Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Manatee Is Firm on Long Bar

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Manatee Is Firm on Long Bar

Article excerpt

DEVELOPMENT: Unswayed by lawsuit threat, leaders stand by marina denial


Despite the threat of a second lawsuit, the Manatee County Commission is standing by its denial of a marina and channel for the pending Long Bar Pointe development on Sarasota Bay.

This summer, Cargor Developers notified the county that it intends to file a legal action claiming the county violated its rights under Florida's Bert J. Harris Private Property Rights Protection Act. The county has until Jan. 1 to file a response and attempt to settle the case.

Upon the advice of their attorneys, the commissioners refused to modify their August 2013 decision to reject an amendment to a future land use map to make way for the marina and channel.

"We are recommending you stand by that decision," Assistant County Attorney William Clague told commissioners.

Environmentalists and the nearby Cortez fishing village claimed the seagrass flats along that undeveloped shoreline are essential to local fisheries and should not be disturbed.

The county maintains that developers Carlos Beruff and Larry Lieberman can use the shoreline for features such as a kayak launch, waterfront park or a boat dock and that they have significant residential and commercial development rights for the 463 acres between the bay and El Conquistador Parkway.

On the advice of their attorneys, commissioners made no comment about the pending litigation.

Former County Commissioner Jane von Hahmann, a Cortez resident, publicly thanked the board.

So did Betsy Johnson, whose family members are commercial fishermen.

"I really appreciate you guys standing your ground," Johnson told commissioners. "... We will sell mullet to help you buy the land, if you need to."

Regardless of whether Beruff and Lieberman pursue the Bert Harris Act claim, they already have a lawsuit against the county regarding the same issue. …

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