Manatee County Commissioners on Thursday approved a proposal to build 7,200 new homes east of the urban boundary, despite complaints from residents and warnings from their staff.
Known as Gamble Creek Village, developer L3 Partnership LLC proposed the planned community that has been likened to Lakewood Ranch on more than 5,000 acres in rural East Manatee County, now used for farming.
A lawyer representing the developer said it will be the largest project Manatee County has ever seen.
Many residents opposed any development east of the urban boundary, citing concerns about population growth and pressure on local infrastructure.
Previously:An extension of 7,000 houses? Pushing against development in East Manatee County could mean urban density
Following:Manatee County leads the way for planned community of 746 homes in Parrish
The roads alone to accommodate the new development could cost existing taxpayers more than $ 200 million.
The project would host a dense neighborhood surrounded by 3.7 square miles made up of larger 80-acre tracts of land designated for agriculture. The plans include 2 million square feet of commercial space and 1.8 million square feet of industrial space.
County President Vanessa Baugh said the project could capture similar success and reach to Lakewood Ranch.
No commitment at the border
The proposal tested the commitment of the commissioners to the urban demarcation line, established in1989 as part of the comprehensive county plan.
The line marks the farthest distance over which the county will extend the utility infrastructure, with the aim of encouraging development of the county’s urban core and protecting farmland from urban sprawl. It was last revised in 2006, with a plan that the line would last until 2040.
During their presentation of the project, county staff cautioned commissioners of several major concerns about the project, including fears that it could be considered an urban sprawl.
Staff also cited inconsistencies with a historic policy to centralize water and wastewater treatment and questioned whether the company is financially stable enough to foot the bill.
Staff also pointed out that the county would need to build about 22 miles of new roads to accommodate the development which could cost more than $ 200 million.
Staff solution: encourage more development along the way and move the border.
“We need more development to occur between existing development in the county (west of the urban boundary) that is pushing so far to support these type of roads, or some other form of engagement to ensure that any infrastructure can be provided, “said Clark Davis, deputy director of traffic management for Manatee County.
Advance the project
Despite these concerns, the commissioners approved sending the proposal to the state as required by a quick 6-1 vote. In addition to the overall changes to the plan, the development also requires a waiver of the urban sprawl policy. existing.
The vote does not give final approval, but it keeps the momentum going and moves the project forward.
Commissioner Misty Servia, who initially expressed support, voted against the measure due to the potential financial risk associated with the developer building a new private public utility system.
Commissioner George Kruse, who spoke at recent meetings about the need to encourage more development in the urban core and not in the east, was also among those who expressed support.
No residents spoke during the public comments. But in previous meetings, dozens of people have vehemently opposed the development east of the line.
“I think what’s going on, probably, is the line is moving,” Servia said. “You just moved the line. “