Monday, October 2, 2017

Letters voice concern about Beruff - UPDATE

Update: Beruff's plan, with some changes, was approved unanimously by the Manatee County Commission. 

This link takes you to the Petition seeking to halt the development of Aqua by the Bay. 


"At 75-95 feet, over sixty buildings will create a solid wall of structures that will make anything on Longboat Key look like a pastoral landscape by comparison. Make no mistake, this will be a city looming over Sarasota Bay, and if the commissioners think they will fix it with a stipulation or two, they are deeply mistaken." ~ Andy Mele, Suncoast Waterkeeper, Bradenton Times

...     ....     ...

Developer Carlos Beruff's "Aqua by the Bay" development comes up Tuesday, Oct. 3, at the Manatee County Commission. The proposal would transform the last natural coastline in the area to thousands of homes and condos on 529 acres.

Below are some Letters about the project. Along with many other environmental issues, citizens see the vision of their Comp Plan being ignored in the planning of the project.

Beruff and Vogler Courtesy of Bradenton Herald

Hurricanes scream need to stop dense coastal development

SEPTEMBER 22, 2017 11:28 AM

Recent deadly hurricanes have proven the vulnerability of over developed coastal areas to destruction by wind and storm surge and illustrate the inadequate evacuation plans in place throughout Florida.

Manatee County’s Comprehensive Plan was developed with great foresight in the late 1980s to prevent disasters that can occur when development is allowed in low-lying areas and too near the coast.

In recent years, political pressures have threatened enforcement of the comp plan and land development code. Experienced and knowledgeable county staff members have been dismissed. Members of the public are actively discouraged from meeting with staff members to inquire about applications submitted to the county. And the public only sees vague general development plans that could be approved before crucial details are known.

The coastal and conservation elements of the Comprehensive Plan still are the law. The plan prohibits alteration of coastal wetlands (including mangroves); restricts dredge and fill operations in the coastal planning area; limits the construction of artificial waterways; limits development type, density and intensity within the coastal planning area; and directs population concentrations away from the coastal evacuation area.

The Manatee County Commission has the responsibility to uphold the Comprehensive Plan and deny applications that violate the comp plan and land development code by dredging a channel, destroying wetlands and increasing density in the coastal planning area.

On Tuesday, Oct. 3, the commission can stop dense coastal development and preserve the last extensive mangrove forest on Sarasota Bay by simply following the law and denying the General Development Plan for Aqua by the Bay.

Preserving this rich and diverse habitat would be a testament of respect for this high functioning environment that will support fisheries and wildlife, and the income they bring to the county, for generations to come.



At one recent hearing, activists opposing Aqua by the Bay brought in a model of the plan because, they said, the proposal submitted by the developer lacked specific details necessary for the plan to even be properly visualized:

More Letters to the Editor about Beruff's "Aqua by the Bay"

This link takes you to the Petition seeking to halt the development of Aqua by the Bay. 

Having experienced flooding and seen the catastrophes along the Texas coast unfold this week, I urge the Manatee County commissioners to accept that flooding is real.
The Village of the Arts had over 2 feet of flooding. Samoset experienced the same. The lift station at Bayshore Gardens had over three days of continual pump-outs due to flooding and leaking sewers. Roads were under water. Infrastructure desperately needs replacement.
Flooding needs to be taken seriously by those who represent us. It will only get worse as storms intensify due to higher temperatures and sea-level rise.
Flooding is also man-made. Approval is given to developers to raise their developments to keep them above flood plain, ignoring the lower areas around them. Those areas suffer more profound flooding as a result. This is exactly what is being proposed in Aqua by the Bay.
Aqua by the Bay’s developers want to raise their structures above the flood plain, which is in a Coastal High Hazard Zone, and build a sea wall.
Water has to go somewhere in storms. The sea wall will force the water into lower-lying areas and the end result will be greater flooding. Cortez, El Conquistador Parkway, IMG and Bayshore Gardens will be affected.
This week, Mother Nature has shown us why Aqua by the Bay is a bad idea and needs to be denied.
Holly Clouse, Bradenton

I strongly urge the Manatee County Commission to deny permission for the building of Aqua by the Bay by Carlos Beruff until he cleans up the property at the corner of Lockwood Ridge Road and Whitfield Avenue. We had a beautiful woods at this corner. Mr. Beruff plowed down all the trees last February and has done nothing to clear the land. These huge trees with all the roots and branches are exposed to the road, which is an entrance to Palm-Aire, where thousands of residents make their home.We are tired of asking him to remove the trees. I understand this is now considered a “pasture” for tax purposes. His gain, our loss. I have never seen a pasture looking like this!

Please drive by and see the heart-breaking mess he has made of the environment. It is unsightly, disrespectful and unhealthy to the residents, as the fallen trees must be infested with snakes, raccoons, armadillos, possums and disease-causing mosquitoes.I hope the Manatee commission denies the building of Aqua by the Bay until Mr. Beruff proves himself a responsible developer, concerned about the environment and the appearance of his properties.

Mary De Larco, Sarasota

In reference to developer, multimillionaire and ex-partner Pat Neal’s letter about his friend Carlos Beruff and Aqua by the Bay:Isn’t it funny that Neal would write in an effort to help Beruff get his project off the ground?After all, it was Beruff, while on the water management district board, who voted to allow Neal to rip out mangroves and destroy property in Bradenton so that he could build his family compound.It certainly is true that one hand washes the other, especially when you have two developers who want what they want and will do almost anything to help each other get what they want.It doesn’t matter what others want or what environmental consequences will take place as long as they can fill their coffers and get what they want.Another prime example of greed.Thanks to Pat Neal for showing us the way and his moral compass.

Ann Rubin-Hentschel, Lakewood Ranch

Don’t let Beruff alter Sarasota Bay
Carlos Beruff’s Aqua by the Bay development plan contains an alteration that will endanger 2 1/2 miles of mangroves on the last untouched coastline of Sarasota Bay.
Beruff plans to dredge an 8-foot-deep lagoon for fill to raise land elevation and construct a 13-foot landward retaining wall. Man-made buffers would be placed between the wall, lagoon and mangroves.
Change and disruption in this mangrove habitat will eliminate the abundance of fish and birds dependent upon it. The shoreline will lose its natural sheltered protection if mangroves disappear. Tidal movement and the influence of storm surge is untested and worrisome for vulnerable neighboring communities.
The lagoon is unnecessary and avoidable if Beruff would raise the lower level of each building to code, as is typically done in flood zones.
I hope the Manatee County Commission denies this development plan at the Sept. 29 hearing and requests a changed plan that will leave Sarasota Bay as is.
Although Carlos Beruff has the right to build on his property, he should not be given deference to alter our bay, making it a developer’s retention pond.
Linda Vertefeuille, Bradenton
I must quote two opposing letters to the editor on Aug. 16 concerning Aqua by the Bay. One is by Timothy A. Knowles, an attorney who has represented Medallion Home and Carlos Beruff. The other is by Rob Kaercher, a concerned citizen.In his letter defending Aqua, Mr. Knowles says “a vocal minority has mounted an unfounded opposition.” Really? The only people I have heard supporting this boondoggle are either affiliated with the project or know someone who is.I would like to quote all of Mr. Kaercher’s very well stated letter, but I will limit it to “developer’s vision of Florida is of a state covered in buildings and concrete. Our vision is one of natural, indigenous flora, clean air and clean water.”Where is the infrastructure to support thousands and thousands of new residents? Common sense says that should come first, but somehow it never does.Tony Franzini, Bradenton

Update: This link takes you to the Petition seeking to halt the development of Aqua by the Bay. 

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