicant also asked to revise the zoning ordinance allow a maximum of 10 gasoline pumps, as opposed to the original six, in three of the parcels.
Katie LaBarr, with Stantec, Inc., said that while the developer has no set plans for gas stations on those locations, it creates a better opportunity for that option.
The planning commission voted in favor of the changes 5-0, with Commissioners Al Horrigan and Timothy Rhoades absent. Manatee County commissioners will hear the presentation on Nov. 2.
Planning commissioners also heard a presentation from Dwayne Guthrie, the Manatee County impact fee manager, on proposed ordinances that could change part of the Land Development Code and update definitions related to impact fees.
Impact fees are paid out by developers at the end of construction so the county is able to accept more people and jobs, and help pay for capital improvement projects for transportation, public safety, parks and libraries.
One of the ordinances looks to amend the Land Development Code’s Chapter 11, to allow for impact fees collected before April 18, 2016, to be used in incorporated areas of Manatee County.
Manatee County commissioners are set to hold public meetings on this topic on Nov. 2 and Dec. 7.
The new impact fee schedule goes into effect Nov. 13.