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Date of Issue: December 15, 2005

Boat 'rackominium' accepted in Cortez

The 330-boat dry-storage complex in Cortez gained acceptance, though often grudging, in the historic fishing village following the developer's explanation at a village meeting last week.

Bradenton Boat Club has a proposal before Manatee County government to put up four storage buildings up to four stories high on the 4.7 acres of the old C&C Marina property on the north side of Cortez Road.

Representatives of the developer explained to a full house in the Cortez Community Center that no residences will be built there. Specifically no condominiums, a dreaded word in the village.

It will be for storage only, with no ancillary services, they said, and the canal to the property will be used for access only, no boats stored there.

Land access will be from Cortez Road and 123rd Street, and neighbors have expressed fears that traffic on the latter would overload the narrow road.

There were few protests at the meeting, mainly in the form of sharp questioning by residents. Allen Garner, president of the influential Florida Institute of Saltwater Heritage, said the main objection he has heard is of the size of the four buildings so near Cortez Road, the main thoroughfare there and a major route to and from Anna Maria Island.

"Most of us would be happy if the scale were reduced," he said. "In comparison with the one-story houses and buildings around it, it will be really massive. I'm concerned about the noise of so many boats, too.

"But the county will decide. It seems an appropriate use of the land, it continues what's been there for years."

Thomas "Blue" Fulford, Cortez-born and lifelong resident and community leader, said the complex appears to imply minimum impact, but ...

"But it kind of rubs you wrong anyway. If you grew up in a place and learned to love it, it becomes part of you. You just don't like to see something change it, at least without great advantages for the people here."

BBC is "here to make money, of course. Our people came to Cortez over a century ago to make a life, raise their families and make money. We can't really criticize others for doing the same."