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Dry-stack facility is target of lawsuit

The Flagler County Commission is being sued in a Florida court over its decision to allow the construction of a 240-boat dry-stack facility. The facility, registered as Hammock Harbor LLC, had been given approval by the county’s planning director to replace a former boatbuilding facility on the same property.

The Hammock Community Association is now suing the County Commission to reverse the decision, according to FlaglerLive.com, arguing that the dry-stack facility can’t be built under current land-use rules.

Planning Director Adam Mengle had given the go-ahead for the facility, arguing that it would be less “intense” use than when the four-acre site was used for boat manufacturing. The association contends in its lawsuit that the dry-stack facility “is more similar to warehousing or boat sales and repairs with both uses expressly prohibited by the zoning codes for this parcel.”

The paper reports that much of the current conflict dates back to 2000, when the County Commission changed zoning rules to allow Newcastle to build boats on the property. It ceased operations several years ago.

Jim Buckley of Ormond Beach bought the parcel in 2018 for $835,000. The paper reported that he told the association’s homeowners that he wants to build just the 240-boat storage facility and a 100-seat restaurant, with no additional businesses. Buckley owns a similar dry-stack facility.

The association’s lawsuit argued that the dry-stack facility “is similar to commercial warehousing and mini-warehousing, both of which are prohibited uses in the Scenic Corridor Overlay in the C-2 zoning district. Boat sales and repairs are also prohibited.”

There was also a question of the new dry-stack’s size. “The proposed new boat storage would be over four times the area of the existing building it replaces,” continued the petition. “It would be 20 percent larger than a football field and a 20 percent larger footprint than the Flagler County Government Services Building.”

Hammock Harbour’s intended application is “clearly a warehouse use, which, as established at the hearing, is prohibited by the code,” the association’s petition concluded. “In this situation, the Board ignored the regulations and made a decision based solely upon a perceived need for a certain land use and based upon an observation that a new building would look better than the old one.”

The court case, which the paper says will be a “lengthy process,” will continue with the County Commission’s response. 

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