MANATEE -- Opponents of the Long Bar Pointe project have invited developer Carlos Beruff to speak about his proposed mixed-use development Thursday during a town hall-style meeting in Cortez.
The civic group "Save Our Bay" invited Beruff, the founder of Medallion Home and one of the developers of the "coastal resort" project in the southwest Bradenton area, because people have so many questions about the proposal, said member Joe Kane.
Beruff has accepted the invitation, Kane said, adding, "It's really, really good we have the boss man there."
Beruff could not be reached Friday to confirm he would be attending. Calls to his office and those of his attorneys were not returned.
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"We expect we'll have a crowd," said Kane, a Cortez resident who said his neighbors are concerned about the project because they are the ones most affected by it.
"Our goal, along with the other groups, is to have 5,000 signatures (in opposition) by the day of the vote," said Kane, referring to Aug. 6 when the Manatee County Commission will review the Long Bar Pointe project and changes to the county comprehensive plan its developers have requested.
"We are close to 2,000already, and the value ofthat is these aren't just the usual suspects -- tree huggers -- these are a lot of new people, new names," Kane said.
The meeting is slated for 5 p.m. at Fisherman's Hall, 4515 124th St., Cortez.
It will be the second such meeting in two weeks' time: On July 3, a coalition of opposition groups lead by Bay Life Preservers met at Bayshore Gardens Recreation Center to discuss how best to defeat the project.
A "boat-in" protest is also slated for 2-4 p.m. July 20, off mile marker 17 in Sarasota Bay, sponsored by Bay Life Preservers.
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 would require a change in the county's comp plan.
While Beruff predicts 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."
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.