Thursday, September 8, 2016

Beruff Boat Channel Blocked

Opponents of Carlos Beruff's plan for a boat channel in Sarasota Bay called a Judge's decision "a victory for the community":

Long Bar Pointe Developers Withdraw Mitigation Bank Permit

Dennis Maley
Wednesday, Sep 07, 2016
BRADENTON — The ongoing saga of the Long Bar Pointe development was updated on Tuesday when developers Carlos Beruff and Larry Lieberman withdrew their application to the state for a controversial mitigation bank along the development's Sarasota Bay shoreline.

A wetland mitigation bank is a device that allows developers to use preservation, enhancement, restoration or creation of a wetland, stream, or habitat conservation area to offset or compensate for expected adverse impacts to similar nearby ecosystems.

Beruff and Lieberman had asked the state to designate the majority of their 522-acre property's shoreline as a bank, hence giving them credit to mitigate destroyed wetlands associated with the development.

A suit was brought against the developers and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection by Suncoast Waterkeeper, the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritageand TBT publisher and former Manatee County Commissioner Joe McClash, seeking to stop the permit. The withdrawal means there will be no administrative hearing on the matter.
The withdrawal follows Beruff and Lieberman's failed lawsuit challenging portions of the Manatee County Comp plan and whether parts related to dredging of canals, channels and marina basins and the construction of boat ramps and restrictions to protect our coastal wetlands, shorelines and submerged land were in violation of the Constitution. A judge ruled against the developers in January.
Beruff and Lieberman's federal application for a mitigation bank is still pending, and they could reapply with the state in the future. However, at least for now, the withdrawal looks like a win for the many environmental activists who've opposed the bank along with many other aspects of the controversial development along the last major portion of undeveloped Sarasota Bay coastline in Manatee County.

"The withdrawal of the permit is a victory for our community," said McClash. "We have a strong coalition of citizens and environmental organizations that rise up in unity to protect our environment. We must remain vigilant and fight to save our quality of life so many of us enjoy."

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