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April 12--BRADENTON -- Manatee County planning commissioners have given the go-ahead for another hotel in Taral and a proposed residential development project near Evers Reservoir.

Valcorp International, LLC is requesting an approval of a revised development order and general development plan that would add a 123-room hotel on 3.91 acres near the eastbound State Road 70 on-ramp to southbound Interstate 75. The property is next to an assisted living facility currently being constructed.

According to Robert Lombardo, the project engineer, all of the Tara development's residential units have been built, but some commercial properties are still vacant near the Twelve Oaks Plaza. Seventy-nine hotel rooms have already been built in the area, with 81 additional rooms still waiting to be constructed and a 77-room hotel pending a final site plan review, the county staff report says.

The two asks for the hotel project were supported by a vote of 5 to 0, with Planning Commissioners Mike Rahn and Paul Rutledge absent.

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A proposal by home builder Taylor Morrison to build 600 homes has continued to cause angst for some of those charged with either approving or denying such projects. On Thursday, planning commissioners heard about a request to rezone 42 acres on the eastern portion of the property, currently owned by the city of Bradenton, from agriculture to planned development. The remaining 158 acres is already zoned as such.

The five people who spoke during the public comment period said they were concerned about how the project would affect traffic, possible flooding to surrounding developments and why the north-south Natalie Way wouldn't be open to cars.

Planning Commissioner Al Horrigan Jr., a strong proponent of opening Natalie Way and a bridge to connect Honore Avenue to the Tara development, said that if the city was concerned about people tainting the water in Ward Lake, which serves as the city's water supply, he could do so by taking a boat out on Jigg's Landing.

It's not about attacks on the water supply, Bradenton city administrator Carl Callahan said. It's about the potential for substances to spill into the lake from a busy roadway. Also, the city and county have established an agreement that Natalie Way would not become a through-way between Honore Avenue and State Road 70.

"At some point in time ... we have to talk about planning rather than rubber stamping what the developer wants to have," he said of the posed traffic concerns.

Caleb Grimes, a land use lawyer representing the project, said that stormwater would feed into the Evers Reservoir, including a majority of the water that currently drains off the property and into Rattlesnake Slough.

"This is your typical infill project," he said.

As for traffic, Grimes said the area was experiencing "standard growing pains," but impact fees generated from the project could go toward expanding Honore Avenue or improving the three-way stop at Old Farm Road.

The general development plan has plotted out the locations for the detached, semi-detached and attached homes, but has a big question mark where a mound of clay currently sits. It could either become more homes or a recreational facility, planner Darenda Marvin said.

Taylor Morrison has also indicated it would help the construction portion of a county sewer reroute project, if the residential project was approved. Marvin said the capital improvement project has already been funded, and the county would reimburse the company if it moved forward.

Horrigan was the sole dissenting vote for the proposal which received five supporting votes. Planning Commissioner Paul Rutledge was the sole commissioner absent.

"I don't believe we should be approving this project until we get some of these traffic issues resolved," Horrigan said. "We can't keep doing this in Manatee County."

County commissioners will vote on both proposals during a May 3 land use meeting.

Hannah Morse: 941-745-7055, @mannahhorse

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