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East County Wednesday, Jul. 18, 2018 1 year ago

Proposed Bradenton car dealership drives concern

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GreyHawk residents to begin petition and letter-writing campaigns.
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

Following a July 12 meeting at the GreyHawk Landing Clubhouse, some GreyHawk Landing residents have begun a petition and a letter-writing campaign in the hope of stopping Cox Chevrolet from building a car dealership on a 17-acre parcel at the northwest corner of State Road 64 and 117th Street East.

GreyHawk Landing resident Lindsay Rushmore is among those hoping to generate support to keep a car dealership from opening adjacent to her community.

“We can’t stop development on (State Road) 64, but we can guide it,” Rushmore said after the meeting. “We can complain about it all day long, but we need a solution. Getting people involved is the first step.”

The property is under contract. Cox representatives held a community meeting about their proposed dealership June 28 but said they are not yet committed to the site. They must get approval from the Army Corps of Engineers to reroute a creek through the site and then get their plans approved through a public hearing process with Manatee County.

Some GreyHawk residents hope the application doesn’t get that far.

At the meeting, residents agreed to go door to door to educate neighbors within GreyHawk Landing and in other nearby communities about the proposal.

Cox Chevrolet CEO Kris Cox said in a May 23 interview it was too early to say whether his company would purchase the parcel. 

“We’re always looking for expansion, and this property may or may not work out,” he said.

Cox Chevrolet did not respond  immediately to an interview request July 17.

Some GreyHawk Landing residents don’t want to wait to find out if the sale of the parcel goes through.

A petition would focus on keeping the property zoned as agricultural or making any commercial development more compatible with the residential area. Residents said acceptable uses would be a library, an office complex, or a shopping plaza.

Residents are worried about traffic patterns, lighting and the environmental impacts a car dealership would bring.

“We want a more compatible commercial use of the property,” GreyHawk Landing resident Jim Hengel said. “This is a grassroots effort.”

GreyHawk Landing resident Ken Krudys agreed. 

“It’s inappropriate for this area. Clark Road has a series of dealerships,” he said. “I don’t want this section to become like Clark Road. This was planned to be a nice, quiet area.”

GreyHawk Landing resident Brady Chapman said the focus must be on the right issues, such as compatibility, and the residents must work with nearby neighborhoods to oppose the dealership concept.

“If we as neighborhoods create enough of a buzz — that has to be it,” he said. “We are at the beginning of this.”

Rushmore’s husband, Tom, said the petition and letter-writing campaigns likely are the first of many. 

“This is not going to be the first one of these,” he said. “This area is going to be the doormat of Lakewood Ranch.”

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