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Planning Commission to Recommend Maintenance Facility in North County Despite Citizen Concerns


BRADENTON -- The soon to come North County Transportation Maintenance Facility was the hot subject at the Manatee County Planning Commission Meeting on Thursday, as staff heard complaints from residents of the community from the area surrounding the proposed sight.  

The proposed site is 45 acres located between Erie Road and 69th Street East near Parrish in unincorporated Manatee County. The purpose of the facility is to house materials, park county equipment vehicles and perform maintenance.

Specifications and qualifications for the project were presented by Katie LaBarr, General Development Planner, and Chad Butzow from Public Works. They displayed how the project met all of the requirements -- 30 ft. wide buffer, 8 ft.fence, 55 ft. buffer from road -- noting that the buffer will be provided as needed.


The first citizen comment was given by the Reverend Fletcher Lawsen Jr., Pastor of the St Mary's Baptist Church for 21 years.
"This will change the area tremendously," Reverend Lawsen said. He spoke of the many families who attend the church regularly and of the effects trucks and equipment would have on the neighborhood. "We don't want to lose the integrity of the church," he continued. Lawsen told me after that things will change, "it will no longer be a rural neighborhood."

The Reverend was followed by Tami Vaughan. President of of a local civic association, who lived a half a mile from the site, she said, "it isn't going to work," adding," 29th is only 18 ft. wide, not up to grade, Erie Road has no shoulders and has cracks." Vaughan said she didn't want any fuel tanks out there either.

Then came Ron Kutinsky, who also lives within a half mile away and is a board member of Parrish Civic Association. Kutinsky said, "It's the next Lakewood Ranch. We're hitting the breaking point." He paused and added, "It's rural, it's community."

A few more questions were then answered by Chad Butzow and Chris Morubray about the 15 to 20 vehicles expected to be on property, and that there was no connection from 73rd or 69th Streets, to the property. Then Katie LaBar added that the land use was approved in 2010, and "that anything that has to be done to the road will have to be addressed later." 

Manatee County Planning Commission's Vice chairman David Wicks made a motion to approve and it passed unanimously. Chairman Richard Bedford did add a reminder to the citizens, that the county commission will have the final decision.

The planning commission's vote is a recommendation to the board of county commissioners that is taken seriously because of their expertise, and a staff recommendation gives it a much better chance of approval. However, it is the elected officials who tend to be more sensitive to the will of the community., The planning commission will present the reasons for their recommendation and the citizens will have an opportunity to plead their case to the board before their vote on the matter, on September 1 at a Land use hearing. This case will not be on the consent agenda, it will be scheduled for a full presentation.


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