Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Project near sensitive nature preserve get approval

A state agency has approved a St. Petersburg surgeon's controversial development in Taylor County, despite the opposition of several environmental groups concerned about its effect on the Big Bend Seagrasses Aquatic Preserve.

The Suwannee River Water Management District approved Dr. J. Crayton Pruitt's latest plans for what he's now calling the Reserve at Sweetwater Estuary. The plan calls for building 624 condominium units, an 874-room hotel, 280,000 square feet of commercial space and a golf course. The project would be built in Dekle Beach, where in 1993 a massive tidal surge from the no-name storm killed 10 people and destroyed 57 of the 70 houses.

Pruitt's original plan, known as Magnolia Bay, included a marina and a 7-foot-deep channel 2 miles long and 100 feet wide cut through the Big Bend Seagrasses Aquatic Preserve, the state's largest aquatic preserve and one of the largest stretches of uninterrupted sea grass in North America.

However, that plan ran into strong opposition from the state Department of Environmental Protection, which oversees the preserve. So Pruitt came up with a revised project that dropped the marina and channel, added a golf course and changed the name of the development to the Reserve at Sweetwater Estuary. The current plan still requires the destruction of 44 acres of wetlands for the golf course and roads, said Pruitt's environmental consultant, Beverly Birkett of Tampa.

In a letter last week the state Department of Community Affairs expressed continuing concerns about "significant wetlands," sinkholes and springs on the property that could be contaminated by runoff from the golf course. The whole project is "a significant level of urban development in an environmentally sensitive area," an agency official wrote.

But the water district board approved destroying the wetlands by a vote of 7-1. Now the only remaining permit needed is a federal one from the Army Corps of Engineers, Birkett said.

Project near sensitive nature preserve get approval 06/10/08 [Last modified: Thursday, June 12, 2008 5:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. No touchdown, but fun lesson for Bucs' Adam Humphries

    Bucs

    It didn't end up being a touchdown, but one of the Bucs' biggest hustle plays in Thursday's win over Jacksonville saw receiver Adam Humphries scoop up a loose ball just before halftime, after what looked like an incompletion but was correctly ruled a Jameis Winston fumble.

    Bucs WR Adam Humphries runs to the end zone with QB Jameis Winston trailing -- his alert play wasn't a touchdown because teammates cannot advance a fumble in the final two minutes of a half.
  2. Bucs' Demar Dotson should be back from injury next week

    Bucs

    The Bucs got good news on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI showed only a mild right groin sprain and should be back at practice next week.

    Bucs tackle Demar Dotson, shown last year when he signed a three-year contract extension, should only miss a week of practice with his groin injury and can return healthy for the Bucs' season opener at Miami in three weeks. [Octavio Jones | Times]
  3. Comedy legend Jerry Lewis dead at 91

    Obituaries

    LOS ANGELES — Jerry Lewis, the manic, rubber-faced showman who jumped and hollered to fame in a lucrative partnership with Dean Martin, settled down to become a self-conscious screen auteur and found an even greater following as the tireless, teary host of the annual muscular dystrophy telethons, has died. He was …

    In this Sept. 2, 1990, file photo, entertainer Jerry Lewis makes his opening remarks at the 25th Anniversary of the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon fundraiser in Los Angeles. Lewis, the comedian whose fundraising telethons became as famous as his hit movies, has died according to his publicist. [Associated Press]
  4. Mastermind of lottery rigging scam that netted millions faces 25 years

    Nation

    DES MOINES, Iowa — For a decade, computer programmer Eddie Tipton reliably showed up for work at the central Iowa office of the Multi-State Lottery Association and earned the confidence of his co-workers, a team of technicians entrusted to build computers used to randomly pick numbers for some of the most popular …

    FILE - In this June 29, 2017, file photo, Eddie Tipton, the former Multi-State Lottery Association information security director who admitted to masterminding a scheme to rig lottery games that paid him and others $2 million from seven fixed jackpots in five states, is seen in court in Des Moines, Iowa. Tipton is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday, Aug. 22. (Rodney White/The Des Moines Register via AP, File) IADES501
  5. Pasco County man killed in wrong-way crash on New Jersey Turnpike

    Accidents

    MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. — Authorities say a Florida man driving the wrong way on the New Jersey Turnpike was killed when his SUV crashed head-on into another vehicle.