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Manatee judge says 'no' to Long Bar Pointe water development, $18M suit

LONG BAR POINTE -- The developers of a proposed mixed-use West Manatee subdivision lost a legal challenge over their claimed right to develop shore lands when a Manatee County judge ruled Tuesday their $18 million suit against the county lacked merit under state law.

Late in the day, Judge John Lakin filed an order with the 12th Circuit Court that ends, at least for now, a legal effort by Long Bar Pointe developers Carlos Beruff and Larry Lieberman to invalidate rules precluding them from developing the waterfront at their 522-acre West Manatee property. Lakin also ruled the developers are not entitled to be paid for what they characterized as lost use of underwater lands on the property.

Lakin's final summary judgment comes little more than a month after he presided over a bench trial in which developers' lawyers faced off against county legal staff. The suit accused the county of enacting and enforcing rules preventing Beruff's and Lieberman's development company, Cargor Partners VIII/Long Bar Pointe LLC, from dredging land owned in Sarasota Bay and building amenities, including a marina and a sea wall.