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Housing development plans advance despite dissent from racing community

Commissioners have sent the proposal for the 4,500-home Taylor Ranch community to the state for review despite their proximity to motorsports tracks.

Residents spoke against the proposed Taylor Ranch development due to its proximity to two racetracks at the Dec. 15 meeting.
Residents spoke against the proposed Taylor Ranch development due to its proximity to two racetracks at the Dec. 15 meeting.
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The owners of two East County motorsports tracks pleaded with Manatee County commissioners on Thursday to curtail Schroeder-Manatee Ranch's efforts to build up to 4,500 homes in close proximity.

Freedom Factory owner Garrett Mitchell, known by his YouTube persona Cleetus McFarland, and Bradenton Motorsports Park owner Victor Alvarez both spoke in front of the commission.

“The county has put the race tracks at risk,” said Mitchell, whose 63-acre track complex used to be DeSoto Speedway. “Unfortunately, homes being built next to race tracks is a classic way they fail. The homeowners complain until the race tracks are overrun (by local government). Having future homeowners sign a disclosure that the track is there, is not enough.”

Attorney Kyle Grimes, representing SMR, said the race tracks are protected.

“Our client knows the race tracks are there and has no intention of doing anything to affect them operating, and that’s why we’re putting in these provisions,” Grimes said.

Land use attorney Kyle Grimes and certified planner with Stantec Katie LaBarr present on Taylor Ranch amid a full commission chamber.
Photo by Ian Swaby

In the end, commissioners voted 5-2 in favor of transmitting for state review a proposal that would allow the development of Taylor Ranch south of State Road 64, east of Bournsdide Boulevard, west of Bradenton Motorsports Park and directly adjacent to Freedom Factory.

Freedom Factory is located at 21050 S.R. 64 while Bradenton Motorsports Park is located at 21000 S.R. 64.

The proposal would change 2,308 acres of agricultural land to Urban Fringe 3 that allows three homes per acre.

An 84-foot minimum land buffer would separate the new community from Freedom Factory. A 20-to 25-foot wall is planned.

Numerous residents and motorsports enthusiasts from Manatee County and neighboring counties spoke against transmitting the proposal to the state, leading to a packed commission meeting room.

Commissioners Jason Bearden and James Satcher both voted against the transmittal of the plans, favoring a continuance of the discussions at a later date. 

Both questioned the level of noise prevention a berm would provide.



Ian Swaby

Ian Swaby is the Sarasota neighbors writer for the Observer. Ian is a Florida State University graduate of Editing, Writing, and Media and previously worked in the publishing industry in the Cayman Islands.

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