- June 13, 2012
Angela DeAngelis and Eileen Bland stood at the corner of Lighthouse Drive and Cape Harbour Loop and looked southward toward Interstate 75, where a wire fence serves as the only barrier between them and a construction zone for a new commercial plaza being built just south of their Lighthouse Cove community.
Residents of Lighthouse Cove at Heritage Harbour are anxious about what will be going into the plaza, rumored to be anchored by a Costco Wholesale store and have more than 20 businesses. But they are more worried about how the project will affect their roadways.
Some believe gating the roads may be a solution to future traffic problems.
“With this big project going forward, it’s going to create traffic through our neighborhood. The impact is a concern,” said DeAngelis, who serves as president for her section of Townhomes at Lighthouse Cove. “We have a lot of unanswered questions about the flow of traffic on that road.
“It’s a pretty community and now it’s going to have major commercial activity running through it,” she said.
Lighthouse Drive is a north-south road that separates Lighthouse Cove town houses from their single-family home counterparts. Townhomes at Lighthouse Cove has a main access off Lighthouse Drive, and there are two entrances from
Lighthouse Drive into the single-family home section to the east.
Plans for the commercial project call for Lighthouse Drive to become a main roadway for the plaza and connect Grand Harbour Parkway on the east to Port Harbour Parkway to the north. That means the existing 1,600-foot section of Lighthouse Drive may transform from a road only Lighthouse Cove residents use to access their homes into a back entrance for commercial trucks and other vehicles to the plaza, DeAngelis said.
Supervisors on the Heritage Harbour South Community Development District on Dec. 4 discussed the possibility of gating Lighthouse Drive at Port Harbour Parkway to limit nonresidential traffic on the roadway.
Residents of Lighthouse Cove also are exploring options for gating sections of their community to prevent commercial trucks from driving through the streets. No plan has yet been developed, but preliminary suggestions include closing off Chatum Light Run at Lighthouse Drive and adding gates at Burning Light Way and Harbour Lights Way — both short connector roads into the single-family home section of Lighthouse Cove.
“We are in the brainstorming stage,” DeAngelis said. “How can we keep our neighborhood as peaceful and tranquil as we can?”
Bland said residents are most concerned with having commercial trucks drive through neighborhoods, as well as noise, fumes and impacts on safety at bus stops.
Heritage Harbour South Community Development District Supervisor Tad Parker said the CDD will work with residents to address their concerns as much as possible. The CDD owns the roadways within Lighthouse Cove, including Lighthouse Drive south to its current southernmost endpoint.
Parker and district engineer Rick Schappacher are waiting for proposed roadway modifications from Lighthouse Cove residents before discussing those ideas with Manatee County transportation officials. Then, they hope to secure a meeting with the developer of the commercial property, Joe Marino, founder of JMP Holdings, or a representative. JMP Holdings is a developer specializing in retail, residential, industrial and commercial projects throughout the U.S.
In an email, Marino said the CDD could not block off Lighthouse Drive because the road is part of the master plan for the community. He did not respond to further requests for comment by deadline Tuesday.
Parker said the CDD will explore its options for protecting residents.