Bay Accesses Discussed; Petcher Honored
Town Hall was packed on Monday night as a number of residents said they were confused by a Tourist Development Council (TDC) request for funding for ‘upgrades to Bay Accesses for Bayland Road’. Other residents wanted to know what became of a neighborhood dock that was torn down at the end of Coconut Drive.
During public comment, Maury Nokia, Coconut Drive resident, complained that his neighborhoods’ dock was torn down with no notice. He was joined by nearly all of his neighbors, who asked that the dock be rebuilt.
A number of other residents were concerned that the Town was going to make improvements on other bay accesses, saying tourism should not intrude into residential areas.
The Town did make improvements to the bay access at Del Mar Avenue, but the residents of Del Mar Avenue spoke to say that, while they are thankful for the park at their bay access, they would like to see more there.
Ron Yanke asked for a temporary parking lot at his property (formerly the Surf Club) until he can get the permits needed to open the restaurant.
Councilwoman Rexann Hosafros said that Council knew nothing about the removal of the dock, and told the residents of Coconut Drive that the Town cannot build a dock in a public area and not expect the public to use it.
“A couple of months back, we got a call that someone tripped and fell on a dock, so we had our engineers go look at it and they said they couldn’t fix it, it was unsafe,” said Public Works Director Scott Baker. “There is no plan to replace it. This is one of the streets where the Town has Right of Way (ROW) and it is where one of the advisory committees recommended that bay access improvements be made.”
Mayor Anita Cereceda said the Town has no intention of commercializing any bayside accesses, and Baker replied that staff plans to hold a workshop sometime in January to once and for all answer residents’ questions about bayside accesses.
Council then read a proclamation honoring former Beach Observer Editor Bob Petcher, thanking him for his seven years of service reporting on the Town and wishing him all the best in his future endeavors.
“You’re leaving some pretty big shoes to fill,” Cereceda said, and the rest of Council agreed.
Approval was also granted for the design and engineering of the beginning of Phase II of the Town’s waterline replacement project – the side streets off North Estero – with surveying set to begin in January 2015.
During Councilmembers’ Items, Hosafros reported that the lobbyist hired by Council to work with the AIR group, former Transportation Director Rodney Slater, has agreed to continue to work with the Town though it will be pro bono at least on a short-term basis since the $25,000 authorized by Council has already been spent.
Keri Hendry Weeg