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Development that surrounds airfield approved


BRADENTON - Anyone moving into The Paddocks subdivision - if it ever gets built and if the airfield is still there - better like airplanes.

That's because the development of 264 residences will be split by a grass airstrip, county commissioners were told Thursday. But not to worry: buyers will be signing a paper that says they understand that there's a runway nearby.

See a map of the subdivision

County Commissioners voted 6-1 Thursday afternoon to approve the preliminary site plan for the development in Ellenton that is near the intersection of Ellenton-Gillette Road and Mendoza Road.

Commission Chairman Gwendolyn Brown cast the dissenting vote, saying she liked the horses and cows that graze on one part of the lot.

Located on each side of the runway will be a development with its own recreational building, and the runway will have 50-foot buffer as well as a six-foot fence with signs warning people to stay away.

Raymond Bartrow, who lives near the site, expressed his opposition, saying that the multi-family units, which will be on the southwest side, are not condos but apartment buildings, and would be out of character with the area of single-family homes. He also asked if the Federal Aviation Administration would get involved because of the proximity of the buildings to the runway.

Caleb Grimes, speaking for the developer, said that neither the FAA nor the Florida Department of Transportation has anything to do with the airfield since it is privately owned. The county regulates it, he said.

The airfield is used by single-engine and ultralight airplanes, and to land there you have to have the permission of the owner, Grimes added.

Bartrow also said there are numerous gopher tortoises on the site, but Michelle Steinbaum said there is no evidence of any on the site, and any that are found would be addressed through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

As for whether the county could be sued if there is an accident, assistant county attorney Sarah Schenk said the county has sovereign immunity. In any case, by the time the subdivision is built, the airfield might not even be there.


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