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Commission approves sending up plan amendments


BRADENTON - Officials from Schroeder-Manatee Ranch on Thursday waited through a long land use meeting but came away with what they wanted.

Their proposals were in the form of two amendments to the text of the future land use element of the comprehensive plan to create a new land use category called "Mixed Use - Community" and apply it to two areas in the northeast and northwest quadrant.

The northeast quadrant comprises a total of 6,595 acres, and the northwest quadrant has about 558 acres.

The vote to transmit to the state's Department of Community Affairs was 6-1, with Commissioner Joe McClash opposed.

The presentation by Caleb Grimes and Todd Pokrywa of SMR emphasized the creation of a self-contained community where people would not have to get in their car and access the larger road system to shop, go to work, go to recreation and go home.

The old way of pushing residential development away from commercial uses is not the best way anymore, Grimes said, and this plan changes the way SMR wants to direct its growth.

"We think it's a good thing," he said.

McClash objected on several counts, including that he couldn't vote on anything without seeing a summary and that much of the information wasn't readily available to the public. "I think something of this magnitude should be aired," he said.

But Commissioner Larry Bustle was enthusiastic, noting that many of the problems in the North River area wouldn't be present if such planning had been done there. "Good job, SMR, I think you're on the right track," he said.

Commissioner Ron Getman agreed with Bustle, saying the plans would make for a more concise community, and that it does everything that good planning should do for a community.

"It provides for a sense of community and it will be a model for others to follow," he said.

"I just wish we could have done this sooner."

Getman added that if Lakewood Ranch had developed like this, things would have been different.

"This is called proper planning," said County Commissioner Donna Hayes.

McClash said he was concerned about the prospect for increased density and the transportation plan, and Grimes said that the densities given were the maximum numbers. "We're not going to build this tomorrow," Grimes said. "We're just trying to do some long-term planning."


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