The Manatee Board of
County Commissioners voted unanimously against a text amendment, but then voted
4-3 in favor of a map amendment to the Long Bar Pointe development plan after a lengthy public hearing that
Commissioners Robin DiSabatino, John Chappie, and Michael Gallen dissented.
The meeting started at 1:30 p.m., and was held at the Manatee County Convention Center in Palmetto.
More than 100 people signed up to comment on the project, with public comment ending around midnight, after board discussion and rebuttal from the developer, the final vote did not come in until around 2 a.m.
The board’s vote is just the start of the project; developers Larry Lieberman and Carlos Beruff will have to go through a string of additional board approvals before construction can commence.
The property, which runs parallel to El Conquistador Parkway in west Bradenton, is currently a mix of former farmland and mangrove habitat, as well as Florida lowlands.
The developers brought in environmental experts in favor of a waterfront resort with a hotel, conference center, marina and commercial office and retail space. Those experts said the design would take the environment into account and incorporate the ecosystem into the design of the grounds.But many residents felt the board should have voted "no" for both agenda times.
Around 10:30 p.m., Ed Goff, of Save Our Shores, presented the Manatee County Commission with over 6,000 signatures of residents urging against the development.
Two former Manatee County Commissioners, Joe McClash and Jane Von Hahmann, both argued against the plan, saying their is one already a plan in place that can accommodate development of the area.
"We've had tons of community support," he said.
Outside the meeting, opponents and supporters were signing petitions, selling T-shirts and protesting a plan that would re-designate an environmentally sensitive area from residential to a mixed use development and make a text amendment to county-wide policy that some feel could negatively impact the seagrass and mangroves surrounding the area.
There were not enough seats at the Manatee County Convention Center in Palmetto to accommodate the amount of people that attended a hearing of a map and text proposal for the development of Long Bar Pointe.
The Board of County Commissioners voted to alter the designation for 463 acres making up Long Bar Pointe from residential to mixed-use development on Manatee County’s future land use map during a special public hearing at the Manatee County Convention Center on Tuesday afternoon.
The map expires July 1, 2019. County staff has recommended approval of the designation alteration, but did not support the text amendment due to concerns over environmental impact.
Right now, the property is zoned for nine homes per acre. However the developers want to build 1.086 single-family homes, 2,531 multi-family residences, a 300-room hotel, a large marina, retail office space, commercial space and a 84,000-square-foot conference center.
Doug Means, the environmental planner for Manatee County, said the developers have not yet submitted his site plan. Means said the plan could be inconsistent with coastal county, state and federal requirements and thus have to be altered.