Army Corps defines wetland, sides with Harbor Sound developer
A line has been drawn on the shoreline of Perico Island.
It’s a jurisdictional line for developer Pat Neal that separates federal wetlands from uplands.
And while Neal has not yet won the prize — the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit to build in the wetlands and destroy about 1 acre of mangroves on the 3.46 acre building site — he’s won this battle.
The determination puts the federal wetlands line “precisely where we said it was a year ago,” Neal said, contrary to objections from former Manatee County Commissioner Joe McClash and some environmental groups.
Neal, a developer and head of Neal Communities, submitted a map to the Corps designating wetlands and uplands and, in September 2015, began site work for a four-home compound adjacent to Harbour Isle.
Called to the site after residents and others complained of a wetlands intrusion, the Corps enforcement division, along with other federal agencies, visited a year ago.
In a Sept. 22 email, Corps public information officer Nakeir Nobles wrote that the determination informs Neal of the federal wetlands to “assess possible impacts.”
“At the applicant’s request, we finalized an approved jurisdictional determination … we asserted enforcement discretion, resulting in no action taken,” she added.