When Verlin Troyer arrived at Manatee County’s Building and Development Services annex in Ellenton on Thursday afternoon, his permits were ready for him.
Typically, Troyer, who works for CMP Inc. and is doing projects for Southeastern Guide Dogs in Palmetto, has to drive to downtown Bradenton. But from now on, Troyer will be able to stay north of the Manatee River, saving him an hour and a half.
“It’s much more convenient,” he said sitting in the lobby of Manatee County’s new Building and Development Services annex in Ellenton. “It’s close. Downtown is busy.”
Customers like Troyer are who county officials had in mind when they decided to open the North River Annex at 5030 U.S. 301 in Ellenton. The building’s hours will be 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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“This is an opportunity that we’ve seized,” John Barnott, the county’s building and development services director, said before a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday. “It allows us to get closer to our customers and a lot of our customers have said, ‘Yes, we are going to go there.’”
All permitting, planning, development and review services offered at the downtown building will be offered at the new facility, which officially opens to the public Tuesday, according to a news release.
Formerly a Manatee County Sheriff Office substation, the commission in May approved the $332,736 renovation of the building, which is owned by the state, as a way to better serve customers. There is no rental cost for the Ellenton location, according to county documents.
“There were no tax dollars used on renovations of this building,” Barnott said, adding that the funding came from Building and Development Services fees.
The Ellenton location is step one, Barnott said.
“Step two is I am going to aggressively attempt to locate a place in east county also so we can continue to provide a level of service to our customers that is expected,” he said. “We’re going east next.”
Several county commissioners gathered at the new annex for a ceremonial ribbon cutting Thursday afternoon.
“It is great to see planning and development this far east,” Commission Chairwoman Betsy Benac said. “As we know, we’ve got a lot of growth coming in east county. Downtown Bradenton will always be there. The center of government will always be there but it is good to be where your customers are.”