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East County Wednesday, Jul. 17, 2019 7 months ago

More apartments planned for Lakewood Ranch

Planned apartment complexes concern Eagle Trace residents.
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

When Tony Glaudé purchased his lot in the Eagle Trace community, he knew development would happen nearby.

Still, he had not planned for commercial sites or apartments to be built immediately around his property. He said he was told the wetland area behind his house would remain wetlands. However, according to changes sought by Lakewood Ranch developer Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, the 4.1-acre site behind him already was slated for up to 30,000 square feet of retail development.

SMR now proposes to reduce that figure to 25,000 square feet, but it also seeks changes to the adjacent parcels, including adding three- and four-story apartments along White Eagle Boulevard on property that abuts Eagle Trace.

The developer also seeks to put more apartments on land between 117th Street East and the west side of Eagle Trace’s entrance, an area that backs up to

villas in Eagle Trace.

“We want to at least maintain the integrity of Eagle Trace from a privacy and security standpoint,” Glaudé said. “I haven’t seen anything that alleviates that concern.”

Manatee County Planning Commission members on July 11 recommended approval of the changes to SMR’s Lakewood Centre Development of Regional Impact, which spans 1,495 acres across two areas — roughly north of 44th Avenue to S.R. 64 between Lakewood Ranch and White Eagle boulevards and roughly between Lakewood Ranch and White Eagle boulevards south of Malachite Drive to State Road 70.

SMR’s requests include the addition of 30 acres for a future single-family home rental community off Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, a reduction in land for parks and exchanging 364 multifamily housing entitlements for 225 single family homes. SMR is asking to relocate other entitlements for housing, office and retail within the DRI.

SMR representative Darenda Marvin said the requests overall do not change the number of single-family or multifamily housing, retail or other uses within the DRI site but that it does redistribute them.

Some residents of Eagle Trace are worried about how the changes will impact them, particularly because commercial and multifamily uses now might surround much of their community. Having four-story apartments adjacent to single-home villas, for example, might reduce privacy and possibly security of the neighborhood, which is gated.

“Our concern is putting four stories there,” said Eagle Trace resident Denise Fedorenchik, who lives on the west side of Eagle Trace. “Those people could be looking right into our houses. Even if there’s a wall, that’s not going to fix the view.”

“We’ll lose the sunsets and sunrises,” Eagle Trace’s Jayne Hackett added. “We’re a gated community, and we’re very thickly protected by vegetation now, and we’ll lose that.”

The expectation for four-story apartments on the west side of Eagle Trace stems from site plans shown by CASTO, a privately held, fully integrated real estate services firm. Its website shows a plan for the northeast corner of 117th Street East and State Road 64. It shows an ABC Fine Wine & Spirits plus four unnamed businesses, including a car wash, a gas station, a fast-food restaurant and a service establishment on a 2.9-acre site directly fronting S.R. 64. On the 14.5 acres immediately south, where the land meets Eagle Trace’s boundaries, there would be 247 apartments.

Near Glaudé’s home to the east of Eagle Trace’s entrance — roughly east of Pope Road and north of the future White Eagle Boulevard extension — an overall 13.5 acre site would no longer be home to a future county park and instead would have 138 multifamily units. The adjoining 3.3 acres would swap 30,000 square feet of retail for 154 multifamily units.

SMR also proposes putting up to 425 apartments on another 23.7-acre site at the northwest corner of White Eagle Boulevard and 44th Avenue East, immediately east of B.D. Gullett Elementary and Dr. Mona Jain Middle schools.

Planning Commission Chairman Bill Conerly said he that believes the changes recommended by county staff are consistent with the county’s land development regulations.

“Generally, residential against residential is considered a compatible use,” Conerly said.

He said neighborhood concerns over building height, setbacks, fencing and other details will be addressed by the county later in the development process when the county reviews specific plans for each parcel or development site.

Manatee County commissioners are slated to hear SMR’s request Aug. 1 during the board’s regular land-use meeting.

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