It is with great dismay that I have read the articles and attended the meeting wherein the Flagler Beach City Commission voted to request that the County Commission vote no on Sea Ray's request to build a parking lot.
On March 16, Flagler County commissioners will vote on whether Sea Ray Boats, a respected and long-time Flagler County employer, will be granted a comprehensive plan revision and future zoning modification to build a new employee parking lot on land directly adjacent to the company's facility. Sea Ray is one of Flagler County’s oldest employers, having opened its doors and its current manufacturing facilities in 1984.
As a long time Flagler Beach homeowner and business owner I find it unconscionable that my city leaders would take a negative position on something that will have a huge economic impact on our entire county! Not only did they vote on this issue, they did so without one communication with Sea Ray and no effort on their part to educate themselves on the "real" facts about this request.
This is not about Flagler Beach — this is about a small group of unhappy homeowners that built or bought their homes adjacent to a manufacturing plant that has been there for over 30 years. For a county that continues to stand at the top of the list in the state of Florida for unemployment and underemployment, this is just unbelievable and is undermining all of the good work toward economic development and retention that is finally taking place in Flagler County.
I love my city, I respect my neighbors, and I appreciate the elected officials who choose to serve. I will safely continue to jog in Flagler Beach, cycle in Flagler Beach, swim in Flagler Beach and love life in Flagler Beach. Greater economic opportunities? Bring it on!
Let's not miss the opportunity to show that Flagler County can “get past the noise” and support reasonable business requests.
Please encourage your Flagler County Commission to vote yes on March 16!
Lea A. Stokes is president of Preferred Management Services Inc. and past chairwoman of the Flagler County Chamber.