Friday, January 9, 2015

Overdevelopment moves onward and upward

Residents' Over-development Pleas Fall on Deaf Ears at BOCC Meeting

Published Friday, January 9, 2015 12:09 am
BRADENTON — At Thursday's Land Use meeting, Manatee County Commissioners once again listened to the impassioned pleas of citizens with deaf ears, approving a 1,103 residential unit development despite widespread opposition and logical concerns.

It was #10, the last item on the agenda, and the 30 or more residents who came to the dais, did so to defend their way of life and the qualities that brought them to rural Manatee County. They were more prepared than most groups that are later forced to shield themselves from over-development.

The project: 803 single-family detached units, plus a 300 multi-family structure and 100,000 square feet of commercial/retail on 441 acres south of 69th Street East, east of I-75.

Residents from neighboring developments said they were totally opposed to multi-family buildings, the high density that was requested, the destruction of wetlands and wildlife, and the considerable commercial retail that was involved.

The Manatee County Planning Commissionrecommended denial on December 11, 2014 by a vote of 4-1, with some members stating the project was inconsistent with the county's Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Code.

Resident Donna Meadows said, there are sand hill cranes, scrub jays, indigos, hawks owls and alligators in the proposed site, most of which are endangered.

John Ward questioned Margaret Tusing's (Manatee County's principal planner) obligations to the the county, and the appearance of rubber stamping without adequate knowledge of the facts. Ward also expressed strict concerns to the impacts to schools, the environment and the additional traffic from the more than 3,000 additional cars that will occupy the only road.

Charles Chappione, who came with well over 100 signatures from other residents opposing the project, said the road wasn't able to handle the traffic, that the schools were already at 130 percent of capacity and that the density wasn't compatible with the area.

There were many, many more who spoke about how the safety of the bridge, the wearing roads and the deadly turn needed to enter or exit Buffalo Road would be amplified by all of the additional traffic.

It became almost embarrassing to all who were there to hear commissioners twist and turn those concerns around, as if those who spoke didn't know what they were talking about.

The vote was 5-2 to approve, with Commissioners Robin DiSabatino and Charles Smith voting against the project. Stay tuned for more on this issue in our Sunday edition. 


Comment shared by Bill Zoller:

For whom does the bell toll? It tolls for thee..... the bell is being sounded in Manatee and Sarasota Counties as compliant commissions approve more and more development in our rural areas. By 2050, the world's population will have increased by 60%; that many more people to feed. How does our 2050 Plan recognize or address our area's responsibility to be part of providing food for its population? It doesn't. We will live on manna from heaven, I suppose. Our commissioners have an extreme focus on the short term, somehow thinking their most important task is to grow jobs, jobs, jobs. Their main means to that end is to build, build, build..... Sadly, they are choosing to encourage building, building, building on the land that will be needed to grow food one day. They call it "planning". To paraphrase King Richard III, "A cow, a kingdom for a cow!"

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