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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

ManaSota-88 calls for temporary coastal building moratorium

The environmental group ManaSota-88 has issued a call for the Sarasota and Manatee county commissions to enact a temporary building moratorium on all coastal high-hazard areas and flood-prone lands.

A statement from ManaSota-88 said the building moratorium is needed because of the shortage of adequate hurricane shelters and workable evacuation plans. Building more residences and adding more people to the barrier islands just enhances the danger, the statement said.

"The inability to evacuate [barrier islands] within the limits of viable warning times creates a danger to the lives and property of the citizens of Florida," claimed ManaSota-88.

As demonstrated by the evacuations from the recent hurricanes, "roads leading from hurricane-prone areas are woefully inadequate to safely move residents out of harm's way," the statement said. The continuing increase in population and coastal development leaves residents of the two counties "extremely vulnerable to the devastating effects of hurricanes."

The temporary building moratorium is necessary "for county staffs to review and submit amendments to the comprehensive plans and land-development codes" that will add shelters and improve evacuation routes.

Manatee County Commission Chairperson Jane von Hahmann said the commission has not discussed any countywide building moratorium and is not considering any such measure at this time.

ManaSota-88 executive director Glenn Compton said he has no plans at this time to make a formal presentation on the moratorium issue to either commission.