One of the criticisms against protesters of the ambitious development plans for Long Bar Pointe is that we're just a bunch of NIMBYs who are only concerned about protecting our territory. Maybe so. But there are tens of thousands of us who live on or near Sarasota Bay, tens of thousands more who enjoy its commercial and recreational activities, and hundreds of thousands of annual visitors who are attracted to the area because of Sarasota Bay's activities, and enjoy our abundant bird life and are fed by its marine life.
We understand that growth is inevitable, and if it is well-planned, beneficial to all of us. However, Long Bar Pointe promises density that is similar to Chicago, Boston or Miami. In addition to 3,500 residences, it would include a large convention center, perhaps the largest hotel between St. Petersburg and Fort Meyers and several hundred thousand feet of retail and office space.
Traffic on the two roads that lead to and from the peninsula will impact neighborhoods for miles around and will further clog the local barrier islands. It will include a bulwark that may offer some protection to Long Bar Pointe against flooding, but will divert rising water to its neighbors on the bay. It calls for a boat ramp that promises to be the camel's nose under the tent that will lead to a more ambitious plan. It is inevitable that much of our cherished bird and marine life will find it inhospitable and will die off or migrate to a place that will not be as nourishing.
I urge the NIMBYs of Sarasota Bay to continue to make their voices heard at the Manatee County Commission meeting at the Bradenton Area Convention Center in Palmetto (isn't one convention center enough?) at 9 a.m. Jan. 23.