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Guest Commentary

Perico Island Median Landscaping – Existing and Proposed?

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The two medians on Perico Island of SR 64 West were originally landscaped with sod and shrubs by the developer of Perico Bay Club.  The developer turned them over to the Homeowners Association, who then abandoned them.

In 2008, the Palma Sola Scenic Highway Corridor Management Entity (CME) included installing the native trees of 6 Live Oak and 9 Florida’s state tree – the Sabal Palm within them when doing the overall landscape design of SR 64 West paid for by a FDOT Joint Project Agreement with the City of Bradenton and Manatee County Government.    These 15 trees are within Bradenton’s city limits, maintained by the City of Bradenton Public Works Dept as said in their maintenance agreement with FDOT, and are managed by the City’s Tree and Land Preservation Board.  

In 2023, the Manatee Co. Property Management Dept. proposed to the Palma Sola Scenic Highway CME to destroy these 15 trees as they are too big and established to be relocated, then replant with Royal Palms, Australian Alexander Palms, shrubs and sod.   We objected, but they have asked again in 2024.

At the June 12th, 2024 at 3:30 p.m. meeting about the landscaping of these two Perico Island medians, the Palma Sola Scenic Highway CME unanimously voted to keep the existing, established  6 Live Oaks and 9 Sabal Palms in the medians which is compliant with the Palma Sola Scenic Highway Vision, Mission and Corridor Management Plan's Goal 1 Resource Protection, Maintenance, Preservation and Enhancement, “The Palma Sola Scenic Highway corridor shall maintain the historic character within which it is located through preservation and enrichment of its natural habitat areas, use of native plant material and enhancement of waterfront vistas.”   

In addition, these tree types are significant trees and protected by the City of Bradenton Land Use Regulations.  Also, the existing landscaping follows Highway Safety and Best Landscaping Principles which are the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program’s Landscaping-to-Save Energy guidelines and Univ. of Florida IFAS Extension’s Florida-Friendly Landscaping Principles.  Read draft meeting minutes and see photographs of the existing trees in the medians here.

The proposed plan proposed by Manatee Co. Gov. includes Royal Palms, and non-native Alexander palms, shrubs and sod all of which will require establishment, higher maintenance (fertilizer, herbicide, pesticide, mowing, edging) and watering with a water truck perpetually.  See proposed plan here.

The existing landscape design was the preferred design by citizens at public workshops in 2003 that represents “Old Florida” which is compliant with the Palma Sola Scenic Highway Corridor Management Plan's Goal 3 Community Support and Participation, “The implementation of the Palma Sola Scenic Highway Corridor Management Plan shall be community driven and financed through collaborative funding efforts from government, private businesses, civic/non-profit organizations and local citizens.”  It was decided to coordinate a current survey with neighboring homeowner associations in Northwest Bradenton, Palma Sola Park, Village Green, Perico Island, and the City of Holmes Beach Parks and Beautification Committee to learn their preference in these landscaping choices.

The CME asked if the proposed plan could be modified to keep the existing trees with additional beautification and bring the modified plan to the next meeting on August 14th.  Carmine DeMilio with the Manatee Co. Property Management Dept. said the Perico Island Median proposed plan submitted at this meeting is the plan, and he would have to discuss it with Manatee Co.  Administration.  A compromise was not made.

Darryl Richard, our FDOT Scenic Highway Liaison, guided us to attend the earliest scheduled meetings of Bradenton City Councilpersons and Manatee County Commissioners to inform them of our decision during Public Comment.  The proposed plan also needs to be presented to their City and County Tree Advisory Boards.

The next day, June 13th at 11:00 a.m.  white flags had been put around these two medians by Manatee Co. Gov. for locaters of utilities, which is standard before a landscaping permit application can be filed with FDOT for their proposed plan to install as soon as possible during hurricane season.

As concluded at the June 12th Palma Sola Scenic Highway CME meeting, CME members will be attending upcoming City and County scheduled meetings and coordinating the survey with neighboring homeowner associations.  We ask the Manatee Co. Administration to follow our concluded plan to be compliant with the Palma Sola Scenic Highway Corridor Management Plan's Goal 3 Community Support and Participation described above.

Ingrid McClellan is the Vice Chairperson of the Palma Sola Scenic Highway Corridor Management Entity, Coordinator of the Scenic Manatee Advisory Committee, and Board of Directors Member of Citizens for a Scenic Florida Inc. She can be reached at infoscenicmanatee@gmail.com.

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  • Dianna

    Residents regularly sit in traffic now on Manatee Avenue  as travel and turn lanes are blocked off so that water trucks can manually water the medians, something we have never had to do before our "brought to you by Manatee County Commissioners" medians.  This is especially frustrating as we have always have Florida friendly low maintenance medians and have never experienced backups due to landscaping.

    Friday, June 14 Report this

  • Dianna

    Why is the county now renting Hertz water trucks to water the medians? How much are these new medians REALLY costing taxpayers?

    Sunday, July 7 Report this