Tropical Storm Andrea postponed discussion of Long Bar Pointe Thursday, but the Manatee County Commission did developers Carlos Beruff and Larry Lieberman a favor anyway.
It turned everything west of U.S. 301 and south of the Manatee River into an Urban Service Area.
That means any development there is exempt from Development of Regional Impact review by the state. The main project in the area that might rise to the level of DRI review is Long Bar Pointe, which envisions acres of mangrove removal and seagrass dredging to accommodate a hotel and marina.
An Urban Service Area is supposed to support urban infill, but the land at Long Bar Pointe is empty.
Commissioner Robin DiSabatino worried that removing a possible level of review for Long Bar Pointe might make it appear that the commission was less than objective about the project.
She wanted to delay approval or exclude vacant land such as Long Bar Pointe. Commissioner Michael Gallen agreed, but Commissioners Larry Bustle, Betsy Benac, Carol Whitmore, Vanessa Baugh and John Chappie had no such scruples.
Then, in an unseemly display of petulance, several commissioners complained that people had unfairly insinuated during public comment that they were more beholden to developers than to the public.
The words heat and kitchen came to mind.
If commissioners don't want people to think they are in the pockets of developers, they should stop doing things that make it look like they are.