PUNTA GORDA - Plans for a concrete plant east of U.S. 41 in Punta Gorda received a thumbs up from the Planning and Zoning Advisory Board.

The planning board's unanimous recommendation will go to the Charlotte County Commission at a later date. That board has the final say.

TNT Southern Holdings LLC of Broadview Heights, Ohio, is the owner and applicant seeking to build a 70,000 square foot production facility on 13.4 acres of what is now wetlands and pine forest south of Acline Road. The company would be building sea walls. 

The company will not build its facility in the wetlands, which are near U.S. 41, and it will add native plants to enhance those wetlands. It will expand buffering around the wetland from the required 25 feet to 50 feet, the developer's lawyer, Rob Berntsson said.

One resident of an adjacent residential community, Ben G. Dees, expressed concern about trucks on Acline Road, but otherwise praised the project.

"I applaud the applicant for what they're doing...I understand what was there when we bought the property...My only concern is the truck traffic."

TNT has applied for a zone change from general industrial to planned development. That's because the county's older zoning maps only allows low intensity industry on this site, which does not include a cement plant. The county's newer comprehensive plan adopted high intensity at that location, however. Rather than apply for intensive industrial, the owner chose a more complex option of planned development, Berntsson told the planning board.

"Recognizing the residential neighborhood to the north, we proposed a planned development so that we could ensure enhanced landscaping and buffering to the site," Berntsson said.

To restrict truck traffic, the county is requiring the company build a left-hand turn lane into the property on Acline Road, Berntsson said.

For buffering, the plan includes a 5-foot high raised bank of land on the property's north side. On top of the bank would be shrubs and trees including 20-foot canopy trees, according to the county's conditions.

The county has also restricted hours of operation from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. Building heights are restricted although a concrete silo can be 70 feet. Other restrictions include dust abatement and lighting controls.

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