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East County Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010 7 years ago

Commission approves setback changes in Cascades

by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

MANATEE COUNTY — About four months after buying Cascades at Sarasota following a bankruptcy court approval, Bradenton-based Medallion Home is making whatever efforts it can to increase home sales and complete the 450-home community.

The Manatee County Board of County Commissioners voted 5-1 on Feb. 4 to allow Medallion to modify setback requirements on the lots it owns. The changes will allow the homebuilder to construct larger homes on existing lots, should potential homebuyers desire to do so. They also will give Medallion more flexibility to work with customers on floor plans.

Front yard setbacks were reduced from 25 to 23 feet, while rear yard setbacks were reduced from 15 to 10 feet and side yard setbacks from 7.5 to 5 feet. The changes do not apply to lots next to existing homes, under contract or under construction.

“The only people we’re impacting are the people we’re selling to,” Medallion President Carlos Beruff said.
Cascades residents disagreed. More than a dozen residents attended the meeting to oppose the setback changes, arguing the potential for unevenly spaced homes would ruin aesthetics and uniformity.

“It’s totally unfair to the existing residents to change the ground rules at this point,” Cascades resident Ira Abrams said.

Resident Mark Burtenthal agreed, adding he’d even proposed to the developer the idea of changing side yard setbacks only on every other home to keep a more uniform look to the subdivision.

Representatives of Medallion Home and the Manatee County planning staff met with more than 150 residents in recent weeks to discuss the changes, as well as with a group representing Cascades’ homeowners. The entities believed issues were resolved. However, residents attending the meeting said the group had been self-appointed and had no authority to negotiate on behalf of residents.

Abrams said an e-mail went out Feb. 3 telling Cascades residents they did not need to attend the commission meeting to oppose changes, but more than 200 people would have attended if they’d realized the side yard setbacks had not been changed.

Medallion leaders said the changes were needed to help Medallion stay competitive. The company had already lost potential homebuyers because it could not modify floor plans sufficiently, Medallion’s Vice President Pete Logan said.

Beruff said the company currently is seeing about two sales per month in phase five, where Medallion has more than 60 sites available. He also noted 75% of sales are what buyers see. Because model homes use the 7.5 yard setbacks, residents should not be alarmed, he said.

“We wouldn’t want to do anything in the community that would undermine the benefit and the overall feel of the community,” he said. “Our goal is the same as theirs, This simply enables that community to build out a little bit faster, which is to everyone’s benefit.”

Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].

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