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Date of Issue: June 29, 2006

Cortez complex gets OK, praise

The first of three major developments on the north side of Cortez Road in the historic fishing village won preliminary approval by the Manatee Board of County Commissioners, and approbation from commissioners and county staff.

It is the Bradenton Boat Club, on the old C&C Marina’s 4.78 acres, to become a three-building, 272-boat dry storage facility plus 22 wet slips.

It represents a major redesign from the original proposal, Aristotle Shinas of the county planning staff told the commissioners at the hearing last week. The first proposal was for storage for 330 boats in buildings villagers, planners and commissioners found too massive.

Commissioners expressed appreciation of the reduction in scale by the developer. It met and corrected all of the staff criticisms and made the complex more in keeping with the village’s one-story aspect, said Shinas.

Maximum height for the three buildings will be 49 feet, and extensive landscaping will minimize the impact of the large buildings, he noted. Boat rentals, including personal watercraft, are specifically excluded and hours of operation will be limited to meet earlier concerns of residents.

"It will be in line with the Cortez guidelines," he said. "It will keep the Cortez atmosphere even though it is not in the village itself." The village, on the south side of Cortez Road, is a designated historic district with a design and zoning overlay exempting it from many of the county’s construction requirements and preserving it from aggressive development.

Jane von Hahmann, Cortez resident and county commissioner, noted that nobody appeared in opposition at the hearing. BBC will add to the appearance of the property "which has been in some disarray," she said. "It meets the letter of the county’s building code."

The project now faces the long, complex route through the county’s departments and regulatory agencies.

Still to come are consideration of two other major projects along the north side of Cortez Road, the Holiday Cove RV Park and Hunter’s Hill, both proposed for residential development. 

The Hunter’s Hill proposal has shown no activity in recent months, but the Holiday Cove proposal was made in an early presentation to the county and received a reception decidedly less warm than that accorded Bradenton Boat Club. It was to be discussed Monday night at a public meeting in Cortez, but information on the matter was not available at presstime.