The Parrish community is one of the fine threads that make up the fabric of Manatee County.
Parrish has formed an association with goals to protect the unique character of this community, while at the same time embracing growth. There may not always be agreement on future plans but at least there is a plan with extensive community involvement. Involving the community has been a part of my goals when dealing with community issues.
Every once and a while as a Commissioner you can look back and be amazed at what has happened. Developers where at odds with the residents. Residents feared growth threatening their community. Along with Commissioner Stein the District Commissioner, I worked with the Parrish community to form a plan. Today developers and residents sit side by side with respect and open communication, and for the most part in harmony.
The North County Overlay was a large step in bringing both sides together. This ambitious goal was like the analogy of pushing a rope. County Planning Staff tried hard to define in language what they felt was needed. The Community after several versions still was not satisfied. I met with a few of the leaders of Parrish, defined the common goals and today we have a set of guidelines that should protect Parrish’s unique community.
The standards include reasonable guidelines for what buildings should look like to things like increased setbacks with enhanced landscaping. Now development approvals are less controversial, the developers have embraced the goals the community has created and the quality of life is being preserved and enhanced.
Another end product is the partnership with the development community. Roads, sewer and water lines are being built with the help of the private developers. Manatee County development policy puts the burden on the developers to supply the infrastructure like water and sewer lines. The developers knowing this, formed an alliance of over 20 property owners and created a joint agreement with themselves and the County. Today a few short years later we have water and sewer lines where none existed before and where the burden was too great for anyone property owner. Best of all the developers paid for the costs in exchange for the entitlements to the newly created capacity.
This is what makes Manatee County unique. The ability to bring people together for a common goal and figure out how to make things work. It is a matter of the right attitude. Some developers would rather fight and try to take advantage of the County. North County has proved after some early days of confrontation we can all work in harmony for the common goals of the residents of Manatee County.
I was proud to be part of that leadership. There were times I thought it was not going to happen but by bringing everyone together over and over it made the difference that is evident today.
Another goal is creating a plan for downtown Parrish, and insuring Parrish is not over run with undesirable growth.
We have a good start in the partnerships that we forged over the years. I am humbled to be able to serve this community and make such progress.