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Manatee Commissioners vote against a circus in Oneco

Manatee Commissioners vote against a circus in Oneco
Posted at 5:00 PM, Jun 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-02 17:57:40-04

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — Plans of a new R-rate circus coming to a small Manatee County community have been denied by commissioners.

This vote came after neighbors and churches opposed its construction.

Small historic Oneco, tucked in southwest Manatee County, is home to many churches and schools. But property owners of a narrow 5.6-acre plot of land on SR-70 want it to be the home of a new Cirque Italia.

People in the small community don’t want it, and they made their voices heard to county commissioners on Thursday.

"We don’t want an R-rated horror-themed circus in old Oneco," long-time Oneco resident Margi Nanney said.

We reached out to Cirque Italia and they gave us this statement in part:

"Our goal with this new build is to not only create a performance venue but to also establish headquarters for each circus that comprises Cirque Italia; two family-friendly, water circuses and two mature audiences, paranormal circuses."

The commission was voting on whether to rezone the property to allow owners to build a performance area — including putting up a circus tent 40 days out of the year.

But, even at that limit, commissioners believed it would not positively benefit the community.

"It’s incompatible with the neighborhood and 40 days of incompatibility is 40 days too many," Manatee County commissioner Misty Servia said.

Although the project was recommended by the county planning commission, Manatee County commissioners voted unanimously to deny the land use rezoning, voting against the circus being built.