Manatee County Government Administrative Center First Floor Chambers November 5, 2015 - 9:00 a.m.
REVISED November 5, 2015 - Land Use Meeting
Agenda Item #10

Consideration of Support For State of Florida Purchase of Linger Lodge 9:00 AM Time Certain


Contact and/or Presenter Information

Charlie Hunsicker, Director, Parks and Natural Resources
ext. 6001, charlie.hunsicker@mymanatee.org

Action Requested

Authorize Chairman to sign and transmit letter in support of State of Florida acquisition of Linger Lodge RV Park and Restaurant.

Enabling/Regulating Authority

Florida Statute 125

Background Discussion
  • Manatee County, private land owners, and the State of Florida have been working in partnership for the acquisition and restoration of sensitive environmental land adjacent to the Braden River and its tributaries under a long-term strategy to buffer and restore surface water quality conditions impacted from development and agriculture practices in the watershed which have led to the designation of impairments in several tributary basins under FDEP’s Watershed Assessment Program to implement Section 303 Florida Administrative Code.
  • The owner of Linger Lodge is seeking a partnership with the State of Florida to acquire, restore, and manage the approximately 23 acre Linger Lodge Property, located at 7205 85th Street Court East, made up of 5 parcels owned by Linger Lodge R.V., LLC, and Linger Lodge Restaurant, LLC (hereinafter described as the Property).  (Site map titled “Braden River EcoSystem Preserves Concept” and aerial attached.)
  • It is recognized by Manatee County and the State of Florida that the Property is an integral part of the County’s effort to secure public management control over parcels available from willing sellers in the Braden River Watershed, lying upstream of the City of Bradenton Evers Reservoir and Earl Crawley Water Treatment Plant. The Braden River and its associated watershed segment are tributary to the Lower Tampa Bay/Manatee River SWIM Priority Waterbody.
  • Recently, Manatee County completed a $1.8 million renovation of the property known as Jiggs Landing Boat Ramp and Fish Camp on the eastern shore of the Evers Reservoir, including the removal of large areas of impervious surface constructed prior to the development of stormwater management regulations and incorporating extensive surface water quality improvements on the 5 acre site. Manatee County also acquired the 3.4 acre vacant Walker Crews parcel roughly 2½ miles upstream of Jiggs Landing, with over ¼ mile of Braden River shoreline. Further downstream on the Braden River, the District, Manatee County, and the City of Bradenton partnered to acquire and manage the 185 acre Pine Island tract.

Acquisition for Water Quality Protection with Land Cover Conversion and Management

  • Acquisition and public management for passive recreation and conservation stewardship of the Property will contribute to the long-term protection of the potable water supply of the City of Bradenton and the ecological health and diversity of the flora and fauna supporting water quality of the river. The Upper Braden River watershed tributary to the main stem of the Braden River, immediately upstream of the Property, is an impaired waterbody listed for fecal coliform bacteria. Protection of the Linger Lodge Property through public purchase and subsequent removal of domestic pollution sources stemming from approximately 99 travel trailer rental units will constitute an effective Basin Management Plan Strategy to improve conditions for the downstream river reaches and water quality of Evers Reservoir.   Further, the Rattlesnake Slough watershed tributary and the Cedar Creek watershed tributary to the Braden River, immediately downstream from the property, as also listed as impaired bodies of water.  Removing the potential stressor of nutrients and bacteria from the current development densities found upstream at Linger Lodge will further protect the quality of drinking water in the Evers Reservoir.
  • In addition, the Property itself is located in the Upper Braden River Watershed segment (WBID #1914) which also exhibits impairment for fecal coliform bacteria suspected to be linked to development activities and agricultural practices in the watershed. Public acquisition of the Property and removal of 99 of the 104 rental units is a sound Basin Management Plan component for restoration of the tributary watershed. Without public acquisition and under authority of Chapter 163.3202 (2)(i), the R.V. park could be redeveloped for single-family or multifamily residential use equal to the density of the R.V. park, placing yet greater strain on the water quality of Evers Reservoir.
  • Environmental restoration of approximately 12 acres on the Property currently dedicated to recreational vehicle rental housing adjacent to and within the Braden River Floodplain will also reduce potential water quality pollution. Non-point pollutant sources enter the watershed during high rainfall events which temporarily flood existing rental sites which are located within the floodplain and floodway of the river. Upon removal of these rental pads and sites and completion of wetland creation and restoration activities, the Property will also provide additional flood storage to protect other downstream developed properties.
  • The Evers Reservoir Watershed is an in-stream impoundment of the Braden River first constructed in 1934 and expanded in 1982 to provide the sole surface water supply to the City of Bradenton (pop. 55,000+/-).  The City acknowledges the importance of this public purpose acquisition in protecting their existing reservoir.
  • In a report prepared by John Henslick of Eco Consultants, Inc. (attached), purchase of the Linger Lodge Property will provide not only surface water quality and habitat protection values, but will provide educational benefits “which will instill the importance of the environmental systems (both wetland and upland) which they (the public) have been asked to support and to finance.” The report further states, “The proposed project will result in providing the public significant access to a natural water course within Manatee County that is currently not realistically accessible to the great majority of the citizens of the County or the State. The project, as proposed, will allow, indeed, it will facilitate access to natural environments not normally seen or experienced by the majority of the citizens of this State.”
  • Manatee County has a well documented program of providing public access in environmental education to 15 individual properties held as public environmental preserves encompassing over 28,000 acres in Manatee County. Acquisition and management of this Property by the State of Florida for water quality benefit for the Evers Potable Water Reservoir will also include a significant opportunity for public gathering and environmental interpretation.
  • When viewed in context with the County’s overall strategy to protect this potable water supply source for the City of Bradenton and the scarcity of vacant and other “at risk” property in the Evers Reservoir Watershed, acquisition and management of this Property for water quality protection of the potable water supply, conservation of native habitat, and passive recreation is in the public interest.
  • The Property owners have requested a letter of support from the Board of County Commissioners, addressed to Florida Department of Environmental Protection, supporting the State of Florida acquisition of the property.  Staff recommends execution of the attached letter of support

County Attorney Review
Not Reviewed (No apparent legal issues)

Explanation of Other

Reviewing Attorney

Instructions to Board Records

Please provide signed original to Kay Rogers, Parks and Natural Resources, ext. 6043, kay.rogers@mymanatee.org, for transmittal to FDEP.

Cost and Funds Source Account Number and Name
N /A

Amount and Frequency of Recurring Costs

Attachment:  Linger Lodge Letter.pdf
Attachment:  Braden_Concept_2015.pdf
Attachment:  Eco Consultants Report.pdf
Attachment:  Letter to SWFWMD.pdf
Attachment:  Linger_lodge.pdf
Attachment:  Ltr 2015 01-05 to J Steverson re Linger Lodge support.pdf