Beruff Intervention

Suncoast Waterkeeper and Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage Petition to
Intervene in Long Bar Pointe Takings Suit Against Manatee County

Motion to Intervene Seeks to Protect Against Developer Carlos Beruff’s Efforts to
Undermine Critical Protections to Public Natural Resources Provided by Manatee
County’s Comprehensive Plan

Bradenton, FL - On October 29, Suncoast Waterkeeper and the Florida Institute for
Saltwater Heritage (F.I.S.H.) filed their Motion to Intervene in Carlos Beruff’s
“constitutional takings” challenge against Manatee County. In October of 2014, Long
Bar Pointe LLLP, made up of partners Beruff and Larry Lieberman, sued the County over
their refusal to amend the County Comprehensive Plan to allow for intensive waterfront
development at Long Bar Point, in which protected mangroves would have been replaced
by a stone promenade, a marina, a navigational channel, and other intensive shoreline
development along Sarasota Bay to the south of the historic Cortez fishing village.


Beruff, who has sued the County several times, asserting numerous property rights claims
over the years, uses his political clout and a phalanx of lawyers to try to force the public
to subsidize his developments via takings challenges. His lawsuit claims that the
longstanding Coastal Elements of the Comprehensive Plan render his property
“economically unusable” and that his property interests have been taken from him
without compensation, violating the State and Federal Constitution. He seeks to force the
county to let him develop the environmentally sensitive waterfront or pay him for the
protected lands with taxpayer money.


The Comprehensive Plan and specifically its Conservation and Coastal Elements were
mandated by State Law and adopted in 1989, twenty-three years before Beruff and
Lieberman purchased the 463 acres along Sarasota Bay, knowing full well that numerous
restrictions on development were in place.


The mangroves and seagrasses at Long Bar protect the uplands from flooding and
provide habitat for wildlife and fish that are of great importance to the community at
large and specifically Cortez fishing village, which has deep and longstanding ties and
economic reliance on the environmental integrity of the northereastern reaches of
Sarasota Bay, also known as “the Kitchen.”


Sarasota Bay has been recognized by Congress as an estuary of national significance,
giving rise to the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, which recently issued a report
estimating the Bay’s economic impact at nearly 2 Billion dollars, sustaining nearly
22,000 jobs. Florida designated Sarasota Bay as an “Outstanding Florida Water” for its
natural attributes, worthy of special protections. Manatee County has sought to guide
development on the shores of Sarasota Bay with specific limitations that have been
supported by the public for decades.


Justin Bloom, Executive Director of Suncoast Waterkeeper added: “Notwithstanding
their limitations on waterfront development, the County has permitted extensive
development of the site, but that is not enough for Beruff, who seeks to wring every
potential profit from the site. If Beruff gets his way here, not only will Long Bar Point be
lost to excessive development, other natural waterfront sites in Manatee County will lose
their protections and throughout the state Comprehensive Plans with similar conservation
elements will be at grave risk to similar challenges.”


Jane von Hahmann who sits on the Board of Directors of Florida Institute for Saltwater
Heritage (F.I.S.H.) and a former County Commissioner said “ More than anything for
Cortez and the commercial fishing industry which is Cortez, protecting this estuarine
environment is about economics. Without these systems to produce the resources of our
industry, the fish, the stone crabs, the bait we sell in our fish houses, we could lose
everything we have been for over 125 years. F.I.S.H.’s mission is to promote, educate
and preserve Cortez and Florida’s commercial fishing…. including the environment
upon which these communities depend.” So we are acting in accordance with our
mission.


Appellants are represented by attorneys Ralf Brookes and Justin Bloom
For more information, please contact:


Jane von Hahmann – 941-794-0043 vonhahm@gmail.com
Justin Bloom –941-275-2922 bloomesq1@gmail.com
Ralf Brookes - 239-910-5464 Ralf@RalfBrookesAttorney.com


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The mission of Suncoast Waterkeeper is to protect and restore the Florida
Suncoast’s waterways through enforcement, fieldwork, advocacy, and
environmental education for the benefit of the communities that rely upon these
precious coastal resources.


F.I.S.H. is a non-profit grass-roots organization “dedicated to the promotion,
education and preservation of Cortez and Florida’s commercial fishing and other
traditional maritime cultures including the environment upon which these
communities depend.”

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