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Manatee commissioners approve 1,100 new homes on land zoned for agriculture

Construction vehicles on new master home bulding site.
Cathy Carter
Marisol, a new development by Neal Communities, is being built in eastern Manatee County on State Road 64 near Lake Manatee State Park.

One commissioner says it's the best plan under a bad policy.

Manatee County commissioners have approved a developer's request to build 1,100 homes east of the county's development boundary and on land currently zoned agricultural.

One commissioner who originally opposed the plan has now voted yes.

When the developer of Lazy C Ranch first proposed to build on the 500 acres at Rutland and Rye roads in Parrish, Commissioner George Kruse voted no because the plan called for potentially many more homes and lots of businesses there.

Last week he voted yes, because the developer is now limiting the project to 1,100 homes.

"Yes, it is ag today. Yes, it is going to change some of the dynamic of that area," said Kruse. "I wish we didn't have the policy. But I think this is the best-case scenario within the framework of that policy."

The policy in question allows for rezoning and development east of the future development boundary line if it can be shown to be part of an existing master development.

Kruse said the policy is confusing and needs to be eliminated.

But, he said, the Lazy C developer listened to complaints about the size of the development and came back with a reduced plan.

"It was a developer who understood they were going they were shooting for the moon. They didn't get it," Kruse said. "And then they took a step back and thoughtfully came up with another plan that was palatable to them, that they believed would be palatable to this board and the community. And I believe they did that."

Kruse says there was little or no public opposition to the plan.

I started my journalism career delivering the Toledo Blade newspaper on my bike.