BRADENTON – Nearly 50 protesters showed up Thursday at the Manatee County Administrative Center to voice their opposition to the proposed Long Bar Pointe development. The activists delivered 1,000 signatures of the more than 5,000 they say they have collected on petitions urging nay votes from county commissioners when they decide the fate of the project's proposed expansion during a special meeting Tuesday.
The protesters were led by Ed Goff who has organized Save Manatee Coastline, one of two groups organized in opposition to developer Carlos Beruff's attempt to add a large-scale marina and hotel to a previously-approved development project on Sarasota Bay in the southwest corner of Manatee County.
Goff told TBT that the group's goal is simple and zero sum, votes of "no" on the Long Bar Pointe map amendment, the county wide text amendment and any future similar amendments that would allow construction in the Coastal High Hazard Area, as well as any other area that would result in damage to or removal of mangrove trees or sea grass.
"Hopefully this would send a message to the developers that we consider our shorelines to be sacred land that should not be destroyed or damaged for any reason," said Goff. "These wetlands provide habitats for many types of wildlife including birds, fish, manatees and dolphins. The ecosystem along shorelines is very fragile and should not be disturbed."
The project has drawn opposition from a broad coalition of environmentalists, charter fishing captains and neighborhood activists, who all see the expansion as a threat to their way of life. The project has several controversial aspects, including the destruction of as many as 40 acres of mangroves and the dredging of the waterway through vital sea grass.
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