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State Still Accepting Comments on Long Bar Map Change


BRADENTON -- The Long Bar Pointe future use map amendment, which would alter part of the project from RES-9 to Mixed Use, was approved by the Manatee County Commission last month and has been sent to the state for review. The process allows anyone to make comments to the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) before a final approval is considered. Citizens have just a few days to submit comments before a decision is made and should send them via email no later than September 10. Comments should be sent to Ray Eubanks at Ray.Eubanks@deo.myflorida.com and Suzanne Ray at Suzanne.E.Ray@dep.state.fl.us.

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photo by John Rehill

The BOCC approved the applicant's request on August 6 by a 4-3 vote with Commissioners Whitmore, Baugh, Bustle and Benac supporting the increased intensity, which thousands of citizens voiced fierce opposition toward. Commissioners Gallen, DiSabatino and Chappie voted againt the proposed changes. Former Manatee County Commissioner Joe McClash has sent comments objecting to the change (click here to read) and says that even a simple message of opposition is better than no message at all.

"The comments should express the concern with the impacts to state resources such as Sarasota Bay, our mangroves, sea grasses, endangered species and wildlife," said McClash. "The conceptual plan that the developers have not changed includes a new channel going through some of the most pristine waters in Sarasota Bay. The mangrove destruction would alter the shoreline and prevent a natural habitat for birds that are endangered. The increased intensity of Mixed Use over the current RES-9 would create additional pollution and violate the rules currently in place that prohibit increasing intensity of lands in coastal areas."

The state also recommends that the comments be copied to Manatee County. It is too soon to know how the state will respond to the application. They do have the ability to provide comments back to the county finding the increased intensity to Mixed Use unacceptable. Considering that there has been opposition from practically every environmental group in the area, along with thousands of additional citizens in an unprecedented resistance to a land use approval, one can only hope the state follows its own rules and statutes. However, the deep political connections of the applicants, Carlos Beruff and Larry Lieberman, who have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars supporting the campaigns of local officials, have left opponents understandably skeptical. 

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