PALMETTO -- State agencies have reviewed Palmetto's request for text and map amendments to its comprehensive plan to change the zoning on property at the Bradenton Area Convention Center. The agencies expressed no objection to changing zoning from public services facility to planned community.
The review, required by Florida statute, opens the door to accommodate Manatee County's request to redesignate 13.6 acres of public service property to match 7 acres of planned community property in order to build a 250-room hotel at the convention center site.
A feasibility study performed five years prior called for a 250-room hotel: "to capture the significant share of the projected available market and generate a room demand as a result of a strong in-house marketing program aimed at conventions, meetings and other group-type activities."
The county approached the city in September to rezone county-owned property and the commission transmitted the proposed amendments to the state for review although several unresolved commissioner concerns could be raised again at Monday's meeting.
Among those concerns was
language allowing "lodging" within planned community developments. Commissioners said the text amendment would affect all community zones in the city, including riverfront areas, and they did not want residential or condominium developments springing up where city officials would prefer they do not.
Commissioners asked the language be changed from lodging to hotels/motels to address the convention site. According to a summary prepared last month and submitted to the state for review, the language pertaining to "lodging" was not changed.
"The text amendment would allow for the inclusion of lodging where deemed appropriate government facilities, such as cultural facilities, i.e. convention or civic center," states the report, as well as "Add lodging as a permitted use," but required a definition of lodging.
"It's not a big deal for us," said Lisa Barrett, Manatee County planning and section manager. "The original language may have been sent by the city by accident. Palmetto will have to approve all of that because it will go through their planning process. If this gets approved, all it means for the county is that we can begin to look for someone who wants to do the construction and, once there is a site plan, it will go through the city's planning process."
Palmetto Planner Debra Woithe confirmed the misunderstanding Friday, saying the language in some of the documents sent to the state was more of a city concern and didn't need to be changed to accommodate the state review.
"It was changed in the text amendment ordinance and that is the final document," she said. "If approved Monday, it will create new zoning that allows for development that is consistent with the new codes. The county owns that property so, like any other property owner can come to the city with a development plan within those new codes, we remain the permitting agency because it's property within city limits."
An approval at the 7 p.m. Monday meeting at Palmetto City Hall will officially open the door for the county to send out a request for proposal to developers. But a potentially lengthy planning process requiring future public hearings will determine the eventual scope of a proposed project on the site that will satisfy the county as the property owner, and the city as the permitting jurisdiction.
The only significant comment from any reviewing agency came from the Florida Department Transportation, which noted a traffic study may need to be included in future site plan proposals. That's good news to city officials, who have been in talks with FDOT about addressing traffic concerns around the convention center.
Mark Young, Herald urban affairs reporter, can be reached at 941-7457041 or follow him on Twitter @urbanmark2014.