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Proposed Linger Lodge Townhome Development Goes Before BOCC this Week

Opposition grows as a petition against the potential future development near Braden River gains hundreds more signatures.


MANATEE COUNTY — A rezoning request and preliminary site plan that would approve the construction of 99 townhomes on 45.5 acres alongside Braden River goes before the Manatee County Commission for approval this week. In July, the county’s planning commission voted 5-0 to recommend county commissioners approve the item. 

The future development site is located at the southeast corner of I-75 and Linger Lodge Road, commonly known as 8240 Linger Lodge Road in Bradenton.

The applicant, D.R. Horton, Inc., is the largest residential builder (per unit) in the United States and a repeat Fortune 500 company that saw its 124th ranking in 2022 rise to number 120 on the Fortune 500 list in 2023. Horton has dozens of active development projects in Manatee County and its surrounding areas.

The future of the proposed townhouse development along the Braden River requires commissioners approve the requested rezone of roughly 17.8 acres of the 34.5-acre project site from its current zoning of Planned Development Mixed Use (PDMU) and Agricultural Suburban (A-1) to a Planned Development Residential zoning. If the board should approve the requested rezone, the commission would also likely vote to approve the preliminary site plan for the development's 99 townhomes.

According to the preliminary site plan submitted with the application, 75 percent of the development site’s 34.5 acres would be retained as open space—or “green” space. Most of the development area would be reserved for the easternmost side of the proposed development site, as the middle area contains FPL transmission line easement, while the westernmost area adjacent to I-75 would be left with its existing vegetation.

A representative of the developer told planning commissioners on July 13 that the surrounding area of the proposed project includes existing single-family units as well as multi-family in the form of apartments and condos. More importantly, said the representative, the proposed development would be built in an area that has been “significantly developed with public infrastructure.”

The proposed plan also provides that the wetland area at the northwest corner of the site would remain undisturbed as it lies in the site’s designated open space. In regards to the Braden River, which runs along the southernmost edge of the site, the proposed plan includes the retention of a 50-foot wetland buffer in accordance with existing wetland buffer requirements.

Despite the developer’s many assurances, numerous Braden Woods and Tara residents remain in opposition to the rezone and development request as it moves forward to commissioners this week. 

A change.org petition, Protect Braden River Natural Habitat in Manatee County, has grown to include more than 2,500 signatures of residents in opposition—many from individuals outside of the Braden Woods or Tara neighborhoods.

“A natural habitat and wildlife corridor will be eradicated if a proposed development is built alongside the Braden River in Manatee County, Florida. Hundreds of trees will be destroyed and large retention ponds will be installed,” the petition begins.

“Ninety-nine (99) multi-story attached townhomes will be situated within a flood-prone area, on small lots, near a cell phone tower and power lines,” the petition continues. “To accomplish this, the developer is requesting that the land be rezoned and that waivers of local building regulations be approved.”

The development application includes two specific approval requests to allow for the removal of more than 25 percent of trees over 24 inches and to allow a cul-de-sac of over 800 feet in length. Five ponds would be constructed to address stormwater needs.

The proposed complex, only 50 feet from the river, jeopardizes the ecosystem in the Evers Reservoir Watershed, the source of Bradenton’s drinking water,” the petition says.

The half-dozen citizens who offered public comment before the planning commission in July expressed their opposition with concerns rooted in the location of the development’s proposed density, its potential impacts on the Braden River, the reduction of trees, increased traffic, and the overall loss of the little remaining untouched open space in the area.

Lisa Pring, President of the Braden Woods Homeowners Association, was one such public commenter. Pring said that she was appearing as a representative of 321 homeowners in Braden Woods, and those residents were requesting the planning commission deny a recommendation for approval.

Pring highlighted residents' shared concerns over displaced wildlife, increased flooding, and traffic congestion, among other suggested justifications to deny.

Written public comments already attached to Thursday’s agenda item echo the concerns expressed by Pring and others at the July Planning Commission meeting.

“I am writing this to plead with you to deny the plan to develop this beautiful piece of property into a multi-family development. First, this property is one of the few larger pieces available along the Braden River near Linger Lodge. It is vitally important to the animals in the area,” Cynthia Myers included in her written public comment.

“I think it’s very important to preserve this part of Braden River rather than build more homes,” wrote another citizen.

In his submitted comment, citizen Mike Mayer wrote, “There is insufficient infrastructure to support the residents of 99 new homes, and approval of the rezoning would create undue stress on the existing roads, sewers, and other existing public facilities.”

Watchdog group Manasota 88 also sent a letter to the BOCC this week recommending that the board deny the application because it is inconsistent with tree protection and tree mitigation requirements of the LDC, as well as inconsistent with overlays of the county's comprehensive land use plan.

County staff, however, have concluded that the development request is consistent with the county’s comprehensive plan and land development code (LDC).

The location of the potential future project falls within the county’s District 5 boundaries—currently represented by the commission’s newest member appointee, Commissioner Ray Turner.

Turner previously served on the planning commission when the proposed Linger Lodge development came before that commission on July 13. Turner was later made county commissioner by the governor, filling a vacancy left after former commissioner Vanessa Baugh resigned in late July. During the July 13 Planning Commission meeting, Turner voted in favor of recommending the rezone and site plan to the BOCC, stating the need for “affordable housing” in District 5.

The item is scheduled to be heard during the Thursday, Sept. 7, BOCC land use meeting. The meeting begins at 9:00 a.m. and will be held at the county’s downtown administrative building, in commission chambers. The meeting agenda is available on the Manatee County Government website, or by clicking here.

Individuals interested in submitting written public comments for the commission’s consideration prior to the meeting must submit their comments by Sept. 5 at 2:00 p.m. Public comments can also be submitted in person on the day of the meeting. Instructions for submitting public comments—either written or in-person—can be found at the top of the meeting’s agenda


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  • klmsinc

    To hell with the infrastructure, public safety, environment, or quality of water, or even the protest of residents living in the immediate area, come on BOCC, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

    Sunday, September 3, 2023 Report this

  • WTF

    The only thing going for this is that it is not one of the BOCC backed developers.

    After the wetlands vote preservation of this county means nothing to the current BOCC

    I predict George Kruse will once again listen to the citizens and vote on the side of caution

    The vote 6-1 will become the standard at any developer project

    As always… Follow the MONEY

    Tuesday, September 5, 2023 Report this