letter to the editor
Leslie M. Tilley
Editor’s note: Leslie Tilley is a City of Vero Beach resident.
Last Thursday’s Marina Workshop was well attended because this is an important issue to all of us. Many citizens spoke of their concern about plans for a massive boat storage building. Most of them implored Council members to slow down on implementing their aggressive redevelopment plan for the Marina. Imagine a 24,000 square foot building on this small piece of waterfront property, replacing an aging 8000 square foot boat storage building that needs long neglected repairs or replacement.
The Coastal Tech study presented three concepts of a Master Plan, with concepts one and two replacing the existing building with a new one of the same dimensions. Concept 3 called for expanding the new building to 16,000 square feet. Now the City has recently expanded its dimensions even further to the current 24,000 square feet. This was never part of the Master Plan!
If this revised Master Plan had been presented to the public when it was first considered, public trust would not be eroded. Instead, we have scrambled in the past six weeks to express our views in the face of a City Council seemingly bent on approving their revision without involving the very people they serve.
I must say that the news of this huge building and unnecessary expansion of our City Marina came as a shock to a lot of people. We love our small town and we elected a City Council to protect our interests, not impose something on us that few of us want.
We have needed a repair and upgrade of the Marina for years. In fact, the Marina generates income for the City even in its current state, so the time has come to make those repairs and improvements – not to totally reconfigure and enlarge it well beyond its current dimensions. Neighbors, Marina lovers, Boaters, and especially those who live on their boats, have been waiting a long time – over 5 years for Marina upgrade and repairs.
In terms of liability, the condition of the marina boat storage building may entail some liability, but there is one employee, maybe two, in that building. There is more liability in the current docks and marina, where there is a large number of people using the Marina docks each day, 24/7, including staff, visitors, and those who live at the docks.
The Marina was responsible/liable when Patricia and her dog Remus plunged into the water below, because the gangway to her boat gave way beneath her.
The Marina’s central needs must become the top priority – make the repairs and upgrades Now, no more waiting! And we do not need 24,000 square feet of massive, unneeded construction.