City actions on Villages at Riverwalk project deplorable
Originally published on Aug. 28
Shock, shock -- the recent Bradenton Planning Commission workshop and public hearing for Villages at Riverwalk resulted in approval for all agenda items. Their approval makes way for City Council to approve a land swap for Glazier-Gates Park, and in addition, any vacated public lands, roadways, etc. will not revert back to city ownership should the project fail to materialize.
Please explain why releasing Reverter Rights are of benefit to the city, and more importantly to the taxpayers who have been paying for the maintenance of these public lands for decades? Only residents living within 300 feet of the project were notified, but I submit to you that Glazier-Gates Park is a citywide amenity. Every property owner within the city should have received notification for this hearing.
Roughly 65 percent of the items questioned were not answered because "final details have not been worked out." Questions addressed drainage, utilities, fire department access, etc. Why conduct a public hearing if project information is incomplete?
The Planning Commission's vote was no surprise, despite the fact that all attending residents and special interest groups voiced disapproval of moving Glazier-Gates and other project aspects.
Considering the controversial approval by the City Council last November for the developer's "Predevelopment Agreement" for the project, and the Planning Commission's unanimous approval, citizens of Bradenton should question whether our voices are really taken into consideration for any development project.
The council meeting in November was shrouded by secrecy and failed to seek community input. They granted items they may not be able to rescind without facing another lawsuit.
This project has received what we believe to be "rubber-stamped approval" by two city entities. After last week's meeting, we think someone should check to see if the kitchen sink is still in the breakroom at City Hall -- they have gotten everything else!
Les and Jackie Atwood
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