MANATEE -- The owners of Long Bar Pointe have agreed to settle a lawsuit against Manatee County provided the county backs away from requiring them to pay for El Conquistador Parkway construction and from taking easements and rights of way without compensation.
The settlement, signed March 24 by development partners Carlos Beruff and Larry Lieberman, goes before the county's board of commissioners for approval Thursday.
Negotiated three years after the development company Cargor Partners VIII/Long Bar Pointe LLLP filed the suit, the negotiated agreement appears to give Beruff and Lieberman what they sought. Under the settlement terms, the developers will not be obligated to reimburse the county for a portion of the cost for the El Conquistador Parkway construction. The county must also hold two public hearings, one to remove transportation stipulations and the other to terminate a local government
development agreement for Long Bar Pointe.
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In filing their suit, the developers alleged the requirement to pay for road construction and a stipulation that they give up portions of their property for public right-of-way and storm water easements violated their due process and constituted a property "taking." Those conditions were applied in 2004 to a previous development plan at Long Bar Pointe.
That was almost a decade before companies controlled by Beruff and Lieberman bought more than 522 acres there.
If, after the public hearings, the county chooses to terminate the development agreement and remove the transportation requirements, the developers will dismiss their claim.
The developers would also receive impact fee credits in exchange for right of way and easements as part of the agreement. At present, any development at Long Bar Pointe would waive the right to those credits.
In a narrative written for Thursday's upcoming meeting, county legal staff recommend that commissioners vote to accept the deal. If they do so, the county avoids paying any damages or the developers' attorney fees.
Bill Clague, an assistant county attorney who will present the settlement to the county board next week, declined to comment Friday on the agreement. County legal staff does not comment on ongoing litigation.
Beruff, who is running for U.S. Senate, could not be reached for comment on the settlement.
The settlement does not confer any development rights upon the Aqua by the Bay subdivision the developers plan to build at Long Bar Pointe. The subdivision would put more than 3,000 homes on the land.
The partners are involved in a separate suit against the county to invalidate rules that preclude them from developing the waterfront at Long Bar Pointe. In January, a Manatee County judge ruled that the suit and an $18 million payout the developers demanded lacked merit in the face of state law.
The developers have since filed an appeal with the Second District Court of Appeals in Lakeland.
The suit stemmed from an August 2013 decision by the Manatee County Board of Commissioners to decline to amend provisions of the county's comprehensive land use plan at the developers' request. Lacking the amendments, the developers were unable to move ahead with plans to built a waterfront hotel, marina and shoreline retail as part of a 3,600-home project development project.
Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027 or on Twitter @MattAtBradenton.