Special Reports

Developers unite on growth in Parrish

MANATEE - Taking a cue from their counterparts to the west, a group of developers is working on master-planning Manatee County's latest development hot spot: northeastern Parrish.

Several developers have been meeting in recent weeks to coordinate on roads, schools and other infrastructure needs in an area generally bordered by County Road 675, U.S. 301, Erie Road and the Hillsborough County line. Some 7,800 homes are planned there, and county planners expect more as development moves north and east.

Developers revealed their coordination Tuesday as county commissioners postponed an initial review of two proposed projects, saying they would be reluctant to consider approving any new growth in the area without such planning.

"We need to know where the schools are going to be, where the roads are going to go, where the water and sewer is going to come from," Commissioner Ron Getman said.

"We already are doing all of that," replied Caleb Grimes, an attorney for the developer of Cone Ranch, a proposed 1,998-home project off State Road 62 that commissioners were scheduled to review Tuesday. "We know we have to do that and we are prepared to show that."

For example, Cone Ranch's developer has met with neighboring developers and property owners about extending Spencer Parrish Road northward and re-aligning State Road 62 to meet U.S. 301 at Erie Road, Grimes said

He said "a complete picture" of the group's efforts will be provided at a future commission workshop that has not yet been scheduled.

Grimes said developers began meeting at the suggestion of county planners, who cited the success of the North County Partnership. That 22-member group has been master-planning the area roughly between Interstate 75 and U.S. 41 and north of U.S. 301, focusing primarily on roads.

Commissioners have pushed for broader planning as growth outpaces government's ability to provide roads, schools, water and other infrastructure. The issue came to a head last year, when commissioners deferred several proposed developments until there was a plan for widening a congested stretch of State Road 64.

It took greater urgency last week, when commissioners learned the North Manatee Wastewater Treatment plant will need an $80 million expansion by 2012 to accommodate projected growth. "That was a big red flag," Commissioner Joe McClash said Tuesday.

Besides Cone Ranch, commissioners deferred a preview of Lee Wetherington Development Inc.'s 369-home River Mist project off County Road 675. Other major projects in the area include 1,999 homes planned at the northwest corner of U.S. 301 and Moccasin Wallow Road and Arbor Park, a 1,484-home project at the northwest corner of U.S. 301 and Buckeye Road.

Also Tuesday, several Terra Ceia Island residents voiced their opposition to Estates on Tillet Bayou, a proposed 38-home project in the 1600 block of Bayshore Drive. Critics said the project would cause more flooding and traffic and didn't mesh with their close-knit community's character.

"Terra Ceia is historic," resident Julie Roberts said. "We like it the way it is, and we don't want to see a huge change."

Jack Jones, one of the project's partners, said the developer had made numerous changes to its plans to appease neighbors. Among them: Agreeing not to put in streetlights, curb and gutter, and gates.

Commissioners took no action as it was a development preview meeting. Projects previewed Tuesday will come up for approval later this year.

Duane Marsteller, transportation and growth/development reporter, can be reached at 745-7080, ext. 2630, or at dmarsteller@Bradenton.com.

Developers in northeastern Manatee County say they're working together to come up with plans to deal with infrastructure needs their projects will impose on the region.

Developments proposed for the area, and the number of housing units they intend to build, include:

Arbor Park 1,484

Aviary at Rutland Ranch 868

Canterbury Manor 218

Cone Ranch 1998

Creekside Meadows 47

Governors Preserve 140

Morgans Glen 286

Paschal property 58

River Mist 369

Saltsman property 1,999

Silver Pope 40

Summer Woods 302

Total: 7,809