ONECO, Fla. (WFLA) — Manatee County commissioners unanimously denied proposed zoning changes for a piece of property in the heart of the Oneco community. Residents and community members voiced their opinions at a meeting Thursday about a controversial development proposed for the site.

The site off State Road 70 near 53rd Avenue East is virtually empty and neighbors were worried about what could be coming to the spot. Cirque Italia wanted to re-zone the 5.6 acre property and bring a 20,000-square-foot performance tent, a concession tent and 128 parking spaces steps away. The development would have also included a two-story multi-use building and up to eight residential units, according to the proposal.

“It does not fit our neighborhood at all,” said longtime Oneco resident Margi Nanney. “If you are only 50 to 60 feet away here, and there was a huge tent with lighting and noise and everything — what is that gonna do to your lifestyle? It will devalue the property. It’s just not compatible.”

Commissioners on Thursday agreed with the compatibility concerns.

“We are supposed to protect the quality of life of our citizens, that is really the bottom line. That is what it is all about. Obviously, a circus or anything like that in this area it’s just not compatible,” said Commissioner Vanessa Baugh.

Neighbors are also not happy about the show’s content. The entertainment company advertises R-rated production “Paranormal Cirque,” which includes adult language and content not intended for anyone under 17.

Bill Bailey, a pastor at Happy Gospel Church, said the content was his biggest worry.

“Blood, gore – we don’t think that is a fit for our Oneco community. Not when there are multiple churches, schools and day cares that are within walking distance of that property. It just doesn’t fit our area,” he said.

A Cirque Italia representative said Wednesday the company hoped to create a functional property for the community.

“It is our aim that this project will also encourage and attract other investors to come and contribute to the community,” they added.

A spokesperson with the company sent 8 On Your Side the following statement after our story aired Thursday:

As a company, Cirque Italia has decided to respond to today’s hearing recommendation in a positive way. The community’s feedback is extremely important for us and we will definitely take into consideration everything that was said such as the noise and traffic concerns.

Customizing our show productions, depending on each venue, is something that we are used to. Therefore, we can consider making adjustments and exploring our options in order to reduce the overall noise of the show.

As far as the traffic concerns go, we can guarantee that we will stay in full compliance of local and state regulations. We have developed a good reputation around the country for our reliability and we consider ourselves experts with keeping the area around us safe. We pride ourselves in efficiency and dependability.

Cirque Italia will now have to go back to the drawing board and reapply for any proposed zoning changes at a later date.