MANATEE -- After more than 10 Parrish residents objected Thursday to a proposed development in their neighborhood, developer Carlos Beruff tweaked his plans for the project, addressing some of the residents' concerns.
The lack of a second entrance, location of the lift station, high density and possible commercial uses in an otherwise residential area were among the complaints.
In response, Beruff agreed to a second entrance to the development and to moving the lift station during a Manatee County Commission meeting Thursday, thereby easing some of the residents' and some commissioners' concerns.
Despite objections from neighboring Chelsea Oaks about the commercial uses, commissioners approved by 6-1 vote a rezone request to planned development mixed use and a general development plan for 55.19 acres on the northeast corner of Mulholland Road and Fort Hamer Road with Commissioner Robin DiSabatino dissenting.
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The GDP has two options: one calling for 156 lots for single family semidetached residences and a 3-acre neighborhood retail or office site, and the second calling for 164 lots for single family semidetached residences.
"It's the only thing not developed in the area," said Scott Rudacille, attorney for the developer. "This is a rapidly developing area of the county. This is an infill project, which is encouraged by your (Comprehensive Plan)."
Chelsea Oaks resident Mark Scott urged commissioners to take the "hard road" and make the applicant submit a revised application. Not one public comment was made in support of the project in its current form.
"I think there is a better way of doing it," Scott said. "I'm not against housing being built. I am just against things impacting another community that's already been there and the people that live there."
Chelsea Oaks residents met with the developer since the planning commission meeting in September, and Jennifer Glick, a Chelsea Oaks resident, said they did not see eye to eye.
"We didn't come up with something that could be changed," she said.
While Beruff added the second entrance, removed the interneighborhood tie to Chelsea Oaks and moved the lift station Thursday, he would not budge on the commercial component, saying commercial has changed.
"We need to look out that far and not necessarily tomorrow but 10 years from now," Beruff said, adding the market will determine whether 30,000 square feet of commercial will be built.
Beruff said they will file for permits for the residential component within 60 to 90 days.
"Thank you to the developer for making these changes," Commissioner Vanessa Baugh said. "I think it is a good sign when the two sides can meet halfway in the middle on some things."
Commission Chairwoman Betsy Benac said there has been concern the North Central Overlay District, where the development is located, is not conducive to commercial development.
"I do question the ability to actually develop this intersection with commercial," she said.
Margi Dawson, who has lived in Chelsea Oaks eight years, brought a petition with 500 signatures from residents countywide who oppose the project.
"There should not be any commercial on this land," she said, adding there is more than enough retail and commercial space 2 miles away on U.S. 301.
Fellow Chelsea Oaks resident Christine Ferkovich told the commissioners she considers the area where the development is proposed as a buffer zone.
"Our conservation easement and enjoyment of wildlife is going to be greatly impacted," she said. "It's a very small wetland wildlife habitat, and I think it would be a shame to ruin it by putting residential or commercial. ... Let us retain this small buffer in between our properties."
The commission also:
Instructed county staff and the County Attorney's Office to send a letter to the city of Bradenton to file an objection about a proposed annexation of a 9.46-acre property at 1016 64th St. Court E. Commissioners expressed concerns about lack of information. The motion passed 6-1 with Commissioner Larry Bustle dissenting.
Approved a plan amendment removing the "minimum square footage requirement for industrial development and the removal of the number of housing units to square footage of non-residential development requirement," for a 6,595-acre Schroeder-Manatee Ranch property east of Lorraine Road and north of State Road 70 known as the Northeast Quadrant, according to county documents.
Discussed a letter sent by Southwest Florida Water Management District about its intent to withdraw its membership in the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program. "The District will consider rescinding this notice of intent to withdraw if the SBEP Policy Board agrees to participate in an operational and compliance audit to assess ongoing issues within the SBEP," according to the letter.
Claire Aronson, Manatee County reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024. Follow her on Twitter@Claire_Aronson.