Victory at Mill Bayou!
We won! We protected the Little Manatee River and her wildlife from a developer who wanted to bulldoze hundreds of native trees just to build 8 houses on a skinny mangrove-lined spit in the middle of the river at Mill Bayou, and let the new McMansion-owners cut through the shoreline mangrove habitat to build docks and launch jet skis.
Commissioners denied the project 6-1, with Jim Norman as the developer’s sole supporter.
Please thank the 6 commissioners who denied the rezoning, especially the 3 who worked the hardest for us:
(1) Kevin White <email@example.com> who made the motion for denial with a wonderful speech championing the irreplaceable value of the river and its trees, showing he really listened to all of us, and speaking as an advocate for our natural resources.
(2) Mark Sharpe <firstname.lastname@example.org> seconded the motion with several sound reasons based on land use laws and Comprehensive Plan policies, smartly challenging the county planners’ approval, showing he had thoroughly done his homework to ensure that this denial would stick through any appeal.
(3) Kevin Beckner <email@example.com> added economic justifications to nail the case shut, citing the costs of infrastructure and other risks of building on such a vulnerable spot in the Coastal High Hazard Area.
Also voting to deny:
Rose Ferlita <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Ken Hagan <email@example.com>,
Al Higginbotham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
No thanks to the lone vote against denial, and against the river:
Jim Norman <email@example.com>
Our river won today, only because so many people cared enough to help:
Thanks to the 50(!) people who came to the hearing, pinned on our badges and stood with us today!! Our speakers were AWESOME!! — eloquent, passionate, well-prepared and totally right — I was proud to be a part of this team: Joe Lancaster, Toni Singleton, Vivienne Handy, Bev Griffiths, & Viv Bacca. Thanks to Mike Fite for speaking at the preliminary hearing and helping with research & reconnaissance. Thanks to Kent Bailey and Dena Leavengood who forwarded the e-mail alerts to their very active lists and got so many people to the hearing. Thanks to Robert Rorebeck for getting the badges on everyone so commissioners would know how big our posse was. And thanks to everyone who wrote letters to the case file, and everyone who will soon write our commissioners to let them know we appreciate those 6 votes today!
• You can see the county’s video of the hearing, from 0:12:45 to 1:03:10.
• Channel 10 Connects TV news filmed the hearing — they may show a spot today at 5:00 or 5:30, or maybe tonight. You can find that video later on 10connects.com (local news).
• The St. Pete Times report should appear on reporter Kim Wilmath’s page soon.
• Previous report on Creative Loafing’s site has background details.
We only win when we all work together! Thanks to all of you for helping & caring!