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Save Beer Can Island and Our Slice of Paradise


The State of Florida has issued a notice of intent to issue a permit for three groins on the south side of Longboat Pass. The area's natural island used by thousands has been under attack for years. The Terminal Groin which would be built, is a long jetty (almost two football fields in length) reaching from the natural shoreline next to LBK Pass, west into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Imagine going out next summer and the place you've enjoyed for years, Beer Can Island, is paved over with concrete. No more lazy river rides with the outgoing tide, no more safe place to bring your boat onto the beach with your family. Your last bit of natural Florida is history, and all against the covenants that were created years ago to maintain the island in its natural state.

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The driving force behind the destruction is the City of Longboat Key with the help of a few County Commissioners. What would simply defy logic to most of us is somehow logical to these politicians. Two condos were built too close to the Gulf waters in the 70's and the beach became too close to the structures. So the State allowed a permit for a concrete seawall which changes the forces of the wave action and the sandy beach is gone and will not stay in place. Every time, Longboat Key combats this by dumping more sand. As you can guess, it washes away. Essentially, we are talking about $10 million of taxpayer money to save 2 condos that were built before all the new codes – and the unintended consequences will now be at the expense of such recreational quality. 

The engineers who profit so much from permitting and building structures, tried to permit concrete islands in the gulf. Resistance to that idea led them to formulate a pass management plan that show how these man-made structures (groins) can keep the sand in front of these two condo structures. The State of Florida, now seeming to favor the destruction of the environment versus preservation, issues the notice of intent – and you have only 14 days to challenge it!


Just like the Indigent Sales Tax vote, Long Bar Pointes' proposal to massacre the environment relies on a permit notice that occurs when they hope no one is watching; in the lazy days of summer, when many residents are traveling and snowbirds have returned north. It was not a written policy, but out of respect for the citizens, these big decisions would not come forward in the summer under past boards. Today, commissioners – or at least the majority of them – seem to have no problem letting, or even helping interested parties slide beneath the radar. Again, case in point, the sales tax issue.



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As you can see, the development stretches far beyond the natural shoreline

So what can you do if you want to save Beer Can Island? The formal way is to challenge the permit, which any of us should be able to do since we all have a substantial interest in this permit. The second is to request an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) be done before a permit is issued. This would allow a public process that has not occurred and force all the options to be looked at, even removal of the two condos, which, regardless of how much sand is on the beach, can be lost in the next major storm. You can also write your commissioners and tell them to stop this attack on our quality of life. The quick destruction of the natural beauty we have enjoyed and protected all these years can and will take place unless we take action.


On the heels of Independence Day, it is important to do our part just like those who have risked so much in order for us to enjoy such freedoms. Part of that freedom is to be free from having our natural places destroyed that we as Floridians enjoy, places which also are important to our local economy. The places that developers want to destroy are actually on state lands. This is not a property right they are entitled to develop. It is our property, and we have rights to not have them destroyed.


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Beer Can Island has long been one of the area's most popular and pristine recreational areas

Email your comments to:

EPA – mueller.heinz@epa.gov,"Miedema, Ron" <Miedema.Ron@epa.gov>,"Dominy, Madolyn" <Dominy.Madolyn@epa.gov>

State of Florida, FDEP - "Yongue, Elizabeth" <Elizabeth.Yongue@dep.state.fl.us>,Wild, Lauren <Lauren.Wild@dep.state.fl.us>

Army Corp of Engineers - "Charles.A.Schnepel" <Charles.A.Schnepel@usace.army.mil>,"Mark.E.Peterson" <Mark.E.Peterson@usace.army.mil>,

County Commissioners - larry.bustle@mymanatee.org, michael.gallen@mymanatee.org, john.chappie@mymanatee.org, robin.disabatino@mymanatee.org, vanessa.baugh@mymanatee.org, carol.whitmore@mymanatee.org, betsy.benac@mymanatee.org


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Sea wall on north end of the condo development

Petition Procedure for Administrative Hearing

A person whose substantial interests are affected by the Department’s action may petition for an administrative proceeding (hearing) under Sections 120.569 and 120.57, F.S. The petition must contain the information set forth below and must be filed (received by the clerk) in the Office of General Counsel of the Department at 3900 Commonwealth Boulevard, Mail Station 35, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-3000. A petition that disputes the material facts on which the Department’s action is based must contain the following information:

(a) The name and address of each agency affected and each agency’s file or identification number, if known;

(b) The name, address, and telephone number of the petitioner; the name, address, and telephone number of the petitioner’s representative, if any, which shall be the address for service purposes during the course of the proceeding; and an explanation of how the petitioner’s substantial interests are or will be affected by the agency determination;

(c) A statement of when and how the petitioner received notice of the agency decision;

(d) A statement of all disputed issues of material fact. If there are none, the petition must so indicate;

(e) A concise statement of the ultimate facts alleged, including the specific facts that the petitioner contends warrant reversal or modification of the agency’s proposed


(f) A statement of the specific rules or statutes that the petitioner contends require reversal or modification of the agency’s proposed action, including an explanation of how the alleged facts relate to the specific rules or statutes; and Consolidated Notice of Intent to Issue

(g) A statement of the relief sought by the petitioner, stating precisely the action that the petitioner wishes the agency to take with respect to the agency’s proposed action.

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Sea wall on the south end of the condo development
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The condos at issue were built in the 1970's, are not up to current codes and should not have been built beyond the shoreline in the first place. 
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Beach as seen looking north from condos

 editor's note: Click here to sign a petition to save Beer Can Island.


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