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Bradenton development spanning 529 acres is approved

But opposition to the controversial 529-acre Aqua by the Bay development persists
October 08, 2017 03:15PM

Carlos Beruff

Manatee County commissioners unanimously approved a controversial 529-acre development in Bradenton along Sarasota Bay.

Carlos Beruff is the developer behind the project, called Aqua on the Bay, which would include 510 houses, 2,384 multifamily residential units and 78,000 square feet of commercial space.

Opposition to the bay-front Bradenton development will persist, though.

Several environmental groups including the local chapter of the Sierra Club believe the county commission’s approval of Aqua by the Bay violates either the county’s code for land development or its comprehensive land-use plan.

Joe McClash, a former Manatee County commissioner, is a petitioner in an administrative hearing against Long Bar Pointe LLLP, the company that owns the Aqua by the Bay development, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which intends to issue a permit for a mitigation bank in connection with the development.

A mitigation bank is a distressed area of wetlands that a land owner can buy, clean, and sell to other land owners, providing them credits that authorize developments harmful to wetlands.

Long Bar Pointe LLP plans to turn mangroves and sea beds near Aqua by the Bay into a mitigation bank. But these wetlands aren’t as distressed as they should be to qualify the developer for a mitigation-bank permit.

The Army Corps of Engineers has denied the developer’s application for a federal mitigation-bank permit twice. [Bradenton Herald] — Mike Seemuth