For the past 43 years, our large family has lived in our home in Edgewater, Florida on the shore of the Indian River Lagoon. The State of Florida has designated the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) as an Outstanding Florida Water Body. Our family, with other concerned citizens and residents, are joining in a legal effort to protect the IRL.
Recently, a developer has approached the city with a plan to build a large commercial development on the small parcel of land across the street from our home. Currently that street, East Boston Road, provides the only access to our property, as well as access to our west neighbor's property and the developer's property. The street dead-ends at the Indian River Lagoon natural shoreline in a large cluster of trees, including protected mangrove trees. Historically, this public right of way (ROW) has provided the community and visitors direct access to the river for their personal enjoyment. The developer plans to remove all foliage and construct a wall to eliminate public access.
The developer has submitted plans to the city showing a 6000+ square foot restaurant, bait shop, retail shop, kayak rental facility, and other structures identified on his plans.
To build everything shown on his plan, and meet the city's developmental code requirements, the builder would need to own about 2 acres of dry land. However, the developer only owns a little more than three quarters of an acre dry ground.
This is less than HALF of what is legally required for such an ambitious enterprise.
To get around this problem, the city and the developer have crafted a special agreement that will basically ignore normal developmental rules and existing codes, and will allow the developer to do what the city's own protective rules prohibit.
● To protect the shoreline's fragile ecosystem, the city's rules strongly encourage the preservation of naturally occurring mangroves, and strongly discourages the construction of new seawalls along the IRL.
The developer plans to rip out the remaining mangroves and build a massive, 60 foot new seawall at the end of East Boston Road.
● To protect the shoreline of the IRL from destructive environmental activity and untreated runoff, the city's rules require new structures to be set back from the water's edge at least FIFTY feet.
The developer plans to build as close as TEN feet to the water's edge, increasing the risk of commercial pollution entering the IRL.
● To protect the environment, the city's Land Development Code contains specific parking requirements for restaurants and businesses.
The developer's plans provide only as little as 50% of the legally required parking spots for this expansive commercial endeavor.
This special agreement essentially GIVES the developer perpetual use of the public ROW, East Boston Road, and ALLOWS him to incorporate and use this public ROW as part of his business.
It would also ALLOW the developer:
● To construct his private businesses' retention ponds on the public ROW ● To create marked parking spaces for his restaurant on the public ROW ● To put dumpsters and freight loading spaces on the public ROW ● To elevate Boston Road 4-6 feet, which will wall off our residence at 205 E Boston Road ● To construct his retention ponds directly on our property line with no setbacks on the ROW
This special agreement elevates the ROW, preventing our family from having vehicle access to or from our property. The elevated roadway will be walled in to support their retention ponds. The various structures on the public roadway will hamper rapid emergency response access to our home. This plan completely eliminates our usual wheelchair access to our home for our disabled family members. The elevated and paved roadway will also increase the potential for flooding to our home.
Even if the developer is granted the full use of the public right of way, the amount of land gained still falls far short of the two acres required for the project proposed. This acquisition would provide less than an acre and a half of dry land suitable for construction.
The negative impact of this development will be felt far beyond our immediate neighborhood. Traffic will increase dramatically on local streets that aren't designed for extra vehicle activity or the weight of heavy delivery trucks. This is a slow paced residential community that is defined by our scenic Riverside Drive roadway designed to accommodate local traffic, pedestrians and cyclists. As a protected roadway, Riverside Drive can never be widened, and most notably, there are no provisions in this neighborhood for commercial overflow parking.
The city's code restricts surface paving to only 30% within 100 feet of the river. The approved plans include paving 90% of the property's surface within 100 feet of our river. Untreated runoff from these expansively paved parking areas will ultimately end up in the IRL affecting manatees, dolphins, and other protected and endangered wildlife.
The Sierra Club and other environmental groups share our concerns. We have been forced into a position of having to legally challenge the city's decision to ignore their own protective codes. We desperately need your financial help with the mounting legal fees. We hope that you will contribute generously to help us ensure that this development, which is so clearly detrimental for the area and the environment, does not occur. Thank you for your time, your interest, and your contribution.
The Malecki/Thorhallsson family & Concerned Citizens and Residents committed to protecting our environment.
below is an article by the Hometown news on this development