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Date of Issue: March 12, 2008

ManaSota-88 seeks development moratorium

A regional environmental group wants Manatee County commissioners to implement a temporary development moratorium in coastal zones.

ManaSota-88, the nonprofit group that joined in a fight against a high-rise fixed-span bridge to Anna Maria and the development of high-rise residences on Perico Island, issued the call to the county commission.

The county currently is reviewing a proposed amendment to its comprehensive plan regarding the coastal zone in the future land-use map. The proposed changes are intended to bring the county into compliance with recommendations from a coastal high-hazard committee created in 2005 by executive order of Gov. Jeb Bush.

The proposed amendment would replace the “Coastal Storm Vulnerability Area Overlay” in the map with the “Coastal High Hazard Area Overlay.”

The basic policy would not change, especially in regards to Anna Maria Island. With the inclusion of a Category 1 storm surge line in the amended map, the overlay district would be extended beyond previous boundaries — moving slightly eastward between Ninth Avenue Northwest and 17th Avenue Northwest in Bradenton. Northwest Bradenton has an area that would be included in the CHHA district, the county-owned Geraldson Farm and Robinson Preserve, as well as areas near Palma Sola Bay and Sarasota Bay. Also, more land would be included in the CHHA east of the Braden River, north of State Road 64 and west of Interstate 75.

But as the county considers the plan amendment, ManaSota-88 would like officials to take up two additional proposals that could impact the Island.

ManaSota-88 recommended that the county commission include in the amendment a requirement that hurricane evacuation times be disclosed to potential renters or buyers of a property.

“A hurricane-evacuation time notification to prospective buyers and tenants should be mandatory on real estate documents,” read a statement from ManaSota-88, an organization with which the Island-based Save Anna Maria Inc. is considering a merger.

ManaSota-88 also proposed that the county enact a temporary development moratorium on all lands in the CHHA. “The people of Manatee County were lucky in 2006 and 2007,” ManaSota-88 stated. “There were no direct land-falling hurricanes. However, it is almost inevitable a major hurricane will hit our area in the future. Yet, little consideration is given to this problem when approving new development.”

The organization will meet to discuss the proposals to the county and other issues at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday, March 19, at Bayfront Community Center, 803 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.