Long Bar Pointe Watchdog Reporting

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2014 Second-place Lucy Morgan Award for InDepth Reporting, Class B, Florida Press Club, “Long Bar Pointe” series

In May 2013, I was assigned to take a look at a massive coastal development being proposed. It initially was a county government story but the editors thought I should take a look at it because it involved commercial, retail and residential construction.

It wasn’t just a rezoning request anymore. The initial story, which was out before any major competing outlet had anything, turned out to be quite the journey during that summer.

I learned a lot about what Floridians valued on that stretch of Sarasota Bay. The coastline is not built up with major waterfront high rises on this stretch. For as much as it can be, folks call this a piece of Old Florida. And it included neighboring Cortez Key, which is Florida’s oldest continuing working fishing village. I learned much more about seagrass and what it does than I ever thought I would. (And its differentiation from seaweed.)

On the flip side, you have a very powerful co-developer with connections to the governor. That developer, Carlos Beruff, formally announced on Feb. 29, 2016, that he is running for the U.S. Senate.

Florida is also a state where private property rights are held in high regard, and they had a special case to make because they had rights that extended into the water. The development team wanted to offer something that cannot be found in Manatee and Sarasota counties. They wanted to have a one-of-a-kind project with a promise of jobs, tourism, meeting space, and services. The drawings were beautiful, it looked like an amazing development, but was it compatible? Could they even get the permits to do things like dredge a canal and make an inland marina or boat basin—depending whose term you use?

All of this came to a head to a public hearing on Aug. 6, 2013. The hearing ended in the early hours of Aug. 7, 2013. More than 1,000 people turned out to give their thoughts–both sides. It was so big, the county had to book the convention center to hold the meeting. By that time, all of your local outlets covered the issue.

The development is now in the court system as the developers lost a court case against Manatee County and is now appealing the decision. Long Bar Pointe, as the development project, is now called Aqua.

Here is a rundown of the links to the coverage:

 Read more from these stories below:

Long Bar Pointe vote split: Commission OKs map amendment, rejects text amendment

After more than 12 hours of presentations and public comment — drawing more than 1,000 people to observe and weigh in on the debate — the vote was split.

Consideration for Long Bar Pointe hearing can be confusing

What can and can’t the commission consider at Tuesday’s Long Bar Pointe hearing?
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One thought on “Long Bar Pointe Watchdog Reporting

  1. no one comments about the sea bed that will/would be destroyed by the wall along the shoreline, prohibiting add on heights to the 65 ft plus bldgs the land ecosystems wild life kill, thank you for reading this Dr Fred Rader 8/16/2017

    Like

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