BRADENTON – Opponents to the proposed expansion of the Longbar Pointe development project were up in arms this morning when a Sarasota Herald Tribune article noted that the county only planned to use 430 chairs around a raised stage at the Bradenton Area Convention Center, rather than the site's bleacher seating. The site is also scheduled to open at 1 p.m. for the 1:30 meeting, which at least one county commissioner found to be inadequate in terms of giving the public enough time to get situated and sign in for public comment.
citizen's packed the Cortez Fisherman's Hall for a
meeting with Longbar developer Carlos Beruff.
photo by John Rehill
County Commissioner Robin DiSabatino (R-Dist.2) said that she has received numerous complaints and has made it known that she thinks the county should do more to make sure adequate time and space are available.
"Of course we can't tell county staff what to do, unless we were to vote on the item in the morning meeting," explained DiSabatino. "But I did say that I felt very strongly that we should have all possible seating available and that the doors should open by noon, if not 11, to ensure that everyone can get inside, settled and sign in if they wish to give public comment.
"I don't want to see this become another issue where one side gets there early, takes up all of the seating and then other members are forced to stand or watch from an overflow room. That was the whole purpose of moving it to the convention center in the first place, to make sure we couldn't run out of seats."
Commissioner DiSabatino said that the county should also take steps to have members of either the Manatee Sheriff's Office or Palmetto Police Department on site to direct traffic. The meeting starts at 1:30 p.m., but could go well into the evening, meaning that many citizens who cannot be there for the 1:30 start time, might show up after work.
County spokesperson Nick Azzara told TBT that there are additional chairs which can be brought out if needed. When asked if he thought that the possibility of having to stand might discourage some members of the public from showing up he said, "No, not at all."
The meeting will also be televised online and on TV by MGA-TV (Bright House channel 622, Verizon channel 30 and Comcast channel 20).
by Dennis Maley
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