On Aug. 6 the Manatee County Commission will consider a privately initiated request to amend the land use designation and map to the Comprehensive Plan to allow a major mixed-use development on the site known as Long Bar Pointe (463 acres).
The commission will also be considering text amendments to the Comprehensive Plan concerning policies on conservation and coast management to allow limited exceptions for water-related uses tied to a mixed-use project of not less than 100 acres.
While the planning staff recommended approval of the map change, the staff recommended denial of the text amendments. The reason for the recommendation to deny was that the applicant had not provided sufficient documentation on changed circumstances or demonstrated public benefit to warrant such policy changes with countywide implications.
Also staff found that the proposed changes were inconsistent with the state comprehensive plan. Nevertheless, the Planning Commission approved the text amendments over the staff recommendation to deny.
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Long Bar Pointe is too much stuff in the wrong place. It's market success is dependent upon making major physical alterations and environmental depredations to the ecology of Sarasota Bay.
Planners may sing the praises of mixed-use development; however, this site is outside the defined urban core and will not contribute to redevelopment of marginal commercial areas that have abundant infrastructure yet little economic value (see ULI Panel Report).
Long Bar Pointe will be a self-contained, privatized, wealth enclave that will escort its clientele from the airport to its five-star hotel. If successful it will undoubtedly spur more hotel and commercial development on the adjacent MU-C designated 1,420 acre Manatee Fruit Co. property.
If LBP could be the start of something bigger, is this what we want? At what sacrifice the bay and our future?