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Local news Trees Direct LLC Approved For High Density Development

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                     Proposed development inside blue line

BRADENTON -- At Thursday's BOCC Land Use meeting Trees Direct LLC was approved for a 500 single family units and 150,000 sq. ft. of commercial space. It will be located east of I-75 at Mendoza Rd. and the future 60th Avenue East, just north of the outlet mall. But not everyone was pleased, as some neighbors felt it is too much, too soon.

The approved rezoning was A-1 (Suburban Agriculture -- one dwelling unit per acre) to PDMU (Planned Development Mixed Use). This allows up to 500 multi-family units and a 120-bed residential care facility.

Residents of adjoining developments were troubled with many of the aspects of the project. Charles Gregory spoke for the Oak Creek Home Owners Association (HOA), and said, "There are five community developments connected to the Mendoza Rd. area. That's 1,560 units and now this would be 500 more." 

He told the commission that traffic already gets backed up to where residents are forced to use alternative routes. Gregory also said that there is already a problem with crime. "There is theft from the yards and breaking into cars." He was very concerned with the large amount of old oaks that have been cut down in recent years, and fears losing more.

Pat Gross, President of the Oak Creek HOA, voiced similar concerns, saying they were opposed to the density, and that 60th Avenue will only be four lanes for part of the distance. She said that the county should table their decision until they figure out all of the associated chalenges. Gross told commissioners, "Covered Bridge community has been involved in the review process, we should be included in the review process too." 

Both Gregory and Gross were also deeply concerned about the drainage into the creek separating their development from the new site and the fate of the large oaks in the right-of way. 

Trey Desenberg, owner and manager of Trees Direct, and Bill Merrill, representing the project, say that there is no intention to remove the oaks separating Oak Creek from Trees Direct property. When I asked about the possibility, both admitted it wasn't totally their call.

The project had previously been recommended by the Planning Commission and staff. It is also consistent with Manatee County's Comprehensive Plan and County Land Development Code. Commissioners unanimously believed the proposal was for the right spot, at the right time. 

The project will not come back before the BOCC, as long as all action stays within the General Development Plan. The applicant has agreed to include residents of the Covered Bridge development, and agreed Thursday to include residents of Oak Creek as well, in many of the discussions to future decisions.


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