The 11,000 Unit Elephant at the Edge of Town

Contributing Writer

For the past eight years, while the town commissioners were attending the two county economic development council meetings, and reporting on those meetings as scheduled commission meeting agenda items, the developer community was hard at work electing Manatee and Sarasota  county and city commissioners, who were favorably disposed to what we see happening in downtown Sarasota.

The Manatee County developers have not been as industrious as their Sarasota brethren, but that is about to change in a big way.

Again, while the commissioners have been absorbed in fighting traffic circles, and a stop light on Cortez Road, and attending more county economic development council meetings, but not county and city commission meetings in both counties, the Manatee County developers, along with a friendly county commission, are about to present Longboat with a truly momentous problem, namely three large developments at 75th Street and Cortez Road, that will contain eleven thousand residential units. This translates to approximately eighteen thousand additional cars and twenty-five thousand additional people at our doorstep.

Certainly the traffic light on Cortez Road near Cortex Village is a pinch point in traffic flow during the three month tourist season.

Now Imagine adding fifteen thousand cars to the intersection at 75th Street and Cortez Rd. I doubt anyone will notice the Cortez Village traffic light as they wait.

In a few years the number of cars traversing our island may increase significantly as the added residential density at 75th street spills out onto our island.

The Manatee County commission is currently hearing proposals from the developers. Perhaps the Longboat Commissioners might consider becoming involved in the proceedings, as the outcome of the hearings could significantly affect traffic on Longboat.

People have suggested in the past that our town needs to become more involved in the politics at both ends of our community. Perhaps if our town commissioners were to create stronger communications and bonds with the members of the various commissions in Manatee and Sarasota counties and cities, they might be able to effectively participate in the decision making processes that have a direct impact on Longboat Key.

There is no way to halt the march of time and development. Even though Longboat is built-out, we can see that huge development is possible just off both ends of the Longboat. It may be imperative for the town of Longboat to become more active in surrounding politics. Perhaps we need a local lobbyist, as well as a lobbyist at the state level. We cannot stop development, but we can try to shape surrounding development to minimize negative impacts on our community.



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1 Response for “The 11,000 Unit Elephant at the Edge of Town”

  1. ghostrider says:

    May we assume that each unit will be occupied by two people ? If that’s the case then you would be duplicating the population of Longboat at peak season.
    Yup. Doable.
    We’re now circling the drain.

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