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Former County Commissioner Seeks Hearing for Longboat Pass/Beer Can Island Permit

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BRADENTON – Former Manatee County Commissioner and Bradenton Times publisher Joe McClash has filed a petition with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, seeking an administrative hearing regarding the Longboat Key North End Stabilization Structure's state permit. McClash says he hopes to prompt the department to deny the permit and request an Environmental Impact Statement be done. McClash is disputing several of the permits statements including how these concrete structures will allow the public to continue to enjoy traditional uses of the area.

"I don't see how a permit of this magnitude can get approved without an EIS," said McClash. "For the Fort Hamer/Upper Manatee Bridg, which has less environmental impacts, an EIS was required. Yet here you have an instance where you're talking about changing the natural flow of a channel and it's permitted without much consideration to what impact it will have on that area. It doesn't seem to make any sense."

The project intends to create three concrete groins on the northwest end of the island (the area known as Beer Can Island) in order to wall off the natural pattern of beach erosion, in an attempt to redirect the flow of sand – all in order to protect two condominium structures that were built too close to the gulf (one is even past the actual shoreline – see picture at right). 

The largest of the three structures (diagrammed below) would extend nearly a football field into the Gulf of Mexico, while two additional concrete groins – about 200 feet long each – would cut through the rest of the beach, rendering the popular gulf-front recreation area all but obsolete. 

The permit claims that the project would provide stabilization, while "nourishing a critically eroded shoreline ... providing protection to the existing upland structures from future storm events," and that it "will not adversely affect the conservation of fish and wildlife, or their habitat."

McClash's petition (click here to read) takes exception to many components of the permit, especially the idea that the proposed concrete seawall structures and redirecting of the channel will have a net positive benefit to the coastal system. He argues that the permit will actually displace recreational areas with concrete structures and prevent the continued use of the public beach for swimming, surfing and surf fishing.

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Save Beer Can Island and Our Slice of Paradise

Longboat Key permit is quality of life issue

Published Sunday, July 7, 2013 12:08 am


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