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Manatee Commission approves rezone for development adjacent to Lake Manatee State Park

Neal Communities gets approval for 706-unit development in east Manatee County.

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  • | 10:30 p.m. March 3, 2022
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The Manatee County Commission approved a rezone of 310 acres in eastern Manatee County on Thursday to clear the way for a new Neal Communities development of 706 residential units and 17,750 square feet of medical facilities.

The property is north of State Road 64, west of Dam Road and east of Uihlein Road. The parcel is alongside Lake Manatee State Park.

The only dissenting vote was given by Commissioner George Kruse.

The land was changed from General Agriculture to Planned Development Residential.

“Whether growth, the environment and economic development can be balanced, will depend on two things — finding balance and setting priorities,” said Mark Vanderee, who represents the Waterline Road Preservation Group. “If the priority is to view land as a commodity to be built on, to be mined, or to be harvested, then a balance with nature will never be achieved.”

Other speakers who opposed the rezone said it threatens natural features of the area.

Joel Christian, a senior environmental scientist with Ardurra, said he did not see any major concerns related to conservation.

“I appreciate the complex nature of this project, which both sides did an excellent job in presenting to us,” said Commissioner Misty Servia. “We heard from the community that this is not an adequate transition, but I disagree. It is an excellent transition, the way it’s designed, from the busy arterial roadway, to the north.”

Kruse disagreed.

“We saw it here last month — let's move this line, it's the first step,” Kruse said referring to the Feb. 17 tweaking of the Future Development Area Boundary Line along Dam Road. ”The site plan basically bumps immediately up to a park and up to our drinking water, and it’s built to maximize profit and not maximize utilization of the land.”