County postpones Terra Ceia decision

BRADENTON — Because of notification errors, the Manatee County Commission voted Tuesday to continue the public hearing on a Terra Ceia Island development proposal.

The public hearing will be held at 5:30 p.m. May 12.

Assistant County Attorney Sarah Schenk told the commission the March 24 and Tuesday’s meetings were not properly advertised, which could have an affect on some property owners’ due process rights.

Local attorney Jim Dye, who represent developer Terra Ceia Vest LLC, said his client would not object to a continuation.

“We recognize there is a flaw (in the notification process),” Dye said to the commissioners.

More than 30 island residents attended the meeting Tuesday, ready to speak for and against the proposed gated subdivision of 35 homes on less than 1 acre lots each in the center of the north county community, but now will have to wait.

The Terra Ceia Island Development Focus Group, an organization of island property owners and residents, hired St. Petersburg attorney Thomas Reese to represent them at the public hearing on the site plan approval of the Estates on Tillet Bayou development.

Reese, who wrote commission Chairwoman Gwen Brown a letter dated Saturday outlining the group’s request for a postponement because of the notification errors, asked the commission Tuesday include all of the island residents when sending out letters about the rescheduled meeting, and not only those required in the code.

Schenk said the code allows the commission to extend the area of notification and interim director of the county Planning Department, John Osborne, said his staff will attempt to notify as many people as possible.

Commissioner Joe McClash asked the planning department staff to include in the agenda information for the new meeting the stipulations the commission approved in October.

“The action we took in October was legal,” McClash said.

After the meeting, Reese said the facts on which the board based their October decision have not changed.