Public input wanted in Manatee County growth

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Posted: Thursday, March 7, 2013 10:47 am

MANATEE COUNTY, FL. - Manatee County Commissioners and planners are hoping residents seize on the once-in-a-generation opportunity to determine the look and shape of Manatee County for years to come.

Over the next three months, county officials hope Manatee residents and business owners weigh in on the How Will We Grow conversation, a conversation with the community that will help County Commissioners outline growth and development standards for the next 30 years, and because of the far-ranging impacts the project has, Manatee County Planning and Zoning Official John Osborne has begun taking the How Will We Grow presentation to community groups around Manatee County.

“How Will We Grow is an opportunity for people to get involved in growth planning that infrastructure, services and development will follow for the next thirty years,” Osborne says. “That’s why we're trying to get as much input from as many different audiences as we can.”

HWWG presents local government with a new way of doing business by focusing on infrastructure as community investments. The study proposes three future growth scenarios:

• Alternative 1, the “stay the course” option, makes minor changes to Manatee County’s current Comprehensive Plan and would continue the suburban growth trend towards low densities and low-rise development patterns in most areas.

• Alternative 2, the Southwest County focus, encourages additional population and development in the southwest area of the county. This would focus redevelopment and increased densities and potentially taller buildings (greater than 35' in areas) along the U.S. 41 corridor and other areas west of Interstate 75 where infrastructure and services already exist.

• Alternative 3, the “activity center” focus, encourages denser and more concentrated growth within four designated areas: Port Manatee area, Parrish, Lakewood Ranch, and the U.S. 41 corridor area of Southwest County. Like Alternative 2, it would allow increased densities and potentially taller buildings (greater than 35' in areas) in these activity centers.

Osborne has already met with the Manatee Youth Commission, Tiger Bay, Chamber of Commerce committees and others. Later this month and in April, Osborne will visit the Federation of Communities, local community redevelopment agency meetings, the League of Women Voters and local neighborhood associations. A full lineup of the How Will We Grow discussions, and a host of background and research can be found at www.mymanatee.org/howwillwegrow

The public may attend one of the general community presentations scheduled. To schedule a discussion of How Will We Grow with your community group or neighborhood association, contact Kandi Carver at (941) 748-4501 ext. 6873 or e-mail candace.carver@mymanatee.org.

The Board of County Commissioners is expected to make a decision on growth alternatives in June. Your input is important for the future of our county.

For more information on Manatee County Government, visit online at www.mymanatee.org or call (941) 748-4501.

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