Stop Massive Development on U​.​S. 301 Ellenton!

Stop Massive Development on U​.​S. 301 Ellenton!

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Courtney Moody started this petition to Manatee County Planning Commission and

Ellenton may be small, but our community has a lot of heart! From Ridgewood to Colony Cove, the Premium Outlets to Rocky Bluff Library, our community is a wonderful place to call home. While Ellenton has experienced a few changes and some growth over the years, our small, homey feeling has stayed the same. Unfortunately, developers are trying to ruin this feeling and cause problems with our community's infrastructure.

Lot 6701 N. U.S. 301 is 6 acres of land between Raintree Inlet and Palm Grove, across from Rocky Bluff Library and Ridgewood. This land is currently zoned as A-1 (General Agriculture). It provides privacy and sound-resistance for the residents of Raintree Inlet and Colony Cove South, scenery for residents of Palm Grove and passersby, and a large habitat for native Floridian wildlife, including hundreds of butterflies. This land has been acquired by a development company named RFT Holdings, LLC, owned by Frank J. Maloney. You can read more about Mr. Maloney and this particular property acquisition here:

Mr. Maloney plans to develop this area into something better suited to a downtown Sarasota waterfront. His plans include:

- A 3-story, 40,000 sq. ft. commercial building across from Rocky Bluff Library and Ridgewood, with entrances/exits off U.S. 301 N and 68th Drive East
- An 8-story building with 250 residential units, 130,000 sq. ft. for commercial use, and an entrance off U.S. 301 N
- An 80-slip marina with fuel docks and pump outs

The effects of this development are dramatic and poor. Here’s how it affects you as a resident or visitor to Ellenton:

Increased Traffic
Anyone who’s been to Ellenton knows the traffic on U.S. 301 is very heavy, especially during the early morning, 3-5 PM rush-hour, and winter and summer. This construction would simply add to this traffic without doing anything to organize the infrastructure. Mr. Maloney claims that he will have a traffic light put in front of 68th Drive East and Ridgewood, but what he is apparently not familiar with is that this has already been declined by the Department of Transportation, due to the proximity to the traffic light at Colony Cove South. With nothing to combat this increased traffic, residents of Palm Grove, Ridgewood, and Raintree Inlet will be forced to wait 15+ minutes just to leave or enter their subdivisions. Additionally, attempting to enter or exit the Rocky Bluff Library or the accompanying shopping center will become nearly impossible. Other communities, such as Colony Cove and those further east on U.S. 301 will be forced to encounter longer drive times to and from their homes as they attempt to navigate the traffic caused by this massive development. Imagine the traffic near the Ellenton Premium Outlets during Christmas, but all the way down U.S. 301 and all year long; that is the kind of impact you will encounter every day in Ellenton.

Of course, road traffic is not the only type of traffic that will be impacted. With an 80-slip marina in the plans, anyone who enjoys a relaxing time on the Manatee River can say goodbye to those days with the increased traffic. Since these slips are planned to support such large watercraft, it will become dangerous for anyone in a canoe, jet ski, kayak, or other small craft to try enjoying the waterway any longer.

One “highlight” of Mr. Maloney’s extravagant plans is a rooftop restaurant with live music on his 8-story construct. As he plans for his development to be a hot-spot for nightlife, Ellenton residents will be subjected to loud music through the night. Anyone who lives in the near vicinity, particularly Palm Grove, Raintree Inlet, Ridgewood, and Colony Cove residents, will have to manage with this loud music (and any other sounds coming from this rooftop nightlife), even when trying to sleep.

Another impact of this massive development is light pollution. In addition to building lights, Mr. Maloney’s plans include a large amount of parking, which will require many, many bright lights that will remain on all night long. Once again, nearby residents will have lights shining into their homes in the middle of the night, even while trying to sleep. Light pollution also has a negative impact on wildlife, such as the endangered Sandhill Cranes.

Additionally, with the addition of an 80-slip marina with fuel docks and pump outs, the Manatee River will show an increase in pollution. This will again negatively impact the wildlife we see in Ellenton, as well as any fishing opportunities our residents and visitors have.

Wildlife Displacement
The lot at 6701 N. U.S. 301 is home to an abundance of wildlife. Owls, birds, foxes, armadillos, and more all have a home in this great and local ecosystem. Most notably is the presence of a plant known as Milkweed, which is a huge draw for butterflies. Once construction takes place and there is no more vegetation left, all butterflies and other wildlife will be displaced from their habitat. Without this, it’s likely many of these animals will die, and Ellenton will no longer see such diversity in the wildlife nearby – something that is a given part of the Florida experience.

As Mr. Maloney plans to have commercial space and his own rooftop restaurant with music, his businesses and development will have a direct impact on local small businesses. Ellenton D’s, Butterfield’s, Woody’s River Roo, and Whiskey Joe’s, to name just a few, will all see a decrease in business and sales with this massive development. Other local stores will see more competition as Mr. Maloney’s openings attempt to draw away customers. Ellenton won’t be the same without these local staples that help our economy flourish, but unfortunately, Mr. Maloney won’t care what happens after he creates this development.

How You Can Help
As you can see, allowing this construction to proceed will be detrimental to residents, business owners, and visitors of Ellenton alike. So, what can you do? Since this land is zoned as A-1, it must be rezoned to PDMU (Planned Development Mixed Use) by Manatee County in order for Mr. Maloney's plans to go through. Before rezoning, there will be a public hearing on February 11th, 2021 to determine if it occurs. Our goal is to collect 1000 signatures or more to STOP this from happening, to be presented before and at the public hearing. Please sign today and help us keep our community beautiful and peaceful!

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