Lakewood Ranch developer Schroeder-Manatee Ranch earned favor from the Manatee County Board of County Commissioners Aug. 6 for a proposal to create a new land development code category called mixed use-community.
In a 6-1 vote, with Commissioner Joe McClash dissenting, the board agreed to send a comprehensive plan amendment to the state Department of Community Affairs for review.
Approval of the amendment would allow SMR to combine two large land parcels — the 6,075-acre Northeast Quadrant and the 558-acre Northwest Quadrant — and develop them as one project.
SMR officials have said that the change would allow SMR to develop a more sustainable community by encouraging the integration of residential and non-residential uses and promote smart growth principles. For example, light industry, office and commercial spaces would be mixed in near residential areas to keep jobs within the community and put fewer trips on local roads, SMR President Rex Jensen said.
“(The amendment) gives everybody flexibility as circumstances require,” he said.
The Northwest Quadrant currently is zoned for light industrial, but the amendment would allow development of more than 1,000 residential units. The number of units allowed in the Northeast Quadrant would increase from 4,951 to 10,972.