Brian Albano and Colby Harkrader are two Seminole County firefighters who love the water and are eager to share their love of boating with others.
But his prospective new neighbors aren't too keen on the love they want to give.
Mr. Albano and Mr. Harkrader are partners in the newly formed Pelican Key Marina, which is trying to take over the previously approved Intracoastal Oasis Marina Planned Commercial Development next to Seabird Island Mobile Home Park, along the Port Orange Causeway.
“All we really want to do is hear your concerns,” Mr. Albano said Friday, Nov. 1, during a neighborhood meeting for the project. “We know that Seabird Island, or a group within Seabird Island, really doesn’t like the idea of us building a marina right next door to your housing community. We understand that. We just want to know why.”
One main bone of contention is the view for many residents will change from seeing the river to seeing boats docked. “How do you compensate somebody for their view, was asked.
“I haven’t heard anybody here that’s for this,” said Paul Snapp, Seabird Island Homeowners Association president. “Everybody here is against it.”
The property is east of the Seabird Island Mobile Home Park, south of the Dunlawton Avenue Bridge, within the Town Center CRA. It has about 4.5 acres of submerged coastal waterfront. The City Council originally approved the project in 2009, including filling 1.2 acres of the site for a parking lot, stormwater vault and user building. The marina would have 102 slips stretching out over the water.
“We’re just two regular Joes, local boaters, just trying to make a dream come true for my wife, my children, Colby’s wife and his children,” Mr. Albano said. “We want to see our children actually work in this marina. We’re not here to just build it and you are never going to see us again. These are two families coming together trying to make this marina come to fruition.”
He noted nothing is set in stone, but the project previously was approved and they are now in a position to make it happen.
Mr. Snapp presented numerous other concerns on behalf of residents, including the number of parking spaces (87) and the number of slips.
Mr. Snapp also mentioned dredging, which Mr. Albano stated can only be done on their property and which is due for a maintenance dredge anyway.
Increased traffic also is a concern, he said.
“We are actually going to build a third staging lane that doesn’t (currently) exist,” Mr. Albano said. “We are creating an area where the boats can actually go and stage to go in the water instead of the way it is right now. We have more than sufficient parking for anyone that uses our facility.”
The site also will have an office and small retail area, but nothing that can be rented out for parties. The partners were adamant there would be no loud music, lighting will be kept as dim as possible and a curfew will be considered.
Mr. Snapp also had concerns about insurance and boats getting loose in a storm.
Mr. Albano stressed part of their dock master’s job is to ensure boats are properly tied down for hurricane winds.
Mr. Harkrader stated they would seek a Clean Marina designation, which means the facilities must have maintain environmental best management practices, designed to protect Florida’s waterways.
Still, residents did not want the marina when asked to give a show of hands.
The marina plan must still get further permitting from the city and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but the partners estimate it will take a year to build.
Unless the residents of Seabird Island win their fight with City Hall.