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News Section: Local Government

Long Bar Pointe Development Creates Deep Divides

Published Wednesday, June 12, 2013 12:00 pm

BRADENTON – Developers are seeking a major change to approved plans on Sarasota Bay in the southwest corner of Manatee County. Long Bar Pointe was already going to be a major coastal development after the county commission approved plans to build over 4,000 homes, plus 150,000 sq ft of commercial space in 2008. If developers get their way, the property will now include a major resort and marina.

The Berrington Group's Larry Lieberman and Medallion Homes' Carlos Beruff hope to build a a 300-berth marina that would accommodate boats up to a 100-feet, as well as a 300-room luxury hotel. The property, located near the IMG Academy on El Conquistador Parkway, would rival Marina Jack's in Sarasota.

Commissioners were set to vote on the project at last Thursday's land use meeting, but decided after some debate to table the issue, continuing it until August 6, when the meeting was cut short because of
Tropical Storm Andrea.

County staff have recommended that the proposal not be approved, citing environmental concerns. The project would destroy as much as 40 acres of mangrove forests, while dredging (and likely continually re-dredging) a canal through nearby sea grass. Nearly 300 acres of the project are also designated Coastal High Hazard area.

Earlier in that same meeting, commissioners approved the creation of an “Urban Service Area” that would relax development requirements in a larger area which included the development. The action passed 5-2 with Commissioners DiSabatino and Gallen dissenting. DiSabatino expressly argued for the coastal area not to be included.

Despite staff objections, the heavily-pro development Manatee Planning Commission recommended the plans for approval.

The county commission also continued a proposed “text amendment” to the county's comprehensive plan that would have reduced  requirements on projects 100-acres or more, located on a coastal line, adjacent to navigable waters and on an arterial roadway, that included “a demonstration of  a public benefit.” County staff also have recommended that it not be approved.

Lieberman has owned the property for the last 13 years. Last year, he brought Carlos Beruff of Medallion Homes on board. Lieberman has been a generous supporter of the Manatee County Commission, funneling at least $17,000 to Commissioners Whitmore, Bustle, Benac and DiSabatino.

Beruff has been a strong supporter of nearly every commissioner on the board, with the exception of Commissioner Michael Gallen, the lone member of the commission not to have received support from either Beruff or Lieberman. 

Many members of the community showed up at last Thursday's meeting to voice opposition to the plan. A group of over 150 have joined a Facebook page, where they hope to build a petition to present to commissioners. Some are boating enthusiasts and charter fishing captains who say that the destruction caused by the dredging would be devastating to the related tourism.


clientuploads/County files/LongBar550.jpg


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Non-Facebook Comments:

My family has owned our home in Bayshore Gardens since 1967. I am the third family member to reside in this fine home. I live here all year.
I am strongly against the development of Long Bar Pointe.
First, is the damage it would do to the mangroves. The mangroves play many important roles, stopping erosion, and more important, absorbing storm surge during bad weather. Removing the mangroves places all of us who live near the coast in greater danger. Oh that we could learn from Mexico, where mangroves are protected and cannot be removed.
Second, a 300 or 500 boat marina is HUGE. It would do great damage to the water and to any fish and manatee that live in the water, in addition to the pollution and noise it would bring.
Third, the land infrastructure cannot handle a resort and development of that size. There would only be two entries. One would be Bayshore Gardens Parkway, a street lined with homes, in a large residential neighborhood. These people don?t want their front lawns to become a street as busy as Cortez road. The other would be 53st, a road with similar problems.
Just because the land is there, does not mean it should be developed, and especially not in a design of this size. The increased development by IMG is going to cause enough of a transportation gridlock. Please do not add more.
Please, commissioners, you were elected by the PEOPLE who live here, not the land developers. Please take into account what the people who elected you want, and it?s NOT this huge resort.
I look forward to learning of your support.
Posted by debbie korell on July 7, 2013

The trouble is that you can't access by land the beauty that is Long Bar Pointe. Those of us who love it reach it by water, by sailboat, by flats boat, by kayak. Some of us have spent our entire childhoods recreating there. It is our natural water park. Now the developers and evidently some commissioners want to turn Long Bar into a haven for mega-yachts, totally out of character for this area. I think the developers are banking on not enough people knowing about Long Bar because people have never seen it. You can't drive your car there like you can some of the other places in the wider Sarasota-Manatee estuary region.
Posted by Terri K. Wonder on June 22, 2013

It's a stacked deck in favor of the developers on our county commission.Pay to play is alive & well in Manatee County.So don't be surprised if the developers get all they want.Those voters who voted for this bunch deserve what they get.
Posted by William E.Moore on June 14, 2013

I am very concerned about the size and scope of this project. It leaves so little natural shoreline line and bespeaks of no public use access, as in public boat ramps, park areas, etc. It is all "for profit" - commercial. Doesn't seem to benefit the community at large. Is our County Commission all "Developer" bought and paid for?
Posted by Sandra J. Gander on June 13, 2013

I suggest that the Bradenton Times conduct a poll of its readers as to whether or not they support the proposed zoning change at Long Bar Pointe.
Posted by Bill Burggraf on June 13, 2013

Long Bar Pointe is one of the worst environmental destructive developments in the history of Manatee County and the wrong place, in the middle of a beautiful residential area.
It is the wrong place to start commercial development.
The vote on this development will define the ethical and moral character of our commissioners who owe their elections to Beruff especially Betsy Benac.
The developer, Carlos Beruff, not only donated huge sums to Com. Benac's campaign he funded with tens of thousands of dollars to the Political Action Committee that ran attack ads against McClash whom she defeated.
Also, Beruff's lawyer, Ed Vogler partnered with Com. Benac on the Robinson Farms rezone. Remember they were caught on security cameras lobbying Com Gwen Brown to change her vote.
Com. Betsy Benac is quoted as saying that in her heart she is an environmentalist. It's time for Com. Benac to come out of the closet.
Posted by Dick McNulty on June 13, 2013

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