A Manatee County farm is begging the public for help to save their beloved "Tiny Town".
"Hello everyone, we need your help to stop the county from putting a 165ft width road right through our Tiny Town and part of our petting zoo," Hunsader Farms, a local tourist destination known for their flower fields, farmers market and petting zoo, wrote in part on their most recent Instagram post.
The post furthers that the business has started a petition "to stop the construction of a main road through our property," and claiming that the county has property along CR675 for a road, yet they are proposing "it going right through our land."
"This road would also stop us from using the south field as parking for our annual Pumpkin Festival. The farm itself, as well as providing recreation and entertainment for the community, is our livelihood and how we make a living. We are asking for all the help we can get to stop this."
The Instagram post was made less than an hour ago and has already stirred quite a bit of buzz with many in favor commenting that they are signing the petition and one commenter saying, "Sarasota is expanding way too quickly. The roads already can’t handle the traffic".
The petition, published by Rachel Hunsader on change.org less than 24 hours ago, is up to over 250 signatures at the time of writing.
"The construction of a road through this area would have significant and irreversible impacts on the environment, wildlife, and local community," the petition states.
According to information provided on a site linked to FDOT, there is a proposed future project under the name of 414506-2 SR 70 from Lorraine Road to CR 675 (Waterbury Rd), however, it's unclear if this particular project is the one Hunsader Farms is referring to in their petition. Uncovering Florida can confirm that Hunsader Farms is located on Waterbury Rd.
This is a developing story and Uncovering Florida has reached out to Hunsader Farms for additional information. Check back soon for updates.
UPDATE 2/11/23: Uncovering Florida spoke with Rachel Hunsader who noted that her parents, the owners of the 300-acre farm, have been proactive in attending meetings to oppose the construction.
"My parents went to a meeting on Thursday to oppose the roadway, but the zoning board passed it anyways. Now they have to meet with the county commissioner," Hunsader said, furthering that she will also be attending the upcoming Thursday commissioner meeting.
"It's an unnecessary location when [the roadway] could be placed somewhere else, plus [the county] is building [another road] next to the farm so there's really no need to be a road here."
Hunsader noted that a roadway running through the farm would not only be unnecessary, but also cause the family a lot of unnecessary grief.
"The 10 buildings are permanently placed so to move them would be a lot of wasted time and money."
The Tiny Town buildings were brought to the farm from Georgia in May 2022.
"The buildings were previously owned by the owner of Chick-Fil-A and we bought them after he died. We put a lot of effort into transporting the buildings down to Florida."
Hunsader is hopeful to get at least 10,000 signatures on the petition before the meeting on Thursday.
"I'm hoping by having that many signatures it will send a message to the council that a lot of people don't want a roadway here. People come to the farm to get away from the loud noises and city life, so to build a road here would take a lot of that charm away."
Hunsader Farms has been a family business for three generations and continues to be a tourist hotspot for visitors in the Sarasota area.
You can read more about the petition and sign it here. More information about the proposed roadway can be found here.