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East County Del Tierra Development Gets Approval


BRADENTON -- At Thursday's Land Use meeting, commissioners bewildered east county residents with a unanimous approval for a 610-lot development that surrounding homeowners say will overwhelm their roads and threaten their safety. Requesting a density three times the amount of neighboring subdivisions, the Del Tierra applicant says they are actually suppressing urban sprawl; not spreading it.


More then 70 Rye Road residents, joined by a dozen Waterline Road residents, spent Thursday afternoon explaining to their elected officials just how devastating their lives would be if another thousand cars were to be pushed on-to a crowded and unsafe Rye Road each day.


Tim Law, president of Country Meadows homeowners association was the first to speak. He questioned the high density, size of the lots and opposed the rezoning. Law said, "The houses are only 10 feet apart. If you count five of these ceiling tiles, that would be the distance between neighbors in Del Tierra."


Mike O'Reilly, a highway engineer that also lives in Country Meadows, displayed errors in the density calculations presented by the applicant, and errors in the traffic study. 


Chaplain Keith Baker said the schools couldn't handle additional students, and questioned where the county would get the dollars for more schools, more teachers and to fix the troubled Rye Rd.


Jerry Koontz said, "In each case, schools will exceed capacity." Koontz told the commission that Rye Rd. was a level-C road, the bridge was built in the '60s and now has a rating of 43 out of 100. 


Koontz shattered the applicants claims that, "there are no endangered species in the area," with a picture of a bald eagle on the shore of one of the lakes; a picture of a juvenile panther walking across one of the local driveways and recounts of his own witnessing of indigo snakes.


Representing D.R. Horton, the applicant, was Caleb Grimes, a local attorney who supported E Co. Consultant's claim that, "no protected species were observed nesting or denning within the on-site habitats." 


In rebuttal to O'Reilly's density claims, Grimes challenged them, stating he was just using the calculating practices the county has used for years. 


Commission Chairman Larry Bustle and Commissioner Besty Benac only spoke in favor of the project throughout the meeting. The other commissioners seemed to narrow their concerns to the least common denominator of the problems the residents presented.


Rye Rd. residents spoke in earnest of the need for safety for their children who are forced to use a sidewalk, just a couple of feet away from 55 MPH cars and of the testimonial flooding of Rye Rd,. where cars plane on the inches-thick water which collects in several areas.


Commissioners reduced citizens' concerns to the project's inter-neighborhood traffic ties and emergency access issue; and whether the development would have private streets or not.


After a 6 to 1 (Benac dissenting) vote on an amendment to eliminate the traffic ties, commissioners voted unanimously to approve the project.


Commissioner DiSabatino concluded the meeting saying, "I think this is a win-win. The builder gets what he wants and the community gets a win because the traffic won't affect their community."


I couldn't find one citizen who agreed with Commissioner DiSabatino's assessment.    


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