Lake Park Government in the Restaurant Business?
By Guest Writer, Brent Headberg
We all have our favorites: Sailfish Marina, Two Drunken Goats, The Waterway Cafe, The Sand Bar, The Square Grouper, Seasons 52, Tiki Waterfront Sea Grille, Two George’s, Old Key Lime House…and the list goes on and on. Oh, and how about the new restaurant and tiki bar now under construction in North Palm Beach on the Earman River waterfront (riverfront)?
It seems that a developer in Lake Park wants to get on this tiki waterfront bandwagon too and build a restaurant and tiki bar right on Lake Shore Drive adjacent to Lake Park Harbor Marina. Sounds too good to be true, huh? That’s what is being proposed, but wait, there’s one thing that hasn’t been considered in the developer’s plans to create this beautiful Marina Village, as they call it. The developer forgot to discuss it with the adjacent property owners and made a big mistake by listening to Town Hall.
- Town of Lake Park – wants to expand the existing boat trailer parking lot and create a pedestrian promenade along Lake Shore Drive that will support a waterfront restaurant, an idea that’s been tossed around like a hot potato in regard to various locations in and around the Marina property for years.
Palm Beach County – holds the tax payer’s money in a fund that was provided by a Waterfront Bond that was approved several years ago to provide improvements to various public waterfront access properties.
South Florida Yachts – bought up all the commercial Federal Highway frontage property near the marina and later purchased a residential lot and existing home on Lake Shore Drive which is sandwiched in between a 10 unit condominium to the North and an existing home to the South.
THE PUBLIC/PRIVATE DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT:
This deal was put together between these three players: the Town, the County and South Florida Yachts. An Interlocal Agreement was drafted and approved by the Town Commission and Palm Beach County with specific language stating the Town would be obligated to complete specific phases of an overall plan to develop this “Marina Village”, as it is now being called.
What’s really interesting is that, even though the Town and the restaurant developer have advertised this project as Waterfront Dining, a Waterfront Tiki Bar and Waterfront Promenade…if you’ve driven down Lake Shore Drive and attended one of the Marina’s Sunset Parties, the only location along Lake Shore Drive that is truly considered waterfront is the brick patio in front of the marina office where these Sunset Parties are held.
The proposed restaurant and promenade that the Town and South Florida Yachts are trying to create would be along an interior canal-like channel that provides access to the boat slips adjacent to Lake Shore Drive. These slips are limited to a maximum boat length of 30 feet. I don’t think that’s really waterfront dining or a waterfront tiki bar anything.
What is really going on here is…the forced placement of a commercial restaurant and noisy tiki bar establishment into a quiet residential neighborhood with a developer who gets bailed out of foreclosure and promises all kinds of improvements for a one block strip of Lake Shore Drive that the Town doesn’t have the funds for, all in the name of spending the County’s left over bond money…it just doesn’t make sense.
A QUIET NEIGHBORHOOD GOES COMMERCIAL:
How would you feel if the Town, the County and some developer moved onto the Street Where You Live and proposed a restaurant and promenade next door to your home….hmmmmmmmm?
PAY ATTENTION TAX PAYERS:
Some of the citizens of Lake Park and even those who don’t live in Lake Park might say…so what, that’s over there at the marina, I don’t ever go there, or I don’t own a boat, or I don’t care about the waterfront. Well maybe you should look into how much of your tax money is being used for this project even though you don’t benefit from it. I don’t know about you, but I would be hopping mad, especially in these hard economic times when every dime counts in our personal lives.