When a major development gets approved in Cortez with the support of the locals, you know something’s different.
Hunters Point Resort & Marina, along with two other projects, won key approvals during Thursday’s land use meeting, with Commissioner Charles Smith absent from the dais.
The Cortez project — which includes 86 homes, a resort and amenities on 18 acres surrounded by a canal — by Mirabella developer Marshall Gobuty won the hearts of commissioners and staff alike. The 494-square-foot “Cracker”-style homes will be built with LEED certification in mind, and each will come with a Tesla car.
According to staff, it met the code and comprehensive plan and, Commissioner Betsy Benac said, “It’s cool.”
“I think it’s way cool, too,” said county principal planner Margaret Tusing.
Some concerns were brought up about mangrove trimming and the ownership of the canal (the landowner owns the bottomlands because the canal was constructed by uplands), but Gobuty and attorney Caleb Grimes said they would not cut the tops of the mangroves or have any objections to nearby homeowners who wanted to make improvements on their docks.
Commissioners also unanimously supported Benderson Development’s wishes to amend a development order for Cooper Creek, which already boasts two hotels, several shopping centers and homes north of University Parkway. The DRI, or development of regional impact, intends to be built out with 150 more hotel rooms, 200,034 square feet of space for office use or school, 135,033 square feet for commercial and 250 more multi-family homes.
While the new diverging diamond interchange was lauded for easing traffic at that intersection on University Parkway, especially during the busy holiday season, some residents of University Park expressed concern about creating more traffic on Cooper Creek Boulevard.
One said there are close calls at the intersection of Honore Avenue almost every day.
The tension came to a head toward the end of the meeting, but issues about traffic and stormwater drainage related to the possible 600-home Taylor Morrison project off of Honore just west of Evers Reservoir didn’t stop a comprehensive plan amendment from being approved by a vote of 4-2, with Commissioners Robin DiSabatino and Vanessa Baugh dissenting.
“I can’t justify going against (my constituents’) fears and knowing of something they deal with every day,” Baugh said. A resident who lives in nearby Mote Ranch said his property flooded during the no-name storm, and he believes the development will make it worse.
The property, owned by the city of Bradenton, was at one point zoned for six units per acre, and then public/semi-public. The city, intending to sell it to the developer, needs the 200-acre property to be zoned for three units per acre.
“Is this really the best for our citizens when we really need to explore purchasing land and setting aside land for drainage and avoid FEMA being drawn into the equation every time there is a storm?” DiSabatino asked.
The city is selling the land to Taylor Morrison for $10.5 million.
Bradenton City Administrator Carl Callahan reminded commissioners that the city half of Jiggs Landing was formerly their property and they’ve made sure to conserve other wetlands near the project site.
“We feel like we’ve been pretty good partners in making this a good area,” he said.
The project will have to return for commissioners to consider a rezone and general development plan.