A nearly 360-acre swath of farmland in Cortez will begin transformation into a waterfront community called Peninsula Bay.
During Thursday’s land use meeting, the Manatee County Commission unanimously approved the general development plan and rezoning request to planned development mixed use for the project, which will be built on the largest remaining undeveloped property on the Cortez Peninsula.
“Sometimes change is good, and I think this is one of the times,” Commission Chairwoman Vanessa Baugh said.
Peninsula Bay will be built on 359 acres owned by Whiting Preston’s Manatee Fruit Co., north of Cortez Road, east and west of 115th Street West and south of Palma Sola. The project calls for 1,950 residential units, 90,000 square feet of nonresidential uses, a dry storage marina for 200 boats and a boat ramp.
“People want to enjoy the beauty that is there,” Preston said. “That’s really what we are looking at in this community. ... This is a vision that we had.”
Similar to the July planning commission meeting, traffic conditions on Cortez Road were among the main concerns of some of the residents who spoke Thursday.
For Carl Marino, who lives adjacent to where Peninsula Bay will be built, Cortez Road is a bottleneck.
“It is just going to make the nightmare a bigger nightmare,” he said. “We would like to see some kind of plan, some sort of traffic easement solution.”
Longboat Key resident Larry Grossman said the commission will have to take some innovative measures to address the traffic congestion.
“You need to break away from the mold,” he said. “You call this infill development. I call this coastal crowding.”
The size of the boat ramp was a top concern for Parrot Cove Marina owner Bob Gertz.
“I think the boat ramp is way too big for this location,” he said.
This is the second of Preston’s developments approved within the last two years. In August 2015, the county commission approved a general development plan for Lake Flores, a 1,322-acre mixed -use community that will bring 6,500 homes, 500 hotel rooms and millions of square feet of retail and commercial space.
Also on Thursday, the commission:
- Approved a rezone to Planned Development Residential/Coastal High Hazard/Coastal Evacuation Area and a preliminary site plan for 38 homes on a 19.6-acre property located on the south side of 17th Avenue Northwest and east of 99th Street Northwest. The project is Neal Communities’ Tides End. The adjacent Palma Sola Botanical Park voiced some concerns with the development abutting the park during Thursday’s meeting.
- Termination of the Local Development Agreement for Long Bar Pointe in the second of two required public hearings as a result of the settlement agreement approved by the commission in April. “The settlement relates to a lawsuit filed in 2013 concerning transportation conditions in a 2004 site plan for a portion of Long Bar Pointe,” according to agenda materials. The commission also approved amendments to the site plan for the project and final authorization of Road Impact Fee Credit for $1.1 million.
- Approved a Master Development Plan for Tropicana. The plan is for a total of 4 million square feet of manufacturing and accessory uses, which includes the existing 2.2 million-square-foot facility, on a 175.94-acre site located north of U.S. 301, east of Ninth Street East, west of 15th Street East and south of 13th Avenue East.
- Approved a rezone to Planned Development Residential and a preliminary site plan for 172 lots for single-family detached residences on the east side of Ellenton-Gillette Road and south of Amlong Road in Palmetto.
- Approved a rezone to Planned Development Mixed Use for a 8.5-acre property located on the north side of University Parkway and west of Shade Avenue for a 200-bed Assisted Living Facility.