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News Section: Opinion

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

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.


clientuploads/untitled folder/BeerCan275.jpg

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.


clientuploads/untitled folder/BeerCanBeach550.jpg
Beer Can Island has long been one of the area's most popular and pristine recreational areas

Email your comments to:

EPA –,"Miedema, Ron" <>,"Dominy, Madolyn" <>

State of Florida, FDEP - "Yongue, Elizabeth" <>,Wild, Lauren <>

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

County Commissioners -,,,,,,


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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.


clientuploads/untitled folder/BeerCanSeaWall.jpg
Sea wall on the south end of the condo development
clientuploads/untitled folder/BeercanCondo.jpg
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.

Join the conversation post Facebook comments here or on our site at the bottom of article.


  In Addition to Facebook Comments You Can Also Post Comments Below

Non-Facebook Comments:

I have to agree with Mr. William Moore and Ms. Claudia J. Brooks. We need to stop trying to build and change every piece of land there is. If this change happens it will destroy the amazing scenery that we have grown up loving. I would sign any petition that is presented to stop this from happening.
Posted by Cindy Crews on July 9, 2013

Please can't you just leave things alone....Leave Beer Can Island alone!!! You have allowed the condos to overrun the west side of Gulf, so there is no view and that is not enough. Just go and improve your own back yards leave ours alone.
Posted by Joanne Hickman on July 9, 2013

I am writing in concern of the proposed jetty (groin) for Longboat pass.
The closest jetty to us is in Venice. If you look at a satellite image of this jetty, you will see that the beach to the North is nice, white sand with the beach to the South is more dirty shell. This is because of the natural flow of the gulf stream currents. Placing a jetty at Longboat Pass would actually remove the sand that's there now leaving the heavier shell and larger, dark sand. A much easier and effective solution is to drop large limestone boulders parallel to the beach a hundred or so yards off in a long continuous line. The boulders need only to be 5 or so feet high o allow the currents and wave action to carry the white sand up and over the rocks trapping it between the rocks and the beach thus a natural deposit of white sand which will restore the beach permanently. I have seen this work as well when an old seawall that was broken away and never replaced suddenly formed a beach.
I realize a major reason for this is not only to replenish the beach and help save the condos there but to eliminate the boaters who gather at Beercan. It has been an ongoing fight for years now due to a few under aged people continually causing problems. The majority of people who enjoy Beer can (including myself, a native of Bradenton who's been boating to Beer can for 43 years) cause no problems and respect the beach and environment. I truly feel the residents main objective of the proposed jetty is to evict the boaters as I have personally seen LBK Police standing on the bridge screaming "leave, we do not want you here". It was beyond unacceptable to see this from a police officer. The officer only left when people started taking out their phones and recording him. I just feel there are other motives for the placement of this jetty which will have an adverse effect on the beach and Beer can Island.
Posted by Rob Wilhoit on July 9, 2013

It seems to me such a shame that the obvious solution would be to tear down the outdated condos and displace an unfortunate few people as apposed to the permanent destruction of a natural treasure that is so important to so many. I personally have never been, although it has been on my bucket-list for some time, although may be removed from said list in light of the man-made modifications to the shorelines. The commissioners need to think of the island and not there wallets, the dang thing is built out of spec anyway.
Posted by Theo Moore on July 9, 2013

Posted by JAYNA SAULO on July 9, 2013

Claudia go to
and the petition to Save our Shoreline will come up. We are
citizens from all over Manatee County who are fighting the change in the Land Development Code to allow mixed use - which is always destructive especially in the Long Bar Pointe area - as well as the deadly text amendment change to our Comprehensive Plan which would apply to ALL developments on our coastline. If passed this will set a precedent to allow other changes in the
Comprehensive Plan; it maybe be wetlands, etc.

Please sign the online petition and send it to all your family, friends, and neighbors. Thank you.
Posted by Barbara Angelucci on July 8, 2013

Speaking on behalf of my family, I am a resident of 33 years and my husband born and raised here for 48 yrs ,our children and grandchild, born and raised here. Beer can island is one of the most natural, beautiful and aspiring locations to spend your time exploring or relaxing. We oppose any plans to develop or touch it
The condos need to go, its a private property issue (using their money for there mistake) not a florida state property issue.
Posted by Suzy Elfering on July 8, 2013

As a fourth generation Florida Cracker, a Manatee County registered voter, property owner and resident, I totally agree with what Mr. William Moore said in his comment. He said pretty much said it all. In my opinion it will be a total disgrace for the State of Florida to allow any further development on our natural lands. It's far beyond time to stop destroying our beautiful State with development and no development should ever be allowed on public lands. These condos should have never been built beyond the shoreline in the first place. Now I feel they should bite the bullet. If nothing else can be done for the condos short of destroying the island then the condos should be torn down. I personally have used Beer Can Island only a handful of times in all the years I've lived in Manatee County but we frequent the south end of Coquina Beach and look over to Beer Can Island while watching the dolphins play and the boats go by. I sincerely hope the proposed devastation is stopped. Please notify me of any petition. I will be most happy to sign it as will my husband and all of my relatives and friends. I fully intend to send my comment to all the email addresses you so kindly shared in your article. Thank you for your stand on this matter and for letting the public know what is going on during the quiet summer months when a lot of us are away.
Posted by Claudia J. Brooks on July 7, 2013

As with all decisions made by our so called representatives,special interests trump common sense & the environment.As for the Long Bar Pointe's permit,if it is allowed to pass ,will not only destroy the quality of life for all residents & the environment but open the door for more developers to demand a change in land use using this change as a basis for legal action.(if you allow one variance you will be forced to allow even more) Maybe this is what the majority of our commissioners want.
Posted by William E.Moore on July 7, 2013

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