Authorities consider selling land on Lena Road

Efforts to sell county-owned property on Lena Road have taken a step forward as commissioners seek to reverse a controversial land purchase made by a former council.

County commissioners plan to rezone the property and sell it, likely in smaller parcels, and advanced those efforts at a Manatee County meeting on Thursday.

Commissioners also discussed loans for affordable housing projects, as well as agritourism regulatory plans.

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Sale land property Lena Road

Plans to unravel the purchase of a controversial county-owned property on Lena Road advanced on Thursday.

The county purchased the property for $32.5 million in 2020 with plans to build a government operations center. However, the County Commission’s turnover led to an effort to instead sell the property for redevelopment.

Commissioners voted 6-1 to rezone the 98.6-acre Urban Fringe 3 property to mixed use, which would potentially allow development of up to 390 housing units and 992,142 square feet of retail, office or industrial.

The board also voted to forward the complete amendments to the related plan to the state.

Gap Loans for Affordable Housing Projects

County Commissioners have approved a $1.4 million gap financing loan to HGT Riverview6 GP LLC for the development of an affordable housing development at the corner of West 9th Street and West 6th Avenue in Bradenton .

Commissioners also approved an increase in the term of a $1.2 million gap financing loan to Astoria LTD for the construction of a 120-unit affordable seniors’ housing unit under development at 2116 9th Street West in Bradenton.

Agrotourism regulations

Regulation of agritourism activities has been hotly debated in Manatee County since last year, when the Sarasota Medieval Fair forced county staff to wrestle with new laws approved last year that prevent regulation local agritourism activities.

On Thursday, county commissioners decided not to vote on a proposed plan to use a temporary use permit process to regulate the “off-site impact” of agritourism activities that attract 1,000 or more attendees per day.

The permit would require on-site parking, the agritourism business to obtain all other applicable permits, prohibit construction of new non-agricultural buildings, and ensure fire codes.

Instead, commissioners asked county staff to draft the least restrictive policy possible and present that option at an upcoming meeting for a vote.