Long Bar Pointe developer tries to convince skeptics

Herald staff writersJuly 11, 2013 

— Developer Carlos Beruff faced a skeptical crowd of Manatee residents Thursday saying his Long Bar Pointe project would provide jobs and a classy resort to the southwest Bradenton area.

The founder of Medallion Home, one of the developers who wants to build a "coastal resort," near here, told a roomful of about 175 people that if his plans did not produce a "net benefit" to Sarasota Bay, it would not be approved.

There was plenty of discussion about the proposed Mantee County Comprehensive Plan amendments developers are seeking for the project, which Beruff said would be built over 20 years.

"What I’m worried about is your Comp Plan text amendment," said Katie Pierola. "It means all the waterfront left in Manatee County will be affected."

Beruff said it was never his intent to change the county comp plan "for anybody but us."

"Unfortunately, the comp plan precludes us from doing what we’re trying to do," Beruff said.

He contends the proposed changes to the comp plan would be better for the environment than a project the county has already given permission to build: single family homes each with a dock.

The meeting lasted more than two hours, with dozens of questioners asking about the project, which comes before the Manatee County Commission for review Aug. 6.

The site overlooks Sarasota Bay and parallels El Conquistador Parkway in the area where 75th Street West intersects with 53rd Avenue West.

Plans call for a mixed-use development on 463.2 acres, including single- and multi-family units, hotel, marina, office and commercial space, and a conference center, according to county documents.

About 294.7 acres are within the Coastal High Hazard area, land prone to flooding during storms, documents show.

Because of that, the development requires a change in the county comp plan. While Beruff said the project he envisions will be “world-class,” a member of the county’s professional planning staff said developers sought changes to parts of the comprehensive plan that are “the backbone of our environmental protection policies in Manatee County.”

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