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Longboat Key Tuesday, Jul. 2, 2013 4 years ago

Town wary of Long Bar Pointe project

by: Kurt Schultheis Senior Editor

The town of Longboat Key is keeping a close eye on a development proposed across Sarasota Bay that could bring both boat congestion and environmental concerns to the area.

At the Longboat Key Town Commission’s June 17 workshop, Vice Mayor David Brenner suggested the town keep watch on a project being proposed in Bradenton just off the shores of Tidy Island.

Developers Larry Lieberman and Medallion Home’s Carlos Beruff want a map-amendment change to request mixed-use development on 463.2 acres of former farm land on Sarasota Bay, which parallels El Conquistador Parkway where 75th Street West intersects with 53rd Avenue West in Bradenton. The undeveloped land was farmed for years by Manatee Fruit Co.

The developers want to build a mixed-use development on that site, which includes single- and multifamily units, a hotel, marina, office-and-commercial space and a conference center. The plan also proposes a 300-slip marina for boats up to 100 feet.

The development requires amending the county’s Comprehensive Plan, because almost 300 acres of the property are situated in the coastal high-hazard area, and the comp plan needs to be changed to allow such a development.

“It’s something we need to keep an eye on,” Brenner said.

The Manatee County Commission postponed a hearing on the Long Bar Pointe project earlier this month and will hear the matter at its Aug. 6 meeting.

If approved, the commission’s vote would send both the map and text amendments to the state Department of Economic Opportunity for a 45-day comment period. If the state does not challenge the amendment, it then can go into effect.

The nearby IMG Academy is undergoing its own major expansion, including a 5,000-seat multisport stadium.
IMG is supportive of the project’s resort concept, according to a letter Chip McCarthy, vice president of finance and operations of IMG Academy, sent to the County Commission.

The plans, though, are receiving criticism from environmental groups.

The project calls for removing 20 to 40 acres of mangroves and removing more than two acres of seagrass for dredging to create a waterway for 100-foot-long boats to come into a canal and harbor in the upland area of the property.

The project’s website labels the mangrove area as an exotic area that will have “nuisance clearing completed along the bay.”

Longboat Key resident and Sarasota Bay Watch founder Rusty Chinnis has fished in that area for years; he says that the development will both repair and harm the bay.

“The area has been on my radar for years because when it was farmed, the sewage water, used to water crops, would run into the bay after storms and cause problems,” Chinnis said. “The development itself isn’t so troubling, but taking out the mangroves and grass flats is way too intense, and no amount of mitigation could ever replace the environmental damage that would be done.”

Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].

Long Bar Pointe received approval in 2008 to build the maximum number of units under the property’s current zoning:
• 1,667 single-family homes
• 2,501 multifamily homes
• 150,000 square feet of commercial space

Long Bar Pointe now wants to build, through new zoning and a Comp Plan amendment:
• 1,086 single-family homes
• 1,687 low-rise multifamily homes
• 844 high-rise multifamily homes
• 300-room hotel
• 300-berth marina and canal
• Two 36,000-square-foot offices
• 60,000-square-foot shopping center
• 60,000-square-foot specialty retail
• 84,000-square-foot conference center 

View Long Bar Pointe project in a larger map

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