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East County Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018 3 years ago

Possible Costco shows the impact of development

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The new store adjacent to Heritage Harbour could change traffic, aesthetics.
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

Heritage Harbour’s Dee Lovell was at a Super Bowl party Jan. 4 when she heard a Costco Wholesale store was coming to the northwest corner of Grand Harbour Parkway and State Road 64, just west of her community’s entrance.

After coming home at halftime, Lovell searched the internet and found Port Harbour Parkway, a main road through Heritage Harbour, was listed as a “future location” on the retailer’s website.

The next day it was gone.

“We’d like to know what’s going to happen, how things are going to be reconfigured,” Dee Lovell said.

A Costco spokesman said it is company policy not to comment on future Costco Wholesale stores until it is ready to share details of a new location.

Manatee County planning officials said they have not received any updated plans for the roughly 100-acre site that runs between Interstate 75 and Grand Harbour Parkway.

Residents, however, are confident change is on the way. Bulldozers have begun clearing the property.

According to site plans filed with Manatee County in 2007, the commercial site, called The Landings at Heritage Harbour, eventually would be home to a shopping center anchored by a roughly 145,000-square-foot retailer, which would be in line with a Costco Wholesale store, and three smaller stores, each about 50,000 square feet. Other lines of buildings are delineated on the drawings as well.

If the plans are not modified, there would be no public hearing on development on the site. However, county staff still would work through draining, transportation and other issues, said Nicole Knapp, planning section manager for Manatee County Building and Development Services.

Supervisors on the Heritage Harbour South Community Development District discussed the topic at their Feb. 6 meeting, although the property in question is outside the CDD’s boundaries.

The CDD owns Grand Harbour Parkway, River Heritage Boulevard and Heritage Green Way, the three main roads into Heritage Harbour from State Road 64, although the developer-controlled Heritage Harbour Master Association is supposed to fund the maintenance of them. The east-west Port Harbour Parkway has been turned over to Manatee County, and there are plans to widen it in the future.

Modifications to CDD-owned roads would require the board’s approval. However, if the developer uses existing access points on Port Harbour Parkway, no approvals from the CDD would be required.

Lovell and her husband, Larry Lovell, aren’t opposed to a Costco coming,  if the rumor is true. But they and their neighbors worry about how development of the property will impact traffic in and out of their community, as well as the look and feel of Heritage Harbour’s “grand entrance.”

“Really the only way in and out (of that property) is through our grand entrance,” Larry Lovell said. “That (entrance) is a big selling point for the whole community.”

Larry Lovell wants to make sure traffic, drainage and other issues are addressed with any project.

Resident Tom Bakalar agreed.

“My concern now is for things like drainage and traffic,” Bakalar said. “I don’t know enough.”

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