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New construction rises in Cortez waterway

Karen Bell didn’t have much to say in mid-May about ongoing construction in Sarasota Bay not far from the A.P. Bell Fish Co. docks and the Cortez shoreline.

Cortez artist Linda Molto says she wants to know what’s going on. “Everybody is wondering and no one knows,” she said.

Raymond Leslie Guthrie Jr. and Capt. Tom Mora built the structure and they’re using it for storage and a workshop, according to Mora. Guthrie said he plans to conduct seagrass experiments at night.

The structure is in Sarasota Bay — not attached to land — an Outstanding Florida Waterway and a national estuary.

Molto wondered, “Aren’t there building restrictions?”

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which regulates submerged lands, is unaware of any permits, Shannon Herbon, DEP media relations spokeswoman, wrote in a May 25 email.

The DEP is looking to determine whether the land beneath the structure is state or privately owned before it evaluates what regulations apply, she added.