Developers want to eliminate future Linger Lodge Road extension. Planning commission says no

A 33-acre property along the Braden River’s north bank, which was the focus of the Keep Woods opposition effort last year, was the subject of Thursday’s planning commission meeting.

Myarra Property Joint Venture LLC, which is affiliated with Neal Communities, is seeking that a future connection between Linger Lodge Road and Clubhouse Drive be eliminated from the county’s comprehensive plan. In a 4-2 vote, the planning commission followed county staff’s recommendation and recommended denial of the requested amendment.

“I don’t think cutting this road off is the best solution,” said planning commission member Paul Rutledge. “I don’t think that’s well thought out.”

This future connection was the reason for the county staff’s denial recommendation last year since the proposed two-lane thoroughfare was not included in the applicant’s preliminary site plans, making the proposal inconsistent with the comprehensive plan.

While the applicant is seeking the segment of Linger Lodge Road between 93rd Street East and 99th Street East to be deleted from the county plans, the county is reviewing an application for a rezone request and preliminary site plan for 32 single-family detached residences on the property, according to agenda materials.

“The proposed thoroughfare provides no public benefit,” said Rachel Layton with ZNS Engineering.

John Neal with Neal Communities said he thinks they are “protecting a paper road here.”

“The time for this road to be built has passed,” he said. “It’s in the public interest not to build this road.”

But with traffic volumes in the area expected to increase, this segment is “really the only viable alternative,” said Clarke Davis, the county’s transportation planning manager.

“This has been a good placeholder for the road,” he said. “You have essentially got thoroughfare dead ends and traffic has no other place to go than the local road network. ...We believe we need the road to support the land uses in the area through 2040.”

If built, the road would affect wetlands in the area, according to Alec Hoffner with ECo Consultants.

“There is really no way to avoid wetland impacts with this road alignment,” he said. “This is very problematic for the on-site natural systems. If we put the the road through here, we are going to fragment this wetland and both halves aren’t going to function well at all.”

While they are “always going to go with no wetland impacts,” Joel Christian, the county’s environmental planning division manager, said they don’t involve themselves in the county’s transportation needs.

“These wetlands out here are pretty high quality,” he said. “They are beneficial in the water quality aspect of the drinking water system.”

In the meantime, the Keep Woods group is continuing to work to preserve the property. The Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast has recently joined forces with the residents by helping to collect donations to preserve the property.

“Your tax-deductible donation will help fund the land acquisition, research, community education, legal fees and the technical work required to obtain and preserve this natural habitat,” according to the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast’s website.

On Thursday, the planning commission also:

  • Recommended approval of a rezone from Planned Development Commercial to General Commercial for a 10.4-acre property located on the east side of 1st Street East and south of U.S. 301 in Bradenton. This is the site of Robin’s Apartments.
  • Recommended transmittal of the Port Manatee Master Plan, which would place the master plan from 2010 in its entirety.

Claire Aronson: 941-745-7024, @Claire_Aronson