To Whom It May Concern:
I am one of the Developers proposing to construct a 134 unit condominium at Navarre Beach. This land is privately owned and is zoned for 134 condo units and 15 stories. The lease, which was drawn over 50 years ago, allows for a marina. We have instead chosen to construct 6 buildings of four to six stories. I chose the low-rise condominium simply because I viewed a 100’ x 200’, three story dry storage marina to be out of place anywhere on Navarre Beach. I also viewed the alternative, 134 pads for boats under carport-like coverings as equally unappealing. This decision was made in spite of the fact that studies showed a dry storage marina to be very viable and presently permitted on the property without any variances. It should also be noted that a marina, which like all other marinas, may distribute hundreds of gallons of spilled fuel, boat washing residue and other pollutants into the bay each month, even if built and managed to the highest standards.
We retained the services of Martin Gawronski, an Environmental Scientist with Ecological Resource Consultants, to determine if any wetlands, endangered species or critical habitats of any type would be impacted. To this end, Mr. Gawronski contacted Federal Fish and Wildlife and confirmed the fact that there were no endangered species or critical habitats existing on the property.
The Department of Environmental Protection becomes involved once you submit your engineering for storm drainage and your Wetlands Delineation. Our Engineer is very experienced and has designed storm drainage per D.E.P. requirements many times. This drainage plan will be particularly simple for this site. Our goal is to leave approximately 40% of the site in its natural state. Our wetlands consists of an area approximately the size of a compact car. The County requires a 30’ setback from all wetlands, and DEP requires less than 30’. Our closest condominium to the wetland area greatly exceeds that requirement.
It should be noted that the distance between Pensacola Beach and the east end of Navarre Marine Park is approximately 13.5 miles. Within this area is 10.5 miles designated as a park. This is 77% of all Gulf and Bay frontage which will never be developed. In addition to this, east of the Navarre Marine Park lies 16 miles of Federal Property which also will never be developed. Simple math tells you that of the 29.5 miles of Gulf and Bay frontage between Pensacola Beach and Ft. Walton Beach only 3 miles plus our 4.49 – 5.78 acres is available for development. This means that only 1.1% of all land between Pensacola Beach and Ft. Walton Beach will be developed. To unreasonably restrict this 1.1% is not only unreasonable but also economically detrimental to Santa Rosa County. It should also be noted that this property became privately owned in 1962. No Park existed at that time. Navarre Marine Park became a park in 1994 surrounding this parcel not including it.
The growth and economy of Santa Rosa County is of paramount importance to everyone. This is particularly true of the youth in our area. If the economy does not expand with the population, most of our high school and college graduates will be forced to leave the area to find meaningful employment.
It should be pointed out that our project will provide approximately $1,200,000 annually to the County in ad valorem taxes. In addition, through calculations provided by the Chamber of Commerce and the Haas Studies you will see an additional $3.1 million flowing to the County annually from outside people renting the units. This is money that will travel all over the County, not just to the beach area. Economists will tell you that this money will change hands three times as it moves through the county, which means this “multiplier effect” is similar to $9 million being dumped into the economy from outside sources each year.
I respectfully request that you consider these facts when reviewing our project. I would also invite you to call me if you have any questions. Even if you oppose the project, you will find me to be very cooperative.