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Manatee County Commission OKs special tax district for Long Bar Pointe

MANATEE -- Manatee County commissioners approved the establishment Tuesday of a community development district for part of the Long Bar Pointe project.

The CDD, or special tax district, is expected to defray an estimated $31 million in site development costs by 2023 for the bayfront residential community, according to information included in the application.

The CDD will comprise about 61.53 acres on the south side of El Conquistador Parkway and north of Sarasota Bay.

What should be permitted on the remainder of the site remains in litigation, said Mickey Palmer, Manatee County attorney.

Commissioner Robin DiSabatino noted the approval "does not grant any development rights to the petitioner."

The district, called Aqua One Community Development District, is now covered mostly by pasture. It is projected to include 200 single family residential dwelling units and recreational facilities, county documents said.

"This is the future," said Commissioner Charles B. Smith. "This is something I'm going to push as a commissioner."

Cargor Partners VIII-Long Bar Pointe, LLLP is developing the property, part of 522 acres owned by companies operated by Bradenton

homebuilder Carlos Beruff and his business partner, Larry Lieberman.

The district would pay for site work, roads, landscaping, parks and other infrastructure, according to the application.

A community development district helps finance and manage basic infrastructure, facilities and services. Only property owners within the district are assessed for improvements within its boundaries.

Plans say the private community will have two separate gates feeding traffic to El Conquistador Parkway. The southeast end of the property abuts the Legends Bay housing development. Long Bar Pointe has undergone changes since it was first proposed.

The developers' previous plan to build on the property, which involved changes to the Manatee County Comprehensive Plan, was eventually modified after vocal local protest. In 2013, a 13-plus-hour meeting about the project attracted 1,000 people to discuss the original plans for the lush property overlooking Sarasota Bay.

Initially, plans called for 1,086 single family homes, more than 2,500 multifamily homes and a 300-berth marina and a new channel.

The commission voted 4-3 in favor of a Manatee County Comprehensive Plan map amendment for the project, but it was approved only after developers agreed to drop plans for the marina and channel. The map amendment was eventually withdrawn by the applicant.

The commission unanimously voted against a related text amendment that would have opened certain coastal areas to more development.

Neither Beruff nor Lieberman responded to requests late Tuesday to comment on the formation of the CDD.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.

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