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Date of Issue: October 20, 2005

Plans for Cortez boat storage outline

There will be a public meeting in Cortez to air the whole proposal for the Bradenton Boat Club's contemplated 330-boat storage building.

The problem is, the project is in such early stages that nobody knows when the meeting will be. But Manatee County's principal planner promises at least one meeting will come off.

Bradenton Boat Club representatives appeared at a county commission workshop last week to outline the proposed development of the property, which is planned at the old C&C Marine Sales and Service Inc. at 12123 Cortez Road.

The occasion was an initial hearing on a request to rezone the property from commercial and residential duplex to planned development waterfront.

This was a very preliminary step in the process, but it was clear that BBC has large plans for the 4.7 acres on the north side of Cortez Road.

Residents of the area made their views known through correspondence entered into the record, and those views mainly expressed alarm at the massive undertaking.

BBC wants to construct four buildings of three and four stories, maximum 47 feet high, 34,066 square feet total, for dry storage of 330 boats, plus 30 wet slips along the canal that empties into Anna Maria Sound just beyond 127th Street. BBC indicated it would like to raise the bridge across the canal on 127th Street to make way for boats.

Land access would be off 123rd Street, which neighbors pointed out is the only access to their homes. Douglas Dakal wrote that he objected to that, and said he'd "like to see entry and exit access only from Cortez Road."

Jim and Betty Guthrie questioned the capacity of the canal to handle water traffic - "How much can this approximate 30-foot-wide canal with docks and boat lifts protruding out from properties stand?

"This is also a manatee habitat," he said, with as many as eight adult manatees there on occasion. He cited damage already to residents' seawalls and asked "what will it be with four or five hundred boats running in and out? And how much pollution will this create in a narrow canal?"

These and other concerns are similar to the issues identified during staff review, said Aristotle Shinas, Manatee County principal planner. Those issues are:

  • The number of boat slips and additional boat traffic in narrow canals.
  • Compatibility with adjacent residences.
  • Mass and scale of buildings.
  • Screening buffers.
  • Wetland and wetland buffers (mangroves).
  • Fuel storage.
  • Access off 123rd Street West.
  • Additional traffic on Cortez Road (deficient and operating below adopted level of service "D").

These are among matters BBC will have to address in additional sessions before the Manatee County Board of County Commissioners. Sure to come up will be concerns about the effect of such massive buildings just across the road from a village designated as historic and "somewhat" protected from encroachment.