MANATEE -- A new development featuring "new urbanism" design elements is coming to East Manatee.
The 158-unit residential project called Westport, which includes two lot sizes and housing types, was approved by the Manatee County Commission on Thursday.
The development would be built on 43.74 acres south of State Road 70, on the east and west sides of 37th Street East and north of 39th Street East.
"We believe this is very ripe for development and this type of development," said Donald Neu, the agent for the property owner. "This is truly an infill development."
Some residents in the neighboring Garden Lakes community have expressed concerns about the development's potential impact on traffic and the Pearce Canal.
Traffic, erosion along the Pearce Canal and the removal of oak trees were among the issues Annette Dimon, president of the Garden Lakes Community Association, brought up during the meeting.
"The traffic on those roads is really getting to be more and more and it's only going to get worse," Dimon said.
The project is less dense than a project previously approved for the property, which translates into less traffic, Neu said.
Westport is estimated to generate 158 peak hour trips
compared with the 337 trips generated under a project previously approved.
"That is less than half of the impact of traffic," Neu said.
Since the property is adjacent to a perennial stream -- in this case, the Pearce Drain/Gap Creek -- and has habitable structures within the 25-year floodplain, the commission had to grant special approval Thursday.
While the primary tributary of this watershed runs through the project, Westport, as with any new development along the Pearce Drain, is required to provide "attenuation of runoff for the 25-year/24-hour storm event, floodplain mitigation and demonstration of no adverse impact," according to the county's presentation.
"The Westport project will also provide stormwater retention areas and floodplain compensation volume," according to the presentation.
A representative for the development said Thursday they are not adversely affecting the watershed.
Manatee County maintains the Pearce Drain, with the primary emphasis on maintaining "the free-flow of drainage," according to the presentation.
In the past five years, county operations staff has completed 52 service requests on Pearce Drain in the vicinity of the Westport project and Garden Lakes.
As a way to provide detailed water quality and water quantity modeling, Manatee County has submitted a Cooperative Funding Initiative application for the Pearce Drain/Gap Creek Watershed, which could be approved for funding this summer and become effective fiscal year 2017. The agreement would have to be approved by the commission.
Claire Aronson, Manatee County reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024. Follow her on Twitter @Claire_Aronson.