Story Tools

Date of Issue: November 04, 2009

No decision yet on breakwater public hearing

The answer is neither yes nor no to the querie on whether the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will hold a public hearing on a proposal by Longboat Key to construct manmade breakwaters near the Longboat Pass entrance to combat beach erosion.

It’s a definite maybe.

Corps spokesperson Mark Petersen said it’s “still too early to make any decision on a public hearing.”

The Corps still has to provide Longboat Key with a list of issues raised by people who commented on the project during the public comment period, along with questions the Corps has, Petersen indicated.

Longboat Key will have 30 days to provide a response, he said.

“Only after that will the Corps consider having a public hearing, and then only if one is necessary to gain additional information to assist us in our decision process,” Petersen said.

Manatee County Commissioner Joe McClash and the environmental group ManaSota-88 filed objections to the project and asked for a public hearing.

McClash, who requested the hearing without backing from the county commission, said he had concerns with the safety of the breakwaters for boaters and swimmers and wanted to know more about the environmental impact the project will have on Coquina Beach.

If the Corps does not hold a public hearing, McClash said he will consider filing a request for an administrative hearing, a process that could delay Longboat Key in obtaining its permits.

Longboat Key wants to construct four artificial breakwaters along the shoreline of Beer Can Island to halt beach erosion. Each breakwater would be 110 feet long, weigh 4 tons, extend about 5 feet above sea level and be built about 200 feet off Beer Can Island into the Gulf of Mexico.