I will try to outline a number of issues that will be of interest and concern for many of us living and doing business on the beach during 2014.
Richard Bouchard, St. Lucie County Senior Coastal Engineer, has informed us that the US Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a contract to dredge approximately 191,000 cubic yards of beach compatible material from the inlet channel and turning basin and pump it on to the first 3000 feet of beach immediately south of the inlet. Work is scheduled to begin in late April and conclude by the end of May this year. If you have any questions or concerns see Richard at the end of the meeting.
You may recall my saga last year in trying to register my pet cat with the City. I can report that I finally did succeed after two visits. Peggy Arraiz has spent the last year trying to make the process more “user friendly” and to have it up and running by February 1st. Well we are still waiting for an announcement. When it is available we will let you know.
Now for activities at the Port. It will be interesting to see how the infrastructure projects can be implemented. Will FDOT see any of them as fundable? Are other grants/monies available from outside sources? Many of these funds require matching funds – where would the County find funds for a 50/50 or a 60/40 split? And what about the Maritime Academy? There is to be a “blue ribbon panel” to establish a path to begin such a project. Who will be on the panel? How will it be appointed? There are many potential fingers in the pie – the State – the County – the City – IRSC – the Chapman School. And, the notion of an Academy be it 4 year college degree or vocational is not without some concerns and critics. It will be interesting to follow this project and we will try to keep you informed as it progresses. Finally the review/revision of the total Master Plan – This is what started this whole saga with FDOT/AECOM. The County has designated the Harbor Advisory Committee as the body to make recommendations on any revisions – we no longer call it a rewrite as it is obvious that there is no need to start from scratch. AECOM, in their report, made recommendations for some revisions, additions and deletions. Some feel that these appear to support the notion of increased cargo at our Port. This was noted by the HAC at their January meeting. It is planned that AECOM will appear before the HAC at their meeting next week to explain and answer questions regarding their recommendations. Whatever revisions are recommended by the HAC and ultimately passed by the County Commission involves a long process as it is an amendment to their comprehensive plan, which requires public hearings – and the City must get involved as well before it can be passed on to the State. Once again, we will keep you informed as best we can. If you have questions or concerns – see your City and County Commissioners and Don West at the end of the meeting.
On October 2, 2013 we sent an email Newsletter to you regarding Mobile Food Vendors on South Beach. A number of you did respond to this Newsletter and the overwhelming response was in favor of the SBA Executive Board position. Even though almost 5 months have passed, this is not a dead issue. It has spent much time in the City Legal Department. I have been informed that, hopefully, the final draft was submitted to legal at the end of January. We will inform you when it is finalized and scheduled to come before the Commission. Your role is very important – you will have to show up and let your Commissioners know how you feel – both before and at the Commission meeting. For some of you who do not get emails from us, this may be the first time you have heard about mobile food vendors on the beach. With that in mind – If you support the SBA Executive Board’s position for the reasons stated opposing these mobile businesses on an all day every day basis at dedicated parking spots on South beach please raise your hand. If you oppose the SBA Executive Board’s position and favor having mobile food vendors on the beach please raise your hand.
Finally, due to the efforts of Joe Krchnak, there will be an outgoing mailbox drop mounted on the wall by the Ocean Side Pharmacy. It will accommodate letters only – no packages – and will be picked up daily. For those of you sending checks in the mail and who have a concern for their security this will eliminate a drive to the mainland. Joe thanks Senator Nelson’s office for helping make this happen
That concludes the Preview for 2014