Former Manatee County Commissioner Joe McClash and the Manatee-Sarasota Sierra Club have agreed to drop objections to place groins on the north end of Longboat Key, as long as the town agrees not to build a terminal groin that would jut out on the north tip of the island in Longboat Pass.
The settlement was proposed to the town last week and was agreed to by a 6-1 vote of the Longboat Key Town Commission in a special meeting Jan. 17 after commissioners met with the town attorney in an executive session. Commissioner Pat Zunz opposed the settlement.
On Oct. 10, McClash filed his second amended petition against the groins. The petition states the groins will have adverse impacts to marine life and the coastal area. It also states McClash is an affected person because he “is a longtime boater and Manatee County commissioner for 22 years and was actively promoting protection of the environment during his time in office.”
McClash also objected to a terminal groin being built on Beer Can Island closest to Longboat Pass, on property owned by Manatee County.
Town Manager Dave Bullock, however, has noted the town would only build that groin as a last resort.
Two permeable adjustable groins built on town property near the North Shore Road beach access is the town’s top priority.
On Friday, Bullock told the Longboat Observer the town has agreed not to submit an application for that terminal groin for at least five years.
In return, McClash no longer objects to the other two groins and the state can finish its permitting process for the structures.
Bullock said the Department of Environmental Protection is poised to issue the permit and the town is waiting on a federal permit for the two other groins.
The commission will review a report from a beach engineer at its 1 p.m. Tuesday regular workshop at Town Hall and will make a decision on what kind of beach project the town should move forward with this year.
The town’s voters have already approved a beach project that costs up to $16 million and commissioners will review several beach project cost options at the workshop.
For more information on the meeting and beach project decision, check www.yourobserver.com and pick up a copy of this week’s Longboat Observer.
Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].