Manatee County OK of Long Bar Pointe needs review

September 17, 2013 

Soon we'll know the state's opinion about Manatee's Long Bar Pointe map amendment. There's little suspense. The decision rests with the Department of Economic Opportunity, and the mantra of state leadership has been to do away with almost any regulation or executive staff member that stands in the way of business.

Nevertheless, when the county decides whether to adopt its own amendment, it should take a sobering second look, since the glitter of the original proposal has had time to wear off.

The map amendment is a cart before the horse ... or perhaps a cart without a horse. It's intention was to allow a luxurious waterfront resort with all the associated restaurants, shops, and other businesses that would find it useful to have such a premium address.

However, intrinsic to the conceptual plan was an inland boat basin with facilities for docking. The changes that would've been necessary for that to happen were separately defeated. And the property owner had said that would be a deal-breaker. So the "horse" is at least lame, if not dead.

To validate the new zoning category opens our arms to other development that could be even more incompatible, but which might be claimed as a "right" under the new category. We should not open a door that cannot be closed. Nor should we curtsy to a proposal that already has at least one strike against it.

The map amendment has another trouble. While not listing "marina" as a use, the conceptual plans show an inland water basin connected to the bay. An attorney could probably turn that into an "anticipated" -- therefore "acceptable" -- use. Text states that if other regulations circumscribe the development plans, revision "or other mitigation measures" would be necessary.

Thus a fee could suffice! The people absolutely disapprove.

Arlene Flisik


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