MYAKKA -- Manatee County Commissioners denied a request from a developer to rezone property in Myakka for commercial use.
The commissioners voted 5-to-2 to reject the request by property owner Thomas Howze saying commercial rezoning was not a fit for the area.
"It's not compatible with neighborhood at this time," said Commissioner Carol Whitmore.
Commissioner Vanessa Baugh motioned to deny the zoning change, and Commissioners Whitmore, John Chappie, Michael Gallen and Robin DiSabatino backed Baugh.
Never miss a local story.
Commissioners Besty Benac and Larry Bustle voted in favor of the defeated proposal.
"I didn't hear anything that doesn't comply with our comprehensive plan," Bustle said. "We need to stand to our plan or change it."
Roughly 15 Myakka residents came with their children. They shouted and clapped with approval at the vote.
Tony Gmeinder, a Myakka resident who spoke against the zoning change during public comment, said he was happy with the commissioners' decision.
"They did listen and did their job," said Gmeinder. "They saw it was not time for that."
He and two residents, including Valerie Finnegan, pleaded with county commissioners not to allow the change. Finnegan presented a 10-minute slide show with pictures to drive her point home.
"In our community we want to keep the stars, the clouds, the nature," she said.
Residents said they feared the zoning change could bring an unwanted store or plaza to the area, which would disturb their rural way of life.
"We don't want to get stuck with a big (convenience) or big grocery store that's grossly lit," said Gmeinder, who said he moved his family to the area five years ago for the country lifestyle.
Misty Servia, spokesperson for Howze, a planning development manager, had little to say after the denial.
"It was disappointing," she said "Their decision was disappointing."
Servia didn't detail what Howze wanted to build on his Myakka property, but said it would have been for "neighborhood servicing commercial uses."
She said she is going to work with her client on future plans for the property.
Janey Tate, city of Bradenton and Palmetto reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. You can follow her on Twitter at Janey_Tate.