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East County Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017 1 year ago

Manatee County may scrap roadway connection

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The fate of Myara property is still in limbo, but the state now will weigh in whether a road should run through it.
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

Manatee County officials are showing mixed support for removing an extension of Clubhouse Drive from the county’s long-range thoroughfare plan.

A request to remove the roadway, which would cross the Braden River and connect Linger Lodge Road in the west to Clubhouse Drive to the east, will be submitted to the state and come back to the board for final adoption. No timeline has yet been set.

Commissioners voted 4-3 in favor of the transmittal, with Carol Whitemore, Stephen Johnsson, Robin DiSabatino and Charles Smith supported the motion. Vanessa Baugh, Betsy Benac and Priscilla Whisenant Trace opposed.

“I don’t see how it’s going to provide an overriding public benefit to put its in,” DiSabatino said of the roadway.

Chairwoman Besty Benac disagreed.

“I think we need the connection,” she said. “It’s not politically correct, perhaps. I’m not sure I care anymore. We need roads in this community. I want it to be preserved, too, but I also want connectivity.”

County staff did not support the change, arguing the road will be needed in future years, although not in the foreseeable future

Myara Joint Venture, owner of a 32-acre site at the western end of Clubhouse Drive, made the request. It plans to develop a clustered, private gated community there or to sell the entire property to the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast. Its representatives, including Pat Neal of Neal Communities, said even if it develops the property, it would gift un-developable land to the foundation.

A group of Braden Woods residents, acting as Friends of Keep Woods, are working to preserve the property and a roughly 10-acre parcel on the other side of the Braden River in perpetuity. They are working with the foundation to find a way to purchase the property.

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