UPDATE: Late this afternoon, the attorney for TerraCap confirmed that the firm, which owns the Bee Ridge Park of Commerce, has asked the County to postpone a rezoning hearing previously set for Sept. 10th. The reason is to allow time to work on a mutually beneficial agreement between TerraCap and the Lake Sarasota. See below for details of the neighborhood's reasons for seeking such an agreement.
At a meeting yesterday with TerraCap and a land-use attorney it has retained, representatives from Lake Sarasota and the Bee Ridge Neighborhood Committee laid out neighborhood concerns related to the prospective development of the Bee Ridge Park of Commerce (BRPOC). The meeting was the first with corporate officers for TerraCap, which owns the land. Earlier discussions with its local agents had stalled.
Key points of our presentation:
- The 50-acre plot of land lies directly opposite the front entrance to Lake Sarasota, at an already difficult intersection that sees frequent traffic accidents and is now undergoing widening.
- A giant Racetrac gas station will begin construction within a few weeks on the northeast corner of Mauna Loa and Bee Ridge. TerraCap has no control over this project -- Racetrac owns the two-acre parcel and has received approvals for it -- but the concerns having to do with noise, traffic, and potential degradation of property values stem from planning having been done without the knowledge of residents who will have to put up with it.
- The land was originally intended for large clean employers, such as HealthSouth, Ridgelake, and METI. However, the former owner of the BRPOC and its agents worked persistently to persuade the County to change this land use to commercial and industrial zoning.
- The BRPOC is a cul de sac -- as such all traffic entering via the Mauna Loa intersection will leave the same way. If busy commercial ventures -- e.g. drugstores, convenience stores, gas stations, fast food -- are put in, the pressure upon the intersection will sharply increase. So too will the noise and nighttime activity.
On Wednesday, the corporate officer from TerraCap, Wayne Humphries, who met with us indicated his company -- a large Canadian property management and development firm -- will carefully review the information we presented.
We are thus in a wait-and-see mode. However, if a September 10th hearing goes ahead on a rezoning application filed by TerraCap, we will file a report reiterating our concerns and desire for a voluntary protective Covenant to the County Board of Commissioners.