MANATEE -- After hearing concerns from neighboring residents, a preliminary site plan for 24 lots for single-family attached residences in Palma Sola gained the support of the Manatee County Planning Commission on Thursday.
Located on the north side of Cortez Road, approximately one-quarter mile west of Palma Sola Boulevard, the proposed Rinascita Phase II project was recommended for approval by the planning commission Thursday and will go to the county commission for final approval Jan. 7.
The project, which is by Stone Creek Homes LLC, would be built on 4.78 acres and have no wetland impacts. At 42 percent open space, the development would have 0.44 acres for recreational amenities, which could include "a pool, pool house, clubhouse or nature trail," according to agenda materials.
In 2004, the county commission approved a preliminary site plan for 44 multi-family units on the site but the approval has expired.
Some residents in the Rinascita Phase I expressed concerns that the smaller lots will decrease their home values. They also expressed reservations about shared road access with the new project and problems with the homeowners association.
"Why are they building more houses when they can't sell the four that they have right now?" said Christine Pournaros. "I'm just opposed to having more buildings built when they can't afford to keep our maintenance up and use our roads. They need to use their own entrance and use their own road and not ours."
Dannie Raines, who also lives in the first phase, said when they bought their home in August 2014, they were not made aware that there was going to be a second phase that would directly affect the first phase.
"The 24 proposed homes on the parcel are considerably smaller than the existing homes in our development," Raines said Thursday, reading from a letter he submitted to the county. "A community must have conformity and commonality to protect the investment of homeowners. To allow these much smaller homes to be an extension of Rinascita would adversely affect the value of our existing homes."
While Sia Maleknasri said he doesn't have any issue with developing the site, the smaller homes would have significant impact on the values of existing homes.
"It is going to erode the value of our homes and erode the tax base of the county," he said. "That development is going to be at our expense. They are going to be using infrastructure that we put in place."
In response to the neighboring residents' concerns, the developer agreed Thursday to a temporary construction easement along Cortez Road.
Also on Thursday, the planning commission elected Bill Conerly, the board's current chairman, to continue in that role in 2016. Timothy Rhoades will be the planning commission first vice-chairman with Albert Horrigan serving as second vice-chairman and Matthew Bower serving as the third vice-chairman,
Claire Aronson, Manatee County reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024. Follow her on Twitter@Claire_Aronson.