Also in letters: Bings Landing should not be compromised for Captain's BBQ.
Flagler County Resource Center gets needed reprieve
Approximately 10,500 households earn $30,000 or less in Flagler County. It’s fair to say that many residents have difficulty living paycheck to paycheck. In 2018, the Flagler County Resource Center, at 1510 Old Moody Blvd., was open 207 days and served 5,681 people, including 1,632 children. For over 10 years, the food and manpower to operate the Resource Center have been provided by many organizations throughout Flagler County.
Flagler County is considering tearing down this building, but on Jan. 14, the county announced it would delay demolition for 90 days to look for other solutions.
Delaying the building destruction is the right move. It will allow the county to fulfill its responsibility, and work with organizations operating the Resource Center to come together and find solutions that will work for everyone. Those we serve deserve to have their voices heard. Become part of the voice!
I think we achieved everything we could have hoped for last night: 90-day delay and the opportunity to work with the county to find acceptable solutions that work for everyone.
Knowing a little about how government works, I was very surprised that the commissioners all agreed that a 90-day delay was appropriate since the Resource Center wasn’t an agenda item — it only came up in the citizen three-minute blitz.
Judith and Joseph Roy
Bings is special because of the park, not the BBQ
The draw and source of economy in The Hammock does not lie in buildings or restaurants or businesses, but in the setting in which those facilities reside.
As one speaker mentioned at the Jan. 7 Flagler County workshop meeting for the Bings/Captain’s issue, this is one of, if not the last strand of maritime forest left on the east coast of Florida. It is special. People come to The Hammock and never fail to comment on how beautiful it is, how it feels like stepping back in time to how the area must have looked when Indians prevailed.
Every town has restaurants, typically dozens or more to choose from. Even here in The Hammock, a 10-minute drive up or down the road puts us in Flagler Beach or St. Augustine for a myriad of dining choices and experiences.
To ruin the beauty of a one-of-a-kind habitat and rare ecosystem for a dime-a-dozen restaurant seems so short sighted. The key draw to this area, what people come here for, is to see and be a part of the massive oaks dripping with Spanish moss and I-never-knew-they-got-that-tall sabal palm trees. Without them, we will be just another typical, run of the mill strip of restaurants and touristy tchotchke beach shops. Nothing special, no iconic sense of place. You would be destroying the source of the economy, of why people come here.
I have nothing against Captain’s. But they should keep to their lease-specified restaurant, optimally in their current location. Any building can be rehabilitated. Any other restaurant would not have the luxury being afforded to Captain’s to build new and not lose a single day of business. They have their dedicated clientele, and, frankly, a captive audience with the boat launch. They will not ultimately lose business.
They do have another alternative if they do not wish to lose a day of business. They can jump down the road to the boat storage facility where a 5,200-square-foot restaurant is planned and assume that space when that is ready.
The proposal to hook up to Hammock Dunes wastewater plant is the best thing I’ve heard. Less land needed for septic, less seepage affecting trees and the health of the Intracoastal Waterway as contaminated water eventually leaches out, more reclaimed water produced by the plant for irrigation and (I believe) also for fire hydrant supply. I think the end results far outweigh the cost and initial inconveniences of piping.
Please look at the long-term reasons of what brings people to our community. It is not a particular restaurant, but the surroundings in which it is located.
Why should Captain’s get an advantage?
I have lived in Palm Coast for six years, and I have never heard of Captain’s BBQ. Who was the genius that said it was known all over the country and people actually came here to go to it?
Why should this restaurant have any advantage over the other local eating places?
As for the liquor license? Like we really need more liquor around the kids playing at the Landing.
Come on, commissioners, listen to the public outcry! Captain's BBQ has no extra rights than any other restaurant.
Editor’s Note: TripAdvisor ranked Captain’s the No. 8 barbecue joint in the United States in 2014.
Captain’s BBQ has outgrown Bings Landing
Bings Landing was purchased with Environmentally Sensitive Land funds to provide public access to the Matanzas River for fishing, boating and other recreational activities. The current restaurant building was acquired as part of the initial acquisition, and the county originally leased it as a combined bait shop and takeout restaurant as an accommodation to boaters and fishermen using the park.
The proposed restaurant would transform this initial limited-use concept to a plan to provide prime riverfront property within the park to a private enterprise that would use it to construct a full-service, 150-seat, liquor-serving restaurant. This plan would also require the county to allocate additional park property to the parking spaces and septic-system drain fields required to support this restaurant.
The county’s Land Acquisition Manual for the ESL program states that the economic intent of the program is to encourage tourism and residential use that will stimulate economic activity and real estate development outside the ESL property. The proposed county-subsidized restaurant is development within the park that is not supported by these objectives.
Further, it will cannibalize business from competing restaurants in The Hammock (JT’s, 386, and the Atlantic Grille), and it will make it more difficult for Newcastle Boat Yard to justify their proposed 5,000-square-foot restaurant at their planned dry boat storage facility.
In conclusion, existing ESL objectives do not permit the proposed restaurant, and it is likely to retard, rather than stimulate, business growth. Captain’s BBQ is a vibrant business that has outgrown the park. They should relocate to another location in The Hammock to satisfy their business growth objectives. The county should not be in the business of subsidizing one business to the detriment of competing businesses.
‘Keep the faith and save the park’
The purpose of this letter is to address the Jan. 7 Flagler County Commission workshop on Captain’s BBQ’ proposed expansion in Bings Landing park. The long overdue workshop was useful in getting additional information regarding the project, which had been missing in this flawed approval process. The proceedings seemed designed more to persuade the community that this is the correct path forward and less designed to genuinely inform the commissioners.
Al Hadeed delivered strong, one-sided statement to scare the commissioners and the audience in regard to possible liability to the county. But Jay Livingston, Captain’s co-owner Mike Goodman’s attorney, stated they had never threatened to sue, so this could be insignificant.
Considering the statement from Jay Livingston saying legal action against the county had not been suggested, it is inconceivable why someone from the county is not trying to convince Captain’s BBQ to relocate elsewhere, outside of the park, while continuing their operation at the current location until they are settled in a new place.
Captain’s BBQ would be able to do all of the things he wants to do in a larger upscale restaurant with hours to suit him and a liquor license. Yes, greed comes into it, but he also has a desire to do this upscale restaurant in his own way.
The Newcastle Boat Storage site would be perfect. It meets the criteria of a location on the water and A1A, has the boat slips and parking required. That would truly be a win-win for Mr. Goodman, the community and the businesses in the area. Surely, having the goodwill of all of those groups would be beneficial to Captain’s BBQ.
The structural report, which was prefaced with a statement about its limitations and suppositions, was accepted as if it was all proven fact. The floor and roof areas in question need to be uncovered to see what the condition of the building actually is. There still needs to be an in-depth evaluation of the current building by exposing the roof and floor supports. After that comprehensive evaluation, an estimate of the cost to repair is needed before making a decision. Until that happens, we do not know if that building is reparable.
Taxpayer money, by way of the Environmentally Sensitive Lands fund, was used to purchase Bings Landing including the building where Captain’s is located. This is the people’s park not Captain’s BBQ’s park. There should be no expansion in the size of the building, no increase in occupancy, no additional parking or septic system and no liquor license.
Captain’s BBQ has had the benefit of the Bing’s Landing location to help build a clientele and reputation. If it cannot operate from its current location, it is time for this thriving restaurant to move out on its own.
Keep the faith and save the park.
Editor’s Note: In an email to Ellis, Mike Goodman said the company’s “only plan is to work with the county to determine the best location for the amended lease. There are no comparable alternative locations outside of the park where the restaurant can move. Suggesting an alternative location that is not ready for development and is not controlled by the County or Captains is not helpful or productive.
Goodman said Captain’s is trying to be a good neighbor. “It has always been our intention to minimize the cost to the county and impacts to the park. This is why we volunteered to build the new building. We agreed with A1A’s recommendation that the new building will result in no net loss of green space. We agreed to plant 25 trees, which far exceeds the impacts at the proposed location. ...
“We are willing to be patient while the commission completes its important work preparing for the transition [after Craig Coffey’s departure].”
Costs a lot to get rid of a city manager
What with the brouhaha we have had concerning the firing of our city manager, I got to thinking maybe we would be better off if we returned to the old way of doing things. The job didn't exist before 1913 and spread slowly; by 1930 only 200 American cities used a city manager, and they were responsible for the day-to-day administrative operations of the municipality; this made the mayor's job become part time, consisting of ribbon cutting, turning over shovels full of dirt at future construction sites, wasting money renovating buildings and parks and taking care of nepotism (either pro or anti).
The mayors we have had in Palm Coast couldn't even do this part time job, so we would be up the creek without a paddle if they had to do the whole job like the old time mayors, or maybe we could be more selective when voting for mayors and elect someone who is capable instead of someone who is merely popular but unfit or unqualified; this also applies to the City Council.
We should consider ability more than youth or gender; looking into someone's background may require some effort, but it may pay dividends. We could elect someone that is more concerned with cutting spending than with building more lighted baseball fields or getting top-of-the-line high-speed Internet availability that benefits very few if anyone!
One last point: We can always elect a new mayor, but it seems to cost a lot of money to get rid of a city manager.
Douglas R. Glover