An emergency access gate located between two East Manatee developments, which has been the center of a debate for several years, will be removed.
Following applicant Mandarin Development Inc’s request, as well as the county staff’s recommendation, the Manatee County Commission on Thursday approved eliminating the emergency access on Meeting Street, which is between Riva Trace and University Place developments.
“This gate has been a pain for everybody,” Commissioner Carol Whitmore said.
When the emergency access point is closed and made into a landscape buffer within the next 90 days, there will only be one access point to the Riva Trace development. But residents say that 63 percent of Riva Trace households wanted the emergency access point closed.
“It’s impractical to have it,” said Jack Otto, president of the Riva Trace Homeowners Association. “Other kind of traffic? Yes, we get other kind of traffic. We want it stopped. We don’t want it opened. We want it closed off permanently.”
Some residents spoke in opposition to the closure during Thursday’s meeting.
“It’s a critical need considering the situation you are only looking at one way in and one way out that does have the potential to be blocked,” Riva Trace resident Bob Bolous said.
Commissioner Priscilla Whisenant Trace said she was surprised by the 63 percent figure.
“It can come back to haunt you one day,” she said. “You all live there, I don’t. I really am hesitant about letting this go because personally I think it’s a bad move.”
Also on Thursday, the commission:
- Extended the agreement between Manatee County and Manatee County Sheriff’s Office for the red-light camera program for four years. A work session will be set in the next few months to review the program, according to agenda materials.
- Extended the development agreement with Improvement Network Development Partners Inc. for a hotel in Palmetto by 29 days.
- Approved a general development plan for Stonegate Preserve, which would be a mixed-use project with 791 residential units, a community center and a private school or daycare on 414.9 acres located on the south side of Buckeye Road and west of Interstate 75.
- Approved a general development plan for Lorraine Corners Northeast, which calls for a maximum of 220 residential uses and a maximum of 573,500 square feet of non-residential uses. With the approval, the applicant LWR Commerce Park LLC could instead do a “combination of residential, commercial and office uses not exceeding the maximum thresholds of a combined project,” according to agenda materials. The site is 67.94 acres north of State Road 70, south of 59th Avenue East, east of Lorraine Road and west of Post Boulevard.