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Palm Coast Wednesday, Jul. 21, 2021 4 months ago

Planning Board considers options for marinas in unincorporated Flagler County

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A proposed ordinance change may make boat storage a permitted use in the Hammock area.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

In late 2019, the Flagler County Commission approved a controversial boat storage facility on the Intracoastal Waterway in the Hammock, over the objections of the Hammock Community Association. 

The parcel at 5658 N. Oceanshore Blvd. was previously a boat production facility. Image from the Flagler County Property Appraiser's website

The HCA sued, and a circuit court judge overturned the County Commission’s decision, stating that it had been made without the “competent substantial evidence” required in such proceedings. 

The boat storage proposal is expected to come before the county’s Planning Board and County Commission again, but this time with a tweak: The property owner of the 4.26-acre parcel at 5658 N. Oceanshore Blvd. is now referring to it as a “marina” rather than a boat storage facility (the boat storage would still be in dry slips, not wet slips). The owner, Bob Million, has asked the county to find that marinas are a permitted use within the commercial-2 district in the county’s Scenic A1A Overlay Corridor.

That presents a problem for the county: Marinas are not listed as a permitted use anywhere in the county’s Land Development Code, and the county’s LDC doesn’t define what constitutes a marina.

When the boat storage proposal last came before the Planning Board and County Commission, residents who opposed it said it was analogous to a commercial warehousing operation — one of the uses expressly prohibited in the Scenic A1A Overlay Corridor.

The county’s planning staff working on potential amendments to the Land Development Code to add marinas and define where they may be located.

At a Planning Board meeting July 13, Growth Management Director Adam Mengel suggested a tiered system in which marinas of varying levels of intensity would be allowed in different districts.

  • Tier 1 marinas would be small, noncommercial marinas of less than 25 boats, permitted in residential and Planned Unit Development zoning areas as a special exception. 
  • Tier 2 marinas would be accessories for other facilities, such as restaurants and hotels. 
  • Tier 3 marinas would be stand-alone marina facilities offering storage for boats, along with fuel and services like boat washing and limited repairs. They would be allowed in commercial-2 and industrial zoning districts.

A handful of residents spoke at the meeting, cautioning the board to avoid changes that could degrade the character of the Hammock. 

The county's planning department is proposing to define a marina as "Any structure or combination of structures, other than a single residential dock or slip, located on or over the water surface of navigable waters, or on land adjacent to navigable waters, and which is designed or used for the mooring or storage of watercraft."

 Board member Timothy Conner didn’t see a need to establish different requirements for marinas on parcels under 5 acres and those on parcels over 5 acres, as one resident had suggested.

“If we have a marina located on a piece of commercial property that’s surrounded by residential,” he said, “our code already has the buffers built in, and we’re limited by design.”

Greg Blose, the president and CEO of the Palm Coast-Flagler Regional Chamber of Commerce, said he’d spoken to marine business owners who confirmed that there’s demand for boat storage. He favored the proposed Land Development Code changes.

“I think it puts us in a position to be competitive in this area, so for me that’s ultimately what I’m interested in,” he said. “The chamber supports what you have in front of you to move forward.”

Million’s marina proposal is expected to return to the Planning Board in August, along with the proposal to amend the Land Development Code to allow marinas.

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