MANATEE -- Twin Rivers residents wearing matching red shirts with "Protect Our Homes" across the front came to the Manatee County Planning Commission meeting Thursday to try to do just that.
A proposal to increase the number of single family homes built in the development in Parrish by 330, which would also increase the density, angered the residents who said they were attracted to the neighborhood because of the large lot sizes of at least a half acre.
After more than an hour and a half public hearing, the planning commission recommended denying the proposal to increase the number of lots to a total of 880. The county commission will consider the proposal in a public hearing April 2. There is no proposed change in zoning or approved land use but simply increasing the number of units.
"In looking at what has been stated and what has been given to us in the documents, I think the potential for option b does change the look and feel of the current Twin Rivers," planning Commissioner Timothy Rhoades said.
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Planning commission Chairman Bill Conerly voted against the motion to recommend denying the proposal since the county staff had already recommended approval.
"It does meet the Comprehensive Plan," he said. "I have to judge it by requirements presented to us."
Ron McClure, who said he moved with his wife to Manatee County three years ago, said large lot sizes were at the top of their wish list.
"I'm being told in the middle of the game the rules are going to be changed because one team doesn't like how the game is going," he said, adding if people want patio homes, there are already other developments in the county with those type of homes.
Rhoda Grebe, who lives on the other side of Gamble Creek Road in an agricultural area, said the developer failed to take surrounding areas into account.
"There seems to be a trend in development that (developers) apply for an increase in density after they have been working in and filling their lots as originally planned," she said. "Now we have another development that's applying for increased density. This alarms me a little bit."
Peter Logan, president of Medallion Homes, which is building the development, said it was a complete surprise the applicant took this direction.
"The impact to the existing residents under current proposal will be damaging," he said. "The changes are incompatible and the collective damages of all impacted could be in the tens of millions of dollars."
Logan said Medallion Homes favors large lots.
"We would like to see that continuity because that's the program that we thought we were buying into," he said.
Caleb Grimes, who represents Gamble Creek LC, said the proposal would provide an alternative while maintaining the character of existing community.
"The look and feel of Twin Rivers is not even remotely affected," he said.
Claire Aronson, Manatee County reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Claire_Aronson.