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. Gradebook podcast: Charter school fraud, budget woes and more

    Blogs

    School districts across Florida have been grappling with financial concerns they contend lawmakers did not improve with a new state education budget. Reporter Marlene Sokol joins reporter Jeff Solochek to discuss the problems as they're manifest in Hillsborough County, which has local woes beyond anything the state has …

    Hillsborough School Board member April Griffin has been asking pointed questions about the district's budget.
  2. Tampa City Council votes to accept travel invitation from Cuban ambassador

    Blogs

    The invitation came to Tampa City Council chairwoman Yvonne Yolie Capin in a June 9 letter from Cuban ambassador to the United States José Ramón Cabañas Rodriguez.

    The Tampa City Council voted 6-0, with Frank Reddick out of the room, to respond to a travel invitation from Cuban ambassador to the United States José Ramón Cabañas Rodriguez.
  3. Illinois is recruiting a 10-year-old. Where will Lovie Smith be by the time the kid can sign?

    Blogs

    Today in ridiculous recruiting news, Lovie Smith's Illinois football team offered a scholarship to a 10-year-old.

  4. St. Pete Pride to focus on transgender inclusion with first-ever TransPride March

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Nathan Bruemmer remembers his first Pride parade in the late 1990s. He hadn't yet come out as transgender.

    Nathan Bruemmer stands on the St Pete Pride parade route on Bayshore Drive NE Thursday, June 22, 2017. Bruemmer is the only trans member on the St. Pete Pride's board. This year he organized a TransPride March to begin Saturday's festivities before the floats come down along the bay. The TransPride March will include members of the transgender, gender-non-conforming, queer communities, their families, friends, allies and supporters.
  5. Home of Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman hits market at $3.45 million

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — The Davis Islands home of Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman is back on the market for $3.45 million after a brief hiatus.

    The Davis Islands home of Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman is on the market for $3.45 million. [Courtesy of Hi Res Media]