Long Bar Pointe project controversy continues to grows

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MANATEE COUNTY--Interest in the proposed Long Bar Pointe project continues to grow. The project calls for more than one-thousand residences, a hotel, retail space and a marina to be built along the Bay Front, south of Cortez Village.  But an organized movement against the project is expanding and opposition say for good reason.

"We watch the water fowl come and go we see manatee swimming by us," Manatee County resident Terrie Wonder.  Wonder is describing an area in North Sarasota Bay that sits right on the proposed site for the Long Bar Pointe development.  But, she says the proposed development is threatening its very existence of the bay.

"They're going to create an island with a lot of pavement and a lot of high rise buildings and they are also going to team down the mangroves that they dont extract which means bird species will not be able to mate there as they have been" said Wonder.

But the environmental concerns are just part of the opposition to the project.  Which is why hundreds have come together to protest what they say is a change how the proposed site is being used.

"They're afraid that the high impact luxury resort is going to take away quite and peaceful life style.  They wont be able to experience the environment that on to their children and grandchildren," said Wonder.

But, Medallion Homes the group behind the project says that's not the case.

"When we're finished over the next 15 to 20 years it will be a community that has a sole that is opened to the public all the time that has restaurants and offices and a promenade along the water, " said Medallion Homes official Carlos Berruff.

The development will also include a hotel and condominium.  It's expected to take up about 250 feet of the Bay Front.  Officials say the end product will look similar to the seaside communities in Camden, Maine.  But, Berruff says the most important highlight is the development will eliminate much of the pollution that is currently flowing into the bay from nearby farm land.

"We will take that into a retention pound, attenuate it, and treat it before its sent off into the bay.  So, we will stop all of that nutrient run off, phosphates, and Pesticides from going untreated into Sarasota Bay," added Beruff.

Still many residents say the project will do more harm than good.

"We dont see bays like this in this area any more.  I grew in Englewood and watched places in Englewood and in Sarasota get seawalled, chopped up, and dug up.  So, Im putting everything behind this to keep our bay the way it is," said Manatee county resident Suzanna Young.

The project developer will host an information session on the mater this Friday. July 19.  Those against the move will wage a boat brigade in protest on Saturday July 20th.  The group plans to rope together a small group of vessels, or what's called a "raft up," just outside the Intracoastal Waterway, north of marker 17.