What can you do with an average annual wage of $40,915 in Manatee County? You probably cannot afford to live in zip code 34203 where the median home is priced at $259,000, according to Realtor.com, which equals a monthly mortgage in the amount of $965.46. For a single wage household, that equals 36 percent of a monthly net salary; a hefty burden for a single wage earner. Additional household expenses make it more unaffordable.
Now, the city of Bradenton has successfully moved its application for a comprehensive plan amendment for 200 acres near Evers Reservoir to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity for study under the Expedited Review process (see Manatee County 17-10ESR). The application, essentially, requests the future land use be changed from public/reservoir within Watershed Protection Evers to residential so that TaylorMorrison can develop up to 600 residential units.
Everyone agrees that the sale of the parcel will provide needed funds to Bradenton, and the potential to generate new property tax revenue will be a boom for Manatee County. However, the 15 people who testified at the Nov. 2 county commissioners meeting and the thousands who signed petitions, think it is a bust.
The common concerns from the public are traffic and the environment. Despite Manatee County Planning Commission’s position that traffic studies show that traffic levels near the reservoir are below the levels the roads were designed for, design does not always translate into reality. The planning commission should educate itself on theories of design defect and obsolescence.
In an ironic twist, the land purchase price of $10.5 million equals $17,500 per planned home, which is 42 percent of an average annual wage in Manatee County. The city’s decision to scrap the reservoir zoning was, in part, because of the “higher cost of construction.”