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Manatee County looks to remove wetland protections

MANATEE – Manatee County Government is bringing forward proposals that will significantly loosen requirements for building near local wetlands and watersheds. The text amendments would remove many of the county’s local-level regulations from the Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Codes, deferring rules for wetland buffers and other mitigation measures to the minimum that is required by the state.

During a well-attended task force planning meeting Thursday, a consultant hired by the county presented proposed changes to wetland protection measures that are required by Manatee County’s Comprehensive Plan. The meeting, which was held virtually through WebEx, saw roughly 70 attendees—an unknown number of which were staff of the county’s Development Services Department and Planning Division.

The consultant, Daniel B. DeLisi of DeLisi, Inc. explained that it was his opinion that the county’s wetland regulations are "duplicative" of the state's requirements and "inflexible."

DeLisi presented massive changes that would delete much of the county’s current comp plan language relating to wetland mitigation and buffer requirements, deferring all of the local regulations to the state’s minimum requirements.