Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Here's a Hernando Beach dredge meeting I want to see

There have been lots of meetings about the dredge of the Hernando Beach boat channel, a mind-boggling number as a matter of fact, stretching back for more than 15 years.

But there's one more gathering about the dredge, or at least about the property at the center of its main controversy, that I can't wait to attend.

That's when Cliff Manuel, whose family owns the 5-acre Eagle Point site on Hernando Beach, tries to convince folks who live nearby on Eagle Nest Drive of the merits of his proposed development.

He intends to do it, he said. He wants to show them plans, take their suggestions, work together to make Eagle Point "more green and more environmentally friendly'' than any surrounding development (not hard, probably, considering the dredge-and-fill origins of Hernando Beach).

And if he wants to avoid another battle, he'll have to show them he can responsibly build on property that, though not classified as wetlands, is definitely prone to getting wet.

First, let's backtrack, hopefully for the final time: these neighbors have fought for two years to stop the spoil from being stockpiled on Manuel's property. They filed a complaint with the state Department of Environmental Protection.

They argued that this was an environmentally sensitive property that would be hard to develop without the fill from the dredge. At one point a county consultant agreed with them, writing in an e-mail that the sand and the county's permitting of the land for a spoil disposal site represented "a huge freebie'' for the Manuels.

You might say the same about the agreement the County Commission voted to approve last week. The county will pump the spoil to a site east of Shoal Line Boulevard that turned out to be, despite assistant county engineer Gregg Sutton's and Manuel's long insistence to the contrary, $2.6 million cheaper to use than Eagle Point.

But to honor its contract with the Manuels, the county will give them 40,000 cubic yards of sand from the dredge free of charge; they'll also get $196,000 from the county, which Manuel said is to compensate his family's company, Manuel LLC, for trucking and packing the fill.

And the environmental complaints the Manuels and family friends filed against the competing Shoal Line site turned out to be effective bargaining chips. These were obstacles to finishing the dredge by July of next year, which the county must to do to receive a $6 million state grant. They left the commission with no choice but to agree to pay off the Manuels.

The neighbors say they have no objection to the Eagle Point development if Manuel LLC develops it legally. But some of their doubts are based on what they see from their own yards: large parts of the land flood regularly during high tides.

Flood-prone isn't necessarily the same as wetlands, said David Sauskojus, of the Southwest Florida Water Management District. Those decisions are based mostly on soil type and vegetation, and he determined that 3.8 acres of the original 5-acre site qualified as uplands.

Manuel said this wetlands line will force him to trim some of the 11 lots tentatively approved by the county. But he says he can develop and market (good luck) the homesites without the fill. Even with it, he plans green features such as shell driveways and native plants that need no fertilizer.

He thinks the neighbors will be impressed. We'll see.

Here's a Hernando Beach dredge meeting I want to see 04/18/09 [Last modified: Saturday, April 18, 2009 1:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

    The Astros’ Brian McCann, who has struggled during the ALCS, breaks a scoreless tie with an RBI double during the fifth inning off Yankees starter Luis Severino.
  2. Review: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw shower love, star power on Tampa's Amalie Arena

    Blogs

    Near the end of their potent new duet Break First, Tim McGraw stopped singing, and let Faith Hill's powerhouse voice take over.

    Faith Hill and Tim McGraw performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Oct. 20, 2017.
  3. Senate to take up AUMF debate as Trump defends reaction to Niger attack

    World

    WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is taking up a long-awaited debate about authorizing military force against the Islamic State as President Trump comes under unprecedented public scrutiny for his treatment of dead soldiers' families, following an ambush on troops helping to fight Islamic …

  4. In fear and vigilance, a Tampa neighborhood holds its breath

    K12

    TAMPA — There was a time, not long ago, when Wayne Capaz would go for a stroll at night and Christina Rodriguez would shop whenever she wanted. Michael Fuller would go to his night job as a line cook, not too worried about his wife at home.

    More than 50 people gathered and walked in the Southeast Seminole Heights community Friday to pay respects to the victims of three shootings. The crowd took a moment of silence at the corner of 11th Street and East New Orleans where Monica Hoffa was found dead. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL  |  Times]