Sarasota News Leader

08/30/2013

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OPINION REOPEN MIDNIGHT PASS! EDITORIAL Sarasota County marks a somber anniversary this year. It has been three decades since two Siesta Key homeowners gained permission from the county and the state to fill in Midnight Pass, the inlet that separated Siesta and Casey keys. While that permission contained the condition that the inlet would be reopened at some point in the future, 30 years have passed and it remains closed. action was formalized. Shortly thereafter, the state's Joint Administrative Procedure Committee wrote a scathing letter to the FDEP general counsel, accusing the agency of improperly appropriating legislative prerogatives in its rulemaking, including the basis for intending to deny the 2008 application by Sarasota County. Since then, FDEP rules have been rewritten to conform to the Legislature's intent in the laws the department is charged with enforcing. Those rule changes, had they been in effect in 2008, might have resulted in the county's application being approved, and the reopening of Midnight Pass. The Midnight Pass Society, which purports to have 2,000 members who advocate for the reopening of that inlet, is once again working with the county and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to possibly reconsider the county's 2008 application Now the Midnight Pass Society, county and for permission to reopen Midnight Pass. state officials are sitting down to see how That application was slated for denial in 2009, the process might be resumed. As the county but the county withdrew it before the FDEP withdrew its application before a formal de-

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