SWFWMD approves wetlands permit for Bradenton developer Pat Neal
TAMPA – The Southwest Florida Water Management District's governing board has ignored a judge's order by approving a permit to allow developer Pat Neal's four-home subdivision to be built where shoreline wetlands exist.
The district board, led by local developer Carlos Beruff, considered about 90 minutes of testimony Tuesday morning from project supporters and detractors before voting 10-1 to allow Neal to build his waterfront compound on Perico Island. Wendy Griffin, a retired environmental consultant who serves on the SWFWMD board, was the only dissenter.
The action comes two months after administrative law Judge Bram Canter recommended SWFWMD deny an environmental resource permit requested by the Lakewood Ranch home builder. Neal still needs federal permission to build.
The SWFWMD permit will allow Neal to build a seawall and fill about an acre of wetlands within a 3.46-acre piece of 40 acres he owns on the western shore of Perico Island. Those structures, plus a planned underground stormwater management system, would make room for four 10,000-square-foot homes. The development, named Harbor Sound, is intended to be a compound for the Neal family.