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TBT Editorial: County Commission Should Hear its Citizenry on Long Bar Pointe Project


We have grave concerns regarding the county's eagerness to forcefully push forward with profound changes to allow for major modifications to the Long Bar Pointe project. Several factors, including the timing of its Urban Service Area vote (modified to include the area in question), create the impression that measures related to the project are being engineered in order that it might occur with minimal oversight or consideration to its substantial environmental impact. 


Considering the massive public opposition – one of the largest and most organized citizen-led campaigns of its kind in Manatee County's history – we feel the board of county commissioners would be remiss in moving forward as early as the upcoming August 6 meeting.

While the Urban Service Area has been long discussed, and we agree that southwest Manatee County should be an area of targeted redevelopment, it was an idea that made much more sense when it did not include this large, environmentally sensitive coastal area. Such changes go against the spirit of Manatee's Comprehensive Land Use Plan, a document that is the product of tremendous foresight and public input, which should not be changed as easily as the county seems comfortable. 

We are also troubled by the county's continuing shift on mitigation issues. While our comp plan dictates that the destruction of environmentally sensitive land like wetlands and mangrove forests should be avoided at all costs, in practice, the county seems almost eager to allow mitigation without question, especially when politically-powerful development interests are involved. 

Developers of the project claim that they are simply exercising their legal use of property they own. However, while a major development has previously been approved on the land in question, the applicants are in fact seeking major revisions to those development rights, at the expense of important environmental resources. 

If approved, it would signal the continuation of a troubling trend in which politically-connected developers are able to attain such considerations and enhance the end value of various land acquisitions, simply by asking to use the land in a way which was previously not allowed – and being granted such permission in nearly every incidence.

Such acquiescence gives the clear impression of a pay-for-play government, while sending the message that our county's most vital resources – both economically and environmentally – are for sale to the highest bidder. There are profitable ways to develop the area in question without destroying sea grass, marine habitat and mangrove forests.

If such measures preclude the addition of a marina and hotel, so be it. The county should hear the voice of its citizens and restrict the Long Bar Pointe development to the already considerable terms of its original approval. 

What you can you do?


Email your county commissioners (click here if you have integrated email, or copy and paste the following addresses into your email's "to:" line: 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)

Request a meeting with your county commissioner

Support a petition (click here for second petition)

Watch the video

Check out our special full coverage section on the issue and share it with friends


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