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News Section: Manatee County

Controversial Robinson Farms Land Ordinance Passes After Commissioners Take Second Vote

Published Wednesday, October 13, 2010 2:15 am

MANATEE-- The commission chambers that had previously been packed with protestors had emptied by the time Commissioner Gwen Brown changed her vote to yay after voting nay to pass the controversial Robinson Farms zoning ordinance at Tuesday’s BCC land use meeting.


Initially, after more than three hours of presentations, public comment and deliberation, the commission voted 4-3 to deny PA-10-02/Ordinance 10-02 Robinson Farms which would change the zoning designation from RES-1 (one residential dwelling unit per gross acre) to RES-3 (three residential dwelling units per gross acre). The nay votes to deny were cast by Commissioner’s Bustle, Getman and Hayes on Commissioner McClash’s motion that opposed the ordinance.


During the Commissioner’s Comments portion of Tuesday’s land use meeting, Commissioner Brown addressed her concerns over the Robinson Farms ordinance. A second vote, ironically motioned by Brown, was taken and Commissioner Brown voted this time in favor of the measure, which allowed the ordinance to be passed 4-3.


At issue was an updated Coastal High Hazard Area (CHAA) map put out by the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council (TBRPC) which now showed a majority of the parcel of land, located between 9th Avenue NW and 17th Avenue NW near Palma Sola, to be in the coastal evacuation area (CEA). County Planner John Osborne recommended the denial of the ordinance during his presentation to the commissioners.


This was the third time the ordinance came up before the commission which had previously deadlocked at 3-3 on June 17 and eventually lead to today’s vote. 


Attorney Ed Vogler represented Robinson Farms

Neal Communities' Attorney Ed Vogler, representing the Robinson Farms project, disagreed with the staff recommendation. “We had a mediated settlement agreement”, he said. Mr. Vogler contended that “none of the amended evacuation maps have been approved" and that "denying the process to prove these maps was wrong.”


County Attorney Jim Minnix said, “The applicant has had considerable notice and opportunity to be heard. I don’t think they’ve been denied process.” Mr. Minnix also noted that the commissioners can use the best available data at the time to either approve or deny an ordinance.


The Robinson Farms ordinance would allow 21 acres to be designated RES-1 (21 dwelling units) and 28 acres at RES-3 (84 dwelling units) for a total of 105 dwelling units. Citizens of the community contend that not only is existing infrastructure not capable of handling the additional development, but that the increased density will irreparably damage the character of their uniquely rural neighborhood.

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I am astounded and disappointed by Commissioner Brown's complete lack of regard for the typical process and for her constituents. She completely disregarded the recommendation of County staff and a large and vocal contingent of local citizens. To change her vote on very flimsy information should be embarrassing to her as a politician and a person. This shows a total disregard for the process, her constituents and apparently her personal integrity. We hope that she fixes this blatant political sell out and we look forward to incoming commissioner Gallen to provide more integrity in the future.
Posted by Doug Hall on October 15, 2010

As one speaker in Public Comments earlier in the Commission meeting stated "These Comprehensive Plan changes are classical examples of why Amendment 4 needs to pass." Gwen Brown's 'FLIP-FLOP vote' is another reason. Allowing so many homes to be built in a Coastal FLOOD and evacuation ZONE and potential Hurricane disaster area is a breach of common sense. Don't we have enough homes in coastal flood zones in Manatee County, enough gridlock on the roads to and from Robinson Farm? Are we moving forward or backwards? Methinks backwards!
Posted by Victor Coveduck on October 14, 2010

Sorry to find the excess building approved.No one except builders and promoters benefit. Another downward step in Manatee Co.
Posted by Elizabeth Bharucha on October 14, 2010

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