Environmentalists oppose mitigation bank for Bradenton development

The developer would set aside a 260-acre mitigation bank for Aqua by the Bay, a 529-acre residential development

The Aqua by the Bay development site in Bradenton (Credit: Islander.org)
The Aqua by the Bay development site in Bradenton (Credit: Islander.org)

Environmentalists object to a development company’s application to set aside a 260-acre “mitigation bank,” or distressed wetland, to advance its Bradenton condo development.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued a notice of intent to approve a permit for the mitigation bank for an affiliate of Medallion Home, led by developer Carlos Beruff.

Medallion Home would set aside a 260-acre site as a mitigation bank, or a distressed wetland that the company would restore to mitigate the environmental impact of its 529-acre Aqua by the Bay development in Bradenton.

The Manatee County Commission unanimously has approved Aqua by the Bay, designed as a mix of 510 houses, 2,384 rental housing units and 78,000 square feet of commercial space.

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Bradenton-area environmentalist groups, led by one called Suncoast Waterkeeper, filed a lawsuit in October to get a judicial review of the county commission’s approval of Aqua by the Bay, claiming it violated the county’s land development code.

Separately, Suncoast Waterkeeper, the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage and other petitioners also have tried to block DEP approval of the 260-acre mitigation bank proposed for Aqua by the Bay.

Opponents who testified last week at a public hearing on the mitigation-bank permit application criticized the location of the proposed bank, abutting Aqua by the Bay, and claimed its condition was good enough to prevent the state from designating it as distressed wetland. [Bradenton Herald]Mike Seemuth