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With developments come concerns in rural Manatee County

Parrish development site
Posted at 5:36 PM, Sep 05, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-05 17:36:00-04

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. -- Another housing development near Parrish has gotten approval in Manatee County. It will be called Villages of Amazon South.

The development will go up on the northwest corner of Moccasin Wallow Road at U.S. 301, and developers say nearly 2,000 homes will be built, along with commercial space, on 623 acres.

But with more development comes concerns about the area growing too fast, and some residents cite a lack of infrastructure and schools in the area.

Parrish was once a primarily rural and agricultural section of Northeast Manatee County. Now, mixed in between farm fields are large neighborhood developments.

The challenge is making sure we have the right infrastructure in the right place at the right time,” explained Manatee County Planning Official John Osborne.

He is one of the people responsible for making sure the county can handle growth demands.  “We are responsible for water systems, the sewer systems, the road ways, solid waste.”  And even new schools. “We have what is called school concurrency, and that requires us to communicate with the school board,” said Osborne.

The Manatee County School District is growing as well. This year, county wide, they have increased by 1200 new students.  “We are very proud of that. It reflects I believe the quality and improvement in our district and the quality of our education,” says Superintendent Rick Mills.

With so many new homes popping up in Parrish and only one elementary school, Mills says the school board is commissioning a county-wide study to look at growth patterns and demographics so they can present the need to the county and residents with a comprehensive study.  “We are going to move forward with this study and I hope to have something in six to eight months from this team that will work with our staff that will come back with recommendations.”

While Lakewood Ranch and Parrish are the fastest growing areas of the county, the cost of installing infrastructure and funding new schools falls squarely on the shoulders of every Manatee County resident.