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Opinion
Palm Coast Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018 6 months ago

More questions than answers on Captain's BBQ at Flagler County's Bings Landing

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Some ask why Captain's gets such a good deal on county land.
by: Guest Writer

Coffey seems to be setting the agenda on Bings

Dear Editor:

On Dec. 4, the Flagler County Board of County Commissioners voted 4-0 to reconsider the lease for Captain’s BBQ at Bings Landing, three days after the lease was signed. On Nov. 30, the Scenic Pride A1A Board reversed its decision to support the proposal (8-1, one abstention) after reading the lease, which was not available previously.

The lease is a great deal for Captain’s but an awful decision for the citizens of Flagler County, who own the park. Flagler County residents have voted three different times to have the property taxes raised in order to pay for the purchase of environmentally sensitive land, such as Bings Landing, which was purchased with state and federal grants for environmentally sensitive lands.

At the Nov. 23 County Commission meeting — the last for Commissioner Nate McLaughlin — numerous opponents of the lease asked to avoid a rush to judgment and delay passage of the proposed lease. The commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of the lease (McLaughlin, Greg Hansen and Dave Sullivan, in favor, Donald O’Brien and Charlie Ericksen Jr., against). Commissioner Hansen, before the vote, asked if any of Bings Landing parcels were purchased with funds for environmentally sensitive land, but seemed not to care that the answer was: “Yes.”

The meeting reminded me of the satirical movie “Wag the Dog.” It seems, in an apparent role reversal, policy is dictated by Craig Coffey. The commissioners were told the old building “had to be torn down”; the septic system could be enlarged or redone (when asked the cost, he said, “About $20,000”).

Here’s the things Mr. Coffey failed to produce: any documented studies that found the original current structure needed to be demolished, any documented cost for the new building (all that exists is a sketch), and any documented studies both for the cost of the septic system or the potential damage the septic system would do to the environmentally sensitive land at Bings. Further, Mr. Coffey didn’t seem to mind that the Land Development Code, the structure for all future development, was not followed.

No other business could go before the Zoning and Planning Commission, with no blueprints, no planned septic upgrade or new septic system and be heard, and get approval. As a concerned citizen, I ask, “Why is that?” I also found it interesting that the “dangerous building” Coffey described could be inhabited for “up to 30 months” in the lease agreement.

If the lease is upheld, the environmentally sensitive land of Bings Landing will become a very large (liquor-licensed) restaurant and an even bigger parking lot. A victory for the owners and a major loss for the citizens of Flagler County to whom the park belongs.

Dr. Lynne Bravo Rosewater

Palm Coast

 

Why can’t the Captain’s building be repaired?

Dear Editor:

We've been to Captain's BBQ many times. Was there just last week. Place is an asset to the area. Clean, food is lunchy and competently served. You even get your name announced on a speaker.

Outside, there is evidence of repair on the building. Seems that an able engineer and a good construction company could right what is wrong with the structure. Maybe even find a place for a small bar.

The park was busy on a cool, breezy day. The trees that dominate are mature and magnificent. To remove them would be a bloody shame. Even for a Bloody Mary!

Sal Rapisarda

Palm Coast

 

Captain’s is a gem; it needs a new building

Dear Editor:

After reading about the small, vocal group of people who are complaining about and protesting against the approved lease deal that will allow Captain’s BBQ to build a new restaurant at the county-owned Bings Landing park in the Hammock, I wanted to write a letter in show of support for this wonderful, top rated local restaurant.

I have taken visiting family and friends to eat at Captain’s BBQ numerous times, and always enjoy eating there. I know many other locals who are also in support of a very needed new building to house this gem of a restaurant.

One member of my family is disabled and confined to a wheelchair, and there have been times when the very limited handicapped parking spaces were not available, and it was extremely difficult to navigate through the dirt parking lot.

There are visible signs that the building itself needs to be structurally reinforced/remodeled, and it just seems that despite a recent upgrade, there is only so much that can be done with the current building.

I know I am not the only one who is excited that the county and the restaurant’s owners came to an agreement and signed a lease that will allow a new building to be built to house Captain’s BBQ. I do not believe for one minute that a new building will have a negative impact on the county park or the ability of anyone to enjoy all that this park has to offer – with or without a visit to the restaurant.  Bring on the new building for one of my favorite local restaurants!

Dave Gray

Palm Coast

 

County property should not be sold for private interests

Dear Editor:

The outrageous giveaway of a Flagler County park to Captain’s BBQ restaurant combined with the token “sale” of six acres of county land for a medical office building poses a new threat to the people of Palm Coast and Flagler County. This threat is the loss of all the now publicly owned open space to private business.

If Captain’s owners wanted a bigger place, why didn’t they buy privately owned land like other restaurants do? The same goes for the hospital. There is land in the Matanzas Parkway area available for this development. Why take the environmentally sensitive land that was supposed to be there for us when all else has been built over?

The county administrator, however, is not to blame for this. Both these proposals were shoved through by the county commissioners, one on a 3-2 vote and the other on the consent agenda, without public comment. I guess when the new Captain’s restaurant takes over the park and when the Matanzas Parkway area has been built over by shopping centers, gas stations, etc., many residents will be happy that the forests and wetlands and wildlife are gone, but others will mourn the loss of a small sliver of what Flagler County and Palm Coast once was.

Jeffery C. Seib

Palm Coast

 

Thanks for freedom of religious expression in schools

Dear Editor:

I loudly applaud our courageous School Board members in their Nov. 13 decision to adopt the state-mandated policy to guarantee freedom of religious expression in our schools.

History has proven that secularism and “politics of one” have a tendency to suppress another’s particular faith-based beliefs. The current popular chic word of “choice” is allowed, in schools, for every imaginable behavior but that of religion. By allowing religious activities and expression, government is not mandating a particular religion but allowing its presence, regardless of the premises of that faith. Again, thank you Flagler County School Board members.

Tom McLeod

Palm Coast

 

Say no to low-income ‘Holland ghettos’

Dear Editor:

This letter is in rebuttal to Mr. Jake Scully, a member of the Palm Coast Planning and Land Development Regulation Board, and a large proponent of Mayor Milissa Holland's new "affordable housing" initiatives, which have very little support among her constituents.

Politicians are voted in to serve the best interests of those who have put them in office, and when an overwhelming number of your constituents are opposed to where you are leading the city, then who actually are you serving?

Mr Scully simply dismisses opposition as "classist," rooted in fear and not in fact. The naivete is yours, Mr. Scully. Simply go to any city and ask to be taken to where the low income, Section 8, "workforce housing” (or whatever you want to call it) is located, and you will most likely find the worst part of that city, filled with all the ills that plague modern urban areas, which includes but not limited to drug violence, distribution, addiction, crime, failing schools, gang activity and serious quality of life issues.

This is not the vision of any person who has moved into Palm Coast is looking forward to.

We have many residents who have come from urban centers and who are quite familiar with the failed concentration of low-income residents. Just ask them about their concerns and observations. Go to any of our close sister cities and see what impact low-income housing has meant for their surrounding communities. It is foolhardy to think that the failed experiment of warehousing low-income residents is somehow going to work here when it hasn't worked anywhere else.

I understand your support for the mayor. I voted for her once but will not do so going forward, and I recommend to any concerned citizen who is appalled by the number of these "Holland ghettos" that are in the process of being built throughout the city, vote, until you have a mayor who aligns their stewardship with the interests and concerns of their constituents.

Jose Vasquez

Palm Coast

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