Our Quiet Little Corner of the World

By Sue Lloyd

Our quiet little corner of the world. A beautiful little spot in front of the Lake Park Marina. A little corner where you can sit outside on your patio, relax by your poolside or on one of the benches at the Marina and listen to the crickets, water lapping up against the boats, occasional quite laughter, muffled conversation and sometimes soft music playing.

A tranquil little residential area where neighbors gather together outside their residence – have an evening cocktail and enjoy the view and ambiance of our quite little corner in Lake Park.

Photo by Brent Headberg

But thanks to Town Government – the wise people that they are – they have decided to change our quiet little corner in Lake Park. They couldn’t suggest a quiet business for the corner – oh, no – they want a loud, loud, LOUD Tiki Bar and Putt Putt Golf Course to be built in our quiet little corner.

The developers are asking for a noise variance, parking variance and lighting variance. This will allow for noisy nights till 1 a.m. or later – bright lights to shine in our windows and traffic, traffic, traffic; and town STAFF is making the recommendation to approve these variances.

Oh, but the developers are willing to GIVE – they are going to build sound barrier walls on either side of the restaurant to help the residents that live on those sides. Gosh, darn, they might even throw in some landscaping and fencing. Wow! The walls are going to be sound barriers – right – I can hear it now – just quiet little music, whispered conversations, the almost silent clinking of glasses – I just know those barriers will do the trick. However, if there is any wind whatsoever – even the gentle breeze that blows off the intracoastal waterway, I don’t think those barriers are going to be as grand as they are telling us.

How are they going to block the sound from the tiki bar that will be built on the east side of Lake Shore Drive? We all know how voices carry, especially if the wind is blowing to the west, north or south. The wind, when it blows to the East, should be ok.

It is going to be quite something to hear the loud, boisterous golfers who will be on the other side of our pool where we enjoy relaxing– pretty close to where the restaurant restrooms will be located too. Oh, I forgot, the sound barrier wall is going to block those voices. Thank goodness.

Of course the developers think the tiki bar and putt putt golf course is going to bring families out to the quiet little corner of Lake Park. I raised four wonderful children and we often played putt putt golf together, usually during the day or early evening, certainly not at midnight. Now I wonder what clientele will be playing putt putt golf from 11p.m.-1a.m.? I am sure they will be conscientious, thoughtful, quiet people that will be aware that they are golfing next to residential homes where people just might be trying to sleep.

Our quiet neighbors in the building to the North have expressed concerns about the noise that will be carried by the wind to their building. They have already called and complained about noise bothering them at events held at the Marina in the past; infrequent events held a few times a year. Now they can look forward to noise seven evenings a week. When their building was brought up at a recent meeting that I attended with the developer, he said he wasn’t concerned about them – those condos are too far away.

Could the town have encouraged other types of business to be built in our quiet little corner? Of course. An enclosed restaurant that has some outdoor seating might have been a better idea, somewhat on the scale of the Sailfish Marina Restaurant. That restaurant closes at 10 p.m., has no outdoor music and is quite successful.

It might help our quiet little corner to remain that way even with the changes if the town STAFF could recommend and demand that the tiki bar and putt putt golf course close at 10 p.m. sharp. I don’t think that would be too much to ask for the sake of the local residents.

How sad it will be if the developers get their way – and the residents’ concerns and recommendations are not considered.

If all goes their way, our quiet little corner in Lake Park is soon to be quiet no more.