Manatee County Commissioners said safety was the main concern for the Myakka City property at S.R. 64 and C.R. 675.
Manatee County Commissioners voted 5-2 to deny a rezone request for “the triangle,” a 1.54-acre parcel of land near the northeast corner of State Road 70 and County Road 675 in Myakka City, from general agriculture to neighborhood commercial small at an April 15 land use meeting.
Commissioners James Satcher and Misty Servia voted in favor of the motion.
Safety was the main concern raised by commissioners and residents. Myakka City resident Elizabeth Arnold said the area is dangerous because of traffic, and a convenience store or restaurant would cause a safety hazard for children crossing the street after school. A bus stop is located near the northern end of the "triangle" at 77th Avenue.
“Commercial-level vehicles accessing 70 and 675 in a location where traffic travels 65 miles an hour with no lights, no sidewalks, and a history of serious accidents is unwise,” Arnold said. “You don't have a traffic signal like you do with Wawa right down the street. You have nothing to protect those kids. And you got trucks, dump trucks, orange trucks, tomato trucks, watermelon trucks racing up and down the road.”
Servia said she felt many of the safety concerns would be eliminated when a roundabout is installed in the intersection, which will eliminate the ramp from westbound S.R. 70 to C.R. 675. However, Commissioner Carol Whitmore said she would prefer to wait and see if the intersection becomes safer after the roundabout is built and allow Manatee Ranches to apply again at that point. Commissioners George Kruse and Kevin Van Ostenbridge agreed.
The property is owned by Tom Brown of Manatee Ranches. Commissioner Carol Whitmore said she wasn’t sure what Manatee Ranches could build that was only 3,000 square feet. Manatee Ranches representative Tony Veldkamp said the development would likely be a locally owned restaurant, convenience store or medical or veterinary clinic.
In voting for the motion, Servia said a commercial development is the only suitable land use left considering its small size. However, Kruse said some parcels of land simply aren’t suitable for any type of development.
Moore property near Uihlein Road rezoned
An amendment to rezone 39 acres of property near the southwestern corner of State Road 64 and Uihlein Road to allow higher-density development was approved unanimously by the Manatee County Commission on Thursday.
The amendment, which had received unanimous approval from the Planning Commission on Jan. 13, rezoned the land from urban fringe with three dwelling units allowed per acre to residential. Usually, a residential designation would allow for six dwelling units per acre, but a condition was added to limit the land to 4½ units per acre.
Katie LaBarr, a planner for engineering consultant Stantec, which represented Neal Communities, said the 4½-dwelling unit-per-acre limitation would provide for a natural transition between development to the south and west, where communities are allowed up to nine dwelling units per acre, and the urban fringe to the north and east.
LaBarr said the amendment is warranted now when it might not have been before, because there was no development surrounding the site as recently as 2015, whereas now it is contiguous with existing development. Commissioner Misty Servia agreed.
“This area is transitioning quickly,” Servia said. “It's no longer an area that's appropriate for agricultural development. That's not the best use of this land.”
Manatee County Principal Planner Bill O’Shea said one negative aspect is the property borders the east side of Rolling Acres, which has a density of 0.82 dwelling units per acre. However, he added the amendment “appears to meet” the county’s comprehensive plan and land development codes.
“I'm appreciative that the developer has said we're going to only do 4½ units per acre, to the benefit of the next door neighbors at Rolling Acres,” Servia said. “I'm sure that gives them some comfort. But truthfully, six units per acre would be appropriate here.”
The property is owned by Cecil Moore and his family, though Neal Communities applied for the amendment. Neal Communities Founder and Chairman Pat Neal said his intention is to build paired villas on the site.
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