At the May 4 hearing before the Board of County Commissioners about the Aqua by the Bay project, Carlos Beruff pleaded with the commission to not single him out, but rather to treat him like any other developer wishing to develop his land. Commissioner Betsy Benac agreed that the commission should be fair in all its decisions.
The problem with this argument is that, in Mr. Beruff’s own words, this is “a unique world-class development.” A unique development requires a unique analysis.
No other development is developing the last portion of unspoiled bay in Manatee County. No other developer is changing the plans for development and the corporate structure so fast and so often that even the commissioners have to ask numerous questions to ascertain the substance of their vote. No one else submits one design to an agency for permit approval and submits different plans to a different agency for a different permit. No other development simply submits artist’s renderings of other developments or of an “Infinity Beach” without concrete details of the exact location of the structures on the development. (What is the source of the water in the saltwater body? How big will it be? What is the source of the sand?)
By your own admission, the design of your lagoon is unique. Therefore, its environmental impact should be evaluated more thoroughly than a routine drainage swale. No one else is “removing land from the high hazard zone” by adding 13 feet of fill behind a wall that is of such unique construction that neither your planners nor the Manatee County planners can even agree what to call it. I have not even touched on the issue of building heights, which has been covered in other letters.
Yes, Mr. Beruff, what we want to do is treat you like everybody else and not give you special privilege at the expense of the other residents of Manatee County.
Judy P Drake