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Rocky Point Residents Fight To Save Lagoon From Developers


Some Rocky Point residents are fired up about a development plan that could affect one-third of their nine-acre lagoon, just off the Courtney Campbell Causeway in Tampa. They plan to ask Tampa City Council members Thursday not to approve the proposal.

Some environmentalists and waterfront neighbors say they will attend the meeting to voice their concerns about potential harm to wildlife in the lagoon.

“In terms of the impact on the marine life in the affected area, it would be 100 percent obliteration,” said Kent Bailey, group chairperson for the Tampa Bay Sierra Club. “You’re turning a marine environment into dry land.”

A private New York-based developer is interested in dredging and filling three acres of the lagoon with luxury townhouses. But residents say the lagoon is already home to manatees, dolphin, and fish.

The lagoon is not natural. It was dredged several decades ago when Rocky Point was first developed.

Developers say there’s no seagrass there and development will not harm wildlife.

But, Bailey fears this will set a precedent for similar projects in the future.

“We are appalled that a proposal to fill open water in Tampa Bay for development would ever come out of the Planning Commission,” he said.

The Sierra Club expects that the city council will firmly say “no” to the proposal.

“We are committed to the most vigorous opposition possible to this and any related projects,” said Bailey. "Dredge and Fill" is a dead, discredited practice from the bad old days that almost ruined our bay.”

Dericka James is a WUSF/USF Zimmerman School digital news intern for summer 2018.
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