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Race Trac in Winning Circle Again


BRADENTON -- The highly contested Race Trac retail store and fuel station proposed to be built at U.S. 41 and Pearl Road in southern Bradenton, got the green light at Tuesday's BOCC meeting. 

Residents of the historical Archaeological Overlay District, Whitfield Estates, walked from the dais, not surprised but disappointed in the vote to allow the monster fuel station into their neighborhood. 

I asked Whitfield resident Andrew Barrymore what he was thinking, and he replied, "The board just voted to decline the value of the Whitfield neighborhood by about $30,000 on each property." Barrymore added, "It does not belong in a historical estate."

The dozen or so residents who spoke at the meeting expressed their concerns over the 219-foot long canopy, the chance of flooding, too little room for tankers to pull in and out off of U.S. 41, and, as one resident said, "It makes an ugly picture."

Barbara Hines, chairwoman of Manasota 88 said, "They need another gas station there like a fish needs a bicycle."

The applicant didn't make many changes from the last meeting where commissioners asked them to return with a smaller canopy (they reduced it by 10 ft.), and add landscaping (they added three trees off U.S. 41). 

The applicant stopped the changes there, with no reduction in the size of the building; nor would they reduce the size of the canopy further.

Mike Bonner, Whitfield resident since 1981, said there wasn't room to get in and out of the business safely: "…tractor trailers will have to use three lanes to turn in off U.S. 41. It is not safe."

Another resident, Mary Sutton, said, "I don't want the Race Trac in my neighborhood. That 200 ft canopy? I see an airplane landing on it." 

Commissioner DiSabatino stood her ground, saying she would have to see more compromise to consider approving the request. 

Motion to approve the application -- Approved, 6 to 1, DiSabatino dissenting  


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