As Manatee County continues working toward encouraging redevelopment along its urban corridors, all the pieces of the puzzle are starting to come together, a county official said Thursday.
On Thursday, those pieces were incorporating a Complete Streets section in the county’s Public Works Highway and Traffic Standards Manual as well having the first public hearing on Land Development Code amendments for six urban corridors. The amendments for these corridors — U.S. 41, 15th Street East, 53rd Avenue/State Road 70, Cortez Road, Manatee Avenue and First Street — are set to be approved by the commission during a public hearing at 6 p.m. Nov. 15.
“A win-win for all. That’s what we are out for,” said John Barnott, the county’s building and development services director.
Now with the complete streets section, the county will be able to incorporate this design, which is for all users including motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, into roadways and promote other modes of transportation other than driving, according to Matthew West, a consultant with Littlejohn Engineering Associates.
“It is good for the health of the community,” he said during Thursday’s Land Use meeting.
It’s time to have options, Commissioner Betsy Benac said.
“If we could have safer, more attractive roadways to accommodate all modes of travel, I’m completely in support of it,” she said.
While the urban corridor amendments in the Land Development Code are still a few weeks before going into effect, commissioners spoke in support of the changes Thursday. These changes come after amendments to the county’s Comprehensive Plan were adopted in September.
“I think this is a great start,” Commissioner Carol Whitmore said. “There are certain parts of this area that are tired.”
The amendments are moving Manatee County in a forward direction, creating a new landscape, Commissioner Robin DiSabatino said.
“This is just creating a new pathway to put us on the road map for the future,” she said. “I think this is the shot in the arm that we need to bring the millennials in.”
Benac added: “We are doing this as an incentive to try to get a different development pattern.”
While only focused on the urban corridors now, a work session has been scheduled for Dec. 6 so the commission can discuss more changes to the code, according to Barnott.
“We will be addressing that countywide,” he said.
Once adopted, Geri Lopez, the director of the county’s redevelopment and economic opportunity department, said she will talk to developers to see whether there are additional incentives that are needed to get these redevelopment projects going.
“These standards and these amendments today absolutely set the foundation for attracting that urban investment that we want for our urban corridors,” she said.
Also on Thursday, the commission:
- Approved a rezone and preliminary site plan for 306 multi-family residential units that will be built on approximately 59.68 acres located on the south side of Moccasin Wallow Road, approximately 1.75 miles east of the Interstate 75/Moccasin Wallow Road interchange. The development is called The Floridian at Moccasin.
- Approved a rezone to Planned Development Residential/Watershed Protection Evers/Special Treatment Overlay Districts zoning district and a preliminary site plan for 139 single-family detached residences. The homes will be built on 41.43 acre site located on the west side of Lorraine Road and north of State Road 70.