Is the Marina expansion a white elephant?

commentary

Ken and Deborah Daige

Editor’s Note: Ken Daige is a former City Council member; he and Deborah are active community volunteers.

Kenneth and Deborah Daige

There is a Special Call  Meeting at Vero Beach City Hall Thursday, May 5, at 6pm. The subject is a proposed plan to enlarge the City Marina. While no one will argue that the 100-year old Marina needs improvement to its aging infrastructure, the “conceptual” plan being presented is a major expansion. The proposed first step is construction of a massive new boat storage building that will dwarf everything in its shadow – the current Marina facilities, the Vero Beach Yacht Club, the Dog Park and most of all, the small town character of our MacWilliam Park area waterfront.

While this meeting on Thursday, May 5 at 6 p.m. is being referred to as a “Neighborhood Workshop” to “discuss” the proposed Marina enlargement, the fact is a majority of Vero Beach City Council members are already in favor of it. All that stands in the way of this plan moving forward is approval of voters, citizens and area residents. But wait – public approval is not required – so this is probably your last chance to voice your opinion!

There are many reasons to take a long, hard look at major Marina expansion plan – financial, ecological, aesthetic – especially when so many other City infrastructure needs demand attention. A major issue is whether this oversized building even belongs at the City Marina. A more logical location could be the wide open spaces at Three Corners electric plant site, another publicly-owned property, where a larger marina is already being discussed.

It’s your tax dollars at issue here, as well as the quality of life issues. Do we need this oversized boat building in a cozy corner of our beautiful little community by the sea?

If this issue concerns you, plan to attend the meeting at City Hall on Thursday, May 5, at 6 p.m.

4 comments

  1. Correction – The only “tax” dollars that might be involved are a $3 million loan to the marina enterprise fund which MUST be repaid! My question is what alternative to the large boat barn do the opponents propose?

  2. 3 million marina debt paid with electric enterprise funds – the proceeds from the electric sale. 2 million approved via 2021-2022 budget discussion as gifted to the city marina. Former Vero Beach utility customers considered their utility bill as a tax. The only proceeds was from the utility fund. Funding has come from the taxpayer.

    The alternative to a massive boat structure is to replace the current smaller structure with one more compatible with the size of our city marina and cove.

  3. City documents show that under Article V, Section 62.63 & 62.24, “THIS DISTRICE IS INTENDED TO ACCOMODATE A LIMITED NUMBER OF HOTEL UNITS OR, ONE HOTEL UNIT FOR EVERY TWO WATERCRAFT SLIPS” PROVIDED AT THE MARINA. The plan calls for 258 wet slips=124 hotel units. Is it any wonder why developers are pushing for maximum wet slips?
    If the marina is designated as a Special Purpose District, in accordance with the Comprehensive Land Use 2035 Policy Plan, “ALL NEW CONSTRUCTION MUST BE MIXED-USE WITH CONSTRUCTION OF GROUND FLOOR AS RETAIL, COMMERCIAL, RESTAURANTS, RECREATIONAL AND ENTERTAINMENT USE ON THE GROUND FLOOR WITH RESIDENTIAL ABOVE.”
    This type of high density population development of the marina is an unsuitable fit for the Central Beach residential and parkland neighborhood. There will be negative impacts to the lagoon and natural environment. With the planned roadway and parking lots through the dog park, leaving 25,800 square feet of asphalt instead of green space, the influx of traffic will impact the streets of Central Beach. Commercialization will change the character of the low density, once quiet residential area. Homeowners stand to lose the legal right to quiet enjoyment, quality of life and property values. Homeowners provide a large tax base for the city. They open businesses and invest in the community. Local boaters comprise less than 1% of the city’s population. Transient boaters and developers win. We locals lose. Politicians would not approve of he commercialization of their own neighborhoods, but do not care about destroying the neighborhoods of others.
    As Alma Lee Loy said, “The highest and best use of land is what a developer can put in his pocket.”

    Phyllis Frey

  4. Repair/Upgrade is a need – Expansion is a want-

    “City” taxpayers will pay for both.

    The lagoon ecosystem continues to be devasted.

    Any expansion (the Master Plan) must take into account the environmental impact.

    Attend the meeting this Thurs May 5th City Hall at 6pm – Let your voices be heard!

    Yes, Repair/Upgrade — No Marina Expansion

    Help Save our Marine and Wildlife!

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